Before we start the new year and set goals, make plans, and think about the future, we gather with friends, family, and loved ones to celebrate not just the past 12 months but a world of new beginnings — and perhaps, best of all, to enjoy some incredible food. We’re talking decadent entrees, lavish appetizers, classic comfort foods, wonderful desserts, and new New Year’s dinner ideas you can’t wait to try.

What are you serving this New Year’s Eve? Build your menu around any of these timeless treasures and we can guarantee one thing: a joyful meal (and a full and happy belly) for you and all your guests!

Pear & Gorgonzola Lamb Chops

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Lamb is another wonderful and elegant New Year’s dinner option that’s big on flavor and cooks quickly. This recipe serves four or more and can be made in less than an hour. Start with double-cut lamb chops that you sear on the stove until beautifully crusted and then finish in the oven.

With the lamb’s combination of savory, umami goodness, plus the sweetness of pears, rich butter, gorgonzola cheese, and fresh thyme, you should keep your sides classic and simple — a great garden salad, baked sweet potatoes, or even wedges of homemade Autumn Pear Pizza.

And don’t forget the importance of a good cocktail when it comes to celebrating. We recommend the sweet yet tart Pomegranate Smash, made with pomegranate seeds, fresh mint, apple juice, and vodka (or your favorite non-alcoholic vodka alternative). The drink is perfect for a New Year’s celebration since pomegranate seeds are a popular symbol of fertility and new beginnings, and are commonly eaten around the world at the start of a new year.

Lamb chops on a plate for New Year's dinner ideas.

Wild Alaskan Golden King Crab Legs

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Seafood is another great New Year’s dinner idea to get the party started, and no seafood fuels the occasion better than naturally light, slightly sweet, wonderfully addictive golden king crab legs. They arrive on your doorstep cooked and flash frozen for maximum freshness. Just defrost the legs and claws, rinse, and serve either chilled or slightly warmed with melted butter for dipping.

Crab legs pair perfectly with cornbread or corn on the cob, rustic potatoes (either roasted, baked, or fried), and almost any green salad. And for dessert, cut through all that buttery richness with something sweet yet slightly tart, such as a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Or, for something even more elevated — and sure to impress — try your hand at making a Poached Pear Chocolate Cake starring the perfectly ripened Royal Riviera Pears.

Plate of Alaskan crab legs as a New Year's dinner idea.

Classic Surf & Turf

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Whether you feel like going all out to wrap up the holiday season or just have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for, surf and turf — a marriage of grass-fed beef filet mignon and wild Maine lobster tails — is a great way to go. While preparing such a beloved dish at home might feel intimidating, this recipe actually requires little hands-on cooking and is ready in just over 30 minutes.

To round out this amazing pairing of proteins, stick with solid, traditional sides like a Caesar salad or even a simple Greek salad made with Romaine, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives. Or, consider a refreshing Wild Rice Salad featuring Pears, Cranberry, and Blue Cheese — a perfect mixture of fall and winter flavors.

And for dessert, impress guests with a “French” Bread Pudding, which substitutes flaky croissants for traditional brioche bread and then melds those pastries with the flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and bourbon.

Surf and turf on a plate for a New Year's dinner idea.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Chutney

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Pork is considered to bring good luck on New Year’s Day, not just because it’s so delicious but also because pigs bury their snout in the ground and “push forward” — in the same way you want your new year to positively barrel ahead.

This pulled pork recipe is an ideal New Year’s dinner idea for large households or families hosting a lot of guests. It’s incredibly simple to prepare, requiring just a few ingredients, including a delightfully sweet mango chutney. And since it harnesses the power of a slow cooker, you can spend more time reconnecting with loved ones instead of working up a sweat in the kitchen.

Pair your mouthwatering pulled pork with coleslaw (the long strands of cabbage in the slaw are said to symbolize long life), BBQ baked beans, and your favorite muffins or biscuits.

new years dinner ideas pulled pork

Whole Roasted Chicken with Baby Vegetables

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Sometimes you just want a classic dish to serve as your main course on a special day, and there’s nothing more classic than roast chicken. However, with its flavorful honey balsamic and rosemary glaze, this is also anything but your grandmother’s holiday chicken. It’s zesty and juicy and packed with flavor, for a definite “wow” factor that will have your guests clamoring for leftovers. And since the chicken is roasted while surrounded with a selection of butter-drenched mixed baby vegetables, you also get a wonderful taste of seasonal goodness.

To complete your holiday menu, consider making a Roasted Orange and Olive Oil Focaccia — a simple savory olive oil-infused dough topped with olives, navel oranges, and fresh rosemary, and then baked to golden perfection.

And for dessert, turn up the heat and really impress your guests with a Sweet Cherry Jubilee Flambé. If you’ve never set your dessert on fire before, this is an ideal recipe to do it with. The added brandy burns off quickly, leaving dark, sweet, warm, cooked cherries that taste delectable drizzled over vanilla ice cream. It’s the perfect end to a perfect meal.

Roast chicken and vegetables on a plate.

Spiral Cut Ham

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There’s a reason pigs are the most widely eaten animal in the world, accounting for more than one-third of all meat consumed on the planet: Few meats have a more satisfying, savory flavor or can be used in so many varied — and tasty — ways. And when it comes to New Year’s in particular, the spiral ham may be the most perfect and seasonal of all the pork dishes out there.

For a true meal to remember, complement the natural salty goodness of the ham with your favorite macaroni and cheese, plus a tart and slightly acidic green salad. Fennel Salad with Cara Cara Oranges and Beets and Sweet and Spicy Mango Pasta Salad are both good options, as is the slightly heartier Strawberry Salad with Maple-Nut Clusters.

Or, take your meal in a more Southern direction and pair your ham with black-eyed peas and collard greens, both New Year’s staples. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve is a time-honored tradition, with the legumes considered a symbol of good luck for the year ahead. And as for the collards, they are said to symbolize money and prosperity in the new year. While you could also hang the greens by your door to ward off evil spirits, they taste much better steamed, braised, or sautéed in bacon fat.

Finally, wrap up this New Year’s dinner idea with some chocolate, a food that’s known to symbolize love, passion, care, and a happy life. Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes or Chocolate Cherry Brownies celebrate the flavor of chocolate in wonderful ways and are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Or go all out with this tantalizing Red Wine Chocolate Truffle Cake. Don’t worry — making this one isn’t that much more complicated than baking any standard chocolate cake. The thing that makes this cake so special, though, is that it contains a full cup of Harry & David Cabernet Sauvignon and is topped with a box of exquisite chocolate truffles. What a way to welcome in 2024!

Plate of spiral ham, beans, and potatoes for a New Year's dinner idea.

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Author

Brian Good is a writer, editor, and project manager with more than 20 years experience in publishing. He's written for some of the country’s biggest magazine brands including Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Shape, Men's Health, Muscle & Fitness, US Weekly, AARP: The Magazine, and websites including Mashed, Health Digest, DiversityInc and others. Good specializes on topics including lifestyle, travel, pop culture, health, food and nutrition, spirits, products, politics, and activism.

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