11 Christmas Dinner Traditions From Around the World (+11 Inspired Recipes to Try!)

Dec 18, 2023

christmas dinner traditions from around the world

Welcome to a global feast of festive flavors! Christmas is a universal celebration, uniting cultures through the joy of shared meals and cherished traditions. Join us on a culinary journey as we explore holiday meals from every corner of the globe.

Check below to savor the essence of the season as we unwrap the dishes that make Christmas dinners around the world truly special.


Hungry for more? Our Holiday Cooking Classes are a great way to explore culinary traditions from around the world—from paella and tamales to beef Wellington and festive breads. Did we mention they make a stellar gift?

Explore Our Holiday Cooking Classes

christmas traditions from around the world, christmas tamales


In this vibrant country, the holidays don’t really kick off until January 6, on Epiphany or Día de los Reyes (Three Kings Day). Families come together to feast on a special cake, the Three Kings Cake or Twelfth Night Cake, which includes a figure of baby Jesus hidden inside.

Don’t forget about the tamales, too! They’re a quintessential part of any Mexican Christmas celebration. Made with masa (corn dough) and an assortment of fillings like meats, chiles or beans, these delights are steamed to perfection, ensuring a burst of flavor in every bite. 

Try this inspired Mexican Christmas-inspired Oaxacan Chicken Tamales with Chile Rojo Salsa recipe!

christmas dinner traditions from around the world, sticky toffee pudding recipe


In the UK, a classic Christmas feast is all about the essentials—think a hefty turkey, stuffing, crispy roast potatoes and a generous serving of Brussels sprouts. Pigs in blankets bring some savory goodness to the feast, and a rich gravy is the magic that ties it all up.

As for the grand finale, you can’t miss out on a fruity Christmas pudding or a decadent Yule log, making the UK Christmas dinner a yummy celebration shared with loved ones.

Try this inspired United Kingdom Christmas-inspired Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe!

christmas traditions from around the world, gingerbread cookies


The centerpiece of a German Christmas dinner? A succulent roast goose or duck, complemented by flavorful stuffing. Sides like red cabbage and potato dumplings add a flavorful touch to the spread.

Germans also indulge in Christmas cookies, or “Weihnachtsplatzchen,” which showcase intricate designs and sweet spices. The dinner ends with the sweetness of stollen, a rich fruitcake, or a slice of marzipan-laden Christstollen. All in all, Christmas dinner in Germany is a symphony of traditional flavors and festive customs.

Try this German Christmas-inspired Gingerbread Cookies recipe!

christmas dinner traditions, browned butter oatmeal


In Russia, it’s tradition for some people not to eat anything and fast on Christmas Eve—until the first star has appeared in the sky.

Following this, a meal known as sochivo is enjoyed, which is a porridge made from wheat or rice and accompanied by honey, fruit, nuts and seeds. The porridge holds symbolic significance, representing unity.

In older traditions, families would playfully toss a spoon of porridge onto the ceiling, and if it stuck, it was believed to bring good luck and a bountiful harvest.

Try this Russian Christmas-inspired Browned Butter Apple Oatmeal recipe!

christmas traditions, roasted leg of lamb


Christmas dinners usually feature roast lamb or pork as the main stars.

And after you’ve had your fill of savory goodness, you’re graced with the sweet treat of the day—baklava! This enjoyable dessert brings together nuts and a sweet honey or syrup sauce in layers of flaky pastry. It’s a must-have dessert for the festive feels in most Greek homes.

Get this Grecian Christmas-inspired Roast Leg of Lamb with Fennel Seeds and Rosemary Crust recipe!

christmas dinner traditions, roast turkey


Over in France, the Christmas traditions kick off with a festive feast on either Christmas Eve or bright and early on Christmas morning right after the midnight church service.

The feast? Well, think roast turkey, chestnuts and venison. And when it’s time for something sweet, there’s the classic chocolate log—or as the French say, bûche de Noël—served with a dollop of fresh cream. Trust us, this favorite dessert vanishes in a matter of minutes, and we totally get why!

Get this French Christmas-inspired Classic Herb Roasted Turkey recipe!

christmas dinner traditions, no knead bread


Christmas isn’t complete without the heartwarming presence of panettone. Picture this sweet bread, bursting with candied peel, sultanas, raisins and all sorts of goodness.

However, it’s not just any bread. It’s a tear-and-share kind of bread, perfect for the whole family to dive into during the Christmas festivities.

Get this Italian Christmas-inspired No Knead Cranberry-Rosemary Bread recipe!

christmas dinner traditions, homemade hot chocolate


Christmas is a festive explosion of flavors and family gatherings in the Philippines.

Noche Buena, the traditional Christmas Eve feast, is a culinary delight featuring an array of dishes. Lechon, a crispy whole-roasted pig, takes center stage alongside other Filipino favorites like jamόn (ham), queso de bola (Edam cheese) and bibingka (rice cake).

Sweet treats like tsokolate (hot chocolate) add an extra layer of joy to the celebration. It’s a time when families come together to share not just delicious food but also the spirit of the season.

Get this Philippine Christmas-inspired Hot Chocolate with Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows recipes!

christmas dinner traditions, sweet potato casserole


Families gather around the festive table on Christmas Eve for a feast that typically features a baked ham with an array of casseroles like sweet potato and rutabaga. Lutefisk, a Nordic specialty of dried fish soaked in lye, makes an appearance for those seeking a true, traditional dish.

For dessert, the beloved gingerbread cookies and rice porridge with a hidden almond bring a sweet ending to the festive meal.

Get this Finnish Christmas-inspired Sweet Potato Baked Ziti with Mushrooms and Spinach recipe!

christmas dinner traditions, fried chicken recipe


Would you have guessed that Kentucky Fried Chicken is the go-to Christmas dinner in Japan?

The tradition dates back to the early 70s and it still remains hugely popular today—in fact, a whopping 3.6 million Japanese families toast to yuletide cheer over a bucket of fried bird. In 2018, KFC Japan reported sales of roughly $63 million from December 20 to 25!

Get this Japanese Christmas-inspired Classic Fried Chicken recipe!

christmas dinner traditions, homemade eggnog


Picture this: the holiday table is decked out with lechon asado, a roast pig with crispy skin. Alongside, you’ve got arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), pasteles (meat-filled plantain tamales) and tostones (fried green plantains).

Let’s not forget the star of the show—the Puerto Rican Christmas drink, coquito, a creamy coconut and rum concoction that’s like a Caribbean holiday. Feliz Navidad!

Get this Puerto Rican Christmas-inspired Homemade Eggnog recipe!


Hungry for more? Our Holiday Cooking Classes are a great way to explore culinary traditions from around the world—from paella and tamales to beef Wellington and festive breads. Did we mention they make a stellar gift?

Explore Our Holiday Cooking Classes

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