Don't drop the ball on dinner when the ball drops. Instead, plan New Year's Eve recipes in advance to make the celebration as care-free as it is delicious.
Whether you're throwing a big rager, hosting a small soiree, just hanging on the couch with the kids or enjoying an intimate evening of romance or self-care, a flavor-packed meal is the best way to end your year with a bang.
To make your celebration as seamless as possible, it's important to plan your menu in advance. If you're hosting a cocktail party, where the drinks are the main focus and people are mingling rather than sitting down to dinner, you're going to want to provide light bites to whet appetites and hearty finger foods to soak up all the booze.
If you're hosting a sit-down dinner party, you're going to want some of those pass-around appetizers, but you'll also need main dishes that can be prepared in advance and easily feed a crowd, followed by some show-stopping dessert recipes. If you want to ensure everyone enjoys a hearty meal, but you don't have the time or oven space to make a main dish and several sides, opt for a satiating stew. These one-pot wonders are filled with deep and earthy braised meats or vibrant veggies and beans to feed a hungry group with an elegance-meets-comfort-food flair. Pastas are always a winner for a dinner party, as they are relatively fuss-free — plus, carbs are always key for nights of drinking.
And for those who want to invite some good luck for the New Year, go for a traditional dish like Hoppin' John, greens or long noodles, all of which are believed to bring good fortune in different cultures from around the world. Whichever you choose, this collection of our best New Year's Eve recipes will make menu planning a cinch — and hopefully leave you with some leftovers for New Year's brunch.
This versatile, tasty cut of beef gives us everything you can ask for in beef: You get marbled beef and bones for flavor. This recipe is especially succulent and is perfect for any holiday meal and elegant enough for entertaining.
Say goodbye to bland chicken in the new year! The juicy, sweet pineapple and fiery, flavorful spices ensure that this bird will be anything but boring. It's kind of like a funkier, more sophisticated barbecue sauce.
This recipe takes just 15 minutes of prep time and then the pork cooks on its own for several hours. It's great for an evening when you are having fun or entertaining can come back to an easy and effortless dish that goes great with an array of sides.
The beauty of this skirt steak recipe is that it cooks so quickly. Just three minutes per side and you have an impressive dinner on the table. Skirt is such a flavorful cut of meat, and this marinade makes it even more delicious.
Fall-off-the-bone-tender smoked turkey gives collard greens an unbelievable flavor in this recipe. This isn't a quick weeknight meal; this is a soul-satisfying side worthy of a special event like ringing in the new year.
In this decadently creamy meatball dish flavored with allspice, Joy Bauer puts her own loving spin on the Swedish meatballs from a world-famous furniture store (you know the one). It's an absolute crowd pleaser that feels festive, too.
A tangy, warm and slightly sweet glaze takes this baked him to the next level. It's quick and simple to put together and looks beautiful as the centerpiece to a holiday feast.
This shareable party version of a classic salade niçoise with a twist is perfect for entertaining large groups. Savory grilled skirt steak and shrimp are paired with crispy little potatoes, garlicky green beans, marinated tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, pickled onions, olives, avocado and more — all arranged on a big colorful platter.
This roast pork with hard apple cider will fill your home with a wonderful aroma. Your guests will thank you — a million times over.
Cooking a large prime rib roast can be intimidating, especially when you're making one for a lot of guests at a holiday dinner. Impress without the stress! Just make this easy recipe that will have guests coming back for seconds, thirds and even next-day leftovers.
In Jet Tila's expert opinion, the perfect salad should have at least three of the following components: a green, grain, fruit, nut and herb. Also, greens, pomegranates, pears, lentils and tangerines are all considered to be lucky foods in various cultures around the world, making this one fortune-filled salad.
"My mother would cook many types of rice dishes when I was growing up. For holidays like Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, she would serve special renditions, like rabbit or baby goat. This classic chicken version is just as delicious and comforting and perfect for any occasion," chef George Mendes said about this dish.
Ideal for holiday entertaining, these sliders are a hearty twist on a classic French onion soup. They're perfect for filling up hungry party guests without a big sit-down dinner.
This is a crowd-pleasing dish for winter houseguests and has all the traditional flavors of a braciole, but you don't have to actually make a braciole. This dish is great in the depths of winter: real stick-to-your-ribs stuff, if you’ll excuse the pun, with deep flavors balanced by the freshness of the topping.
This classic pairing of two elegant ingredients is an indulgent way to ring in the New Year. The rich flavors of buttery lobster and meaty steak make this dish taste indulgent, but the addition of plenty of fresh veggies keeps it on the lighter side.
Seafood fit for a feast
Fish — especially whole fish — symbolize luck in many Asian cultures. This is a super easy but exceptionally flavorful and fragrant preparation.
"Scallops are one of my favorite types of seafood because they are so easy to cook; they have a lovely delicate flavor and always make me feel like I'm having a fancy meal ... even if I'm just having a casual dinner at home," says Valerie Bertinelli.
This dish, inspired by the Brazilian fish stew moqueca, is the ultimate comfort food. The creaminess of the coconut milk, the vibrant spices and the tangy tomato hits all the flavor notes on a cold day. It is a classic example of a healthy recipe that tastes decadent.
This is an elegant meal that feels more luxurious than healthy. It's so easy to throw together for a fabulous dinner party and the result is an incredibly flavorful dish.
"I love this recipe because it's so fresh and easy! I can prep my ingredients ahead of time and just put everything together in a matter of minutes right before serving," Curtis Stone says about this ideal-for- entertaining dish.
This is the perfect make-ahead comfort food for a wintry dinner together with friends or family. It's simple to prepare and checks all the boxes for a cozy feast.
"Having gumbo on my table during New Year's is a must in my household, and some of my fondest memories as a child are of my grandmother cooking gumbo around the holidays. There are several different styles and preparations of gumbo, but my style is a mix of flavors from South Carolina, West Africa and Louisiana," says JJ Johnson.
OK, so it's shellfish, but these lobster meatballs are a decadent combination of upscale-meets-low-key. Whether you serve them a la carte or over your favorite pasta, everyone at the party will be impressed.
Prepare the fish a day or two in advance by soaking it in milk, which omits some of the fishy flavor and allows the bright, savory ingredients to pop. On New Year's Eve, just pop everything in one dish, bake for 40 minutes and you're done!
One of Julia Turshen's go-to dishes when she has friends over for dinner, this dish is the easiest and tastiest way to make fish for a group. Even if you double the recipe, you can cook all the pieces at the same time; there’s no splattering or mess whatsoever and there’s no chance of the fish sticking to the pan.
Make this buttery salmon dish with a sweet-yet-slightly-savory dipping sauce. Salmon is usually one of those fish that wins everyone over, so it'll be easy to love.
This recipe is supremely versatile and adaptable — if you can't get your hands on snapper, feel free to swap in whatever fish looks best at your fishmonger that day.
For a more casual spread where your crew will feel happily full afterwards, this is an absolutely delicious dish. Don't be afraid of shallow-frying the fish — once you have a nice high-sided pan and a controlled heat, everything will work out nicely, but do be careful when cooking with hot oil.
Impressive pastas and noodle dishes
This fiery dish is a modern take on soba — which is a traditional New Year's Eve food in Japan, as noodles symbolize longevity in many Asian cultures.
This rich baked pasta is made with layers of tender short ribs, creamy basil-flecked cheese and sweet tomato sauce — a decadent way to ring in the new year.
Cold sesame noodles don't get any easier than with this four-ingredient peanut sauce. This dish is so ridiculously easy to make and super kid-friendly, too.
This is a very traditional dish for New Year's Eve enjoyed across Italy; the round shape of the lentils and cotechino are said to resemble coins, ushering in a year of prosperity and good fortune. While a traditional New Year's Eve dish associated with luck and good fortune, this is a pasta that can be made all year long using staples found in your pantry; it's also very affordable. Beluga lentils are a festive touch here as they're named for and resemble beluga caviar.
The textural contrast between the unctuous sauce, chewy pasta and crispy breadcrumbs make this simple pasta a true standout. It's easy, elegant and quick enough to throw together if New Year's plans change and you need last-minute dinner ideas with pantry staples.
Tangy ginger dressing, chilled noodles and delicate yet flavorful alliums and veggies give roasted turkey a new life. It's the perfect make-ahead dish, as you can cook and prepare everything and let the salad's flavors meld together for a couple days in the fridge.
A little spice, a nice portion of protein and tender noodles make this easy dish a win for entertaining on New Year's Eve. It goes well with a range of wines and salads and won't require too much cleanup.
Giada De Laurentiis has plenty of pasta dishes but there's something incredibly comforting about this classic. Classic cacio e pepe gets a beautiful hit of additional saltiness from pancetta and more peppery bite from the leafy green arugula.
Zhajiangmian translates to "fried sauce noodles" and is traditionally made with fresh hand-pulled noodles. It is a classic Beijing dish that's perfect for a New Year's Eve dinner.
Two simple vegetarian additions turn simple one-pot pasta into a vibrant main dish. You can customize the ingredients to suit your taste. You can use any kind of noodle you prefer or switch up the greens with chopped kale, escarole or chard instead of spinach.
When you know that you have a recipe for a pantry-staple friendly, simple to prepare pasta in your back pocket, there are few things that can go wrong. This lentil Bolognese is one of our favorites. It's fun to use lentils in a Bolognese in the same way that you would meat, while keeping traditional elements like carrots and onions along for the ride. The result adds a plant-based twist to a traditional and iconic pasta dish.
A variety of fresh seafood and bright, tomatoey broth make this hearty stew reminiscent of a classic cioppino. The addition of spicy chorizo adds hot and smoky flavors that really make this dish a standout. Mussels, crabmeat and shrimp can be just the start, this dish can be customized this dish with any combination of shellfish.
Want to serve a gorgeous salad that's as budget friendly as it is elegant? Laura Vitale stretches this nice cut of steak by topping it on a vibrant dinner salad with fresh and roasted vegetables.
Loaded with beans, quinoa and veggies, this Mexican-inspired stew is guaranteed to make mouths water! This dish is vegan, but it also tasted great with some shredded chicken added into it or keep it veg-friendly with some tofu tossed in towards the end of the cooking process.
A deep, flavorful veggie stew is a must in the cold weather. This wintry take on ratatouille is loaded with sweet potato, parsnip and sage sausage. Be sure to serve it with a side of crusty bread for dipping.
Ready to try the best beef stew ever? This flavor-packed version is incredibly easy to make because it all comes together in one pot. Ketchup is the secret to balancing the bold, rich beefy flavors by adding a touch of sweetness and extra body to the sauce.
This is one of Padma Lashmi's favorite stews because it's both hearty and healthy. It's adapted from a dish originating in North India called rajma, which is made with kidney beans, but swapping those out for white beans gives it a buttery, creamier texture, though it's actually a vegan dish. You may serve it in a bowl over rice or with warmed tortillas.
Adam Richman gives chicken a stew a vibrant change of color in this warming recipe. "I think most people are used to the traditional brick red spicy, smoky chili that we all know and love," he says. "But in New Mexico, I was introduced to this delicious variation on the theme. The color is bright, it's still rich but oddly refreshing due to all the greens used in it."
Chickpeas and other legumes are packed with fiber and plant-based protein and therefore deeply satisfying and healthy. In fact, their regular consumption is associated with enhanced health and longevity. The spices in this recipe are not just belly-warming and flavor-enhancing but also help the digestibility of the legumes, which can be challenging for some. This dish improves over time so make extras and freeze for a quick and delicious weeknight dinner.
This savory one-pot meal fuses the iconic flavors of Ikaria, Greece with the faintest hint of sweet fennel. As is customary there, a small amount of olive oil is used to sauté the vegetables, then a generous drizzle finishes the dish. This practice is instinctively brilliant: Heat breaks down the oil, so saving most for a final drizzle assures its rich flavor and maximum health benefits.
Bright with lemon and herbs, and packed with hearty greens, this highly adaptable soup can be either light and brothy or thick and stew-like, depending on your preference. Smashing some of the beans to release their starch will give you a thicker soup that's almost worthy of a fork. To keep it on the brothy side, add a little more liquid and leave the beans intact. Either way, it's a warming, piquant, one-pot meal that's perfect for entertaining in the winter.
Nkatsenkwan, as this dish is known in Ghana, is most frequently eaten with fufu (pounded green plantain), but you can also serve it with boiled yams, cassava or even rice. It's equally good served on its own with a sprinkling of gari (fermented, dried and ground cassava). Peanut butter may seem like a surprising ingredient for stew, but it adds so much nutty flavor and silky texture to the dish.
Green eggs and ham get a clever twist and delicious makeover in this hearty stew. White beans get cooked with savory ham and fresh leafy greens and served with a perfectly cooked fried egg on top. It's a very versatile dish which makes is great for clearing out the pantry and fridge.
This is not your usual one-pot stew. Earthy peppers, tangy tomatillos, sweet dried apricots, briny olives and tart lemon juice make this easy chicken dish amazingly flavorful. Serve it with bread, rice, quinoa or on its own.
Because it is so hearty, this stew is perfect for the colder months. Welcome the New Year with big, bold flavor from the magical combination of shrimp paste and peanut butter.
Miso paste is the secret to making this stew so deeply flavorful. When paired with the earthy beans, fresh greens, whole grains and fragrant aromatics the combination is much greater than the sum of its simple — and healthy — parts. Plus, the Parmesan rind adds a cheesy kick for a touch of indulgent flavor.
Slow-cooker beef stew gets an Italian twist! Giada adds Marsala wine and chopped sun-dried tomatoes to this easy make-ahead recipe. She also swaps traditional potatoes for kabocha squash to give it an extra nutrient and flavor boost.
Both black-eyed peas are pork are eaten around the world to bring prosperity in the new year. Here, Gail Simmons serves up a hearty stew that's not only delicious, but might just help you make this next year the luckiest ever!
Hearty lentils and meaty mushroom take the place of animal protein in this rich chili. This healthy swap makes the dish so much better for you without leaving out any of the satisfying flavor or comforting texture from this cold weather classic.
Make a hearty pot of red wine-braised beef stew to make whoever you're cooking for a happy camper. It's also super simple to make ahead of time (it can be frozen, too) and warmed up when the festivities are about to commence.
Rich and savory, this simple-yet-elegant vegetarian stew will warm guests from the inside out. Serve it with crusty bread and a salad, and you've got New Year's Eve dinner all set!
Hearty salads and veggie-focused dishes
These authentic mustard greens are slowly braised in a savory smoked turkey flavored pot liquor until it becomes the soul food meal dreams are made of. They are tender, acidic yet sweet, smoky and slightly spiced. Is there a better way to get your veggies in? We think not.
If you have dinner guests living the low-carb or vegetarian life, this hearty and eye-catching dish will be perfect to serve. The skin of the squash acts as its own little serving dish for beautiful plating.
This dish shines from the warmth of the coriander, the gorgeous color from the paprika and the little kick from the chile pepper. Not only is it delicious warm or cold, making it ideal for crowds and potluck dinners.
While the idea of plopping an already perfect food on top of a salad might seem kinda kitschy, when mozzarella sticks are put on a bed of peppery crunchy arugula and briny olives with a bright creamy marinara dressing, they actually somehow become even better versions of themselves.
Roast squash and cauliflower with shallots and chickpeas are roasted to build a serious looker of a salad. It's a showstopper, actually. Creamy tahini dressing makes it unique, but this salad is so pretty and delicious, you could top it with ranch and it'd still be a star!
Hoppin' John can be enjoyed all year long but is traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. It is believed to bring good luck into the new year.
This creamy potpie is the perfect meal for a veggie-focused New Year's Eve dinner. The flexible mix of vegetables means you can try something new from the farmers market or use up any veg-drawer stragglers. Baking the puff pastry separately keeps it from getting soggy.
"I came up with this spicy and crunchy garlic tofu recipe because it needed to happen," says Joanne Molinaro (aka the Korean Vegan) about her TikTok-famous recipe that will spice up your New Year's festivities. "Like, there was a gaping maw in the universe that could only be filled once this recipe was created."
Warm, savory and tangy sweet, this dish is everything a side of greens in potlikker should be. Plus, leafy greens (such as mustard greens) symbolize prosperity in many cultures.
You're going to love this versatile rice medley. It's perfect for easy entertaining because everything is conveniently mixed together, dumped right onto a sheet pan and ready to eat in 30 minutes. Once you pull this pan from the oven, the onions will be caramelized, the raisins will be plump, the veggies will be tender and the room will fill with the smell of what Jerrelle Guy likes to call "sheet pan potpourri."
This cozy dish takes its cue from pastelón, a Puerto Rican casserole that varies by region but usually includes plantains, meat, onion, bell pepper, cheese, tomato, olives, herbs, spices and sometimes raisins. Traditionally, the meat mixture and the plantains are layered, which is why some call it "Puerto Rican lasagna." Here, we use the plantains as a top crust, in the style of shepherd's pie.