How the World Eats Christmas

Our favorite holiday recipes from around the globe

This holiday season, take inspiration from around the world with these global Christmas recipes from around the world, from sugar-dusted Polish bow tie fritters and the Puerto Rican Christmas staple pernil asado (roast pork shoulder) to ptarmigan, an Icelandic wild grouse with a sweet-tart sauce. Danish cookie tin cookies, christmas goose recipes, and warming hot chocolate—these worldly Christmas recipes will bring a taste of different lands to your table. For even more Christmas inspiration, check out our Ultimate Holiday Guide.

Spotted Dick with Custard Sauce

Spotted Dick with Custard Sauce
Thick dreamy custard is spooned over dense currant-laden steamed pudding in this classic English dessert.Penny De Los Santos

Salmon Rillettes

salmon rillettes
Made with both smoked and cooked fish for textural contrast, salmon rillettes became a New Year's staple once I discovered that my husband wasn't the only non—oyster eater among us. Pack into jars the night before entertaining—the flavors improve with time. Get the recipe for Salmon Rillettes »Christina Holmes

Leaf Bread (Laufabrauð)

Leaf Bread (Laufabraud)
Made of a thin, waferlike dough, this crisp flatbread is a holiday tradition in Iceland. Many families make it together a few days before Christmas; some Icelanders joke that it's the only time of year the men will help in the kitchen. It's first cut into intricate geometric patterns, then deep-fried and saved to be eaten as an accompaniment to Christmas dinner. Traditionally, a special tool called a leaf bread iron is used to cut the patterns, but we found a paring knife works just as well. See the recipe for Leaf Bread »Ariana Lindquist

Mint Hot Chocolate

Mint Hot Chocolate
Adding a mint tea bag is the perfect way to flavor hot chocolate. For a stronger mint flavor, steep the tea bag for longer, but you only need a couple minutes so the mint doesn't get too grassy. A couple fresh mint leaves don't hurt, either. Get the recipe for Mint Hot Chocolate »Matt Taylor-Gross

Christmas Grouse with Berry Sauce (Jólarjúpa með Berjasósu)

Christmas Grouse with Berry Sauce (Jólarjúpa með Berjasósu)
Icelandic home cook Þorgerður Gunnarsdóttir serves ptarmigan, or wild grouse, with a sweet-tart sauce made with thyme and bilberries. Here, we substitute blueberries, a slightly sweeter cousin of bilberries. See the recipe for Icelandic Christmas Grouse with Berry Sauce »Ingalls Photography

Almond Sugar Cookies

Almond Sugar Cookies
These glittering almond squares make a fantastic Christmas cookie on their own, but sandwiched with raspberry jam, they're even better. Get the recipe for Almond Sugar Cookies »Anders Schonnemann

Honey-and-Butter-Baked Pears with Cold Cream

Honey-and-Butter Baked Pears with Cold Cream
These sticky, caramelized pears get served warm with a glug of fresh chilled cream for a richly-flavored variation on poached pears. Get the recipe for Honey-and-Butter-Baked Pears with Cold Cream »Anders Schonnemann

Icelandic Langoustine Soup

Icelandic Langoustine Soup
Similar to an American lobster bisque, the broth for this warming Icelandic soup is reinforced with langoustine shells and reduced before being bolstered with cream and curry powder. Get the recipe for Icelandic Langoustine Soup »Ingalls Photography

Filipino Roast Pork Belly with "Lechon" Sauce

Lechon Roast Pork Belly
Slow-roasted belly stands in for the classic whole suckling pig that graces virtually every special occasion in the Philippines. Chef Dale Talde also swaps out the sauce's pungent pork liver for more mellow and easier to source chicken livers. Don't worry, though. It still tastes, as Talde lovingly puts it, like "liverwurst mixed with sweet and sour sauce." Get the recipe for Filipino Roast Pork Belly with "Lechon" Sauce »William Hereford

Roast Pork Loin with Salted Caramel Potatoes

Roast Pork Loin with Salted Caramel Potatoes
Tart red currant jelly compliments the buttery-rich sweetness of these show-stopping potatoes and delectable holiday pork roast. Get the recipe for Roast Pork Loin with Salted Caramel Potatoes »Anders Schonnemann

Roasted Apples and Bacon with Onions and Thyme (Æbleflæsk)

Roasted Apples and Bacon with Onions and Thyme
In a classic Danish treatment, sweet red apples are roasted with onions, caramelized in bacon fat, and served under thick steaks of smoked belly bacon. Get the recipe for Roasted Apples and Bacon with Onions and Thyme (Æbleflæsk) »Anders Schonnemann

Celery Root, Carrot, and Potato Gratin

Celery Root, Carrot, and Potato Gratin
This simple, comforting root vegetable gratin is perfumed with fragrant thyme and bay leaves before being baked with a bubbly Gruyère crust. Get the recipe for Celery Root, Carrot, and Potato Gratin »Anders Schonnemann

The Ultimate Crab Dip

king crab gratin
Known as chupe de centolla, this Chilean crab gratin borders on a cheesy crab dip. While similar South American chupe are always prepared with milk-soaked bread and any combination of shrimp, scallops, shellfish, meats, and cheeses, Patagonia's version relies solely on the massive local king crabs, the hallmark of fishermen's kitchens along Chile's southernmost coast. Get the recipe for The Ultimate Crab Dip »William Hereford

Chicken and Root Vegetable Soup (Sancocho)

Chicken and Root Vegetable Soup (Sancocho)
This Puerto Rican chicken soup is hearty with starchy vegetables. Get the recipe for Chicken and Root Vegetable Soup (Sancocho) »Joseph De Leo

Wiener Schnitzel

Wiener Schnitzel
Battered and fried veal cutlets—scattered with horseradish, capers and lemon juice—is the perfect breakfast cure after a night of holiday revelry. Get the recipe for Wiener Schnitzel »Anders Schonnemann

Goanese Shrimp Curry (Sembharachi Kodi)

Goanese Shrimp Curry (Sembharachi Kodi)
In Goa, a tiny, palm-fringed state on the western coast of India, seafood is central to the cuisine. Beloved regional specialty sembharachi kodi, or shrimp in a coconut curry, is prepared a number of ways, but always with the freshest local shellfish simmered in a rich, chile-spiked coconut sauce. Get the recipe for Goanese Shrimp Curry (Sembharachi Kodi) »Ingalls Photography

Rice Pudding with Raspberry Coulis

Rice Pudding with Raspberries
Lighter than most rice puddings, and not as sweet, this Swedish specialty is eaten both as a dessert and as a breakfast food. Short-grain rice, such as arborio, is essential for creating a deliciously creamy consistency. Get the recipe for Rice Pudding with Raspberry Coulis »Matt Taylor-Gross

Krusciki (Polish Bow-Tie Fritters)

Polish Bow-Tie Fritters
Also referred to as angel wings, these sugar-dusted fritters are both crunchy and pillowy and are often served at Polish weddings and holidays. See the recipe for Krusciki (Polish Bow-Tie Fritters) »Todd Coleman

Speculaas (Molded Ginger Cookies)

Molded Ginger Cookies
A specialty of the Netherlands and Belgium, speculaas are cousins of gingerbread, only lighter and more delicately spiced. Intricately carved wooden molds are used to form the cookies into bas-relief images of characters and symbols from stories about Saint Nicholas, or Sinter-klaas, whose name day, December 6, kicks off the Christmas season in that part of the world. See the recipe for Speculaas (Molded Ginger Cookies) »Todd Coleman

Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferl)

Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferl)
These Austrian vanilla crescents made with ground walnuts and showered in confectioners' sugar are typically served throughout central Europe during the weeks leading up to Christmas, but they make perfect bite-sized treats any time of year. Get the recipe for Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferl) »Todd Coleman

Basler Brunsli (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies)

Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies
Specialties of Basel, in northern Switzerland, these chocolatey confections are often described as Swiss brownies. Almonds, sugar, and chocolate are ground fine and bound together with egg whites to create a satisfyingly chewy texture, while cinnamon and cloves impart an unmistakable flavor of old-fashioned Christmas cheer. See the recipe for Basler Brunsli (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies) »Todd Coleman

Christmas Goose With Stuffing

Christmas Goose With Stuffing
This roast goose makes a splendid centerpiece for the American holiday feast. See the recipe for Christmas Goose With Stuffing »Todd Coleman

Chocolate-Cornflake Cookies (Marens-Kornflexkökur)

Chocolate-Cornflake Cookies
Cornflakes bring a pleasing crunch to these chewy chocolate meringues, a popular holiday treat in Iceland. See the recipe for Chocolate Cornflake Cookies »Ingalls Photography

Galletas con Chochitos (Mexican Butter Cookies with Sprinkles)

Mexican Butter Cookies with Sprinkles
Tiny, ring-shaped butter cookies like these are a popular holiday treat in Mexico. They're typically decorated with chocolate sprinkles, but green, red, and white ones transform them into festive Christmas wreaths. Get the recipe for Galletas con Chochitos (Mexican Butter Cookies with Sprinkles) »Todd Coleman

Hungarian-Style Stuffed Cabbage (Töltött Káposzta)

Hungarian-Style Stuffed Cabbage (Töltött Káposzta)
A thick cornmeal and smoked ham filling is rolled in blanched cabbage leaves and braised in a paprika-spiked tomato sauce in a comforting dish from Hungarian home cook Edit Szabó Gézáné. Get the recipe for Hungarian-Style Stuffed Cabbage (Töltött Káposzta) »Todd Coleman