Holiday Recipes Around The World

prepared By Toby Roberts

No matter where you are from or what religion you celebrate, around the holiday season in every culture families all over the world share one common tradition: the holiday meal. Each country has their own specialties and signature dishes that are made every year. Here are traditional recipes from France to Italy, Russia, England and beyond.

Italy, Anise Cookies

If you ever tasted a cookie that has the faint flavor of black licorice, then you’ve had an Italian Anise cookie. These are a traditional Italian holiday dessert treat.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons anise extract (or almond extract)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (may need up to 3 cups)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 -3 tablespoons milk

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon anise extract
food coloring
decorative candy sprinkles

What To Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

For cookies, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add anise extract.

Blend flour and baking powder. Start by adding about 1/3 of these dry ingredients to the butter/sugar in your mixer, then add 1 T. milk. Add another third of the flour and another 1 T. milk. Finally, mix in enough of the remaining flour until your dough is like a brownie batter (it should be softer than a drop cookie dough).

Use a 1 T. cookie scooper to make simple round drop cookies - use wet fingers to pat any rough edges OR for an Easter-Egg look, roll 1 T. dough into an elongated ball.

Bake cookies 10-12 minutes (they won't be brown but the insides will be soft and cake-like).

For icing: mix sugar, milk and extract to make a sugar glaze. HINT: When I make the icing, I make it thick but then I microwave it for 10 seconds so it is thin enough for dipping. Also, I like to divide the mixture in thirds, and then add ONE DROP of food coloring to each batch (pink, green, yellow).

Hold cookie in your hand and turn upside down so you can dip the top half in the glaze; turn over and immediately top with sprinkles so they will stick.

Allow icing to harden overnight; then store in air-tight containers or freeze.

Recipe by Cookin’Diva via

Mexico, Pozole

This hearty soup, also known as Pozole Rojo (Red Pozole) is a staple in Mexican culture, often served on Christmas Eve. This recipe is from

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
kosher salt and black pepper
1 32-ounce container low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 dried ancho chili, thinly sliced, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
1 15-ounce can hominy, rinsed
1 lime, cut into wedges

What To Do:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the broth, tomatoes, and chili and bring to a boil.

Stir in the chicken and hominy and simmer until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve the posole with the lime wedges, sliced avocado or your preferred garnish.
Recipe from Kate Merker via

England, Glazed Holiday Ham

1 spiral-sliced half ham
1 20 -ounce can pineapple slices, juice reserved
15 to 20 whole cloves (optional)
1 small jar maraschino cherries
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard

What To Do:

Preheat the oven as directed on the ham package and follow the instructions for baking the ham. Remove the ham from the oven about 30 minutes before the end of the warming time.

Decoratively arrange the pineapple slices on top of the ham, securing them with whole cloves, if using, or toothpicks. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring and secure with a clove or toothpick.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and just enough of the reserved pineapple juice to make a thick glaze. Spoon the glaze over the ham and bake for the remaining 30 minutes. Remove the ham from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and carve.

Recipe from Paula Deen via

Russia, Sochivo

In Russia, Christmas is celebrated in early January. Their traditional dish is called Sochivo, a wheat Lenten kasha (porridge). Some Russian families throw a spoonful of Sochivo on the ceiling. If it sticks, it means they have good luck!

14 oz wheat
3 oz honey
6 oz poppy seeds
6 oz walnuts
salt to taste

What To Do:
Sort wheat, wash and put in boiling water.

Bring to a boil, drain and wash under cold water, bring to boil, cover tightly and put in the oven until soft. Then take out and cool down.

Wash poppy seeds, scald, wash under cold water and ground until homogenous and white, add sugar or honey and a bit of salt.

Combine with wheat. If sochivo is very dense, add some water. At the end add chopped walnuts.

Recipe from

China, Almond Cookies

Only a small population of Chinese celebrate Christmas, but they still have holiday recipes! This one is very popular for their New Year. Almond Cookies are a popular dessert. This recipe will make about 4 dozen.

2½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon almond extract
About 48 whole almonds, unsalted

What To Do:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease cookie sheets.
Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
With a fork, slowly add shortening, a little at a time, to the flour mixture.
Add the beaten eggs and almond extract.
Shape the dough into balls the size of a large cherry.
Place the dough onto the cookie sheets and press an almond into the center of each cookie.
Bake for 25 minutes.


France, La Buche de Noel

La Buche de Noel, (Christmas Yule log) is the traditional Christmas dessert for the French. The traditional buche is a genoise, (similar to sponge cake) baked in a medium Swiss roll pan - 1 foot by 1 ½ foot.

Ingredients for the Genoise:
2.6 oz. of sugar
2.6 oz. of Flour
0.88 oz. or a quarter of a butter stick (melted).
3 full eggs plus one yolk

How to make the Genoise:
With the help of an egg beater, beat the 3 egg whites until very firm. Place in the refrigerator during the time you are preparing the batter for the genoise. In a large bowl, mix the sugar with the 4 yolks with a spatula. Incorporate the flour and the egg white, then add the melted butter.
Line your Swiss roll or cookie pan with wax paper. Apply a thin layer of butter or oil film with a brush. This will keep the dough from sticking. Very important; spread your dough evenly (½ inch) to avoid dry patches. Place inside a very warm oven pre-heated to 475ᵒ, and then reduce heat to 225ᵒ. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven, turn the cake upside down on a very cold surface. (Marble is ideal) While cooling off, prepare your filling.

Ingredients for the filling:
5.30 oz. of butter
1.1 lb. of chestnut cream

What To Do:
Mix both ingredients together with a whisk. With the help of a cake knife spatula, evenly spread the creamy filling.
The flavor can vary depending on your taste, from buttery chocolate, to coffee, to creamy chestnut or whatever your heart desires.
Roll the cake into the shape of a log. I usually cut a small piece at the end which is placed on top of the log to simulate the trunk of a chopped-off tree. Frost your log with the same cream (you also may add a bit more chocolate or chestnut cream to add to the taste). Then comes the fun part. Drag a fork through the frosting to give your log the texture of bark. You can add homemade meringue mushrooms; dust with powdered sugar for a snow effect, shaved chocolate bits, and make holly leaves from almond paste. You may also decorate with small figures found at party shops which you can use every year.

Recipe by our LATF Publisher Michele Elyzabeth


U.S.A., Cranberry Nut Stuffing

Last but not least, our traditional American stuffing, which can be used to stuff inside the turkey.

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural Goodness® or Certified Organic)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 package (12 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Country Style Stuffing

What To Do:
Heat the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until they're tender, stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Stir the broth, cranberries and walnuts in the saucepan. Add the stuffing and mix lightly. Spoon the stuffing mixture into a 2-quart casserole.

Bake at 325°F. for 30 minutes or until the stuffing mixture is hotStuff turkey just before roasting.