81 Traditional Christmas Foods To Feast On
Depending on where one grew up, Christmas traditions vary across the globe. However, one holiday practice that unites all practicing nations together is serving traditional Christmas foods and enjoying delicious dishes at a Christmas table. Cultural food is an inevitable part of any festivity; hence, the many Christmas food traditions are as old as the Christmas celebration itself. Whether celebrated at the North Pole or in the tropics, every part of the world that celebrates Christmas has something uniquely theirs, rooted in their culture — traditional Christmas food.
Interestingly, while the way the holiday is celebrated and also the name of it differ by country, there's a solid theme that follows when it comes to traditional Christmas food. Although not exclusively, Christmas is associated with the cold winter months. Hence no wonder classic Christmas food for many consists of hot, rich dishes. Also, let's not forget that Christmas is essentially a birthday celebration, and what is essential to any birthday party? A cake. Thus sweets and treats are often included in the many traditional Christmas dishes.
Below, we've compiled an ultimate (yet not final) traditional Christmas food list from nations all across the globe. What are common Christmas foods where you live? Have you ever tried any of these cultural Christmas foods on the list? How did you find it? Let us know! Also, upvote the Christmas dishes you would be willing to try or make if you had the chance!
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Kūčiukai, A Traditional Lithuanian Christmas Snack
Kūčiukai, a traditional Lithuanian dish, is eaten during Kūčios, the country’s traditional Christmas Eve dinner. They are tiny, mildly sweet pastries made with poppy seeds and leavened dough. They are typically eaten dry but can also be served soaked in poppy milk or with cranberry kissel. They were initially created as tiny loaves of bread offered to the spirits.
I'd love to try. Looks and sounds like something I would enjoy very much
Joulutorttu, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In Finland
Traditional puff pastries called joulutorttu come in the form of windmills or stars. These Christmas tarts are often made with a ricotta pastry and a prune jam filling. There is sometimes a cinnamon-infused apple marmalade inside. Joulutorttu has an incredible lightness from the ricotta without being overly creamy or heavy. Additionally, although prune jam might not sound very appetizing, it gives the cookie a rich sweetness that is the ideal complement to the flaky pastry. Powdered sugar may be used to decorate the dessert.
You cannot convince me that these were not created by baking ninjas to use in assasinations
Lebkuchen, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In Germany
Lebkuchen were first baked at monastery bakeries in Germany in the 14th century by Catholic monks. These pastries contained honey, a variety of spices, and nuts. These ingredients were highly valued for their healing properties and symbolic religious meaning. This traditional German treat is available everywhere, but the Christmas markets are where you’ll find it most often.
Lebkuchen? I natively speak German, and this is not Lebkuchen. Gingerbread is Lebkuchen, these are Nougatringe.
La Bûche De Noël, A Traditional French Christmas Dessert
La Bûche de Nol is a dessert that resembles the Yule Log, a wood log traditionally brought inside, coated in wine, and then set on fire on Christmas Eve. When the tradition began to fade in the 1940s, this dessert stood up to the occasion. La Bûche de Nol resembles a real log and is often made from sponge cake and chocolate buttercream.
If it's called Bûche, then it must be very soft and fluffy and sweet, am I right @Shyla?
Kurisumasu Keki, A Traditional Japanese Christmas Cake
Light sponge cake coated in a layer of whipped cream and decorated with ripe strawberries is known as kurisumasu keki in Japan. It’s a delicious dessert to serve on Christmas.
Melomakarona (Μελομακάρονα), A Sweet Greek Christmas Tradition
Melomakarona are sweet orange-zest cookies covered in honey and garnished with walnuts. They are often compared to baklava in flavor. Melomakarona are baked, then soaked in a honey-sugar water mixture before being sprinkled with walnuts.
Feuerzangenbowle, A Traditional German Christmas Drink
Feuerzangenbowle, which translates to “fire tong punch,” is not your typical mulled wine. The beverage begins as a typical glühwein (warm red wine infused with orange peel, cinnamon, and cardamom) and is offered at German Christmas markets all throughout December. The wine is then flavored with drops of alcoholic and caramelized sugar after a pzuckerhut, a sugar cone drenched in rum, is lit on fire over it.
Galette Des Rois, A Traditional Christmas Pastry In France
On January 6, Epiphany Day honors the occasion when the Three Kings visited the infant Jesus. Galette des Rois, a flaky cake with a sweet, buttery almond filling that is as much a party food as it is a pastry, is how the French mark the occasion. A “feve” is a little object baked into the batter; whoever finds one in their slice gets to wear a paper crown and assume the role of king or queen for the evening.
Add some happy little kitten prints, just wherever you feel they belong.
Panettone, One Of Italy’s Traditional Christmas Breads
Sweets are a big part of the Christmas season, especially in Italy. Invented by Italians (they know what’s good), one of the most well-known holiday treats is panettone, a sweet cupola-shaped, yeast-leavened bread with candied fruit, chocolate, raisins, and nuts.
It looks rather like zucchini bread, which we serve with butter or cream cheese as a spread.
Coquito, A Traditional Puerto Rican Christmas Drink
Also known as the Latin relative of eggnog. The base of these two holiday beverages is where they differ: eggnog is made mainly of milk, cream, and eggs, while coquito is made primarily of coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. Additionally, rum, cinnamon, and sometimes vanilla and nutmeg are added to it. Similar versions, such as ponche de crème in Trinidad and Tobago, ron ponche in Panama, and cola de mono in Chile, can be found in other regions of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Pavlova, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In New Zealand
The pavlova is a meringue-based dessert with a crisp shell and an airy, soft center. The New Zealand pavlova is a traditional Christmas dessert that is sure to satisfy everyone. It is topped with loads of whipped cream and seasonal berries. It is frequently the centerpiece of the table, proudly on display.
Cannot upvote this enough! Gorgeous delicious and a b***h to make!
Bibingka, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In The Philippines
A baked rice cake from the Philippines known as bibingka is typically eaten for breakfast or as a merienda (mid-afternoon snack), especially during the Christmas season. It is customarily coated with banana leaves and prepared in a terracotta oven. After Simbang Gabi (a nine-day series of Masses), people frequently pair bibingka with puto bumbong, another kind of rice cake. Additionally, hot beverages like coffee or chocolate pair well with this dessert.
Stollen, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In Germany
A Stollen, known in Germany as Christstollen, is a fruit cake that contains marzipan and dried fruit. Famously prepared with spices that evoke the coziness of the holiday season, Stollen is covered in a thick coating of powdered sugar that brings to mind the snowy German landscape. Stollen is generally baked like a loaf of sourdough bread with a firm, chewy texture.
It does not necessarily contain marcipan. Not the traditional recipes anyway. Also it's not sourdough, it's made with yeast.
Lychees, A Christmas Treat In Madagascar
Lychees are a popular holiday treat in Madagascar, so expect to see a lot of these tiny pink fruits adorning storefronts and street kiosks during this season!
Turron, A Spanish Christmas Dessert
In Spain, nougat, or Turrón, is frequently offered as a traditional Christmas dessert. The sweet mixture of honey, sugar, egg whites and almonds is served as a special treat on Christmas Day.
Barszcz, A Traditional Christmas Starter In Poland
Barszcz, a beetroot soup often called red borscht, is usually served as the first course of Christmas Eve dinner. It is probably the most widely consumed soup in Poland to this day. However, the Christmas soup version is different from the standard one. A base for Christmas barszcz must be prepared a few days in advance. Beets peeled and cut into slices are then fermented in cooled, pre-boiled water with garlic for four to five days. Those are then mixed with a mushroom or veggie broth. The typical side to this traditional Christmas barszcz is little dumplings filled with dried porcini and fried onions.
You are either on "barszcz" team or "grzybowa" (wild mushroom soup) team for the first course.
Laufabrauð, A Traditional Icelandic Christmas Food
Icelandic bread, known as Laufabrauð, is mainly consumed during Christmas. It can also be referred to as “snowflake bread” in English. It is basically round, thin flat cakes with geometric designs. Patterns are either hand-cut or made with the laufabrauð'sjárn, a large brass blade. The most typical pattern includes rows of “V”-shaped flaps that overlap one another to create a braid-like pattern. Making leaf bread at home is frequently a significant element of Christmas preparations, which gathers multiple generations in the making.
Sachertorte, A Traditional Austrian Christmas Cake
Sachertorte is a chocolate cake of Austrian origin, created in 1832 for Prince Metternich in Vienna. It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties. The cake consists of a dense chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam in between two halves, coated in dark chocolate icing on the top and sides. It is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream.
Sachertorte is not a Christmas thing. It's an always-thing in Vienna.
Latkes, A Traditional Hanukkah Meal In Israel
Pan-fried potato pancakes called latkes have been a crucial component of the Hanukkah tradition since the Middle Ages. Interestingly, every Jewish household has a unique take on this particular Hanukkah food. Typically served with sour cream or applesauce, some latkes are thin and lacy, while others are thick and chewy.
Sorrel, A Traditional Jamaican Christmas Drink
Sorrel’s basis — hibiscus flowers — are used to brew the hibiscus tea. Ginger, orange peel, cinnamon, and sugar are added to them. And, of course, in Jamaica, one cannot do without rum, which completes the taste composition of sorrel. This drink is served on ice and is one of their Christmas traditions, offered as an option alongside eggnog and rum punch at holiday parties and tree trimmings.
Kapustnica, A Traditional Christmas Dish In Slovakia
Kapustnica (sauerkraut soup), a traditional Christmas dish in Slovakia, is so well-liked by Slovakians that you can find it year-round in local restaurants. Sauerkraut, mushrooms, pork, plums, and spices like nutmeg and paprika are typically used in its preparation. However, the Christmas version (Vianoná Kapustnica) eliminates the meat and thickens it with potatoes, cream, and haluky (dumplings), giving it a distinct and wonderful sour flavor.
Ris Á La Mande, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In Denmark
On Christmas Day, most families prepare Ris á la Mande, a special rice pudding that is often made with milk, rice, almonds, vanilla, and whipped cream. What makes this tradition so unique? Whoever finds the whole almond hidden in the rice pudding will receive a gift!
Tamales, A Traditional Costa Rican Christmas Food
Making tamales is a Christmas tradition in Costa Rica, and each family has its own “secret” recipe. Tamales are made with a corn dough that is wrapped in a banana leaf or corn husk and then steam-cooked. Some are loaded with beef or poultry, while others are with pork. Garlic, onion, potatoes, or raisins are some other ingredients that can be included in the filling.
They remind me of bamboo shoots. Perfect for Bored Pandas.
Christmas Pudding, A Traditional English Dessert
This dessert, also known as figgy pudding, plum pudding, “pud,” or Christmas pudding, is a crucial part of the Christmas celebrations in England, Ireland, and even some regions of the US. Christmas pudding is mainly made of suet, egg, molasses, spices, and dried fruits. Right before being served, the pudding is basted in brandy and set on fire as a special little something.
My mom used to make a fabulous Christmas pudding. Delicious when served with hard sauce!
Kołaczki, Traditional Polish Christmas Treats
A traditional kołaczki is a simple cookie pastry made from flour, butter, and filling. The traditional fillings are apricot or raspberry, although poppyseed, almonds, or sweet cheese fillings are also popular. Right before being served, kołaczkis are sprinkled with powdered sugar. However, this traditional Polish cookie knows no borders. Kołaczkis are also popular in the Czech Republic, Russia, Austria, and Denmark.
I've had these. I don't know where or when, but I have. They're awesome.
St. Lucia Saffron Buns, A Traditional Swedish Christmas Dessert
Lussekatter or St. Lucia saffron buns are rich, spiced, yeast-leavened sweet buns that are flavored with saffron and contain dried fruit like currants and raisins. The main components are caster sugar, yeast, plain flour, butter, currants, and sultanas. After being shaped into an “S,” they are baked in the oven until golden brown.
Yiaprakia, A Traditional Greek Christmas Meal
Yiaprakia is a traditional Christmas dish that originated in Northern Greece; the rest of the country typically refers to them as lahanodolmades. This dish is made with cabbage leaves filled with rice and/or pork mince, and it’s frequently served with avgolemono sauce.
Smoked Salmon, A Traditional Christmas Food In Ireland
The Irish folk’s most beloved holiday dish is smoked salmon, served over fresh green salad leaves. Salmon can be served simply with vegetables or sauce. Such smoked salmon is regarded as a fantastic Christmas present for coworkers, friends, and family.
Speculaas, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In Belgium/Netherlands
Speculaas cookies are a specialty most commonly associated with winter, particularly St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. They are aromatic, spicy, and light. Although they originate from the Netherlands, these shortcrust biscuits are also popular in Belgium, Germany, and France.
Nope. Spekuloos is not a Christmas thing in the Netherlands, it's there all year. In Germany though the same thing is only available around Christmas.
Christmas Goose, A Traditional Christmas Food In Germany
The Weihnachtsgans, or Christmas goose, has traditionally been the main dish served on Christmas in Germany. Served with red cabbage, dumplings, gravy, and sauerkraut, the goose is usually filled with apples, chestnuts, onions, or prunes and then flavored with mugwort and marjoram.
Fruitcake, A Traditionally American Christmas Dessert
Fruitcake is a cake that contains candied or dried fruit, nuts, spices, and, if desired, alcohol. Some luxurious varieties can be iced and decorated. Fruitcake has historically served as a symbol of wealth. People offered this dessert during special celebrations like Christmas because dried fruits and nuts were expensive at the time.
Roasted Turkey, A Traditional Christmas Dish Is The USA
With a cooked turkey at the head of the table, American Christmas dinner is very similar to Thanksgiving dinner. The braise is roasted for three to seven hours after marinating for about a day. The bird may sometimes be stuffed with bread crumbs, potatoes, veggies, herbs, and mushrooms. Mashed potatoes are offered as a side dish. The cranberry and gravy sauces are almost as important as the turkey itself.
Majarete, A Traditional Cuban Christmas Dessert
This pudding made of corn and coconut is a popular holiday dessert in various South American and Caribbean countries. Corn, coconut milk, regular milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar are the main ingredients of majarete.
Imbuljuta Tal-Qastan, A Traditional Christmas Drink In Malta
Imbuljuta tal-Qastan is a traditional Maltese hot, soothing drink made with cocoa and chestnuts offered during Christmas Eve’s Midnight Mass and New Year’s Eve. Imbuljuta tal-Qastan definitely captures the scents of the end of the year using spices like cinnamon and clove as well as fruits like chestnuts and mandarins.
Fried Chicken, A Japanese Christmas Tradition
For the fast food chain KFC, the Christmas season in Japan is arguably the most wonderful time of the year. In a relatively recent Christmas Day custom, families in Japan feast on a ton of KFC. Well, that's one way to celebrate the holidays!
When I was a little girl, I told my mom I liked KFC better than her chicken. Instead of being mad, she told me she did, too.
Buñuelo, A Traditional Christmas Food In Colombia
Typically, buñuelos are made from a basic wheat-based yeast dough that is thinly rolled, sliced, or shaped into individual pieces before being fried and topped with sugar. Buñuelos can be filled with a wide range of sweet or savory ingredients. They might be shaped like discs or balls. Buñuelos are treated as a luck symbol in Latin America.
Farofa, A Traditional Christmas Dish In Brazil
Christmas Eve meals in Brazil typically last until the early hours of Christmas morning. Roast turkey or chicken, salted fish, and light side dishes like potato salad and garlic kale can all be included in the meal. However, farofa, a dish made of toasted cassava flour, butter, and garlic, is practically always included. Although the final additions might vary, smoked bacon, raisins, and walnuts are favorites.
Mince Pie, A Traditional Irish Christmas Dessert
Santa Claus is given milk and cookies in the United States after he delivers gifts. In Ireland, he enjoys a giant pint of Guinness stout and a mince pie, a pastry filled with dried fruits and spices. On the big day, Irish families typically eat spiced meat, turkey, Irish pudding, and pastries prepared with caraway seeds.
Tourtière, A Traditional Christmas Meal In Canada
Residents of Quebec serve this hearty dish as a side for roast beef, stuffed turkey, and cranberry sauce. Imagine layers of pastry dough filled with sliced potato, onion, and pork. Yummy! In the alternative versions of tourtière, minced beef, lamb, duck, or veal may be used instead of pork. Although it is a staple of the long Christmas Eve dinner known as the Réveillon, it is also available year-round at grocery shops across Canada.
Lampreia De Ovos, A Traditional Portuguese Christmas Dessert
For centuries, Portuguese nuns doubled as egg yolk–slinging pastry chefs, cementing the country’s specialty in yellow-hued sweets. The sweet lampreia de ovos, made from 50 egg yolks, resembles an ancient sea monster and is also a Christmas treat in some regions. This dish only requires sugar syrup, almonds, and eggs. Create the winding body of your lamprey first from a paste of sweetened yolks and almond powder, and then cover it in sheets of yolks, syrup, and sugar. After putting the lamprey’s basic structure together, you can brown it in a hot oven. Don’t forget to add some candied cherry eyes and a few peeled almond teeth to make your new chum come to life.
My grandma (German) had an angel food cake recipe that called for thirteen egg whites. It was made alongside the Bundt cake that called for thirteen yolks.
Avgolemono, A Traditional Greek Christmas Soup
This egg-lemon chicken-rice soup, known as avgolemono, is typical in Greek homes, either as the first meal following Christmas Eve church services or as the first course at dinner. This soup is rich, cheery, zesty, and calming. The saying “soup is food for the soul” certainly applies to this particular soup. In actuality, many Greek broths and sauces — not only chicken soup — use the egg-lemon combination as their base. It is also typical in other Mediterranean regions.
A lot of these look so good! Guess I'm going to be looking up recipes now.
Sfenj, A Traditional Christmas Pastry In Morocco
Sfenj is a Moroccan doughnut that resembles a fritter and is prepared from sticky, unsweetened, leavened dough. After rising, the dough is divided into handfuls, formed into rings, and deep-fried until golden and crispy with a chewy, fluffy center. If you’d like, sprinkle with sugar before eating, or just eat plain.
Christopsomo, A Traditional Christmas Food In Greece
Originally meaning “Christ’s food,” Christopsomo, a buttery, sweet bread with strong theological symbolism, is a staple of Greek Orthodox families’ holiday feasts. On Christmas Eve, a small cross is placed on top of the round loaf, flavored with orange, cloves, and cinnamon.
Kolivo, A Bulgaria’s Traditional Christmas Dish
In Bulgaria, kolivo, or boiled wheat kernels with sugar and walnuts, is usually the first dish to appear on the table on Christmas Eve. Kolivo can be made in various ways and is often eaten with honey, poppy seeds, other grains, rice, beans, or dried fruit. Besides Bulgaria, it is also served at tables in Serbia, Romania, Georgia, and Ukraine.
White Christmas, A Traditional Australian Christmas Dessert
An Australian dessert called White Christmas is made using dried fruit such as golden raisins, glacé cherries, shredded coconut, icing sugar, milk powder, and Rice Bubbles (known to Americans as Rice Krispies). The dry ingredients are mixed with softened hydrogenated coconut oil, which serves as the binding component. Then, the batter is put into a rectangular baking pan and refrigerated to allow it to solidify. After setting, the dish is cut into tiny squares for eating. It’s a popular Christmas food item, especially given how simple it is to make.
Sorpotel, A Traditional Christmas Meal In Goa
Goa, a state in western India, was a Portuguese colony for four centuries. Hence Christmas traditions there are heavily influenced by Portuguese culture. Sorpotel, a spicy stew, is a significant component of Goa’s Christmas Eve celebrations in addition to carol singing and life-size nativity scenes. Pork (traditionally includes the liver and heart) is slowly cooked in cinnamon, cumin, and Kashmiri peppers. The ideal side dish is sannas, soft steamed rice cakes.
Buccellato, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In Sicily
We have to thank the Sicilians for cannoli, cassata and gelato al pistacchio and many other desserts. When it comes to desserts, Sicilians are the experts. While much of Italy finishes its Christmas Day dinner with chocolate- or raisin-filled panettone, Sicily is busy making Buccellato, a round cake filled with dried figs, almonds, and pine nuts. Its unique flavor is primarily due to the addition of marsala, a powerful fortified wine (named after the Sicilian city of Marsala), to the pastry dough.
You had my attention and then you had to add marsala and now I neeeeeed to try this
Malva Pudding, A Traditional Christmas Dessert In South Africa
One of South Africa’s most delicious sweets is malva pudding, a sponge cake with apricot jam as the main component. It is often saved for special events throughout the year. While it’s still hot, the golden sponge delicacy is generously drizzled with a sweetened buttercream, giving it a gooey, caramelized texture comparable to sticky toffee pudding.
Jamaican Christmas Cake, A Traditional Dessert In Jamaica
This treat, sometimes known as Jamaican black cake, is one of the most famous sweets on the island. The cake, frequently served for Christmas and at weddings, is believed to be a relative of British pudding because both include heated spices, breadcrumbs, and dried fruit. However, black cake calls for soaking the fruit in red wine and Jamaican rum rather than the usual brandy. Darkening the cake’s color also requires browning and burnt sugar.
Rabanadas, A Traditional Christmas Breakfast Meal In Brazil
This sweet, which resembles deep-fried French toast rolled in cinnamon sugar, is frequently served in Brazil on Christmas morning. It originated in Spain and was introduced to Brazil by the Portuguese empire. In Portugal, rabanadas are typically served as dessert rather than breakfast and drizzled with port syrup.
Puto Bumbóng, A Traditional Christmas Food In The Philippines
In the Philippines, this purple rice cake is sold during the Christmas season as street food. Steamed rice cakes are known as puto in Tagalog, and bumbóng is the name of the bamboo tube used to steam them. While some current versions of the meal use ube, or purple yam, to add color, the original recipe uses pirurutong, a type of dark purple glutinous rice. It is frequently served on banana leaves with butter, sugar, and coconut as a snack or breakfast.
Kulkuls, A Traditional Christmas Treat In India
Maida flour, milk, and occasionally eggs are used to make kulkul, which is then formed into tiny shells and fried in ghee (butter) or oil. Since it takes time to roll each kulkul with a fork, it’s a great treat to make with the family. Although they may have originated in the Portuguese community as a modified version of Filhoses Enroladas, they are made all throughout India during the holiday season. This rolled pastry resembles a rose. In Konkani, kulkuls are frequently referred to as kidyo, Konkani for “worms.” It’s more tempting to think of them as curls or shells since worms don’t sound very appetizing. Kulkuls are a traditional part of a sweets plate and ideal to give to friends and neighbors.
it is so popular... Goa and Manglorean Catholics prepare it
Bacalao, A Traditional Mexican Christmas Food
A traditional holiday food in Mexico served on either New Year’s Eve or Christmas is bacalao (salted cod). It’s one of those few dishes that Mexican grandmothers have preserved and passed down through the generations. To create Bacalao a la Mexicana, you’ll need tomatoes, ancho chilies, onions, cinnamon, potato, and olives.
Leg Of Lamb, A Traditional Icelandic Christmas Meal
The “Yule meal,” as it is called in Iceland, is a leg of roasted or smoked lamb. Usually, it’s placed in the center of the table on Christmas Day. Peas, corn, cabbage, beans, gravy, jam, etc., are typically offered on the side of this deli meat.
Lamb is my christmas dish of choice. I am still deciding if I will make it as a roast or try pulled lamb this year.
Sochivo, A Christmas Meal In Russia
Some people in Russia skip meals on Christmas Eve and fast until the first star appears in the sky. Then, they eat Sochivo, a type of porridge made of wheat or rice and topped with fruit, nuts, and seeds. In the past, families in Russia would stick a spoonful of porridge onto the ceiling, hoping it would bring luck and a good harvest.
My russian husband has never ever heard of this. Interesting.