Christmas in Cuba revolves around eating and drinking with family and friends, as it has since Spanish settlers introduced traditional dishes to the island in the 16th century.
Even if you’re not Cuban, you can still experience this unique holiday by sitting with your closest loved ones at the table.
And then digging into one popular Cuban Christmas food or the other that has been passed down through generations of Cubans for hundreds of years.
So round up your relatives or friends, light up some candles, and celebrate Christmas with some old-world Cuban flavor!
Cuban Christmas food has its list, and here are different dishes that are sure to make any Christmas feast in Cuba complete.
1. Roast Pork
Cuban Christmas is a time of celebration. It includes typical Cuban Christmas food that is served with family and friends. The food varies from region to region, but certain dishes are staples.
One dish that is always present at a Cuban Christmas meal is ropa vieja, which translates literally to old clothes.
This dish consists of meat cooked with vegetables and rice and then shredded. The meat can be beef or pork.
However, it’s traditionally shredded ham cooked with tomato sauce, red wine, olive oil, and saffron threads. After simmering for hours in the mixture of these ingredients, the meat becomes succulent and falls apart when you touch it.
2. Black Beans and Rice
A popular Cuban Christmas food that is traditionally prepared and served is black beans and rice. It’s a dish that has been passed down for generations, and it’s still a favorite today.
The dish is typically made with ham, onion, garlic, cumin, tomato sauce, and salt. To give it more flavor, you can add sazon goya (a spice blend).
Additionally, the dish is served with white rice and other side dishes such as green beans or yucca fries. Yucca fries are slices of yucca root that are deep-fried in oil until they get crispy.
Another very traditional Cuban Christmas food is Flan. It is a sweet, egg-based dessert that’s baked inside a round metal container called a Caja china or china box. You can find these at any grocery store in Havana and throughout Cuba.
Sugar and eggs are mixed and then poured into the Caja china to make it. This is where they are cooked for about one hour until set and golden brown on top.
After the flan has cooled, you can either serve it whole with a spoon or cut it into slices like a cake.
Sofrito is one of the most typical dishes found during Cuban Christmas. Sofrito is a dish made from any combination of vegetables, such as onion, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes.
In Cuban cuisine, it is used as a sauce for meats and rice dishes or eaten alone with bread. This Cuban Christmas food is also very common in other countries like Spain and Puerto Rico.
Tostones are a staple food in Cuban cuisine. They are fried plantains that are flattened, deep fried then smashed into little pieces. They’re usually eaten with mojo de Ajo, a garlic-chili sauce with olive oil.
Furthermore, Tostones can be eaten as a side dish or used to make sandwiches or empanadas. Empanadas are a type of hand pie made from dough that’s folded over the filling and sealed by pressing the edges together.
There is another type of empanada called an empañuelo. This has the filling wrapped in banana leaves instead of dough before being boiled, fried, or baked.
6. Yuca con Mojo
Cuba’s cuisine mixes Spanish, African, and native cooking traditions. They are known for their rice dishes with beans and pork called Moros Cristianos.
And also, the traditional asopao de Pollo is a chicken soup with rice noodles. However, what you traditionally eat on Christmas Day in Cuba changes depending on where you live.
For example, if you live in Havana or Santiago, you will most likely have roast pork as your main dish. But if you are from Cienfuegos, then your Cuban Christmas food would be roast pig or ham.
7. Arroz con Leche
Arroz con Leche (or Rice Pudding) is a traditional Cuban Christmas food with many variations. Some may have raisins or dried fruit, some add cinnamon, and others have milk and water as liquid ingredients.
Meanwhile, the rice used is often short-grain white rice, giving it a creamy texture. It can be served with or without sugar or with salt sprinkled over the top.
You can also serve Arroz con Leche warm or chilled. Traditionally, this would be for breakfast or dessert after eating seafood for dinner.
Buñuelos are a classic Cuban Christmas food. They can be filled with various flavors, but the most traditional filling is ground almonds and anise seeds.
The dough for these popular treats is made by combining flour, sugar, eggs, butter or shortening, and yeast and letting it rise overnight.
The next day, the dough is cut into small pieces and dropped into boiling water until they float to the surface. They are drained and topped with powdered sugar or melted chocolate.
9. Cake de Ron
Cake de Ron is a type of cake that is typically prepared for the holidays and can be found all over the island.
The cake is made with rum, brown sugar, and ground almonds. These are mixed and then topped with nuts (typically walnuts) and raisins.
Moving on, the cake has a denser consistency than other cakes because it is not baked. It can be eaten by itself or served with ice cream or whipped cream. However you enjoy it, one thing is for sure: this cake will always remind you of Cuban culture.
Turrón is a typical Cuban Christmas food. It is consumed during the holiday season as well as for breakfast. It is a type of hard nougat made with honey and egg whites.
In addition, Turrón can be flavored with coconut, almonds, or pine nuts. Typically, Turrón is topped with sugar icing and decorated with candy-coated chocolates.
This sweet treat tastes best when it’s been aged for several weeks so that the flavors have time to blend.
Tamales are a traditional Cuban dish that is served during the holiday season. The tamale is made from a dough of masa corn flour, usually wrapped in corn husks and tied with string.
The filling is typically meat, fruit, and spices, such as ground beef or chicken, raisins, and pineapples.
Equally important to note, Tamales can be eaten with the hands or cut into pieces and eaten like bread. If you ever find yourself at a Cuban restaurant this time of year, don’t forget to order this Cuban Christmas food!
Cuba is known for its fried, shredded plantain dish called tostones. Plantains are a staple food of the Caribbean region and are often used as the base for this dish.
To make them, you first fry green or unripe plantains until they are very soft and can be crushed easily with a fork.
Next, place them in a bowl and mash them with your hands or a fork until they form a pasty mixture that resembles mashed potatoes. You then mix this with salt and garlic and form it into small balls by hand.
Afterward, you flatten it out on the palm of your hand and fry it again until it browned all over. Talk about a Cuban Christmas food you crave even when it’s not Christmas yet; it’s Plantains!
Breadfruit is a popular food on the island of Cuba and is often served as a side dish at many family gatherings. Large breadfruit looks like a giant potato with a thick green peel.
It has the consistency of mashed potatoes but with more flavor. Breadfruit can be served boiled or baked, and it’s usually seasoned with butter, salt, and pepper. Breadfruits grow wild in the jungle areas of Cuba, so they’re easy to find year-round.
In fact, they’re one of the most common things you’ll see in people’s backyards during their off hours (since they grow so easily).
The best breadfruits are harvested from October through December because that’s when they have their highest concentration of starches for baking and boiling. Breadfruit is a sumptuous Cuban Christmas food, and it ends our list!
If you’re looking for a list of Cuban Christmas food, look no further! Listed above is a list of some of the most popular dishes that are eaten during the celebration.
Christmas in Cuba is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and eating and sharing with friends and family.
In fact, there are many traditional Christmas foods that Cubans cannot imagine celebrating the holiday without them.
We made a list of Cuban Christmas food you can use to celebrate the holiday in Havana with your new Cuban friends and neighbors! What’s your thought about each Cuban Christmas food above?