Christmas means many different things to different people. In America, we have our own signature recipes and traditions, whether it means exchanging presents, getting together with family and leaving cookies out for Santa. In all, it’s a special holiday that means a lot to many different people. Still, it can be fun to get in the spirit of the season by broadening our horizons a little bit—and what better way to do it than with some exciting new recipes? With no further ado, here are 10 of the best Christmas recipes from all around the world.
Ok, so this one may be just a little bit of a cheat—but it’s too delicious to leave off the list. Latkes are a traditional Jewish recipe that can be traced back to Israel. Although these have definitely made it over to America as well, not everybody makes them during the holidays—though they are more tailored towards Hanukkah celebrations. In any event, they are delicious and so easy to make. Here’s how you do it:
2 1/2 pounds of Russet potatoes
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons of fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
2. Spray down a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
3. In a big bowl, mix together your egg whites, chives, flour, lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
4. Next, shred your potatoes roughly in a food processor.
5. Put your potatoes in a colander in the sink to squeeze out the extra liquid.
6. After that, combine your potatoes and egg mix into a batter.
7. Scoop the potato mix out onto the baking tray in a third cup at a time, two inches apart. Shape each scoop into a three-inch round patty.
8. Bake the latkes for 15 minutes.
9. Turn them over after 15 minutes and bake for another 15 minutes (or until they’re nice and crisp).
10. Serve with applesauce and enjoy!
While meat pies are a speciality in England virtually all year ’round, mince meat pie is particularly around Christmas. While we don’t tend to do savory pies in America quite as often, this mince meat pie is a great way to start. Here’s how you do it:
1 tablespoon of crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 cups of mincemeat
1/4 cup of brandy
2 Granny Smith apples
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of golden raisins
1. Get out small food processor and blend your crystallized ginger and sugar until it’s finely chopped. Set it aside.
2. Put your mincemeat, brandy, apples, quinces, walnuts, raisins, orange juice and zest in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
3. Heat it over medium low heat and cover it, cooking for 30 minutes.
4. Stir in your lemon zest and juice and let it cool to room temperatures.
5. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.
6. Roll half of your pie crust into a 10-inch round and put it in a nine-inch pie tin.
7. Fill the pie with the quince mix before rolling out the other crust and putting it on top (cut out shapes from it as well if you’d like). Crimp the edges to seal them.
8. Add two teaspoons of water to the egg mix and brush the pie edges with egg wash.
9. Sprinkle the edges with the ginger and sugar mix.
10. If you made cutouts, brush those with eggwash and bake them for 12 minutes.
11. Finally, bake the pie for 35 to 45 minutes.
12. Decorate the pie with your cutouts and serve!
While this recipe originates in France, many Americans and Canadians may be familiar with the yule log recipe (though we’re using the French name here). Though there’s a decent chance you may have tried this before, it’s never too late to start if you haven’t! These delicious desserts are packed full of caramel, chocolate and powdered sugar. Here’s how you do it:
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon of cold water
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of dulce de leche
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease up a jelly roll pan. Line it with parchment paper as well.
2. On a sheet of waxed paper, mix your cocoa powder, flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
3. Get out a large mixing bowl and beat your egg whites on high until they form soft peaks.
4. Add in a quarter cup of sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating it until the whites form glossy peaks. Set them aside.
5. In another bowl, beat your yolks and the other half cup of sugar for five minutes until it turns thick and pale yellow.
6. Fold in oil as well before folding in half of the egg whites.
7. Fold the cocoa mix in also until there are no more streaks and fold in the remaining whites until there are no more streaks.
8. Spread your batter in the prepared pan and bake it for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool it in the pan on a rack for 10 more minutes.
9. Sift cocoa on top of the cake before spreading a clean towel on top, inverting the cake and peeling off the parchment paper.
10. Roll up the cake loosely with the towel inside it like a jelly-roll. Put the cake on a wire rack to cool for an hour with the seam down.
11. Make your caramel by sprinkling gelatin over your water. Let it stand for five minutes before microwaving on high for 15 seconds. Let it cool again.
12. In a mixing bowl, beat your cream on medium speed until it forms soft peaks. Keep the mixer running and slowly add in your gelatin mix. Keep mixing until it forms stiff peaks.
13. In a big bowl, stir your dulce de leche and a third of the whipping cream together. Fold in the rest of the cream as well.
14. Unroll your cake and spread the filling nearly to the edges. Again, roll the cake back up the same way.
15. Wrap the cake in plastic and refrigerate it for an hour or up to a day.
16. When it’s all ready, frost your cake and serve!
This special recipes comes from Sweden and is a particular favorite around the holidays. As the name suggests, these buns are both sweet and a little bit spicy, with a delicious flavor that you’re sure to love. Even if you’re not Swedish and making these buns isn’t a tradition for you, you’ll probably want them again once you’ve given them a try. Here’s how you make them:
1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads
1/2 cup of boiling water
1 cup of skim milk
1/4 cup of unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
2 packages of rapid-rising dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of raisins or dried currants
1. Begin by crumbling your saffron over boiling water in a small measuring cup. Let it cool and turn golden.
2. Next, heat your milk in a saucepan over low heat until bubbles form.
3. Take it off the heat and stir in your butter, cooling until it’s very warm but not hot.
4. In a bowl, mix together four cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
5. Next, separate one of your eggs. Add the egg yolk, the other egg, the milk mixture and saffron water into your flour mixture.
6. Stir in your raisins and another half cup of flour until it forms a slightly sticky dough.
7. Turn your dough out onto a floured surface, kneading it for about five minutes.
8. Oil up a mixing bowl and put your dough in it, turning it so the oiled side of the dough faces upwards.
9. Cover it with a cloth and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes.
10. Grease two baking sheets before dividing your dough into quarters. Cut each quarter into six pieces and shape the pieces into balls.
11. Put the balls on the baking sheets about two inches apart. Again, cover the buns with cloth or plastic wrap for about 25 minutes until they double in size.
12. Heat your oven to 350 degrees before brushing the buns with the reserved egg white.
13. Bake everything for 15 minutes. After that, take the buns out, brush with egg white again and bake for one to two more minutes.
14. Cool the buns on wire racks and serve with butter!
Though this recipe may sound more familiar, lentil and vegetable stew is a seasonal speciality in Italy—particularly during the Christmas season. As you may expect just from the name, this is a hearty and healthy dish that is easy to throw together and packs plenty of flavor. Here’s how you make it:
1 1/2 cups of dried lentils
1 1/4 butternut squash
2 cups of marinara sauce
8 ounces of green beans
1 red bell pepper
3/4 cup of chopped onion
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese
1. Add your lentils and three cups of water into a slow cooker.
2. In a big bowl, mix together all the rest of your ingredients except for the olive oil.
3. Pour that on the lentils before covering the slow cooker and setting it to cook on low for eight to 10 hours.
4. When it’s done, stir in the oil, scoop into bowls and add grated Parmesan cheese.
For Scandinavian countries as well as in Germany, spiced wine is a big part of celebrating the holidays. Though different families and regions have their own recipes, the one we’re using today is a traditional Glögg—a Swedish take on the recipe. Though this isn’t technically a meal in and of itself, it’s a nice drink to go with any dinner (though be warned: it does have alcohol). Here’s how you do it:
2 bottles of dry red wine
1/2 bottle of Port wine
1 cup of vodka
1/4 pound of sliced, dried figs
1/4 pound of raisins
2 oranges, peeled and juiced
8 ounces of light brown sugar
2 star anise
4 long peppers
7 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
1. Pour all of your ingredients in a pot and bring it to a simmer over low heat.
2. Stir the pot periodically and let it sit for two hours.
3. After enough time has passed, strain everything out and reheat the liquid.
4. Pour into glasses and serve with blanched almonds and raisins!
To bring things back to France for a second (more specifically, Alsace), these deliciously spicy little cookies are so delicious and simple to make. Though Christmas cookies are a staple of the season no matter where you are, this recipe is particularly special. Here’s how you make it:
3 1/4 cups of flour
18 tablespoons of room temperature butter, chopped
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
lemon zest (of one lemon)
1 egg yolk
1. Put the flour in a big bowl and make a well in the center.
2. Add your butter in the middle and mix everything together with your fingers until it turns a sandy texture.
3. Add your sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and whole eggs. Mix everything together until it forms a smooth dough. Add another egg if it seems too dry.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for six hours or overnight.
5. Preheat your oven to 355. Roll out your dough onto a floured surface and cut shapes out of the dough.
6. Put the cookies on a sheet and beat your egg yolk with a fork in a bowl.
7. Brush your cookies with egg wash and bake everything for 15 minutes.
8. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
Of all the recipes on this list, this one may be the most familiar—but it still counts as an international dish! That’s because apple strudel is originally an Austrian dish that has become so popular that it spread around the world. Still, the traditional recipe is worth making all on its own. Here’s how you do it:
6-8 apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
1 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of cinnamon
4 tablespoons of corn starch
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
orange zest (one orange’s worth)
1 box of strudel leaves or phyllo dough
1 cup of melted butter
1. Prepare your apples and toss them in a mixing bowl with sugar, cinnamon, corn starch, nutmeg and orange zest.
2. Put parchment paper down on a table and put your strudel leaves on top of it.
3. Layer two pieces together and brush the top piece with melted butter.
4. Put two more sheets on top and brush again. Repeat one more time to make six layers in total.
5. Strain any extra juice from the apples and scoop them in a line three inches from one of the long edges of the dough.
6. Fold the top layer of the dough over the apples, wrapping everything together in a log shape.
7. Brush the strudel with more melted butter and refrigerate it for an hour.
8. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
9. Bake the strudel on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and cook it for 15 minutes.
10. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy!
Just in case you don’t speak Spanish, this recipe is for Mexican butter cookies… and they taste so good. As with all of these recipes, it’s easy to throw together and is sure to add some variety to your Christmas table. Here’s how you make it:
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
3/4 cup of sugar
8 tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
2. With a stand mixer, beat together your butter, sugar and vanilla until it turns a fluffy texture.
3. Add your yolks into the mix one at a time, beating it all together.
4. Add your dry ingredients in as well and mix.
5. Roll the dough out into a foot-long tube and cut it into three pieces.
6. Roll each piece into a ball and put them on a lined baking sheet. Flatten each one and poke a hole in the center of each, chilling it all for an hour.
7. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
8. Brush each of the rings with your egg white and dip each one into sprinkles.
9. Put the cookies back on the sheets and bake for 15 minutes.
10. Let them cool when they’re done and enjoy!
Last but not least, these delicious stuffed cabbage rolls from Hungary are another great way to round out your Christmas dinner. When they’re finished, the result is a spicy, saucy and hearty side dish that the whole family is sure to love. Here’s how you make it:
1 large head of cabbage, cored
3 tablespoons of olive oil
8 ounces of smoked ham steak, chopped
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 yellow onion, minced
5 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 1/3 cups of yellow cornmeal
1/2 tablespoon of Hungarian hot paprika
1/2 tablespoon of Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of parsley, chopped
1 Italian frying pepper, sliced
1 can of tomato paste
1. Boil a pot of salted water and add your head of cabbage to it.
2. As it cooks, pull off the outer leaves as they become tender (about two to four minutes per leaf).
3. Put the leaves on a baking sheet and set them aside. Keep collecting until you have 12 to 15 leaves.
4. Trim the thick ribs off the leaves and slice up the leftover core of the cabbage, setting it aside.
5. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan. Add your ham and brown for three to four minutes.
6. Add garlic and onion and keep cooking until they turn golden, for another five to seven minutes.
7. Add two and a half cups of stock and bring everything to a boil.
8. Whisk in your cornmeal, hot paprika, salt and pepper. Set everything aside.
9. With one leaf at a time, put a quarter cup of filling in the center. With the leaf stem towards you, fold the top of the leaf over the filling. Fold in half crosswise and roll into a tight cone.
10. Put the leftover sliced cabbage in the bottom of a saucepan before adding your stuffed cabbage on top, each overlapping slightly.
11. Sprinkle sweet paprika, salt and pepper on top.
12. In a side bowl, whisk together your tomato paste and leftover stock before pouring it all over the cabbage.
13. Bring everything to a simmer over medium-high heat.
14. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
15. When it’s done, transfer the stuffed cabbage to a platter and strain the sauce. Get rid of the extra cabbage and spoon the sauce on top of the stuffed rolls.
16. Garnish with parsley, sliced pepper, sweet paprika and sour cream!
No matter how you celebrate Christmas in your family, this list of recipes is a window into a world of Christmas celebrations you might not have been aware of. Similarly, maybe you’re used to making the same things every year and want to reach back in time and make something traditional and specific to your culture. Hopefully your family’s culture is represented somewhere on this list of tasty dishes; if not, we hope this list will inspire you to seek out your own recipes. Have you given any of these meals a try? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments. Merry Christmas and happy cooking!
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