LatestFood Voyager

Delicious Christmas food around the world – yummy cakes to turkey across 12 countries

Savouring delicious Christmas food around the world is a great way to celebrate the festive season! From Christmas Cakes to Gingerbread Houses, and not forgetting the classic Christmas Turkeys, there’s something for everyone.

 Christmas food around the world  - Christmas Cake
Christmas food around the world – Christmas Cake

Christmas food traditions from around the world

No matter the country of origin, Christmas meals are a cherished holiday tradition shared by many cultures around the world. A delicious meal is an important part of the festive season for most families, and often brings people together in a spirit of joy and celebration.

In the United Kingdom, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas celebrations as roast turkey and stuffing, mince pies with brandy butter, roast carrots, potatoes, brussels sprouts, and gravy. After the meal, English Christmas pudding is served with brandy sauce or custard.

Throughout Europe, it is popular to serve a variety of desserts such as stollen, panettone, and fruit cake. For those who prefer a lighter option during the festive season, some countries opt for fish dishes such as smoked salmon or trout.

In the Middle East, many families gather together for Christmas lunch or dinner on either Christmas Eve or the day. Commonly served dishes include roast lamb, stuffed vine leaves with rice and spices, tabbouleh salad, fatayer (meat pies), and kibbeh. Desserts such as baklava, knafeh, and mahalabia are also popular choices.

In the United States, Turkey is a traditional main course for Christmas dinner but may be replaced with ham in some households. Side dishes typically include mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and vegetables such as green beans or Brussels sprouts. Popular desserts include fruitcake, gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie.

The UK

Christmas Cake is a traditional British cake made with dried fruit, covered in marzipan and icing. Christmas cake ingredients include dried fruits, like currants, cherries, dates, sultanas, and raisins; nuts such as almonds; and various spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves. Christmas Cakes can also be frosted with white Royal icing or covered in marzipan.

Christmas desserts also conjure up festive cheer, and mince pies are a Christmas classic in Britain. Christmas Mince Pies are small pastries filled with a sweet Christmas mincemeat filling made with dried fruits, spices, and liqueur. Christmas Mince Pies are often topped with a star-shaped pastry or lattice crust. They can also be served hot with cream or custard.

 Christmas Dinner Spread
Christmas Dinner Spread

Christmas pudding is another traditional Christmas dessert that’s served after dinner. This heavy, steamed fruitcake is often served with brandy butter, custard or cream. Christmas Pudding is usually served hot and made with dried fruits like currants, sultanas, and raisins, mixed with suet, breadcrumbs, spices, and citrus zest. Christmas puddings and cakes are often made ahead of Christmas day, with a coin or trinket hidden inside to bring luck to the finder.

Christmas cookies are popular too – gingerbread, sugar cookies, and shortbread all make great Christmas treats!

Festive Christmas Turkey
Festive Christmas Turkey

No Christmas dinner is complete without a traditional Christmas Turkey. This festive bird has been served in Christmas dinners for centuries and is still one of the most popular Christmas dishes. Turkey is a Christmas specialty for many, with Christmas dinner in the UK often featuring a roasted bird as the centerpiece.

Other festive dishes include mince pies, Christmas pudding, Yorkshire puddings, and sausages wrapped in bacon. Many families also enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch on Christmas day. This usually consists of roasted meat such as beef or lamb along with potatoes, vegetables, and gravy.

Special food favorites from England, Scotland, and Wales are also popular at Christmas time. For example, mince pies, shortbread, and cake made with fruit-based filling as well as bread pudding made with dried fruits can be found on many tables during the holiday season. Popular treats include Christmas cake, mince pies, and Christmas pudding – all served with lashings of cream or custard!

In regions where snow is plentiful, some may choose to make traditional dishes such as hot mulled cider and eggnog. In regions where the weather is warmer, lighter fare such as salads and cold soups can be popular choices for Christmas celebrations.

Cinnamon Mulledwine Drink
Cinnamon Mulledwine Drink

Christmas would not be complete without eggnog, a creamy Christmas drink made with beaten eggs and cream or milk mixed with sugar and spirits. Hot chocolate, mulled wine, or cider and eggnog are delightful treats for all ages, as are hot buttered rum and Irish coffee. For those who prefer cold drinks, there’s always eggnog-flavored ice cream or Christmas punch.

The US

Christmas Turkey is a must-have in American Christmas dinners, often served with all the trimmings. Turkey is the traditional centerpiece of a North American Christmas dinner. It’s usually roasted or baked with stuffing and served with all the trimmings such as cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, and vegetables.

There are many ways to prepare it including barbecuing or smoking your turkey on the grill! If it’s traditional, turkey is stuffed with bread or cornbread stuffing, sausage and apple dressing, or herbed wild rice. When revelers feel adventurous, they even try something like a beer-can turkey! It’s important to make sure the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165F before carving and serving it.

When it comes to sides, there’s really no limit. From mashed potatoes and gravy to sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, green beans, brussels sprouts, or even macaroni and cheese, it is all served up.

Christmas Potato Ham
Christmas Potato Ham

Other traditional Christmas dishes may include ham or roast beef, stuffing, wild rice casserole, gravy, and rolls. On top of that, there are all sorts of delicious sides like macaroni and cheese, yams with marshmallows, roasted veggies, or even a hearty salad.

 Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies

For dessert, Christmas Pudding or fruitcake is also a popular choice. Special desserts like Christmas cookies, pumpkin pie, and eggnog are also popular. For many Americans, it’s truly a time to enjoy being with family and friends while sharing in this holiday tradition of good food!


In Greece, it is a tradition to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as roast pork, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and Christmas bread. Greek Christmas food is often spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg as people like to indulge in a sweet Christmas atmosphere. Those specialties are served along with an array of appetizers such as the traditional Christmas cookies called “Kourabiedes” which are created using almonds, butter, and sugar, or typical Christmas pies like “Melomakarona” that are made from honey, walnuts, and cinnamon.

Christmas delight: Salmon
Christmas delight: Salmon

Christmas dinner at Greek homes can last for hours due to the abundance of dishes that accompany the main course. There are usually a variety of side dishes like roasted potatoes and vegetables, salads made from greens or beans, hearty soups, and freshly baked bread. Christmas sweets are also essential to the Christmas experience, with desserts usually featuring Christmas candy, cakes, and pastries like “Diples” which are made from dough fried in oil and then covered with honey syrup.

No Christmas dinner would be complete without sweet Christmas drinks such as mulled wine or beer along with traditional Christmas carols. Greek Christmas can seem overwhelming due to the amount of food served, but it is an important part of their culture that brings the family together during the holiday season.  With so many delicious dishes and unique recipes available, everyone is sure to enjoy a festive Christmas feast full of traditional Greek flavors!

Festive  Christmas Yule log Dessert
Festive Christmas Yule log Dessert


In France, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as oysters, foie gras, roast turkey, roast pork with applesauce, and stuffed cabbage.

Desserts may include the traditional Buche de noel (Yule log cake). In the Christmas feast, it is traditional to serve oysters for Christmas dinner with champagne or other sparkling wine.

Capon or Turkey is a must and is roasted in the oven with a generous stuffing of chestnuts which provide a unique flavor. Sides include lots of chestnuts again, and green beans wrapped in bacon, along with truffle and mashed potatoes.

A popular dish is boudin blanc, a white sausage. This is usually followed by the traditional dessert of gateau des Rois (King’s Cake). In France, the 12th day of Christmas is Epiphany (January 6th) which is known as La Fête des Rois or Three Kings’ Day and is celebrated with a cake called the galette des Rois.

Christmas Table with Champagne set for Dinner
Christmas Table with Champagne set for Dinner

This cake consists of puff pastry filled with frangipane and a small charm is hidden inside. The person who finds the charm has crowned the king or queen of the event. A gift is given to this person and they have the honor of cutting the cake. Christmas in France is a time for families to come together, exchange presents, and enjoy traditional dishes.


In Germany, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as roast goose, dumplings, and red cabbage.

Many Germans also enjoy eating a special dessert called Stollen. This is a fruit bread that is laced with spices such as cardamom and cloves and is usually topped with icing sugar or marzipan.

Other popular dishes on the Christmas dinner table include ‘Kartoffelsalat’ (potato salad) and ‘Sauerkraut’ (sour cabbage). Dessert is usually followed by a variety of sweets such as cookies, chocolates, and nuts.

The Gingerbread House has become a tradition all over the world as families recreate these beautiful sweet homes, but it all began in Germany. Gingerbread Houses are a popular Christmas food tradition that dates back centuries. The sweet treats are usually made out of gingerbread dough and decorated with colorful icing and chocolates. It’s a fun activity for the whole family – you can let your imagination run wild!

Famous Christmas delicacy: Stollen
Famous Christmas delicacy: Stollen

On Christmas Eve, German families often go to a local church service, where they sing hymns in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. German Christmas markets are also a popular tradition. From late November to Christmas Eve, many cities across the country set up stalls that are filled with handmade gifts, decorations, and treats. Here people can purchase unique presents for their loved ones and enjoy hot beverages such as glühwein (mulled wine) while they browse. These markets add an extra element of excitement and cheer to the festive season.

Scandinavia countries

In Scandinavian countries it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as pickled herring, boiled and mashed potatoes, fried pork rib roast, red cabbage salad, and other dishes. Desserts are usually different kinds of pastries with custard or cream. After the meal is finished people often enjoy singing Christmas carols and playing games.

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies
Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

Christmas in Scandinavia is also associated with a number of old customs that are still popular. For instance, children often dress up as elves and collect presents door-to-door. It is also traditional to light a candle in each window of the house on Christmas Eve to symbolize the birth of Jesus Christ.

Finally, Scandinavians like to end the festivities with a special dinner on New Year’s Eve called Julebord, which includes traditional dishes such as ham or smoked salmon, herring, fried and boiled potatoes, and a selection of Christmas cakes.

Christmas Baked Apple
Christmas Baked Apple

It is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas celebrations as roasted ham, smoked pork, and jellied fish. There are also several traditional desserts that can be served for Christmas celebrations including gingerbread, apple strudel, mince pies, and plum pudding.

Cheeseboards are another popular feature at Christmas meals with plenty of selection from hard cheeses to more gentle bries and blues. During the festive period, other delicacies including sausages wrapped in bacon, nut roasts, and vegetarian dishes can be enjoyed.


In Russia, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as boiled beef, fish soup, kutya (an Orthodox Christian wheat porridge), and other traditional Russian dishes. Red wine is also often served during the meal. After dinner, Russians typically enjoy a variety of desserts such as cakes, cookies, and pastries. Russian desserts for Christmas include kulich, a type of bread made with raisins and nuts, and pryaniki, a kind of sweet gingerbread.

Gift Bag for Christmas
Gift Bag for Christmas

On Christmas Eve, many Russian families attend a special church service or go caroling. This is also when Santa Claus (known in Russia as Ded Moroz) arrives to give gifts to children who have been good


In Japan, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as chicken and mayonnaise sandwiches, or KFC. Christmas cake is also popular, with many Japanese families serving Christmas tarts and strawberry shortcakes decorated with cream and fruits.

Christmas tarts
Christmas tarts

There are also some unique dishes such as fried shrimp, potato salad with corn, and grilled eel. Other holiday favorites include special desserts like sweet potatoes flavored with soy sauce, rice cakes cooked in soy sauce and sugar, and a sweet stew called osechi.

On Christmas Eve, it is also common for families to exchange small gifts such as chocolates or cookies. For those who would like to experience something different this holiday season, there are many unique Japanese options for celebrating the season in style.  From traditional dishes such as tempura and sushi to more contemporary options such as ramen noodles and yakisoba, there are plenty of delicious Japanese-style Christmas treats to be enjoyed.

South Africa

In South Africa, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as a roasted turkey or pork, served with a porridge made of maize meal called pap and a variety of fresh vegetables.

Dessert is usually a selection of fruit buns, cakes, and puddings. Some families also prepare traditional South African dishes such as bobotie (a spiced mince dish) or melktert (a sweet, creamy custard tart).

To wash it all down, a glass of South African wine is often served. In certain parts of the country, a celebratory Christmas beer known as ‘sap’ or ‘boerewors’ (Afrikaans for farmer’s sausage) may be enjoyed.

Christmas Bobotie (a spiced mince dish
Christmas Bobotie (a spiced mince dish – Image courtesy CharmaineZoe’s Marvelous Melange via Wikipedia Commons

After dinner, South Africans typically gather together for what is known as a ‘Christmas cracker’ – an evening of singing carols, telling stories, and playing games. This is usually done in the back garden or on a veranda, with plenty of fairy lights and candles to set the festive mood. In some regions, children may go from house to house at Christmas time asking for treats such as sweets or coins, in a tradition known as ‘klopse’.

No matter the occasion, South Africans always manage to put a unique and memorable spin on their celebrations. From Christmas crackers to boerewors sausages, there is always something special about celebrating the season in this beautiful country.


In India, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as chicken curry, vegetable biryani, fish fry, and other Indian-style dishes.

For dessert, a traditional Christmas dish in India is called ‘fruit cake’ which includes dried fruit and nuts like almonds.

Christmas Shai Makhana Curry
Christmas Shai Makhana Curry by Exec Chef Lalit Negi

Almost all traditional Christmas specialties are available like Christmas Cake, Gingerbread House and so on but traditional local Indian Christmas dishes include Roshogolla, a sweet cheese ball that is filled with sugar syrup and various types of nuts.

There’s also Kulfi, an Indian ice cream made from flavored condensed milk and cream. Other popular dishes include Sfoodheera, a type of pudding made from wheat flour and ghee; Kaala Jamun, fried dough balls soaked in sugar syrup; and Halwa, a sweet pudding made from semolina and butter.

Christmas decorations are an important part of the festivities in India. On Christmas Eve, people hang up colorful lights around their homes and offices and decorate Christmas trees with stars, ribbons, bells, and other festive decorations.

Christmas is also an important religious holiday in India. People go to church for midnight mass on this day and attend special services in their local temples. After the religious ceremonies are done, people come together to celebrate the joyous festival of Christmas by singing carols.


In Australia, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as ham, turkey, prawns, and seafood. Christmas pudding is a popular dessert in Australia, especially during the festive season. Along with the traditional pavlova, trifle is another favorite. Australians often enjoy serving up a variety of sweets such as mince pies and brandy snaps for their guests to snack on throughout the festivities.

Pavlova is a popular dessert in Australia, particularly during the festive season of Christmas. This light and fluffy meringue-based dish is typically served with whipped cream and fresh or tinned fruit such as strawberries, kiwifruit, or passionfruit. It is usually decorated with a dusting of icing sugar.

Pavlovas are often served in individual portions and can be easily adapted to suit different tastes. They can be baked in advance, making them an ideal dessert for busy Christmas gatherings. For those looking to add a special touch to their pavlova, the addition of edible flowers or meringue shards is sure to impress!

Christmas Hot Chocolate
Christmas Hot Chocolate

Trifle is a popular Christmas dessert in Australia.

It typically consists of layers of sponge cake, custard and jelly topped with whipped cream and decorated with nuts or other festive decorations such as meringue or fruit. Trifles can be made up to two days in advance and are easy to transport, making them ideal for large gatherings.

For those looking to spice things up, there is a range of variations on the traditional trifle recipe. These include replacing the custard with yogurt or creme Anglaise and adding fruit such as raspberries or mangoes. For an extra special touch, try adding some cream liqueur!

Mince pies are a popular Christmas treat in Australia. They typically consist of a sweet pastry crust filled with minced dried fruit, spices, and diced suet or butter. The mince pie filling is often made up to two weeks in advance to allow the flavors to develop. They are usually served in individual portions but can also be made as one large pie. For those looking to add some extra flavor, adding a splash of brandy or orange liqueur is sure to impress! Mince pies are usually served warm with cream or custard.

 Brandy snaps
Brandy snaps Image courtesy Pauline Mak via Wikipedia Commons

Brandy snaps are a traditional Christmas treat in Australia.

They are made from flour, sugar, butter, and syrup and rolled into thin cylinders before being baked until golden brown and crispy. Brandy snaps can be served as-is or filled with cream, ice cream, or fruit for an extra special treat. They can also be decorated with melted chocolate and festive decorations such as sprinkles or chopped nuts. Brandy snaps are best served on the day they are made and make an ideal accompaniment to other Christmas treats.

Snacks and drinks like eggnog, fruitcake, gingerbread cookies, cinnamon buns, and hot chocolate can also be found at many Christmas gatherings. For those looking to indulge in something a bit more exotic during the festive season, Australian delicacies such as kangaroo tail or crocodile meat may be served.

Christmas decorations in Australia typically feature traditional red, green and white colors. Trees are often decorated with tinsel, baubles, lights, and presents are placed underneath them. Nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ are also common decorations in many homes.

South America

In South America, it is traditional to serve such dishes for Christmas dinner as tamales, Arroz con Pollo (rice and chicken) with vegetables, and pasteles.

In Peru, a popular meal is cuy chactado, which consists of deep-fried guinea pig. Traditional sweets include alfajores filled with dulce de leche (milk caramel), panetón (Christmas fruitcake), bizcochuelo (sponge cake), and algarrobina (a syrup made from carob tree pods).

 Alfajores filled with dulce de leche (milk caramel)
Alfajores filled with dulce de leche (milk caramel) Image Courtesy: V!NZ

Christmas celebrations usually involve large family gatherings, singing Christmas songs, and taking part in traditional dances. In Venezuela, families often attend midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and then gather at home to enjoy a festive meal. In some areas of South America, people also light bonfires, known as fogatas, on Christmas Eve and celebrate by singing traditional songs and making offerings to the gods.

Christmas is particularly important in Brazil where it marks the end of the summer and the beginning of the rainy season. As such, it is celebrated with festivals and parties around the country. Rio de Janeiro hosts a large celebration on Copacabana beach where people light sparklers and eat traditional dishes like feijoada (black bean stew).

Christmas Grenades with Fruit
Christmas Grenades with Fruit

In Colombia, Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuena and is marked by a big feast.

Many families also exchange gifts and attend midnight Mass, while some take part in the parrandas – traditional parties where people sing, dance, and play instruments.

No matter which destination you visit or what Christmas food specialties you choose to enjoy this holiday season, they will surely bring an extra sparkle to your Christmas cheer!

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