What do Britons have for their Christmas dinner?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
December 17, 2020, 10:46 AM UTC

Roast potatoes and gravy are the most ubiquitous items on the Christmas dinner, with only around half opting for turkey

In previous years, YouGov has asked Britons what their ideal Christmas Day dinner would feature, but this year new YouGov research explores what Britons actually have on their plate at Christmas.

The Great British Christmas dinner is… turkey and roast potatoes

For the main meat of the average British Christmas dinner, turkey (54%) is the clear favourite with a 44-percentage point lead on the second most popular meat, Chicken (10%). Previous YouGov research showed that turkey was the also the preferred meat of choice for 52% of Britons in their ideal Christmas dinner.

Vegetarian alternatives are the main for 8% of Christmas dinners, but are more popular among the young (13% of 18-24-year olds versus 7% of over 65s). Meat free substitutes are also more favoured by women (12%) than men (5%).

Other meats had at Christmas time but less popular include beef (7%), lamb (3%), pork (3%). The other birds come in last with goose and duck only featuring in 2% and 1% of Christmas meals respectively.

When it comes to sides, the humble yet crisp roast potato reigns supreme. Last year roast potatoes defeated pigs in blankets to be crowned the single best Christmas food in a knock-out style competition, unsurprising given that 88% of Britons will have them as part of their typical Christmas lunch, the most popular element overall. 

Gravy is a close second, featuring on eight out of ten (80%) of Christmas dinners, vastly outcompeting other condiments such as cranberry sauce (41%), bread sauce (15%) and ketchup (2%).

Of the vegetables, carrots are the second most common sight on a Christmas dinner (74%) however, only 65% of Britons previously picked out carrots for their ideal Christmas dinner, meaning around 9% of the population could be begrudgingly eating carrots this year and dreaming of something else.

Despite their reputation, Brussels Sprout are the second most common vegetable, appearing on 66% of Britons Christmas dinners, followed by 59% who typically have parsnips.

Yorkshire puddings, despite being a traditional pairing for beef rather than turkey, are also a common choice (50%).

Less common sides at Christmas include broccoli (44%), peas (38%), the infamously non-traditional cauliflower (34%) and mashed potatoes (30%).

See full results here