40+ Tasty Holiday Recipes from Around the World
Every year, it seems like we’re spending hours, if not days chained in the kitchen preparing batches of cookies, candies, desserts and meals for anyone and everyone to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. But I always find myself making the same exact recipes over and over again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always make my famous Hard Tack Candy as a neighbor gift because they request it by name and would be sad if I didn’t. And I’ll make my 7-Layer Cookies because they are delicious, and I enjoy them immensely.
My Velveeta Peanut Butter Fudge is a holiday staple because I can’t stop laughing at the horrified faces people make after finding out the secret ingredient. We all have to keep our sanity somehow, right? And you’ll pry my 7-Up Salad out of my cold, dead hands. That one goes on every holiday table until I die, and I’m going to insist on teaching my future daughters- (or sons-) in-law how to make it, too.
But do I really have to make the same few side dishes for every holiday meal? Do I have to stick to some conservative script that says what a holiday should look like? No way!
And neither do you!
This year, I’ve gone out and crowdsourced the best non-traditional Christmas recipes from around the world. These are recipes from cultures all around the globe that are eaten at holiday time. They feature different flavors that aren’t necessarily familiar to most Americans, and they offer up an opportunity to try something really unique and exciting this year.
I have tried to find a good mix of savory and sweet recipes, with a few drinks and snacks thrown in, as well. You’ll find some spice in there, too. There’s something for every taste and from a variety of cultures. Have a look through the list and pick one (or more!) to add to your holiday dinner this year!
Holiday Recipes From Around the World
These non-traditional recipes are worth a try this holiday season. Bring something new to the table by trying a dish from another culture, or whip up something that your own ancestors might have eaten!
Lebanese Green Beans
If you're looking for something more than a traditional green been casserole, these could be just the thing to wow your family.
How To Make Baklava
There's nothing like this traditional Greek dessert. It's sticky and sweet and a lovely treat for the holiday season.
Red Pork Tamales
These delicious pork tamales are the best thing you’ll unwrap on Christmas Day. Tasty and always yummy.
Buñuelos (Mexican Fritters)
Buñuelos are yummy crunchy bites of cinnamon and sugar. A Mexican dessert that’s a favorite during the holidays.
Pasteles en Hoja (Dominican Style Tamales)
This is a traditional holiday dish of plantain and root vegetables masa filled with meat and made into a pocket using plantain leaves.
Struffoli (Honey Balls)
Struffoli are fried dough balls, all covered in honey and served in one big pile. Topped with sprinkles, nuts, or candied fruit, this simple Italian recipe is a Christmas favorite.
Puerto Rican Rice
This rice is a holiday staple for many Puerto Rican families this time of year. It's so delicious and makes enough for a crowd!
Currant Mini Hand Pies
This pastry treat from England is the perfect way to use up extra pie dough or currants. Adorable little hand pies your friends will love!
Instant Pot Vegetable Biryani
No Indian holiday meal is complete without this jazzed up rice pilaf, vegetable Biryani.
Biscochitos are a shortbread-like cookie flavored with cinnamon and anise.
Mince Pie Pinwheels – Tear & Share
Made with a handful of festive ingredients, this sharing dessert only takes 10 minutes to put together and is the perfect sweet treat to enjoy of the holiday season.
Camorão na Moranga
Camorão na Moranga is a Brazilian dish that translates roughly to “Shrimp in a Pumpkin.” In Brazil, this rich and creamy soup is served only on special occasions and big holidays.
Festive Mexican Cornish Game Hens
Succulent. Spicy. Sweet. Savory. Festive Mexican Cornish Hens for Two is a perfect main course for two, and easily scaled up for more!
Leek and Sweet Potato Latkes
A super easy recipe for Sweet Potato Latkes with a cumin-garlic yogurt sauce. Pan-fried and easy to make with just a few ingredients. A must-have for the Hannukah table!
Dutch Apple Tart (Appeltaart)
A Dutch Apple Tart is very different than an American Apple pie. It has a cookie-type crust and is baked in a spring form pan rather than a pie pan. The filling is simply apples with sugar and a little cinnamon.
Chocolate Pizzelles Cookies
Chocolate Pizzelles are a light, crisp, slightly sweet Italian cookie. They’re also an Italian family tradition in the author's house and a delicious one! Come see the recipe she learned how to make from her grandmother.
Spiced orange vegan coquito
Spiced orange vegan coquito! A dairy free and egg free way to enjoy Puerto Rican coconut eggnog. Make this your new holiday cocktail!
Krumkake (Cardamom Cookie)
Krumkake are wafer-thin, crispy, cardamom flavored Scandinavian cookies that are cooked on a griddle and rolled into a cone shape.
Tourtiere is a French-Canadian meat pie that's the centerpiece of the traditional reveillon meal on Christmas Eve.
Eierlikör – German Egg Liqueur
Eierlikör is German egg liqueur, which is similar to eggnog, but so much better! Thick, creamy, and perfect for Christmas.
Cinnamon Stars: Zimtsterne (German Christmas Cookies)
Cinnamon Stars are classic German Christmas cookies. This is a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS!
Risalamande - the traditional Danish pudding
Be offbeat this holiday and serve a Scandinavian dessert, Risalamande, which is a Danish rice pudding
Kashmiri Pulao – Mildly Sweet and Tart Apple Rice Recipe
This mildly sweet and tart apple rice recipe would be great as a side or dessert on your Christmas table.
Quick Panettone Shortcake (Bolo de Panetone)
A Non-traditional, semi-homemade and quick panettone shortcake that will brighten your holiday table
3-Ingredient Not Baked Alaska Panettone (Sorvete de Panetone)
Not Baked Alaska Panettone (Sorvete de Panettone or Sorvetone) is a 15-minute Brazilian-inspired frozen dessert made with 3 ingredients: store-bought panettone filled with ice cream and covered with whipped cream. Perfect for the holidays!
Delicious Breudher Cake with Blood Orange Glaze
This Sri Lankan Breudher Cake is a yeasted cake that’s very popular in Sri Lanka during Christmas. This one strikes a great balance of delicious buttery richness and the fruity, citrus flavour of blood oranges, with a hint of boozy sweetness from the brandy soaked raisins.
The Very Best Pizzelle Recipe
Light, crispy, sweet….the very best Pizzelle recipe is super easy to make. A staple during the holidays, this Italian cookie Pizzelle recipe is such a classic. A great idea for gift giving!
Roasted Vegetable Pie with Puff Pastry
Roasted vegetable pie, made extra easy with puff pastry is a great holiday main dish! With pumpkin, cauliflower, and parsnip, it’s a dish that can be made any day of the week.
Typsy Laird, Authentic Scottish Trifle for Christmas and Burns Night
This one's not for the kiddies, as the title suggests. Typsy Laird is a boozy Scottish trifle and is so easy to make and best made ahead of time. Delicious!
Cicerchiata (Struffoli): Mini Pastry Balls in Honey
A traditional Southern Italian Christmas treat, cicerchiata is made from little balls of fried dough and coated in honey. Just be warned, once you start eating it, you simply can't stop!
Coquito Tres Leches Cake Recipe
Combination of two Puerto Rican foods, coquito and tres leches cake.
Healthy Cranberry Wassail Recipe
Cranberry hot wassail kicks things up a notch and turns your wassail a gorgeous festive red.
Delicious Authentic Mexican Pozole Recipe
Mexican Pozole is a favorite for Christmas Eve Dinner. Pozole in essence is a stew filled with delicious rich flavors that can make it a meal all on of its own
Lapis Legit - Thousand Layers Cake
Indonesian lapis legit (thousand layers cake). Each celebration, Christmas included, will see people flocking to the bakeries to buy this cake. Homemade is always preferred, of course, but this is one labor intensive cake.
Icelandic Christmas Cookies
Icelandic Christmas cookies with cornflakes and salted chocolate are easy to make and taste delicious. These traditional Christmas cookies are known in Iceland as Marens Kornflexkokur.
This easy Jollof Rice recipe is a spiced tomato rice served all across West Africa. Served during all celebrations like wedding, birthdays, Christmas and more. It is gluten-free and vegan
African Pepper Soup
Looking for the easiest African Pepper Soup recipe? You have found it!! It only takes a few everyday ingredients and minimal effort to whip up this popular African Soup served over the festive season.
Saffron Wreath Bread
Saffron adds a beautiful golden color and rich flavor to this bread, which is filled with dark chocolate, dates, and coconut sugar. Just sweet enough for dessert, and perfect for the holidays.
Pronounced VAN-el-eu-KIP-fuhl, these almond cookies mean “vanilla moon.” They were originally made in Vienna, Austria, where they're a much-loved Christmas cookie.
Ensalada de Nochebuena
Mexican Christmas Eve Salad is a delicious and colorful salad. The fruit floats in an exquisite combination of beet and jamaica juice.
Ponche-Mexican Christmas Punch
Many families in Mexico begin preparing it as soon as December begins. It’s the perfect beverage for cold nights– sweet, delicious and warm.
Holy Cannoli Cookies
Fun Italian Christmas cookies, inspired by Italian cannolis, they will make a great addition to your Christmas cookie baskets and gifts this year.
My Mother's Lefse
This Norwegian bread is traditionally prepared with boiled riced potatoes. This version is how the author's mom taught her--using potato flakes to save time!
Beet, Pickled Herring, and Potato Salad
Many cultures enjoy fish and potatoes during the holidays. Scandinavians combine the two in this colorful side dish of pickled herring, potatoes, and beets.
So there you go. Start a new tradition with one of these delicious Christmas recipes from around the world. Who knows, you may find a new favorite tradition your own family will love!