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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Norris

12 traditional Christmas recipes from around the world

12 Christmas recipes from around the world

Christmas dinner is one of my favorite meals of the year. A beautiful mixture of carbs, butter, pecans, brown sugar, wine and dozens of other wonderful and delicious ingredients. Like in most families, my mother and grandmother are amazing cooks and always brought their A game to Christmas dinner.

While I value tradition and some dishes are vital to my Christmas, (i.e. prime rib and buttermilk pie) sometimes I like to add new dishes to the mix. And since I love all things culturally diverse and exotic, I decided to put together a list of non-American dishes that will make for a perfect addition to your Christmas meal!

Check out these 12 non-American dishes to spice up your traditional Christmas dinner.


Linguine with clams and fennel (Italy)

The Feast of Seven Fishes is a traditional meal that has roots in Southern Italy, but also has passed over to many Italian-American homes. This Christmas Eve tradition started because many Italians take part in a partial fast and only eat seafood until midnight. The feast has since morphed into a 7-10 course meal focused on all things seafood. Food and Wine's linguine with clams and fennel is a perfect accompaniment to your Christmas meal. And who doesn't love a good Italian pasta dish? Find the recipe here.

Food and wine linguine clam recipe

Avgolemono soup (Greece)

This classic chicken and lemon soup is popular throughout the year in Greece but its a staple for Christmas day. Avgolemono soup is a bowl of comfort with a bright flavor of lemon. Closet Cooking's version of this classic soup is a traditional take on this Greek dish and perfect to start off your Christmas dinner. Find the recipe here.

Closet Cooking Greek soup

Pork tamales (Mexico)

As a born and raised Texan, tamales are essential to Christmas. Every Christmas Eve, my family puts together a Mexican dinner which always included tamales. This recipe for pork tamales by Thrift and Spice is easy to follow and offers a ton of flavor! Find the recipe here.

thrift and spice tamales recipe


Doro Wat (Ethiopa)

Christmas dinner is all about comfort, and this traditional Ethiopan recipe is just that. Its flavorful, easy to make and tastes like your mom just made it. Doro wat is typically spicy and served with flat bread which is used to eat the stew. Find the recipe here.

African bites doro wat recipe

Cuban Pork Shoulder (Cuba)

Cuba and pork go hand in hand. So its obvious that the centerpiece for Christmas dinner is all things pig. While traditionally Cuban families will roast a whole pig for Christmas dinner, grilling or roasting a pork shoulder is the perfect alternative to feed a smaller crowd. Find the recipe here.

Goodie Godmother cuban pork recipe

Grilled shrimp (Australia)

Unlike our temperatures here in the States, Australia's weather in December is scorching hot. With hot temperatures and lots of sunshine, Australian families often head outdoors for some bbq to celebrate their Christmas. Traditionally they feast on bbq shrimp and other shellfish. Its a delicious meal and one that I'm sure will impress your guests! Find the recipe here.

Goodfood grilled shrimp recipe

Swedish Meatballs (Sweden)

For Swedes, it is essential to have meatballs during the holidays. Typically a three course meal, dinner on Christmas begins with a pickled fish, followed by cold cut meats then a plate of warm, delicious Swedish meatballs. This recipe by the Recipe Critic will kick those IKEA meatballs to the curb! Find the recipe here.

Recipe critic swedish meatball

Glühwein (Germany)

Spending time at the famous German Christmas markets is a traditional and fun way to celebrate the holidays. Eating freshly cooked rolls, listening to traditional German music and of course, sipping on hot Glühwein. Its quintessential German! It's hard to find Glühwein in the States so try Frugal Feeding's recipe which is a perfect mixture of traditional spices. Find the recipe here.

Frugal Feedings Gluhwein recipe


Coquito (Puerto Rico)

When it comes to eggnog, I'll pass. But when it comes to Puerto Rico's spiked version of eggnog? I'll take it all! Made with rum, evaporated milk, condensed milk, coconut milk, vanilla and cinnamon, this tropical twist of American eggnog is an indulgent drink to celebrate the holidays. Find the recipe here.

Coquito recipe

Turrón de Alicante (Spain)

One of Spain's most popular treats during Christmas is turrón, a nougat dessert mixed with almonds. There are two variations of this dessert, turrón de Alicante which is a hard nougat or turrón de Jijona which is soft. This classic Christmas treat is a sweet and salty dish thats great for snacking on after a heavy dinner. Find the recipe here.

The things well make turron recipe

Bibingka (Philippines)

A sweet coconut milk cake thats also gluten free? Yes please! This tasty and traditional cake from the Philippines uses rice flour which gives it a unique texture. Its typically sold by street vendors during the holidays who have cooked the cake in terra cotta pots that are lined with banana leaves. The Curious Cuisiniere offers an easy alternative to the terra cotta pots that still makes the Fillipino cake fluffy and flavorful. Find the recipe here.

Curious Cuisiniere bibingka recipe

Christmas Stollen (Germany)

For my German husband, it isn't Christmas if there isn't stollen. Its a traditional dessert made with fruit and nuts then covered in powdered sugar. Yum! While you can find stollen at almost any bakery in Germany, there is something special about making it homemade. Find the recipe here.

international dessert blog Stollen recipe

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!

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