20 Traditional Native American Christmas Foods

Traditional Native American Christmas Foods
Photo by Jay Wennington

Are you looking to try something new this Christmas season? Come closer and hear the good news about traditional native american christmas foods.

Traditional native american foods offer flavors, recipes, and ingredients that can bring a unique twist to your holiday meal.

Native Americans have evolved and adapted their cuisine to the changing environment of the Americas—from pre-Columbian times in pre-Contact societies through today.

During the holidays, families of the 11 million Native Americans living in North America celebrate with traditional foods that are both delicious and steeped in tradition.

The history and culture surrounding holiday feasts remain vibrant, even if practices vary across regions.

This article will explore some of the traditional native American Christmas foods from different parts of North America that have survived for centuries.

1. Christmas Flounder

Christmas Flounder is one of the delightful and delicious traditional native American Christmas foods perfect for the holiday season!

This dish is made of succulent pan-seared flounder cooked with classic Christmas flavors such as herbs, onion, garlic, white wine, and butter. 

It can be served alongside sides such as roasted potatoes or mashed cauliflower, making it an easy one-pan meal for busy evenings.

The flounder is mild yet flavorful – and perfectly pairs with the vibrant taste of Christmas spices. 

To make this festive dish, start by dredging the flounder in egg white and cornstarch to create a flavorful batter. Then fry the fillets in hot oil until golden brown and crispy on each side. 

Once your fillets are cooked and lightly crisp on top in an oiled skillet over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low and stir in herbs (such as rosemary or thyme), onion, garlic, white wine, buttery red wine vinegar seasoning mix, salt, and pepper.

Let the mixture simmer until it’s reduced by half before serving! Top off this amazing holiday meal with a colorful salad of fresh greens dressed with balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of Christmas Flounder! Enjoy!

2. Christmas Lefse

Christmas Lefses are traditional native American Christmas foods that can be found in the United States on the holiday tables of many Scandanavian-American families.

Lefse is a thin, round flatbread made with potatoes, flour, and butter, traditionally served during Christmas. It is usually topped with butter and sugar or as part of a festive meal. 

 Lefse has become increasingly popular in areas with large Scandinavian-American populations, such as Minneapolis and Fargo, North Dakota, where it can be easily found at local markets during Christmastime.

It can also be purchased from specialty stores or ordered online from Scandinavian grocery stores such as Ikea. 

Although it has been adapted from its original design, the core ingredients of lefse remain unchanged, including potatoes, flour, and butter, which are mixed to make the dough for lefse.

The mixture is then rolled out into thin rounds that are cooked on a griddle or hot plate until golden brown on both sides.

In some homes, sisters and daughters take turns turning over each lefse as they flip them back and forth while wearing special mittens that help protect their hands from heat. 

Christmas Lefse is an enjoyable traditional native American Christmas foods enjoyed by many Scandinavian-Americans who want to keep up their family traditions during holiday celebrations.

Its flavorful yet simple combination of ingredients makes it a satisfying accompaniment to almost any Christmas meal.

Still, it also captures the sense of nostalgia and tradition so rooted in Scandinavian culture during the holidays.

3. Oyster dressing

The oyster dressing has been traditional native American Christmas foods for centuries.

It was popular in coastal regions of the US, particularly the east coast, where it was a mainstay on holiday dinner tables.

The dish is made with layers of seasoned bread or biscuit crumbs and chopped oysters cooked in butter or other fat. 

Today, oyster dressing remains a well-loved favorite among Thanksgiving diners, especially in the Southern and Eastern states where the seafood is plentiful.

Oyster dressing can be served as a side dish or as a stuffing baked inside the bird itself–which helps to keep it moist while infusing it with flavor from the broth.

The dish is simple but delicious and pairs nicely with roasted meats such as turkey, duck, or ham. 

Some variations on oyster dressing exist across different regions, such as adding celery and diced carrots for an extra layer of texture and flavor.

In addition to being an integral part of fall festivities, this savory comfort dish also has great nutritional benefits. 

Rich in protein, calcium, and minerals like zinc, oysters have been known to boost heart health because they are low in saturated fat and high in essential fatty acids like omega-3s.

Oysters are also a great source of vitamin B12 which helps regulate metabolism, among other benefits.

For these reasons, preparing and enjoying oyster dressing is sure to bring good luck to friends and family during the holidays!

4. Christmas Goose

The Christmas Goose has been one of the traditional native American Christmas foods since the colonial days of the 1600s when it was served as an alternative to turkey.

Nowadays, this festive dish is typically served at Christmas dinner tables across the United States and is enjoyed by many families.

The preparation involves stuffing a goose with herbs, vegetables, and other ingredients. Some dishes also incorporate fruits such as apples or prunes for added sweetness. 

One of the benefits of eating Goose over other forms of poultry is that it typically produces more fat on its flesh, making it much more flavorful and succulent than other cuts of meat.

This rich flavor makes for memorable holiday dinners that will be a highlight on your family’s special celebration menu. 

It can also be an economical option if you’re hosting a large crowd during the holidays, as one goose can feed up to 8 people depending on how it’s cooked – making it an excellent choice if your budget is tight.

Plus, roasting your goose instead of ordering out can help save time and money regarding food costs and labor. 

On top of all that, cooking a delicious feast featuring seasonal meats such as goose will add to your Christmas dinner celebrations’ lasting memories.

So if you’re planning for your upcoming holiday dinner gathering, why not give Goose a try?

5. Okra soup

Okra soup is one of the popular traditional native American Christmas foods in the United States. It originates from West Africa and has been adopted into American cuisine.

Okra is the main ingredient, giving this savory soup its thick texture and earthy flavor. 

This southern-style soup usually consists of okra, onions, garlic, tomatoes, celery, broth or stock, and spices such as cayenne pepper or hot sauce.

It can also be served with cooked ham or bacon for additional flavor and protein. 

Okra soup is commonly served with cornbread or biscuits to complete the meal. The slow cooking necessary for making okra soup develops deep flavors that make it a delicious comfort food enjoyed by families across America.

6. Kolaches

Kolaches are traditional native American Christmas foods enjoyed throughout the United States in many cultures.

The sweet and savory dish consists of a round, fruit-filled dough pocket made from yeast dough and sweet yogurt.

The most popular kolache varieties include a cheese-filled klobasnek filled with melted white or yellow cheese often mixed with caramelized onions; a Slovakian-style sauerkraut klobasniky; and poppiks, which are filled with poppy seeds.

Kolaches can also be flavored with foods like ham, sausage, bacon, onions, eggs, applesauce, apricots, and raisins, to name a few. 

Kolaches date back to the 1850s when Czech immigrants first began to settle in Central Texas.

Since then, many cultures have embraced them as a classic comfort food thanks to their delicious combination of doughy sweetness and savory fillings.

Today you can find them at local festivals celebrating Czech culture as well as in bakeries across the United States. 

Kolaches are easy to make and make for an excellent snack or dessert. With its light sweetness and comforting warmth, it’s no wonder why these traditional native American Christmas foods have been around for centuries!

7. Coquito

Coquito is one of the traditional native American Christmas foods. It is also a Puerto Rican eggnog-like beverage that dates back to the early 19th century.

It’s made from coconut cream or milk, condensed or evaporated milk, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, rum, vanilla extract, and sometimes even eggs.

Its creamy texture and spice hints make it an ideal holiday drink in the United States and around Latin America.

Coquito is typically served cold during Christmas because of its festive flavor profile, making it great for any special occasion throughout the year in American households. 

Other variations of coquito include different types of alcohols like vodka to accommodate people who don’t enjoy drinking rum, as well as other recipes across Latin America where ingredients are replaced with tropical fruits and spices found locally to give the beverage more Latin flair. 

In Puerto Rico, coquito is made with condensed coconut milk to give it extra sweetness, often enjoyed during celebrations due to its creaminess.

Additionally, in some homes, families have kept generations-old recipes, counting on their grandmothers’ technique for preparing this traditional delicacy. 

Many Puerto Ricans consider coquito not just another drink but their tradition passed down through generations, having them contemplate their origins while indulging in a sweet adventure embraced by the Caribbean islanders living around New York City.

Especially during the December atmosphere, where family gatherings are increased over a glass full of love and consumeristic pride!

8. Julekake

Julekake is a type of sweet bread traditionally eaten in Norway, Sweden, and Northern Germany during the winter holiday season.

It is also commonly eaten in the United States, especially among Norwegian-American families.

Julekake, as one of the traditional native American Christmas foods, is usually made with a mixture of white flour, yeast, cardamom, butter, and golden syrup or honey.

However, raisins and/or citrons may also be added to the dough. It is often served with butter or cream cheese.

Julekake can also be used as a topping for desserts such as ice cream or waffles. Norwegian Americans will often serve Julekake on Christmas Eve alongside fruit soup or other traditional dishes. 

The festive look of Julekake makes it a popular choice during the holiday season. In Norway, it is not uncommon to see loaves of Julekake hanging from trees during this time of year.

The traditional winter colors are thought to represent hope for prosperity in the new year. 

Although typically enjoyed around the holidays, you can find Julekake throughout Scandinavia year round – proving that once something so closely tied to Christmas has become an integral part of Scandinavian culture and heritage!

9. Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole

Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole, also known as Missouri Sausage and Potato Casserole, is a hearty and flavorful traditional native American Christmas foods from the Midwest United States.

This dish has been a part of American traditional food for generations and can be found in many restaurants throughout the region. 

The casserole is typically made with sausage, hash browns (or sometimes potato cubes), eggs, cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and milk.

The ingredients are combined in a baking dish and baked until golden brown. 

The salty-savory combination of the sausage, potatoes, cheese, and egg mixture makes this dish an enjoyable meal or snack.

It’s certainly comfort food at its finest! The soup’s creamy texture gives it a rich texture that balances out the crunchy hash browns wonderfully. 

Leftovers also reheat nicely – add a few minutes to cook time if necessary.

Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole is often served as part of breakfast or brunch (combined with other items to make up an entire spread), but it can also easily become a signature dinner item when paired with some fresh bread rolls or a crisp salad on the side.

10. Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder is a thick and hearty traditional native American Christmas foods originating in Massachusetts.

The chowder is made with clams, potatoes, onions, celery, cream or milk, butter, herbs, and spices for flavor.

Many variations of the original clam chowder recipe can be found throughout the state of Massachusetts. 

The original clam chowder from Massachusetts dates back to the 18th century when fishermen would make the soup as sustenance on their boats while they were out fishing.

Clam chowder has become an iconic dish in New England and one of the most popular dishes in New England cuisine all over the United States. It is typically served hot with oyster crackers or croutons and tabasco sauce. 

This comforting dish can be enjoyed in restaurants across Massachusetts, but it is also a classic weekend project for home cooks to try making themselves.

Making your homemade version of this chowder allows you to customize the flavors and ingredients to create a dish exactly how you like it!

11. Mince Pies

Mince Pies are popular traditional native American Christmas foods in the UK.

They are made from a combination of dried fruit, suet, spices, and brandy and are then enclosed in either shortcrust or puff pastry.

Mince pies can be eaten hot or cold, as a snack, or served with custard or ice cream for dessert. For a traditional mince pie recipe, you will need the following: 

To make the pastry: In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt together before cutting in the butter or margarine using two knives until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Next, add the water, one tablespoon at a time, while mixing with your hands until you have an even dough texture.

Wrap the dough in cling film and place into the fridge for 20 minutes until firm but pliable.

Grease 12 x 8cm deep bun trays before rolling out two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to around 3mm thick and use them to line your trays.  

To make the filling: Preheat oven to 375F & 200°C/Gas 6 (or 190°C/Gas5 if fan assisted).

Prepare 450 gm (1 lb) jar of mincemeat by adding 2 tablespoons of brandy if desired, then evenly divide between each tray.

Roll out the remaining one-third of the pastry on a floured surface as before and cut twelve circles slightly larger than the diameter of each tray – should be just enough paste when combined with the first layer to fill all 13 trays completely – press the top crusts gently onto the edges making sure they stick well enough to bottom crust, so the golden syrup doesn’t escape during cooking – don’t forget docking!

Minimum 15 minutes standard oven – but keep an eye after 10 minutes as different ovens can behave differently! Let it cool before devouring!

12. Sand Tart Cookies

Sand Tart Cookies, also known as Dutch Windmill Cookies, are traditional native American Christmas foods that have been around since the early 19th century.

They are light and crispy on the outside and almost melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. The primary ingredients include butter, flour, and (sometimes) cornstarch/potato starch for extra crispiness.

These cookies feature sweet and simple flavors with a hint of vanilla. Sand Tarts are served at family gatherings and special occasions like weddings or during celebrations like Christmas or Easter. 

Because they are so easy to make, Sand Tart Cookies became popular among all Pennsylvania baking families during the 1800s–1900s.

Today they remain a classic favorite amongst Pennsylvanians due to their flavor and taste and how quickly they can be prepared!

13. The Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is one of the traditional Italian Native American Christmas foods used to celebrate family, friends, and the sea’s bounty.

The seven dishes typically include a variety of seafood, such as calamari, anchovies, shrimp, scallops, clams, crab, and more.

Many families add even more than seven dishes to their feast! This traditional meal is rooted in Italian Catholicism, where meats are traditionally not eaten on Christmas Eve but rather fish or seafood. 

In addition to enjoying a delicious meal together, partaking in this longstanding feast signifies respect for cultural heritage.

The Feast of Seven Fishes provides an opportunity for people from across the United States and around the world to come together and recognize the importance of family and heritage through food. 

It is an honor for both culinary aficionados and those who appreciate traditional culture to be able to celebrate this special occasion with a meaningful dinner that symbolizes unity through food.

14. Gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread cookies are beloved traditional native American Christmas foods in the United States. No Christmas season is complete without these delicious little treats.

According to food historians, gingerbread dates back to around the 15th century when European bakers were making cookies shaped like people and animals, using spices such as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. 

In American history, early settlers brought gingerbread, which combined molasses, honey, and spices with flour to make a thick dough.

A popular version of the recipe is based on treacle or blackstrap molasses, which adds a distinct flavor and dark hue to the cookies.

Traditional gingerbread cookies come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny stars and hearts to decorated figures like snowmen and Santa Claus.

The classic recipe also calls for festive decorations such as sugar crystals, gum drops, or icing details such as eyes or borders for added pizzazz. 

Gingerbread cookies have been served at holiday gatherings for centuries. Still, it wasn’t until Wilbur Brand created his famous cookie cutters in 1923 that this festive treat gained popularity in America.

Today gingerbread is still enjoyed during the holidays by people of all ages who look forward to baking batches of their own handcrafted creations every year.

15. Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole is one of the classic traditional native American Christmas foods that has been around for decades.

This casserole is typically made with green beans, condensed soup, and crisp topping, such as fried onions.

It is a beloved comfort food of many Americans – it can be found at family dinners and potlucks across the country!

Green bean casserole also makes for an easy weeknight dinner that everyone in the family will love. 

The simple ingredients make it budget-friendly and incredibly simple to prepare. Adding cheese or bacon to the mix can turn up the flavor of this classic dish.

With some creativity, you can really spice up your green bean casserole by using different types of canned beans, experimenting with herbs and spices, or adding vegetables such as mushrooms or carrots. 

No matter how you choose to customize this classic meal, one thing remains certain: Green Bean Casserole will always be a traditional American favorite.

16. Kalua pork

Kalua pork is one of the traditional native American Christmas foods in Hawaii, but it has gained popularity throughout the United States in recent years.

The dish consists of slow-cooked pork that has been rubbed with a special blend of Hawaiian sea salt and liquid smoke, giving it an incredible smoky flavor. 

The dish is most commonly served over rice or with sides such as poi (boiled taro root), kalua cabbage (shredded cabbage cooked with onions, garlic, and butter), and lomi salmon (salted pounded raw fish).

Kalua pork can also be used as the base for dishes like paella, teriyaki burgers and sliders, savory quesadillas, and chowder.

17. Christmas Gumbo

Christmas Gumbo, also known as Creole gumbo, is one of the traditional native American Christmas foods from Louisiana that has been enjoyed for generations during the holiday season.

This rich and flavorful stew is typically made with various seafood such as shrimp, crabs, and oysters, combined with okra and/or filé powder (dried ground sassafras leaves), along with ingredients like celery, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. 

Combining these ingredients makes Christmas Gumbo a delicious and warming comfort food that pairs perfectly with warm cornbread or biscuits.

Christmas Gumbo is an important part of the culinary history of Louisiana due to its popularity during the holiday season, especially in New Orleans, where it has become an essential part of their local culture. 

It’s a dish that is often served at family gatherings, potlucks, and other special events throughout the year.

Still, it also has particular significance during Christmas since it is believed to bring luck if served on Christmas Day

The origins of Christmas Gumbo date back to the 19th century when French settlers brought their taste for seafood stews such as bouillabaisse to Louisiana.

Combining African American cooking traditions (such as filé powder) and Cajun spices, a unique gumbo was created over time, eventually becoming known as the region’s signature dish – Christmas Gumbo.

To this day, Louisianans still celebrate the holiday season by preparing this hearty favorite for family meals and special occasions alike!

18. Crabcakes

Crabcakes are popular traditional native American Christmas foods that are made with fresh crabmeat.

The dish usually features a patty-like shape and may be served on its own as an appetizer or alongside main dishes such as potatoes, greens, or salads. 

The classic version of crabcakes typically contains only five ingredients: lump crabmeat, mayonnaise, mustard, crackers, and onion.

These ingredients are mixed in a bowl and then formed into patties before being cooked in the oven or a skillet. 

More creative versions of crabcakes can include the addition of herbs and spices to give the stuffing more flavor or adding other types of seafood, such as shrimp and lobster, to create unique combinations.

Vegetables can also be added to enhance the flavor profile and make it more hearty. Additionally, various sauces can be used to serve each batch of crabcakes for dipping purposes. 

Crabcakes should have a golden brown crust on the outside but remain moist and tender on the inside when cooked properly.

They are best served warm but can also be stored for later use in an airtight container for up to three days if necessary.

19. Mulled wine

Mulled wine has long been one of the popular traditional native American Christmas foods, especially during the winter months.

Traditionally served warm in mugs or glasses, this beverage combines red or white wine, brandy, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom. These spices lend the drink an aromatic flavor and distinctive ruby hue.

Mulled wine can also be prepared cold and often includes seasonally-available ingredients like orange or apple juice.

This festive beverage is popularly served at holiday gatherings and special events due to its unique flavor and festive appearance.

While mulled wine originated in Europe, it has become deeply embedded in many American traditions and continues to be enjoyed today.

20. Cranberry Pear Pie

Cranberry Pear Pie is one of the traditional native American Christmas foods that originated in Alabama.

This classic treat is made with tart, juicy pears and sweet cranberries, nestled in a flaky, buttery crust and baked golden brown.

The mix of flavors creates a unique and delicious combination perfect for cold winter nights or festive holiday meals. 

The pie can also be enjoyed year-round as an indulgent breakfast or night-time snack.

The dish consists of simple ingredients that may be found in most kitchens, making it an economical and convenient recipe to pull together when entertaining guests or hosting family celebrations.

Cranberry pear pies can often be first seen at church potlucks, community gatherings, and other large social events throughout Alabama.


Traditional native American Christmas foods are a unique blend of the culture and history of the nation, featuring recipes that often combine multiple cultures for a truly delectable cuisine.

Rich in flavors yet easy-to-prepare dishes such as clam chowder, apple pie, and hamburgers make up a large part of traditional American fare. 

These dishes can be enjoyed by Australians alike and make for fantastic socially engaging activities with friends or family.

Traditional native American Christmas foods are delicious and carry distinct memories and emotions, making them even more special to enjoy.

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