19 Best Traditional American Christmas Foods

Traditional American Christmas Foods
Image credit: delish.com

The holiday season is almost upon us, so it’s time to start thinking about what you want to cook and how you want to decorate your house.

Food and decorations are always important for having the perfect Christmas. But what are the best traditional American Christmas foods?

This blog covers everything from traditional American Christmas foods to famous holiday desserts! Although, most people forget one important part of the Christmas celebration – the food! Nonetheless, we’ve got you backed up.

Here are some of the best traditional American Christmas foods you should consider preparing this year!

1. Hot Buttered Rum

The starter of this list of traditional American Christmas foods is Hot buttered rum. This is an old-fashioned drink that is perfect for the holidays.

It’s a blend of spiced rum and butter that can be served hot or cold, depending on your preference. 

Typically, it’s prepared with brown sugar, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla extract. Also, you can add a shot of dark rum for a little extra kick.

To prepare it, simply bring the ingredients to a boil in water or milk. Then, pour over ice cubes in your favorite mug and enjoy.

2. Wassail

Wassail is an alcoholic beverage traditionally prepared for the winter months. It typically consists of a hot spiced ale with roasted apples, cinnamon sticks, and a touch of lemon or orange juice.

Wassail bowls can be made in advance and served in large punch bowls at parties. To get started with this one of the traditional American Christmas foods, you’ll need the following:

  • Apple cider 
  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Water 
  • Sugar 
  • Ground cloves 
  • Nutmeg 
  • Cinnamon stick, broken into pieces 
  • Whole allspice berries 
  • Grated fresh ginger.

3. Mulled Wine

On this list of traditional American Christmas foods, Mulled wine is a traditional drink for the winter season. It can be served hot or cold. Usually, it contains red wine, honey, and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. 

Many variations exist on how to make mulled wine. Some recipes include adding orange peel, lemon peel, nutmeg, ginger, or allspice.

There are many reasons why people enjoy drinking mulled wine during the holidays: it’s warm and comforting.

Coupled with that, it’s festive-looking; smells amazing; tastes delicious; warms you up on a cold day, and finally–gets you in the spirit of the season!

4. Mimosas Food

Mimosas are a classic brunch drink but also a great holiday cocktail. The champagne adds a little extra sweetness and fizziness. And with the orange juice, it’s like Christmas in a glass. 

Plus, these mimosas are easy to make and can be served anytime or at night. Just mix some champagne and orange juice and pour over ice–voilà! You’re all set for your next party or family gathering (or just because).

5. Eggnog

Eggnog is a popular holiday drink that can be made with eggs, milk, and other ingredients such as sugar, vanilla extract, and liquor. The mixture is whipped together in a blender or food processor until it becomes frothy. 

Also, Eggnog has a reputation for being one of the most fattening drinks around, with some recipes containing over 500 calories per serving.

But plenty of lower-calorie versions out there still taste just as delicious. This isn’t left out of the traditional American Christmas foods list.

6. Pecan Tassies

Of all the traditional American Christmas foods, Pecan tassies are the perfect treat for a cold winter day. They are so quick and easy to make and taste absolutely delicious.

To make them, you will need butter, sugar, pecans, flour, vanilla extract, milk or cream, eggs, and baking powder. 

First, add the butter and sugar to a bowl until they are well mixed. Then,  add in the rest of the ingredients until it is a dough-like consistency.

Next, put spoonfuls on top of each other on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. Finally, serve with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

7. Gingerbread Houses

There’s nothing quite like the smell of gingerbread wafting through your house while you’re baking them with your kids.

You can find all the instructions for making a Gingerbread House on our website. All that’s needed is some frosting, candies, and sprinkles for decoration.

The steps to make this specialty of traditional American Christmas foods are as follows:

  • First, cut off any excess dough on top so it will sit flat on a cookie sheet.
  • Press together dough pieces to create a perfect seal along the edges.
  • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes (or until done).

8. Fruitcake

Regardless of your opinion on fruitcake, it’s undeniable that it has become one of the most iconic food items in America.

In fact, it was once referred to as the cake that just won’t die. Fruitcake originated in England and was brought over to the United States by English settlers. 

For a fruitcake to last over a long period without spoiling, it must be made with an assortment of dried fruits and nuts, alcohol, and spices.

These ingredients help preserve the cake, one of the traditional American Christmas foods,  for weeks or even months. It’s traditionally served at Christmastime because it can be prepared well in advance. 

9. Cookies

Many of us associate the smell of freshly baked cookies with the holidays, and for a good reason. So many different kinds of cookies can be made during the cold winter months. 

In addition, Cookies are easy to eat and share, making them a perfect food for parties or gatherings with friends and family.

If you’re looking for new cookie recipes to try out this year, check out these tasty traditional American Christmas foods.

10. Green Bean Casserole

For traditional American Christmas foods, green bean casserole is a must. Although it has been adjusted and adapted over the years, it is still an iconic dish in America.

It is made with frozen French fried onions, canned cream of mushroom soup, fried bacon crumbles, and fresh green beans.

Meanwhile, this dish tastes both crispy and creamy at the same time. Also, it pairs well with mashed potatoes or roasted garlic mashed potatoes as a side dish. And, of course, you can’t forget a piece of good ol’ apple pie for dessert!

11. Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is a dish of boiled or steamed spinach. It is drained and covered with a cream sauce made primarily from milk, butter, flour, and seasoning.

Creamed spinach has been served in America since the 1800s, when it was often served alongside creamed oysters for breakfast. 

Moreso, it has since become popular as a side dish alongside many different types of proteins, such as turkey, ham, and steak.

This delicacy on our list of traditional American Christmas foods requires few ingredients. They are:

  • Frozen chopped spinach (or fresh)
  • Butter 
  • Heavy cream 
  • All-purpose flour 
  • Salt.

12. Rack Of Lamb

Speaking of the various traditional American Christmas foods, a Rack of lamb is an excellent choice for a centerpiece dish on your table.

A rack of lamb is quite simple to prepare, but it has one important rule: cook the rack at room temperature, not straight out of the fridge. 

This ensures that it will cook evenly. The hardest part about preparing a rack of lamb is just getting the thing in and out of the oven.

Which you can do with a little help from a cooking rack. It’s perfect for any time of year, especially at Christmas when celebratory feasts are needed most.

13. Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin is a must-have for the holidays. It’s a lean cut of beef that cooks up quickly and is sure to be the most tender, juicy, and flavorful slice of meat on your dinner table.

The true beauty of beef tenderloin is that it can be prepared in dozens of ways. It can be grilled, roasted, pan-fried, or sautéed – so you’ll never get bored with this meal. 

What’s even better about beef tenderloin is its easy preparation. You don’t need an expensive cut or rare ingredient; salt and pepper will do the trick.

For grilling, you can use a dry rub before cooking or add some oil after grilling for a crispier texture and flavor. Overall, it’s one of the traditional American Christmas foods you will enjoy no matter what!

14. Christmas Ham

A Christmas ham is a must-have for the holidays because it’s the meal’s centerpiece and tastes amazing. A whole pork loin is covered in a spice rub, then roasted until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hams must be cooked until they reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit before you take them out of the oven.

However, internal temperatures will rise to 5 degrees Fahrenheit when taken out of the oven. The meat should also rest for 15 minutes before slicing to absorb all of its juices back into the meat.

Serve your ham with a side dish such as apple cider-mustard sauce, horseradish sauce, or cranberry sauce, and enjoy!

15. Gravy

Gravy is a must-have at the traditional U.S. Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s a great way to get your whole family involved in cooking.

Plus, everyone knows that the reason for the season is gravy. So we’d be remiss not to mention it here in our traditional American Christmas foods list.

Moving on, a classic dish that is often served at the holidays is gravy. There are plenty of recipes out there for you to choose from and follow!

Gravy can be made by adding flour and butter, salt, pepper, and milk or water to a pan of meat drippings. 

Furthermore, the mixture should be simmered until it begins to thicken. Seasonings such as thyme, sage, oregano, or onion powder can also be added if desired.

This thick sauce is traditionally served with chicken and mashed potatoes but can also be used as a side for roasted turkey or beef.

16. Cranberry sauce

Cranberries are a staple in the winter, used in everything from cranberry sauce to cranberry muffins. They grow on bushes and have a beautiful pinkish-red color that is perfect for the holidays.

To make your cranberry sauce, you will need fresh or frozen cranberries, sugar, water,  cornstarch, and salt. 

To prepare this one of the traditional American Christmas foods, start by washing and removing any stems from your berries.

Then, place them in a pot with the other ingredients. Next, stir constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes until it thickens up into a sauce. Let cool before finally storing in an airtight container in the fridge.

17. Chocolate Chip Cookies

This time of year is also prime time for baking – which means you need some dessert recipes that will please everyone at your table.

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? These cookies have been around forever, but they never get old. 

Compared to other traditional American Christmas foods, Chocolate chips offer just enough sweetness without being too overbearing.

This delicious cookie recipe is a must-have for any family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations.

18. Stuffing

Stuffing is one of the traditional American Christmas foods that people worldwide enjoy. It’s a basic mixture of bread, meat, and vegetables that are baked in an oven until they become nice and crispy on top. However, the ingredients for Stuffing vary from region to region. 

Some of the most popular ones include onions, celery, green bell peppers, mushrooms (especially when you’re going for the Italian vibe), butter (or olive oil), salt, and pepper.

Usually, Stuffing starts with a loaf of white or whole wheat bread that has been cut into cubes. Some people also like adding pretzels or crackers because they add extra flavor.

19. Turkey

People often associate the traditional American Christmas dinner with a roasted turkey and all of the trimmings. The turkey is a centerpiece of the meal, but it doesn’t have to be the only dish.

Also, many other favorite dishes are traditional for an American feast. For example, stuffing with mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.

This variety makes for a well-rounded dinner that will please everyone attending your gathering. Above all, Turkey ends our list of several traditional American Christmas foods!


When it comes time for the holidays, there are many different things you have to think about. One of them is what food will be served at your dinner table.

The traditional American Christmas foods combine appetizers, desserts, and beverages. We recommend making all these types of these dishes for a nice assortment.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, throwing a Christmas party and enjoying the season with your friends and family can be fun.

Getting into the holiday spirit with the right traditional American Christmas foods can turn any party into a good time!

This guide included some of the best traditional American Christmas foods to enjoy this holiday season.

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