It’s not hard to see the appeal of getting a Christmas dinner delivery box. Even without contemplating your Christmas catering, when the festivities roll round there are enough things to keep us all well and truly busy - from wrapping gifts and hosting guests to wrestling up some decorations in time for the big day. On top of all of this, facing the queues at the supermarket or trying to wrangle one of the hallowed home delivery slots isn’t exactly going to make anyone feel jolly, so the trick - we think - is to get someone else to do the hard work for you.
After careful consideration, we’ve decided that this year we’re going to be handing over all responsibility for our most important meal to the creators of some of the UK’s best Christmas dinner boxes. It’s a no brainier. The clever people at companies like Hello Fresh and Gousto have gone to great lengths to carefully craft the perfect Christmas dinners for us all, and who are we to deny their merits? If you fancy treating yourself to less time in line and more time in front of the telly, then join us. Your typical Christmas dinner delivery kit holds the key to a magical meal that you haven’t had to think about once. In most cases you’ll receive all the ingredients and recipe cards for starters, mains and desserts, and if you want to take all the credit and ‘forget’ to mention how everything came to be, then this is a safe space – nobody needs to know a thing.
While each of the Christmas recipe boxes below offer something unique, they all have a few things in common. Most have size options (so you can pick the perfect one for your party), from each there are veggie recipe choices for mixed groups, and all give you the chance to try something new. We’re not sure about you, but aside from avoiding the shopping this is our biggest perceived perk. There’s no more doing the same thing every year anymore, because professional recipe developers and chefs have carefully put together interesting twists on classics like the Yorkshire pudding pizzas from gousto or the sweet-sounding spiced sticky toffee pudding with an eggnog custard from Six by Nico.
Once each of the options are live and available to order, we’ll try and try all the Christmas meal deliveries below to give you our honest feedback. For now, in summary you’ll find notes on menus, pricing and more. So, all that’s left is for us to raise a glass to you and the festivities and wish 2021 a swift and trouble-free departure from all of our lives. Cheers!
The Cinnamon Club
Why: Vivek Singh's acclaimed restaurant The Cinnamon Club is serving up a five-course menu for Christmas this year - and it's set to be spicy! The at-home kit comes complete with canapés, starters, a generous sharing main and dessert, although this certainly isn't your standard Christmas dinner. Start with chickpea gnocchi canapes with tomato chutney, before tucking into a Madras shrimp pepper fry and - the showstopper - Kashmiri-style slow braised shank served with all the trimmings. Finish with the garam masala sticky toffee pudding with warming nutmeg custard and call it a day. You might not be able to move afterwards... The kit is available to pre-order for delivery on the 23 and 24 December.
How much: £130 for two people
Best for: Non-conformers
Buy it: thecinnamoncollection.com
Gousto Christmas dinner box
Why: Judging by the reception we’ve had to our regular recipe box piece, Gousto is the most popular product on the market for dinner DIYs. This Christmas the company is going all out with options to see you right through the holidays, not only offering a dinner on the big day itself but plenty of treats to tuck into before and after. From Yorkshire pudding pizzas through to Christmas trimmings nachos, this isn’t your typical festive fare and gives you something delicious to mix up your menu with. However, if you’re a traditionalist at heart there’s still turkey and all the trimmings to satisfy your craving for a classic Christmas dinner. Call us greedy, but we would be inclined to order one of everything, just in the name of testing.
How much: The festive recipes are from £2.98 per portion and the festive range is on the menu now and available for delivery right up until Christmas Eve.
Best for: Non-conformers
Buy it: gousto.co.uk
Six by Nico
Why: Six by Nico’s Christmas boxes is one of the best we have tried this year, with clear attention paid to the sourcing of high-end ingredients. This isn’t just a turkey and trimmings job, but instead a full fine-dining menu that takes the pressure off you, guaranteeing good results with little more exertion than some heating required. A rich celeriac velouté kicks things off before a starter of smoked salmon and pickled cucumber. Turkey comes as a ballotine, wrapped in bacon and stuffed with a mix of freekeh, apricot and pine nuts. On the side you’ll find pigs in blankets, red cabbage, sprouts with pancetta and an incredible wedge of potato and truffle gratin. We liked the less-is-more approach with just two vegetables that weren't overly spiced, which meant we enjoyed hearty portions of both and nothing on the plate clashed. Gravy, bread sauce and cranberry relish complete mains and there’s spiced sticky toffee pudding with an eggnog custard for dessert. Kudos to you if you can get through all of this in one meal, we found ourself splitting it out over a couple of days and extending the Christmas joy through plates of smoked salmon the following lunchtime. If you back yourself and your appetite, you can also add a British cheeseboard (which we also think would be great to just have in the fridge for over the festivities).
How much: £100 for two people
Best for: Fine-dining
Buy it: home-x.com
Côte At-Home Christmas
Why: When they say this is family-sized, they mean it. We had enough food for six big adults and one small person plus loads of leftovers for sandwiches the next day (which if we’re being honest is the best bit). The centrepiece is a luxuriously stuffed turkey crown that is quick and easy to throw in the oven and ideal for slicing into thick pieces thanks to no bones. Sides include punchily spiced red cabbage; roasted butternut squash and carrots; Brussels with a bacon crumb; pigs in blankets – which kookily are like mini frankfurters – and the obligatory roast potatoes which in this case are tossed in goose fat for that perfect crunch. A red wine jus and a pot of cranberry sauce finish things off nicely. If you’re feeding a crowd this Christmas, this one’s a winner, working out at just over £14 per head for six people. There’s also the option to add starters, puddings, wine or cocktails too if you'd like to.
How much: £84.95 for six people.
Best for: Large families
Buy it: coteathome.co.uk
Riverford Christmas Recipe Box
Why: Offering high-welfare meat and organic veggies, Riverford puts the feelgood factor in your Christmas feast. There are typically a range of options to choose from, depending on how many you’re catering for, or dietary requirements. Our favourite last year was the medium Christmas box, which fed 4-5 people and included a medium veg box, a turkey breast joint, pigs in blankets, stuffing and cranberry sauce. If you prefer, there was also a vegan version which came with a nut roast, and you were also able to add little extras like mince pies or a Christmas pudding to finish things off sweetly. We're expecting more of the same for 2021.
How much: A small regular box starts from £49.75 (feeds 2-3)
Best for: Conscious cooks
Buy it: riverford.co.uk
Why: Mindful Chef is known for being the healthy alternative to classic recipe boxes. Christmas is no different for the nutrition-conscious brand where all recipes are made without dairy or gluten and use high-quality ingredients including ethically sourced meat. To order the Christmas menu you usually just have to book a delivery date between 13-23 December and then you’ll be able to access the festive food options. Unusual mains last year included a mushroom and lentil roast with creamed leeks and a prawn Pasanda curry with festive rice, while traditionalists were catered for with turkey and all the trimmings as well as a festive chicken and chestnut pie. YWhatever the menu for 2021, you’ll receive everything you need to be able to make your recipes at home, including clear step-by-step instructions.
How much: From £9 per portion
Best for: Health-conscious cooks
Buy it: mindfulchef.com
Donald Russell butcher
Why: With a choice of Great Taste winning free range meat and generous helpings of trimmings, Donald Russell deals in premium ingredients. While you can buy the whole kit and caboodle, you can also pick and choose elements depending on your preference. Take the traditional sides selection, for instance, which gives you all the readymade veggies while you can pick which meat to match them with. If, however, you do prefer the big spread, then you can plump for a full dinner box where choices include a rib of beef or various turkey options.
How much: From £56.00 (feeds 4-5)
Best for: High class hosts
Buy it: donaldrussell.com
Abel & Cole Christmas box
Why: Loyal fans of Abel & Cole will already know that their Christmas dinner delivery comes with some serious kudos. With recipes refined down to the nth degree, this is a festive feast box that is expertly pulled together and easy to put into practice. You’ll receive everything you need in the perfect quantities to make a feast of either roast turkey or beef (veggie options are available too). Sides include roast potatoes and parsnips, lemon and thyme sprouts, creamed cabbage and bacon, carrots, Yorkshire puddings and cranberry sauce plus gravy and a whole magnum of prosecco to get the party properly started.
How much: £175 (feeds 6-8)
Buy it: abelandcole.co.uk
Riding house Café
Why: Carefully balancing nostalgic classic Christmas cooking, the Riding House Café is ideal for anyone who likes to stick to the traditional line up. In the festive feast box last year there was a gorgeous Norfolk bronze turkey as well as all the trimmings like pigs in blankets, glazed sprouts and a selection of condiments. Veggies were also catered for by way of a truffled mushroom Wellington, and pud was a sticky toffee sponge. We're hoping for more of the same this year, and for those looking for a little extra treat there was also a luxury version which included Champagne, mince pies and more on top of the main event. All elements come prepared with this Christmas dinner delivery, so that your commitment to the cooking can be as minimal and fuss free as possible. If it's the same as 2020's offering, you'll also receive a game to play around the table, a festive playlist and some gorgeous seasonal table decorations to round things off nicely.
How much: From £80 for two people
Best for: The whole family
Buy it: ridinghouseathome.com
Drake and Morgan
Why: Our favourite optioin from Drake & Morgan is their Christmas Day in a Box kit. With this you'll recieve three courses that kick off with nibbly bits and starters before moving on to a classic roast with all the trimmmings. Initial treats include a plethora of sharing starters like smoked salmon, duck liver parfait and nibbly bits such as smoked almonds. The main is a classic turkey roast accompanied by a jus as well as plenty of veg, and pudding comes in three guises. You’ll have your pick of Christmas pudding with clotted cream and brandy custard, chocolate brownies and mini mince pies for dessert.
How much: From £120
Best for: Families
Buy it: shop.drakeandmorgan.co.uk
Simon Rogan at Home Festive Five Course Lunch
Why: If the thought of cooking again this year is all a bit too much for you, why not let a chef do the hard work for you? We’re not talking about just any chef either, we’re talking about one of the UK’s best. This year Simon Rogan – who holds multiple Michelin stars – has created a festive menu perfect for giving you a taste of the good life over the holidays. At £95 per head it’s not the cheapest option, but then this isn’t your average dinner. Five courses are included which start with truffled celeriac soup, confit Duck, Granny Smith apple and chestnut before a fish course of pine cured smoked salmon, toasted rye, whipped cod’s roe and beetroot. The main is a twist on the classic where turkey is served with all the trimmings (just a little fancier than your usual). Dessert is a Christmas pud made to a family recipe, while if you fancy it there’s a wine flight that can be added too. Everything is packaged up ready for easy plating on the big day.
How much: £95 per person
Best for: Fine dining fanatics
Buy it: simonroganathome.co.uk
Eversfield Organic Turkey Banquet Box
Why: We understand that some cooks love the process of pulling together a feast in their own kitchen, so don’t always want readymade components. Eversfield Organic have a popular annual Christmas Turkey Banquet Box which hits the sweet spot somewhere in between sourcing your own ingredients and being delivered ready-made meals. In this Christmas dinner delivery box you’ll find all the ingredients to make a roasted bronze turkey with herby potatoes, chestnuts wrapped in streaky bacon, creamy mashed carrot and swede, shredded brussels sprouts, honey glazed parsnips and a cranberry and onion gravy. Serving 6-8, this is great for big groups or perfect for smaller families who love Boxing Day sandwiches! There's also a beef option if you'd rather ditch the bird this year.
How much: £150 (feeds 6-8)
Best for: Big families
Buy it: eversfieldorganic.co.uk
One Fine Dine Christmas Menus
Why: One Fine Dine comes from a company who originally began making meals for private jets. The limitations that lie in feeding high-flying customers thousands of feet up in the sky seem to have translated particularly well to the fanciest ready meals we’ve ever tried via the post. Everything from One Fine Dine comes beautifully packaged in recyclable containers with detailed instructions for plating. The food itself is super fresh and flavoursome and can be either microwaved or oven cooked depending on preference. With attention to detail that’s second to none this is the perfect Christmas dinner delivery to splash out on this year (because let’s face it, we all deserve a treat to end 2021 on). Menus range from £65-£195 per head and each iteration gives you a choice of a few things. From the £65 menu there’s a rich smoked brown trout rillette, a beef Wellington and a dark chocolate gâteaux among the options, while at the more expensive end you can expect all of that plus canapes, petit fours, wine, champagne and seasonal cocktails as well as a seasonal cheeseboard.
How much: From £65 per person
Best for: Fine dining without the fuss
Buy it: onefinedine.com
Cook Christmas dinner box
Why: With *quite* enough to do around the festivities before even considering the Christmas Dinner, Cook offers a solution for busy households. With all the elements readymade, all you have do is remember to defrost the food in the time to heat and eat. In your parcel you’ll get turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, sprouts, pigs in blankets, stuffing and the all-important gravy. An added bonus is that all of the above is guaranteed to fit in one freezer drawer and the turkey is bred to high welfare standards.
How much: £100.50 (feeds 8)
Best for: Busy elves
Buy it: cookfood.net
Why: The Cookaways Christmas feast boxes this year are taking things to the next level. The centrepiece is a choice of beef, mushroom or chicken Wellington and there's the option to add bubbly too if you want to start off your Christmas dinner with a pop. The side dishes range from creamed leeks and spinach through to crispy smashed potatoes. If you’ve got your main course sorted but would like the canapes taken care of instead then there’s a package for that too, with smoked salmon and horseradish blinis, king prawn and avocado cocktail cups and goat’s cheese and onion chutney squares all offered to help you kickstart your festive food without any fuss. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a delicious dessert, and the easy-to-assemble pud available is a vanilla cheesecake with rhubarb and ginger.
How much: From £40, for two people
Best for: The hostess/host with the most
Buy it: thecookaway.com
Gladwin Brothers Christmas Luxuries Box
Why: This is one for keen cooks who like to retain an element of the homemade on Christmas day. Designed by restauranteurs Gladwin Brothers, this box includes plenty of beautiful chef-approved produce plus recipe cards and cooking instructions. Inside you’ll find caviar, black winter truffle, wine, a beef Wellington, turkey, gammon, pigs in blankets and seasonal veggies with all the trimmings. Extras include a game terrine and smoked trout for starters as well as stilton, Christmas pudding and mince pies. It’s safe to say there’ll be enough to go round, however many mouths you’re planning on feeding this year.
How much: From £520, which serves 8 people.
Best for: Enthusiastic home cooks
Buy it: gladwinbrothers.com
Fancy a finishing touch to your feast? You might like our round up of the best Christmas crackers for 2021