Christmas season is upon us, meaning it’s time to celebrate! In Mexico, the season runs from early December through the end of January, but special foods are eaten all month long.
This guide lists some common Mexican Christmas Foods, with recipes and links to purchase these delicacies if you can’t find them locally.
From pan de Muerto (bread of the dead) to tamales, this guide covers everything you need to make your holiday memorable.
Christmas in Mexico isn’t necessarily Christmas as we know it in the United States. Instead, it’s called Nochebuena, and it’s celebrated on December 24th rather than on December 25th.
However, this doesn’t mean Mexicans don’t have all the festivities associated with Christmas. And this includes one traditional holiday dish you might be familiar with tamales.
As you might imagine, tamales are an important part of Nochebuena. So if you’re looking to try something new this Christmas, give this delicious Mexican Christmas Foods list a try!
1. Pork Tamales
Pork tamales are traditional Mexican Christmas Foods for the holiday season. They’re made of masa, or corn dough, which is then wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf with pork or chicken inside.
Often, they’re topped with cheese and red or green chili sauce. These tamales are traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve. But they can be enjoyed any time from November through January.
Pozole is among the delicious Mexican Christmas foods many people associate with during the holiday season. The word pozole originates from the Nahuatl word pozolli, which means mixture.
Pozole is a savory soup traditionally made with pork, hominy, and various spices like cumin, garlic, and oregano.
Meanwhile, the ingredients are typically simmered in water or chicken broth for at least two hours before being served.
Other variations of this dish include chicken instead of pork and corn tortillas instead of hominy. It’s usually garnished with onion, cilantro, and lime juice.
3. Ponche Navideño
Ponche Navideño is also considered one of the quintessential Mexican Christmas Foods. To make this festive treat, you’ll need a few things: white sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and brown sugar.
The procedure: First, add all these ingredients to a large pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Next, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Lastly, remove from heat and cool completely before serving Ponche Navideño warm or cold with ice cubes in glasses or cups (or add some rum).
Also, you can add some fruit, such as papaya chunks, pineapple slices, and guava nectar. Preferably, you can add canned peaches to your Ponche Navideño for an extra twist on this delicious winter drink!
This is one of the most traditional Mexican Christmas Foods on this list is a hot cocoa-based drink called champurrado. In Spanish, the word champurrado means chilled or spiced.
It is a popular drink during Christmas time in Mexico because it symbolizes the return of warmth after the cold months of winter.
Also, it’s part of a tradition that says if you drink champurrado while it’s still hot, it will keep you warm in winter.
The authentic recipe for champurrado includes chocolate, ground cinnamon, sugar, and piloncillo (a type of unrefined sugar).
However, some variations include ingredients such as tamarind and chili pepper paste.
Buñuelos, as a Mexican Christmas Food, is a fried dough pastry that’s often served on the holiday. The dough is made from flour, water, and salt with an egg yolk or egg white beaten in.
Further, the batter is deep-fried in vegetable oil until it puffs up and becomes golden brown, then topped with powdered sugar.
Buñuelos are typically eaten as a snack or dessert on Christmas morning, along with hot chocolate, coffee, or hot milk.
Mexico has several traditional Christmas dishes that vary depending on location. One of the most popular Mexican Christmas food is pavo, or turkey. It is eaten almost all over Mexico on December 24th.
7. Cochinita Pibil
This well-known Mexican Christmas food is made with pork and banana leaves. It is slow-cooked in an underground pit. The meat is served with a side of pineapple and habanero chilies.
8. Ensalada Navideña
Ensalada Navideña is a delicious dish you can enjoy as one of your traditional Mexican Christmas Foods. Ensalada Navideña translates to Christmas salad and originates in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
It’s made with several ingredients, including lettuce, onions, tomatoes, avocado, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, peas, and beans.
Plus, the dressing contains mayonnaise or sour cream mixed with vinegar and salt. The dish is served cold and can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a side dish throughout the holiday season!
9. Lomo de Puerco (Pork Loin)
Lomo de Puerco is on the list of traditional Mexican Christmas Foods eaten in Mexico on Christmas Eve. The dish is prepared with pork loin, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, and bay leaves.
Then, it is simmered until tender and served with diced raw onion, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.
Besides, the most famous recipe for Lomo de Puerco has been attributed to Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox from Guanajuato.
His recipe includes bacon or ham and pomegranate juice. This gives it a very sweet taste that goes well with the savory flavors of the other ingredients.
10. Pierna de Puerco Adobada
Pierna de Puerco Adobada is a slow-roasted pork dish with orange juice, garlic, and spices marinade. It’s typically served with white rice and beans (frijoles charros) but is also good with corn tortillas and salsa.
This is one of the Mexican Christmas Foods that require planning, as it needs to be started the night before.
To make, in a blender, combine the following ingredients:
- Canola oil
- Large oranges peeled and quartered
- Kosher salt
- Bay leaves
Menudo is a traditional dish eaten on Christmas in Mexico. It is made by boiling cow’s feet, stomach, and other animal parts in water with salt and lime.
Then, the mixture is strained through a colander or strainer to remove the bones, skin, and hair from the soup.
Afterward, garlic cloves, onions, and cilantro leaves are added for flavor. Finally, red chili pepper sauce is added for spice. Looking for Mexican Christmas Foods that’ll suit your palate? Menudo won’t disappoint!
12. Calabaza en Tacha
Typically, the base for this Mexican Christmas food, calabaza en tacha, is pumpkin. The pumpkin is cut into pieces, boiled in water with salt and sugar, and then mashed with a fork. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge until needed.
First, add a little butter if desired while cooking the masa so it will not dry out too much. It is important to keep stirring while cooking so that the masa does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Next, in a separate pan, fry some chopped onions and garlic in oil until they are soft but not browned. Finally, add cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
13. Chiles en Nogada
Nogada is a traditional Mexican dish from the Puebla region that is typically served as a main course during the Christmas season.
It consists of chiles en nogada, which are poblano peppers stuffed with meat and fruit. The dish is topped with walnuts and pomegranate seeds in a creamy walnut sauce called nogada.
Furthermore, it’s garnished with parsley or other herbs and often served alongside beans, rice, slices of avocado, and crème Fresca or whipped cream.
Nogada comes from combining the word nuez (walnut) with gala (pomegranate), two ingredients that are used in the dish. The name of this special Mexican Christmas Foods translates to Walnut Pomegranate.
Mixiote is a wrapped meat dish served at all Christmastime celebrations, birthdays, and other special occasions.
Mixiotes are traditionally made with a goat but can also be made with pork or chicken. The mixiote is cooked in a pot over a wood fire until it becomes tender and flavorful.
The meat is cut into small pieces to make this specialty, which is one of the Mexican Christmas Foods.
Then, slowly fry in a large pot with chopped garlic, onion, and cilantro. Once the meat has been browned, strips of dry corn tortilla are added for flavor and texture.
15. Bacalao a la Vizcaína
Bacalao a la Vizcaína is a traditional Mexican Christmas food that can be traced back as far as the 18th century.
The recipe consists of salted cod and potatoes. The dish includes onion, garlic, pepper, salt, and bay leaves.
Bacalao a la Vizcaína is typically served with rice or warm tortillas. Traditionally, it is cooked in an earthenware pot which adds a wonderful flavor to the fish.
Today, many cooks use pressure cookers for this recipe. It can take up to two hours for this dish to cook on low heat but one hour on high heat in a pressure cooker. If you want your cod dry, ensure you cook it sparingly.
Birria is a soup made with goat or lamb. The broth is typically served with rice and sometimes vegetables like carrots and celery.
The dish is often served on Christmas Eve as a meal for the family. It’s similar to other meat dishes like Posole and Guisado de Puerco.
Moving on, Birria can be made differently – some recipes call for tomatoes, while others don’t use any. This particular food on the list of Mexican Christmas Foods’ main ingredients are usually dried chiles, garlic cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, oregano leaves, black pepper grains, and white onion. It also uses red wine vinegar in some variations of the recipe.
Romeritos are popular Mexican Christmas Foods. The ingredients include water, flour, salt, and shortening. The dough is then rolled out and cut into long strips.
Then, these are twisted into a spiral shape. Next, you dunk the spirals in boiling water for about 15 seconds before letting them cool on a plate. They can be eaten as is or sprinkled with sugar.
18. Mexican Wedding Cookies
Mexican Wedding Cookies are a great example of traditional Mexican Christmas Foods. They’re sweet doughs made with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, and vanilla extract. The dough is chilled, shaped into balls, and rolled in powdered sugar.
After they’ve been coated in sugar, the cookies are baked on a greased cookie sheet for 12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This delicious cookie can be enjoyed as part of the dessert table or as a midday snack.
19. Queso Relleno
Queso Relleno is a typical Mexican dish that consists of a tortilla dipped in an egg mixture, then fried, and finally stuffed with cheese.
The tortilla is then usually covered with tomato sauce and baked or boiled. Queso Relleno can be eaten as an appetizer or as the main course.
Also, this Mexican Christmas food makes a great side dish paired with rice and beans. Queso Relleno is typically served during special occasions like Christmastime or birthdays. This is mainly because it symbolizes abundance and prosperity.
20. Mole Poblano
Mole Poblano is a traditional Mexican dish that is eaten at Christmas time. It can be made from either chicken or pork and has a distinctive dark-brown color with an earthy flavor.
Traditionally, the meat for this recipe is simmered in a mixture of dried chiles, garlic, onion, tomatoes, and spices until it becomes tender.
Next, this mixture is blended into a mole poblano paste sauce, which includes ground nuts such as almonds and peanuts.
The sauce is gritty when it’s cooled, and the meats are added back in. So if your appetite calls for the best Mexican Christmas Foods, reply with Mole Poblano!
21. Pollo Almendrado
Pollo almendrado, or almond-flavored chicken, is a popular dish in Latin America during the holiday season. This dish is typically made with finely ground almonds, sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes orange zest.
What’s more about this Mexican Christmas food? The chicken is then cooked over low heat until it is tender and the coating has browned. It’s common for this dish to be served with rice or mashed potatoes on the side.
22. Mole de Pavo
Mole de Pavo is one of the Mexican Christmas foods, specifically in Puebla and Oaxaca. It’s often served during the Christmas season, as it has a reddish color that symbolizes the blood of Christ.
This dish is prepared with turkey, onions, pumpkin seeds, almonds, raisins, and spices like cumin, coriander seeds, and cinnamon. It’s usually served with rice or corn tortillas on the side.
You will need about three hours of cooking time to make this delicious Mexican Christmas food. First, you’ll need to brown the turkey pieces in olive oil until they become nice and crispy on each side. Next, you’ll want to add some chopped onion for more flavor.
23. Flan Napolitano
In Mexico, the most important event of the year is Christmas. Mexicans celebrate by eating traditional dishes and sharing them with family and friends.
One of the most popular dishes is flan Napolitano, which is a creamy custard baked in a tart shell. Further, Flan Napolitano is made with eggs, sugar, and milk or cream.
The rich caramel flavor makes it a delicious dessert after any meal. It’s also traditionally served with fruit such as strawberries or applesauce on top.
Meanwhile, this Mexican Christmas Foods was created in honor of Pope Benedict XIII, who visited Mexico in 1752. He loved this dessert so much that he declared it his favorite food for the rest of his life!
Gelatinas is a popular Mexican holiday treat. This recipe is easy to make but requires some planning. You can make the gelatin mixture ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks before using.
Ingredients for this Mexican Christmas Food are unflavored gelatin powder, cold water, and boiling water (to dissolve gelatin).
And also sugar, cherry-flavored gelatin mix (or any flavor you like), additional whipped cream, or whipped topping, if desired.
Directions: Combine the dry gelatin with cold popcorn syrup in a small bowl. Next, stir until well mixed and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring the boiling water just up to a boil.
25. Niño Envuelto
A niño envuelto is a type of bread served at Christmastime in Mexico. It is shaped like a wrapped baby and is made by baking soft, white bread dough with sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. This sweet bread can be seen in most houses during the holidays.
The most common way to serve it is fresh with butter and hot chocolate, but it can also be eaten on its own or dipped in coffee or tea.
A niño envuelo is one of the traditional Mexican Christmas Foods at Christmastime that symbolizes all that is good about the holiday season.
26. Mexican Hot Chocolate
Mexican hot chocolate is a traditional drink in many areas of Latin America. It has been used as a symbol of hospitality since the colonial era. It is often served with cinnamon or other spices and sometimes with sweetened condensed milk.
Additionally, the drink can be made by mixing water, cocoa powder, sugar, and fat such as butter, in a saucepan on the stovetop until it begins to simmer.
After letting the mixture cool for five minutes, it is poured into cups and topped with whipped cream or marshmallows.
27. Atole de Calabaza
Atole de Calabaza, or pumpkin atole, is a traditional Mexican holiday drink with a light flavor. It is often made with water and piloncillo, which is brown unrefined sugar.
However, the consistency of the drink can vary from thin to thick depending on how much water is used. Many people enjoy adding cinnamon sticks and ground cloves for additional flavor. Above all, it is regarded as a part of the Mexican Christmas Foods list.
28. Sweet Tamales
One of the most popular desserts in Mexico is called a tamale. Tamales are made from corn dough that is shaped into a triangular or rectangular shape and then steamed inside a corn husk.
This Mexican Christmas food can be filled with different fillings such as beans, vegetables, fruit, or meat.
One of Mexico’s most popular holiday tamales is called Rosca de Reyes, which translates to King’s Cake. The Rosca de Reyes is made with a sweet dough surrounding an almond-paste filling. It’s often decorated with colored sugar and dried fruits.
Marranitos are popular Mexican Christmas foods in many grocery stores around the holidays. Marranitos are small and round, making them appear similar to a miniature cinnamon roll. They are usually made with sweet dough and frosted with a sweet sugar coating.
In addition to that, the dough is typically stuffed with dulce de leche or other types of custard fillings. After that, it is baked until golden brown and then frosted.
Marranitos can be found in many shapes, including stars, hearts, shamrocks, and even individual pastries.
30. Rosca de Reyes
Rosca de Reyes is a traditional bread shaped like a ring that’s served on December 24th in Mexico. It’s filled with black beans, cheese, and other fillings.
The best part about Rosca de Reyes? The person who gets the slice with the little toy baby Jesus inside wins! All in all, this ends today’s topic: Mexican Christmas Foods!
Christmas in Mexico is an exciting, festive occasion filled with good food, family, and friends. One of the most well-known Christmas traditions in Mexico comes from La Posada.
This represents Joseph and Mary’s journey when coming to Bethlehem to register to pay taxes. During this time, people participate in posadas, which are reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s journey.
Overall, this blog of the Mexican Christmas Foods list is extremely handy! To complete your holiday, try the festive Mexican Christmas Foods list above.
From tamales and tacos for the adults to churros and pan dulce for the kids, there’s something here for everyone. Be sure to get ready for a full-on fiesta!