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Christmas dinner for one on a wooden board

Christmas Dinner for One

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: 1 1x


Spending Christmas alone? That doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge! Check out the ultimate Christmas Dinner for One! 



For the bread sauce (can be made the day before) – makes enough for plenty of leftovers!

  • 1 large brown onion
  • 16 cloves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500ml (2 cups) full-fat milk
  • 100g / 3.5oz white breadcrumbs (for this you’ll need around 5 slices of bread – ideally stale, but you can use fresh if that’s all you have – see instructions below)
  • 50g / 1.75oz / 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp double or whipping cream

For the stuffing (can be made the day before) – makes 2 stuffing balls

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, peeled and diced
  • 10g breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp plain flour
  • 75g sausagemeat

For the chicken and veg:

  • 1 chicken – size dependent on how many leftovers you want!
  • 1/2 lemon (if you are happy with a little lemon flavour to the gravy – if not then leave it out)
  • 4 slices of streaky bacon
  • 300g potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 100g carrots – if you use heirloom or baby carrots then you don’t really need to peel them, thus reducing some of the work – if not then peel and cut into thick pieces
  • 150g sprouts, washed and outer leaves removed and cut in half
  • 300g parsnips, peeled and halved
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml / 1 cup chicken stock


The day before

Bread sauce

  • Cut the onion in half across the fat part of the onion. Stud with the cloves. Place in a small saucepan with the milk, peppercorns and bay leaf and place over high heat. Heat until it almost starts to boil and then remove from the heat. Cover with a lid and place in a warm place (on the top of a radiator is a good place). Leave to infuse for at least two hours.
  • Make the breadcrumbs by removing the crusts from the bread and using an immersion blender or mixer.
  • Once the milk has infused remove the onion, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf and place over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and heat slowly until the breadcrumbs have swollen and the sauce has thickened. Add half the butter and continue to heat, stirring often, until it has fully incorporated into the mixture.
  • Now place the sauce into a bowl and cover and leave in the fridge until around half an hour before you want to serve it.


  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot add the onions and sauté for around 4-5 minutes until softened.
  • If you are making the stuffing more than a few hours ahead then let the onion fully cool before the next step.
  • Add the onion into a large bowl with the sausage meat, chopped sage, garlic, oregano, baking powder, flour and breadcrumbs. Season well.
  • Mix everything together until evenly combined. It’s easiest to use your hands. Then roll the mixture into large bowls and place in a bowl and cover. Refrigerate until you are ready to cook.

On the day


  • Prepare the chicken so you can get it in the oven for 11am. Given that it’s Christmas, I’m preparing the chicken in an extra-special way, with butter and streaky bacon. This gives super moist meat as the bacon fats help to baste the chicken as it cooks. Plus some crispy bacon is always a bonus on the side of the plate!
  • First rub the butter all over the chicken, including around the legs. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the pieces of streaky bacon on top of the bird so they don’t overlap.
  • Next make a trivet in the bottom of the baking dish. This stops the chicken touching the bottom of the dish which helps it cook underneath properly. Slice the onion into 6ths and slice the lemon into quarters. Break apart half the bulb of garlic (no need to peel) and toss it all into the dish along with half the rosemary. Place the turkey on top and cover well with foil.
  • At 11am place in the oven and set the timer for 1 hour
  • While you are waiting prepare the veg:
    • Peel and wash the parsnips and cut in half across the middle. If any of the pieces are very thick then cut in half lengthways
    • Cut the bottom off the sprouts and remove the outer leaves and wash. You really don’t need to cross them – check out my sprout experiment
    • Peel the potatoes and cut in half and place in a large bowl of cold water until needed
    • Peel and wash the carrots and cut into thick pieces (if you are using baby carrots or heirloom then you can just cook them whole and you don’t need to peel)


  • Remove the foil from over the chicken and remove the bacon to allow the skin to crisp up (keep the foil for later – don’t throw it out). You can place the bacon on another tray and leave it in the oven if you want it extra crisp to eat with the dinner!
  • Place the potatoes in a large pan of cold water and season well with salt. Place over a high heat and then cook for 10 minutes from when the water starts to boil. Add the parsnips to the boiling water for the final 3-4 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the parsnips from the water with tongs and tip the potatoes into a sieve or colander and leave to steam for around 5 minutes.
  • Once steamed, place the potatoes back into the pan and place on the lid. Shake the pan vigorously for 10-20 seconds until the edges of the potatoes are roughed up (but the potatoes haven’t fallen apart).


  • Place the baking tray over medium-high heat on the hob to heat it up. Add the olive oil, remaining garlic cloves (again no need to peel) and the remaining rosemary. Once the oil is steaming carefully tip the potatoes onto the tray. Shake to combine and then push them to one side. Next, add the parsnips to the tray and the stuffing balls and then place it in the oven for 40 minutes.


  • Remove the chicken from the oven, place on a chopping board and cover with the foil and then place a tea towel over the top. Leave to rest for 30 minutes before carving.
  • Remove all the big pieces from the baking tray that the chicken was in and tip the tray so the juices run to one side. Use a spoon to skim all but 1 tbsp of the fat from the top of the juices. You should be able to see the fat floating on the top of the liquid left.
  • Scatter the flour over the top and place over medium-high heat and mix everything together with a spatula until the flour is combined with the juices.
  • Add the stock to the pan and use a whisk to constantly stir. Reduce the heat to medium and leave the gravy simmering for around 10 minutes, until thickened to the consistency you like.


  • Add the sprouts to the tray along with the potatoes, stuffing and parsnips for the final 15 minutes.
  • Place the bread sauce into a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until warmed through and then stir in the remaining half of the butter and cream.


  • Serve exactly as you wish – it’s your day. Pile everything onto a place, drown everything in gravy, or pick the chicken carcass apart in front of the TV!


  1. I totally guessed the nutritional information for this recipe as it completely depends on how much of the chicken you eat, how much you leave for leftovers if you include the bacon etc. Also, who really cares about counting calories on Christmas day?
  2. The veg and potato quantities listed make a very generous portion for one meal but if you want leftovers you may want to increase the amounts.
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hob / Oven
  • Cuisine: British


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 1000
  • Fat: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Protein: 30g

Keywords: christmas dinner, festive, for one, single portion, chicken, stuffing, bread sauce, veg, roast potatoes