What Your Favorite Celeb Chefs Really Serve For The Holidays

As the air grows chilly and the leaves fall from the trees, our minds turn to two things: food and the holiday season! What better way is there to keep warm in winter than by sharing a meal with the people you love? Every holiday is laden with traditions passed down through the generations no matter the time of year, but this is especially true of December (and for those in the U.S., November as well). Each culture has its own specific dishes it associates with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, New Year, and Christmas.

We all know that chefs love to put their own spin on a classic, and that's particularly true of chefs in the spotlight. Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, and more, have all produced holiday cooking specials over the years for fans to cozy up to around the TV. Read on to learn what our favorite celebrity chefs are serving up on their holiday tables.

Bobby Flay

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay became infamous in 1999 when he faced Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto in what became a controversial battle. However, this didn't stop his rise to food stardom. Today, Flay owns several restaurants and franchises and has been featured on numerous shows on the Food Network, including "Iron Chef America."

The Flay family is Catholic and follows the tradition of fasting before the feast on Christmas Day. This means they abstain from eating meat in their Christmas Eve meal, with the exception of fish. In fact, fish is often the center of the meal, and in the Feast of the Seven Fishes tradition that has been adopted by many Catholics in the U.S. including the Flays, seven separate fish dishes are presented.

In the past, alongside the fish, Flay has served pasta, white bean risotto, Parmigiano Reggiano, broccoli rabe, tomato confit, and fried squid at his daughter Sophie's request. And for his father, Flay often makes a rack of lamb for Christmas.

Carla Hall

Known for her amazing Southern cooking, Carla Hall changes things up just a bit during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Husband Matthew Lyons hails from the Midwest, and to please his particular palate, Hall whips up traditional dishes like mashed potatoes. But she also includes foods like cornbread dressing, drawing from her own traditions.

Hall favors small birds because they are juicier and cook more quickly. In 2017, she made turkey with gremolata (an Italian green sauce made up of olive oil, chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic) rubbed under the bird's skin. Another year, she grilled a Nashville-style hot turkey. In preparation for Thanksgiving 2023, Hall made loaded scalloped potatoes, poached pears and sweet cream dumplings, and a bourbon pecan pie, all of which look mouth-wateringly delicious. She also put together a Soulful Thanksgiving Menu for her fans. Many of the items on the list work just as well for Christmas and other holidays too.

Giada De Laurentiis

When it comes to Christmas dinner, this Daytime Emmy Award-winning celebrity chef prefers to keep the preparation on the simple side. As De Laurentiis told People in 2020, "This is no time to be tending a turkey for hours and turning out a smorgasbord of side dishes — we've all got new devices to play with, holiday movies to watch, and naps to take."

Being Italian, De Laurentiis naturally has a baked pasta dish on her holiday table, such as lasagna. The main course might be a cherry-jam glazed pork loin roast with a side of Brussels sprouts agrodolce, mashed potatoes with kale, or baked artichokes. Like Bobby Flay, for Christmas Eve dinner, De Laurentiis also makes seafood dishes for the Feast of the Seven Fishes. According to an official Instagram post, 2021's Christmas Eve dinner menu was "inspired by the island of Capri," and the chef promised, "You'll feel transported to the Italian coast!"

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay's illustrious career extends across the Atlantic. Born in Scotland, he moved to England with his family as a child, so it comes as little surprise that his Christmas dinner is steeped in British tradition. In the U.K., a roast turkey is the typical centerpiece of a Christmas dinner surrounded by a number of side dishes. 

Ramsay has his own special way of cooking the perfect turkey, and he devotes quite a bit of time to it. "My first job on Christmas day morning," he said in his Extra Special Christmas Dinners video in 2021, "is to tackle the turkey." Ramsay's preferred way of preparing the bird is by rubbing the skin and the meat beneath with homemade herb butter, then stuffing the turkey with onions, a halved lemon, fresh garlic, and a bouquet garni.

Other foods you may find on Ramsay's holiday table are ham, beef Wellington, turkey gravy, and roast potatoes. For Boxing Day, Ramsay recommends making a bubble and squeak recipe with leftovers.

Guy Fieri

Living in Northern California close to the Pacific coast, Guy Fieri features one of the region's top culinary delights in his Christmas menu: Dungeness crab. His son Ryder was born on New Year's Eve, making the season extra memorable for the "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" star. "On Christmas, here in NorCal, we've always gotta have our Dungeness crab, which is in season," Fieri said (per Wide Open Country). "We always do some sort of pasta dish as well — linguine vongole shows up a lot because Ryder is a machine when it comes to his clams."

As far as baking Christmas cookies to serve, Fieri's number one choice is The Spiciest Gingerbread Cookies Ever recipe, which gets a kick from cayenne and cinnamon candies as garnish. The cookies aren't meant to be left out for Santa Claus, however, as Fieri notes the family pets would get to them first.

Ina Garten

Barefoot Contessa, aka Ina Garten, forgoes the turkey for Christmas dinner. Instead, she opts for something simpler to cook and easier to carve that also happens to be her favorite meal: filet of beef. She told Allrecipes that it's "the easiest meal in the world to make," adding that at the same time, it's versatile and "luxurious," making it "good for the holidays."

Garten also highlighted the meat's many pairings, pointing out that it pairs with assorted sauces. "You can make a cold horseradish sauce or you can make a hot gorgonzola sauce. You can just serve it with mustard, and you've got a great dinner that's really special and it doesn't take any time at all."

In 2021, Garten chose another personal specialty for Christmas dinner: a rack of lamb. Whatever the main course, Garten prefers the holidays to be relaxing and enjoyable. Like other chefs on this list, she does a lot of prep work ahead of time so that she doesn't spend all of her time in the kitchen away from her guests.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver grew up pestering the chefs in his parents' pub restaurant in England. When it comes to Christmas dinner, Oliver leans toward the traditional. This means a roasted turkey sits in the middle of his family's holiday table. After rubbing the bird down with butter, Oliver seasons it with sea salt, ground black pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg to add a bit of Christmas flair.

Among the side dishes are potatoes, either hasselback or roasted, roasted vegetables, or creamy mushrooms. And it just wouldn't be Christmas without a Christmas pudding. The Sunday that comes before the beginning of Advent is known as Stir-up Sunday, and it's when people used to make their Christmas puddings. This is about a month in advance of the day the pudding will be eaten, which definitely saves on prep work the day of. In his arsenal, Oliver also has a number of desserts to make with the leftover Christmas pudding, such as ice cream sundaes and scones.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart is perhaps the embodiment of the polished homemaker, ever ready to treat her guests to a special evening. She enjoys a traditional holiday table but is not afraid to try new things either. In 2017, Stewart spent a simple Christmas Eve with family at her daughter Alexis's home, tweeting a description of the meal: "Fettuccine with white truffles from Urbani and a huge green salad made with lettuces from the greenhouse at the farm."

For Christmas dinner, Stewart loves a prime rib roast served with a tangy horseradish cream sauce. And for dessert, there is nothing better than bread pudding. As a special gift to her guests, Stewart likes to make individual bread puddings. Given Stewart's Polish background, it is little surprise that she enjoys making potato pancakes (also known as latkes), following her mother's recipe. Stewart serves her potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce on the side.

Mary Berry

Former host of "The Great British Bake Off," Mary Berry has cooked a lot of Christmas meals in her time. When it comes to Christmas dinner, Berry tends toward a traditional meal with her kids and grandkids, who like to help out in the kitchen when they can.

To make things easier on herself and to ensure that she doesn't spend all day in the kitchen, Berry starts making dishes days in advance. For example, she prepares the stuffing the night before and sticks it in the refrigerator. Other prep work, like parboiling, partially roasting potatoes and parsnips, and trimming Brussels sprouts, is also on the docket for Christmas Eve.

At the center of Berry's table, you'll find a lemon and herb roasted turkey with stuffing, both with sausage and without, and gravy. And to finish everything off there is a variety of desserts, including the traditional Christmas pudding, a recipe that dates back to Medieval times.

Padma Lakshmi

Chef and model Padma Lakshmi shared her key to a successful holiday party with Esquire: "Make most of your dishes ahead — create a menu that you can serve your dishes at room temperature," she advised. The "Taste the Nation" host also recommends giving yourself plenty of time to relax and even pamper yourself before guests begin to arrive. "I like to try and give myself an hour or two before any of my parties," she said.

When it comes to appetizers, Lakshmi prefers finger foods, like deviled eggs or flautas, that can easily be eaten with one hand while the other holds a drink, such as a ginger turmeric margarita. She cautions to stay away from leafy greens like spinach, explaining, "Having spinach stuck in your teeth is not a sexy holiday look for anyone."

While Lakshmi likes to change it up for the holidays by trying new cuisines and dishes, including a ramen bar for Christmas. Much like a taco bar, she lays out all the fixings for making your own ramen. Dessert is a plate of pastelitos thumbprint cookies with guava jam in the center.

Paul Hollywood

"The Great British Bake Off's" Paul Hollywood is known for his stellar bakes, and we aren't surprised at all that the blue-eyed host focuses on these treats when the holidays roll around. Hollywood likes to serve his friends mince pies made with shortcrust pastry served with cream poured over the top, a traditional Christmas bake from the U.K. The filling is mincemeat, mandarin, apple, and cognac. "They are absolutely delicious. It's a real taste of the Christmas period," he told Tasting Table. Another holiday favorite is Christmas pudding. "I love Christmas pudding," Hollywood went on. "Christmas pudding with custard. I always have custard with mine because I'm from the north of England, from Liverpool."

Hollywood has also been known to make a Christmas cake now and again, which is a traditional fruitcake with marzipan, apricot jam, and royal icing. Like Christmas pudding, Christmas cake should be made well ahead of time, even as early as October, in order for it to develop its flavor. It is wrapped up and stored in a cool, dark place (fruitcakes don't need to be refrigerated or frozen) and decorated before serving. It makes an easy and delicious treat served with tea and coffee.

Rachael Ray

Longtime American cook and television host Rachael Ray takes the traditional route for Thanksgiving, with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Christmas Eve dinner is a traditional meatless feast of fish, but for Christmas Day, Ray goes in a totally different direction.

In an attempt to make her guests comfortable, Ray likes to make dishes to accommodate them and their diets, but her family has its holiday favorites, too. For her husband, Ray makes a big pork roast, which sits on the table alongside a huge plate of beef ribs, a lot of lasagna, and a stew, such as osso bucco.

As for sides, Ray has been known to make sweet and spicy Brussels sprouts, braised carrots and fennel, and Yukon gold potatoes in the style of French chef and fellow TV personality Jacques Pépin. Dessert might be a traditional pumpkin pie with a special twist, such as whipped cream combined with almond liqueur, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Rick Stein

On Christmas Eve, English chef and writer Rick Stein enjoys salmon Wellington with white wine and cream sauce accompanied by chardonnay wine from Burgundy. The next day, the family skips breakfast to save room for the highlight of the holiday, the big Christmas lunch, which also features smoked salmon.

You can forget the turkey in the Stein household. Their go-to bird is a roast goose with sage and onion stuffing. Stein uses the goose fat to roast the potatoes, which are served with applesauce. Any vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips, are prepped the night before to save time in the kitchen on Christmas Day. Both Christmas pudding and mince pies are on the dessert table to satisfy sweet cravings.

For Boxing Day, which falls on December 26 and is a bank holiday in the U.K., Stein prefers a lighter meal, such as a turkey salad, after going all out with sweet and rich foods the day before.

Wolfgang Puck

If you are looking for a show-stopping centerpiece for your holiday dinner table, world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck recommends his recipe for Roast Prime Rib of Beef With Garlic-Herb Crust. When it comes to his holiday table, Puck prefers to have a wide variety of dishes offering great flavor and different textures that are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

With consideration to healthier eating, Puck often chooses lower-fat options and stays away from fried foods. An example is his potato pancake recipe (also known as latkes), which are thinner cakes cooked in a nonstick pan or griddle rather than fried in oil. Personally, Puck likes his potato pancakes topped with smoked fish and low-fat sour cream seasoned with chopped dill, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper. He recommends this recipe for Hanukkah (Puck's second wife Barbara Lazaroff, with whom he has two sons, is Jewish), any holiday brunch, or as part of a buffet table. For Hanukkah dessert, Puck makes dessert pancakes cooked on a griddle or in a skillet, with raspberry sauce and crème fraîche.