How to cook a Christmas feast for under $100


6 min read

Christmas Day drums up images of smiling, happy families, tucking into a beautifully cooked feast that kings and queens would happily raise their glasses to.

But the reality for many of us is one of culinary chaos. Stoves boiling over, thirsty turkeys over-crisping in a jam-packed oven and a Christmas pud that isn’t quite what it was in Grandma’s day.

Not to mention the cost of it all, which by itself would threaten to send any money-conscious family into financial stress.

But what if we told you, you could whip up a decadent Christmas lunch for under $100 that will have you leisurely sipping champagne by the pool instead of sweating it out in the kitchen?

This seven-dish Christmas feast, prepared by Australia’s number one food blogger Nagi Maehashi from RecipeTin Eats, ticks all the boxes.

The secret is that most dishes can be prepared ahead of time without losing any flavour or moisture.  We guarantee you’ll have a crisp, fresh, mouth-watering Christmas lunch that will leave the most officious aunt you have speechless.

Succulent Roast Chicken

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $20
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins prep, 1 hour cook
  • Make ahead? No
  • Serves: 4-6


  • 1 roasting chicken (around 1.5kg/3.3lbs), rinsed with water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 4 litres/ 1 gallon water
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • Half a bunch flat leaf parsley
  • Half a bunch thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1⁄4 cup of honey
  • ½ head garlic, skin on, cloves smashed
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cup kosher salt

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: Chicken should never be seen as the poor man’s turkey – especially not when it comes out looking like this! The skin is thin and crispy and the meat is bursting with both flavour and moisture. The only problem with cooking this chicken on Christmas Day is that it will be so popular, you’ll probably need a couple.

Easy maple sticky glazed ham

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $31
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins, 1 hr 30 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 30 (!)


  • 1 leg ham (4.5kg), cooked (or smoked) bone in and skin on
  • Cloves (for studding the ham)
  • 2 oranges, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: I used to be petrified of cooking ham but this glazed ham couldn’t be simpler to make. No basting or turning, just lather it up with glaze and bake it until it turns golden and sticky. The best part? Putting it on the table. What used to intimidate me now impresses my guests.

Potato Dauphinois Gratin (Potato bake)

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $9
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins prep, 45 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 4 – 6


  • 2 lb /1 kg starchy potatoes
  • ½ clove unpeeled garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ cups grated gruyere cheese (or cheddar)
  • 1½ cups cream
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves (optional)

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: This is my absolute favourite potato recipe – with cream, cheese and garlic, how can you go wrong? Potato bake is one of those sides that you can cook one or two days ahead.  In fact, I actually think it makes it better as it gives the potatoes plenty of time to suck up the cream. Just before Christmas lunch, stick it into the oven to make the top crispy and golden, and everyone will think it is as fresh as the champagne.

Red, green and white Christmas salad

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $12
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 8


  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 10oz / 300g green beans
  • 5oz / 150g snow peas
  • 4oz / 120g feta
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: I don’t actually know what a Christmas salad is meant to look like but I figure anything with red, green and white has to pass muster on the day. If you blanch the green vegies the night before, they’ll still be perfectly crisp when you put them on the table, as long as you keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Glazed stove top carrots

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $4
  • Prep / cook time: 20 mins
  • Make ahead? No
  • Serves: 4-5


  • 6 carrots, peeled, cut into quarters lengthwise then halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ⅔ cup water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley, finely chopped

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: On Christmas Day, when there’s a queue for the oven that runs out the door, I find it hard to make carrots a priority. But since I found this stove-top recipe, no one actually has to know this because these carrots come out looking like they’ve been cooked to perfection in precious confines of the oven.  Carrots look great on the table and they barely cost a cent, so they definitely have their place in the Christmas lunch line-up.

Zucchini fennel ribbon salad with mint

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $10
  • Prep / cook time: 10 mins
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 4


  • 1 medium fennel, or 2 baby fennels
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • Handful of fresh mint, roughly torn
  • Salt and pepper

For directions, click here

Nagi says: This is a really simple salad that literally takes 10 minutes to throw together. It lightens up the Christmas table and is bursting with flavour.  Don’t be scared of the fennel – it’s the perfect counterpart to the parmesan and if you slice it thinly it won’t overpower the dish.

Salted caramel brownies

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $10
  • Prep / cook time: 20 mins prep, 30 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 16



  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt

Salted caramel

  • 14oz / 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 oz / 60 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: This Christmas, I’m ditching the classics and going with my all-time favourite: salted caramel brownies.  Words fail me to describe how good these are but here’s a few to give it a crack – indulgent, gooey and silky-smooth.  Unquestionably the perfect way to cap off a day of indulgence.  Just be sure to hide the recipe from yourself after New Year’s.



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