Welcome to The Storied Recipe! As you try these delicious traditional Christmas desserts from around the world, I invite you to listen to the many stories my global guests have shared about their beloved Christmas cultural and family traditions. Click here to listen to the Christmas Around the World series and follow links throughout the post to read or listen to even more memories centered around these holiday desserts!
Listen to Holiday Episodes of The Storied Recipe
While you make these sweet treats from around the world, listen to these holidays episodes of The Storied Recipe Podcast.
Australia & New Zealand
Fun fact! Pavlova, one of the most famous Christmas classics around the world, was first made in New Zealand (or Australia, accounts vary). This sweet, pillowy dessert, made with egg whites and sugar and topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, is now a fixture on Australian Christmas tables.
- Cooks in 235 minutes
This Christmas theme pavlova is a light and refreshing dessert. The pavlova can be made ahead of time and assembled in less than 10 minutes. I dressed this one with strawberries, blueberries, and mint leaves to resemble a wreath
By far, the most popular Christmas dessert across the Caribbean is this Christmas cake - also known as Black Cake or Rum Cake. Whatever the name, all are a version of a rum filled fruit cake.
- Cooks in 1 hour 10 minutes
Caribbean Rum Cake, y'all! During the holidays, my dessert table ain't complete without it. This beauty is unapologetically rum-soaked, buttery, flavorful, nutty, and extra moist. Rum cake is a traditional holiday dessert in a lot of the Caribbean islands. Served up as a dreamy, golden bundt cake that's soaked in a rich rum glaze!
- Cooks in 150 minutes
Jamaican Black Cake, also know as Jamaican rum cake, wedding cake or Christmas cake is a rich and decadent traditional Caribbean dessert! Dried fruit is soaked in rum for months up to a year then added to this fruit cake with warm spices and wine making it super moist with maximum flavour. This staple Caribbean dessert recipe is enjoyed year round, particularly during holidays like Christmas, weddings, and celebrations!
Many of Eastern Europe's most famous and typical Christmas desserts feature breads made from rich, sweet dough and filled with dried fruit, poppy seeds, and nuts, making them easy to make ahead.
- Cooks in 190 minutes
Orehova potica je najbolja velikonona in boina sladica. Mehko, puhasto testo in bogat, orehov nadev z medom. Preprost recept in slasten rezultat.
- Cooks in 25 minutes
Although slightly sweet, this Poppy Seed Bread Pudding is considered less a dessert and more a hearty accompaniment to a simple soup.
- Cooks in 150 minutes
Hungarian Beigli is a traditional walnut and poppy seed roll which is served in many Hungarian families at Christmas as a special treat. The Christmas meal table would be incomplete without these rolls.
- Cooks in 2 hours 15 minutes
Many different versions of this rich bread, laced with rum syrup and drizzled with icing, are served at Easter in Polish households. It's such a tradition, and so well-loved, that there are probably as many babka recipes as there are Polish bakers! This particular recipe was inspired by one in our 1990 200th Anniversary Cookbook, which includes a wealth of recipes and information from cultures around the world. You'll notice that, despite being made with yeast, it's an easy batter bread; "no-knead" isn't as new a concept as you might think.
Its no surprise that many of the best Christmas desserts in the world come from Mediterranean countries, famous for their produce and sweet breads like Italian Panettone.
Listen to Catalonian native Mar Lozano talk about growing up as a free spirit in a tiny Catholic town, new traditions on her Christmas dinner table, and the significance of January 6th to many cultures around the world.
- Cooks in 30 minutes
Turrón de Jijona is a classic sweet treat in Spain over the Holiday season. This includes two methods: the traditional method, as made by Mar's grandmother and an alternative method Mar suggests for quicker drying.
- Cooks in 860 minutes
This Chocolate Almond Babka is the dessert bread of your dreams! It's a sweet brioche bread, filled with a dark chocolate and nut filling! This bread is like a mixture of cake, bread, and chocolate! How could it get any better than that?!
- Cooks in 3 hours 30 minutes
A traditional Greek Christmas Bread (Christopsomo) recipe! Discover all the secrets to make the tastiest traditional Christopsomo with this no fail recipe!
- Cooks in 365 minutes
Panettone, an Italian Christmas Sweet Bread Recipe, an easy delicious yeast bread filled with raisins, candied fruit or chocolate chips.
- Cooks in 145 minutes
A lightly spiced, fluffy Christmas cake filled with fruit and nuts. A speciality in Portugal, Bolo Rei or Portuguese Kings Cake, is super easy to bake at home, so get ready to make your Kings Cake "crown" this holiday season!
- Cooks in 10 hours
The meringue mushrooms and sugared cranberries & rosemary are completely optional garnishes. The recipe below includes both. For all make-ahead instructions, see recipe notes. I recommend watching the video tutorial above and reading the full recipe below before beginning. There's a lot of cooling down, chilling, and other moving parts here!
- Cooks in 80 minutes
Christmas Sticky Toffee Pudding made with dates and brandy-soaked mixed dried fruit, and served with a lush toffee sauce, an indulgent Christmas dessert that is incredibly easy to make. A lot lighter than a traditional Christmas fruit pudding, this variation combines the best flavours from the 2 classic desserts.
- Cooks in 12 minutes
Creamy, dairy-free, sweet 3 ingredient Italian custard with boozy flavor. Easy recipe to serve alone or on top of cakes, Panettones, cookies, or with fresh fruit.
Although the Middle East is not known for its celebrations of Christmas, Mai Kakish explains in her episode, Christmas in Palestine, how the Muslims in her town supported her Christian community's Christmas celebrations. She also shares her memories of attending the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for Christmas mass and her family's many traditional Christmas recipes. Listen to Mai here and try her Ghraybeh cookies using the recipe below.
We love our Christmas desserts here in North America, don't we! There's only a small section on North American recipes here, however, since I'm concentrating a little more in this post on global recipes.
I knew I had to make Butter Tarts since there weren't any Canadian homes here in Florida... I missed the instruction that said to fill the tart shells halfway full. I filled them fuller. Full, full, full. And they boiled over in the oven, turning the sugary syrup to candy that stuck the tart shells to the muffin tins. So, don't overfill! But don't worry if you do since it's really easy to make a second batch - you just might have to go out and get a new muffin tin first!Christine Pittman of Cook the Story
- Cooks in 120 minutes
This Southern Sweet Potato Pie is an heirloom recipe loved for generations! A delicious Southern favorite made with simple ingredients baked sweet potatoes, butter, milk, eggs and sugar! Loved fall dessert that's perfect for Thanksgiving!
- Cooks in 815 minutes
While the salads vary by tearoom, I have personally never been to one which did not serve a frozen cranberry salad such as this. Creamy, fruity, light tasting and just the right size when prepared in a little muffin paper, this is the quintessential tearoom must have and a very special treat to enjoy at home.
- Cooks in 40 minutes
Butter Tarts are a quintessential Canadian treat that are a decadent, delicious and surprisingly easy addition to anyones holiday dessert tray. Theyre so easy that Ive made two batches already this year. Learn how to make this classic decadent tart.
magical time of year, listen to Alexandra
- Cooks in 1 hour 40 minutes
Small peppermint chocolate truffles with a snowy coating of coconut. The base is a mix of heavy whipping cream, flour, cream of tartar, and peppermint extract. The base is cooked over low heat then rolled into balls, roll in melted chocolate, and then the coconut. Stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator it is the perfect little bit of yummy goodness leading up to Christmas.
- Cooks in 50 minutes
I love the tradition of serving Ris a La Mande (Danish Rice Pudding) on Little Christmas Eve! A delicious, traditional dessert if you have Danish roots!
- Cooks in 1 hour 5 minutes
My family adds raisins to this rice pudding, but they're not my favorite so I left them out.
This recipe is a little bit sweeter than the traditional. Feel free to reduce the amount of sugar.
favorite christmas recipes from british traditions
listen to Kate Jack
- Cooks in 4 hours 20 minutes
Peppermint Crisp Tart (or pudding) is a dessert made from South African pantry ingredients. It can be made in advance and frozen. It is not served frozen, but rather left to defrost into creamy deliciousness. It is made from layers of tennis biscuits (sweet coconut cookies), lightly whipped cream, caramelized condensed milk, and chopped up peppermint crisp chocolate
This Malva Pudding recipe is a sweet and moist cake recipe straight from South Africa made with incredible apricot jam and heavy cream.
latin american countries kept religious overtones lost in north american, western europe, scandinavian
link to Peruvian Christmas menu
flavors of coconut milk
more fruit cakes
- Cooks in 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cooks in 45 minutes
Natilla is a sweet custard that is traditionally served during Colombian Christmas gatherings. There are many variations of this dish throughout the country but this Natilla is my grandmothers recipe and is very special to me. I called my mom and one of my aunts for the recipe, but they didnt have it because they
- Cooks in 285 minutes
Recipe video above. This is an easy Christmas Cake that requires no overnight fruit soaking. It's a fruit cake that's incredibly easy to make, with a rich, velvety texture that's full flavoured and so moist it can be eaten plain. (But no one turns away a slosh of custard!) Just as good made on the day - or weeks later.
Pan de Pascua is a type of spiced fruit cake that is a staple during the Christmas season in the South American country of Chile.
Chileans use both “Navidad” and “Pascua” words interchangeably for Christmas so this bread might literally translate to “Easter bread” but it is enjoyed at Christmas time.
Guyanese Sponge cake is a rich dessert very similar to pound cake. This deliciously decadent cake is often made with multi-colored swirls and is mostly enjoyed at celebrations like birthdays and Christmas.
- Cooks in 55 minutes
These traditional Christmas cookies from Spain are also commonly given as gifts. A hint of roasted almonds and cinnamon in every delicious bite, Polvorones (or Spanish Christmas cookies) are quick and easy to make --- you might end up making them all year round!
Christmas markets German cities
- Cooks in 1 hour 45 minutes
- Cooks in 40 minutes
Chestnut cake is an amazing Fall recipe that will surprise your guests. It is easy and uses canned chestnut puree.
- Cooks in 65 minutes
If I had to choose one dessert as the most nostalgic for me, that would be a traditional English Trifle. I love the flavor combinations!
- Cooks in 16 hours 24 minutes
One of the most traditional British Christmas recipes.
Create your own mincemeat for mince pies - a traditional British Christmas favourite. This recipe is easy to make, just leave it for a few weeks to mature before using. Make a half quantity if you wish.
- Cooks in 1 hour
Linzer Torte has a crumbly hazelnut crust and raspberry jam filling and is topped with a lattice. It is a delicious Austrian-German pastry and a favorite treat at Christmas.
- Cooks in 280 minutes
English plum pudding is a traditional Christmas dessert made with dried fruit and served with hard sauce. Its an impressive sweet treat the whole family will love. Best of all, its easy to make ahead and enjoy on Christmas Day.
- Cooks in 4 hours 10 minutes
This German Stollen recipe makes a rich, fruit-studded loaf that is a festive and tasty German Christmas bread, perfect for celebrating with family or bringing to a holiday party!
If one 14-15 in loaf is too large for your family, feel free to make two smaller loaves and freeze or gift one. If baking half loaves, check them after baking around 30-35 minutes (but they may take close to the full time).
Sweet treats are not as popular for Christmas in Asia as they are in the United States. Read hear all about bibingka, a savory Christmas classic in the Philippines. Machi, a Storied Recipe community member submitted the recipe and says about the flavor, "Slightly smokey, sweet, salty, cheesy and coconutty. So many amazing flavors and aromas."
She also says, "We have this thing called Simbang Gabi, where people attend a series of daily mass at 4 am in anticipation of Christmas.... You’ll see these bibingkas sold just outside of church, and people flock to them after mass to buy a few bibingkas as a pasalubong (a gift you bought for those back home)."
Read more from Machi here.