As Christmas is nearly approaching, we have compiled the best Christmas Dishes From Around the World. Aside from giving gifts or memorable gift experiences, everyone is also excited about the Christmas food!
These worldwide Christmas dishes are categorized into:
Ready to find the best Christmas dish? Scroll to read more!
North American Christmas Dishes
North America, comprising the United States and Canada, has a variety of traditional Christmas dishes influenced by cultural diversity and regional flavors. Here’s a list of popular Christmas dishes in North America:
- Roast Turkey with Stuffing – Roast turkey is a classic centerpiece for Christmas dinners. It’s often accompanied by stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and various side dishes.
- Ham – Glazed ham is another popular choice for Christmas, often served with pineapple, cloves, and a sweet glaze.
- Eggnog – A rich and creamy holiday drink made with eggs, milk, sugar, and spices. It’s often spiked with rum, brandy, or bourbon for an extra festive touch.
- Pecan Pie – Pecan pie is a Southern-inspired dessert made with a gooey filling of pecans, sugar, butter, and eggs, all nestled in a flaky pie crust.
- Gingerbread Cookies – Gingerbread cookies are a festive treat, often shaped like stars, gingerbread men, or houses, and decorated with icing and candies.
- Tourtière – A French-Canadian meat pie traditionally made with minced pork or a mix of meats, seasoned with spices like cinnamon and cloves.
- Butter Tarts – A quintessentially Canadian dessert, butter tarts are small pastries filled with a gooey, sweet filling made of butter, sugar, and eggs.
- Nanaimo Bars – Originating from Nanaimo, British Columbia, these no-bake bars have three layers: a crumbly base, a custard-flavored middle layer, and a glossy chocolate top.
- Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake) – Inspired by French traditions, Bûche de Noël is a log-shaped sponge cake filled and frosted with flavored buttercream or ganache, often decorated to resemble a log.
- Cranberry Sauce – A tangy and sweet sauce made from fresh or canned cranberries, often served as a side dish with turkey or ham.
European Christmas Dishes
Europe’s Christmas cuisine, renowned for its diversity and richness, offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s varied cultural traditions and histories. Each country brings a unique flavor to the festive table, capturing the spirit of the season in every bite.
- Yule Log Cake (France) – A festive dessert shaped like a log, made of sponge cake, filled with buttercream or ganache, and often decorated with festive motifs like meringue mushrooms.
- Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italy) – A traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration involving a multi-course seafood feast. Dishes may include salted cod, shrimp, calamari, clams, and more.
- Christstollen (Germany) – A rich, sweet fruit bread containing dried fruit, nuts, and spices. It is often dusted with powdered sugar, symbolizing the Christ Child wrapped in swaddling clothes.
- Baklava (Greece) – A sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey or syrup. It’s a popular treat during festive occasions, including Christmas.
- Roast Turkey with Trimmings (United Kingdom) – Similar to the United States, roast turkey is a popular Christmas main dish in the UK. It is typically accompanied by stuffing, roast potatoes, vegetables, and gravy.
- Julbord (Sweden) – A Christmas smorgasbord featuring a variety of dishes such as herring, gravlax, meatballs, sausages, and traditional Christmas ham. Accompaniments include cheeses, bread, and desserts.
- Truffled Christmas Turkey (Spain) – In some regions of Spain, a special Christmas turkey is prepared with truffles, adding a luxurious touch to the holiday feast.
- Pierogi (Poland) – While pierogi are enjoyed year-round, they are often served as part of the Christmas Eve meal in Poland. These dumplings can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including potatoes, cheese, sauerkraut, or fruit.
- Ribbe (Norway) – A traditional Norwegian Christmas dish featuring roast pork belly. It is typically served with crispy crackling, sausages, and a variety of side dishes.
- Bacalhau à Brás (Portugal) – Bacalhau, or salted cod, is a staple in Portuguese cuisine. Bacalhau à Brás is a Christmas dish made with shredded cod, onions, potatoes, and eggs.
- Olivier Salad (Russia) – A popular Russian salad served during the holidays, Olivier Salad typically includes potatoes, carrots, peas, pickles, and mayonnaise. It’s a festive and hearty side dish.
Latin American Christmas Dishes
While Europe’s festive feasts showcase a diverse gastronomic tradition, Latin America also offers an array of delectable dishes that are central to their Christmas celebrations. These meals, rich in flavors and cultural influences, bring families together in a joyful culinary experience.
- Tamales (Mexico) – Tamales are a quintessential part of Mexican Christmas celebrations. These are corn husks filled with masa (corn dough) and various fillings such as meats, chilies, or beans, then steamed until cooked.
- Lechón Asado (Puerto Rico) – Roast pig, or Lechón Asado, is a centerpiece of Puerto Rican Christmas feasts. The pig is often marinated with a mix of spices, herbs, and sometimes adobo, then slow-roasted for a flavorful and crispy result.
- Ajiaco (Colombia) – Ajiaco is a hearty soup featuring chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob, and various local herbs. It is a traditional Christmas dish enjoyed in Colombia.
- Hallaca (Venezuela) – Hallaca is a Christmas dish with indigenous, African, and European influences. It consists of a corn dough filled with a stew of meats, capers, raisins, and olives, all wrapped in banana leaves.
- Moro de Guandules con Coco (Dominican Republic) – Moro de Guandules con Coco is a dish made with rice, pigeon peas (guandules), and coconut milk. It’s a flavorful and comforting side dish often enjoyed during Christmas.
- Peru: Panetón – While not a savory dish, Panetón is a sweet bread with Italian origins that has become a Christmas staple in Peru. It’s filled with candied fruits and nuts, enjoyed with hot chocolate during the holiday season.
- Argentina: Vitel Toné – Vitel Toné is a traditional Argentine dish often served during Christmas. It consists of sliced veal covered in a creamy sauce made with tuna, mayonnaise, and capers.
- Cuba: Ropa Vieja – Ropa Vieja, meaning “old clothes,” is a savory Cuban dish made with shredded beef cooked in a tomato-based sauce. It’s a hearty and flavorful option for Christmas feasts.
- Ecuador: Fanesca – Fanesca is a soup traditionally prepared during Lent and Easter but is also enjoyed during Christmas in Ecuador. It’s a thick soup made with bacalao (salted cod), various grains, and squash.
- Chile: Cordero al Palo (Lamb on the Spit) – In Chile, it’s common to enjoy Cordero al Palo during Christmas, where a whole lamb is slow-cooked on a spit for a delicious and festive meal.
Asian Christmas Dishes
Just as Latin America delights in a range of festive dishes, so too does Asia present a fascinating assortment of culinary traditions during the Christmas season. This continent is vast and diverse, and so are its Christmas foods.
- KFC Christmas Chicken (Japan) – In Japan, it has become a tradition to enjoy Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) during Christmas. Many Japanese families pre-order their KFC meals, creating long lines at the restaurants during the holiday season.
- Bibingka (Philippines) – A Filipino favorite, this rice cake is cooked in a clay pot, lined with banana leaves for added flavor. This airy rice-coconut-cheese cake is to die for this Christmas.
- Japchae (South Korea) – Japchae, a Korean dish made with stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables, is often served during special occasions, including Christmas. It’s a flavorful and colorful dish that adds a festive touch to the table.
- Biryani (India) – In India, Biryani, a flavorful rice dish with meat (such as chicken or lamb), spices, and fragrant basmati rice, is often enjoyed during Christmas celebrations. It’s a dish that brings families together.
- Chinese-style Roast Duck (China) – While not exclusive to Christmas, Chinese-style roast duck is a popular and delicious dish enjoyed during festive occasions. The duck is seasoned and roasted until the skin is crispy and the meat is tender.
- Red Sticky Rice (Vietnam) – Also known as Xôi Gấc, Red Sticky Rice is a Vietnamese dish made with sticky rice and the pulp of the Gấc fruit, giving it a vibrant red color. It’s often served during Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, which falls around the same time as Christmas.
- Tom Yum Soup (Thailand) – While not a traditional Christmas dish, Tom Yum Soup, a spicy and sour soup with shrimp or chicken, is a popular and flavorful option that can be enjoyed during the holiday season.
- Rendang (Indonesia) – Rendang is a rich and flavorful Indonesian dish made with slow-cooked beef, coconut milk, and a blend of aromatic spices. While it’s a staple year-round, it can be served during special occasions like Christmas.
- Nasi Lemak (Malaysia) – Nasi Lemak, a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, is a Malaysian favorite. While not exclusive to Christmas, it can be part of the festive menu.
- Hainanese Chicken Rice (Singapore) – Hainanese Chicken Rice is a popular dish in Singapore. It features poached chicken served with fragrant rice and a variety of dipping sauces. While not traditionally associated with Christmas, it can be enjoyed during festive gatherings.
Transitioning from Asian cuisine, the Christmas culinary traditions of Scandinavia offer a unique blend of hearty, warming dishes perfect for the cold winter season. Scandinavian countries, including Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, cherish their distinct flavors and traditions, which are deeply embedded in their cultures.
- Pinnekjøtt (Norway) – Pinnekjøtt is a traditional Norwegian Christmas dish made with lamb or mutton ribs. The meat is cured and then steamed, served with potatoes, rutabaga, and a rich sauce.
- Flæskesteg (Denmark) – Flæskesteg is a Danish roast pork dish with crispy crackling. It’s typically served with potatoes, red cabbage, and a variety of condiments like pickles and gravy.
- Lutefisk (Finland) – Lutefisk is a Nordic dish made from dried fish (usually dried whitefish) that has been rehydrated in a lye solution, and then rehydrated in water. It’s often served with potatoes, white sauce, and peas.
- Hangikjöt (Iceland) – Hangikjöt is an Icelandic dish of smoked lamb or mutton. The meat is traditionally served with a béchamel sauce, peas, and potatoes.
- Risgrynsgröt (Sweden) – Risgrynsgröt is a Swedish rice pudding made with milk, rice, and sugar. A hidden almond is often placed in the pudding and the one who finds it is believed to have good luck in the coming year.
- Kransekake (Norway) – Kransekake is a traditional Norwegian and Danish almond cake. It’s made of almond paste and shaped into a series of concentric rings to form a tower. It’s often served during special occasions, including Christmas.
- Æbleskiver (Denmark) – Æbleskiver are spherical Danish pancakes, often served during the Christmas season. These fluffy treats are typically filled with apple slices or apple sauce and dusted with powdered sugar.
- Piparkakut (Finland) – Piparkakut are Finnish gingerbread cookies, enjoyed during the Christmas season. These spiced cookies come in various shapes and are often hung on the Christmas tree as decorations.
- Glögg (Sweden) – Glögg is a Scandinavian mulled wine that is a staple during the Christmas season. It’s made with red wine, spices, and sometimes a splash of spirits like brandy. It’s served hot and often accompanied by raisins and almonds.
Australasian Christmas Dishes
Frequently overlooked, the Christmas culinary traditions of Australasia present a fascinating blend of dishes influenced by the region’s diverse cultures and warm December climate. Australia and New Zealand celebrate Christmas during the summer, and their festive dishes often reflect the warmer climate.
- Pavlova – A quintessential Aussie dessert, pavlova is a meringue-based cake with a crisp crust and a soft, marshmallow-like interior. It’s typically topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits like kiwi, strawberries, and passionfruit.
- Seafood Platter – Given the summer season, Australians often enjoy a lavish seafood feast on Christmas Day. This can include prawns, oysters, crab, and other fresh catches of the day.
- Ham – Glazed ham is a popular centerpiece for the Christmas table in Australia. The ham is often studded with cloves and coated in a sweet glaze, such as honey and mustard.
- Christmas Pudding Ice Cream – Given the warm weather, traditional Christmas pudding is sometimes transformed into a refreshing ice cream flavor. It combines the festive flavors of dried fruits and spices with the coolness of ice cream.
- Barbecue – Many Australians celebrate Christmas with a barbecue, taking advantage of the sunny weather. This can include grilled meats like sausages, lamb chops, and burgers, as well as an assortment of grilled vegetables.
- Hangi – While not exclusive to Christmas, the hangi is a traditional Māori method of cooking where food is buried in the ground with heated rocks. It results in a smoky, succulent feast that can include meats, vegetables, and stuffing.
- Whitebait Fritters – Whitebait fritters are a delicacy in New Zealand, particularly during the Christmas season. These small, tender fish are mixed with eggs and herbs and then pan-fried to create savory fritters.
- Kiwifruit Salad – New Zealand is known for its abundance of kiwifruit, and a fresh kiwifruit salad is a light and refreshing addition to the Christmas table.
- Lamb Roast – Roast lamb is a popular choice for Christmas dinner in New Zealand. The lamb is often seasoned with herbs and garlic, creating a flavorful and aromatic dish.
- Trifle – Trifle is a beloved dessert in New Zealand, made with layers of sponge cake, jelly, custard, and whipped cream. It’s often topped with fresh fruits and can be a colorful and indulgent treat for Christmas.
African Christmas Dishes
Africa is a vast continent with diverse cultures and cuisines, and Christmas celebrations are marked by a variety of traditional dishes. Here’s a list of popular Christmas dishes from different regions in Africa:
- Jollof Rice – A festive and colorful one-pot rice dish cooked with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and various spices. It can include chicken, fish, or other proteins.
- Suya – Suya is a popular West African street food and is often enjoyed during festive occasions. It consists of grilled and spiced meat, typically skewered.
- Efo Riro – A rich and flavorful spinach stew that can be made with various proteins such as chicken, fish, or goat meat. It’s often served with rice or a starchy side.
- Nyama Choma – Nyama Choma, meaning “grilled meat” in Swahili, is a popular barbecue dish. Various meats, such as beef or goat, are seasoned and grilled to perfection.
- Ugali – A staple in many East African countries, ugali is a maize-based porridge that is often served as a side dish with stews or grilled meats.
- Mandazi – Mandazi are deep-fried doughnuts or doughnut-like pastries, enjoyed as a sweet treat during festive occasions.
- Bobotie – A South African dish with Malay origins, bobotie is a spiced, baked minced meat dish topped with an egg-based custard. It’s often served with rice or bread.
- Braai – Similar to a barbecue, a braai is a popular way to celebrate Christmas in South Africa. It involves grilling meats, sausages, and kebabs outdoors.
- Chakalaka – A spicy vegetable relish that is often served as a side dish with grilled meats. It typically includes beans, tomatoes, peppers, and various spices.
- Couscous with Lamb – Couscous, a staple in North African cuisine, is often served with slow-cooked lamb or other meats, accompanied by a flavorful broth and vegetables.
- Briks – Briks are North African savory pastries filled with ingredients like egg, tuna, and herbs. They are deep-fried until crispy and delicious.
This compilation of Christmas dishes brings cuisines from all over the world to your home.
Having good food on Christmas is superb– but don’t forget the joy of gift-giving! For those seeking classic gift ideas, our recommendation is to start with Amazon first for a wealth of inspiration and price comparisons. Or why not try a gift experience your loved ones will remember for a lifetime?
Here’s to a Christmas filled with good food, meaningful gifts, and smiles all around!
I am an experienced writer specializing in travel, food, weddings, and well-being. Continuing my nomadic lifestyle I am currently based on the beautiful island of Malta.