Looking to make a complete traditional Christmas dinner, Peruvian style? Or perhaps just a recipe or two to add a little pizazz and umph to your own Christmas menu?
Here, I've gathered together 27 of the best Peruvian recipes mainly from bloggers specializing in Peruvian cuisine. You can find a lot of "Peruvian inspired" recipes on the internet. But in this post, I've made sure to find authentic and traditional recipes from Peruvians or Latin Americans.
Before the recipes, here's a little background on Peruvian Christmas traditions. But please, feel free to skip to the recipes below!
Christmas Traditions in Peru
Christmas Preparations in Peru
While the Christmas season in the US typically begins after Thanksgiving, things are a little different in Peru, where Christmas is a much less materialistic holiday. In fact, it's common for only children to receive gifts. There are no Black Friday sales or the same rush to buy gifts for every one you know.
In fact, even the most famous Christmas market in Peru opens first on December 24th.
The market, named Santurantikuy ("Sale of the Saints) is in the main square of the bustling city of Cusco. The focus of the market is the great nativity scene, with the Baby Jesus at the very center. Around that are stalls where artisans sell all types of clothing and goods. As visitors wander through the stalls, they may drink rum or the famous Peruvian Christmas Hot Chocolate (recipe below).
Keep in mind that the Christmas season in Peru is during summertime, so you can wander leisurely late into the December evenings without getting cold.
As far as decorations in Peruvian homes, the Christmas tree is less common. Instead, just like at the Christmas Markets, the focal point of Christmas decorations is a Pesebre - or a manger. When families arrange gifts to exchange, it is around this manger rather than under a tree. Someone - often the youngest child - will place a figurine of baby Jesus into the manger.
Christmas Eve (December 24th) in Peru
La Noche Buena - the Good Night - or Christmas Eve is the high point of the festive season.
Many Peruvians will attend Misa de Gallo (the Rooster Mass) at 10pm, where members of the Catholic Church celebrate the birth of Christ.
Afterwards, families gather together to eat a huge Christmas dinner (recipes below!). Gifts may be often exchanged that evening, although some Peruvians embrace the North American/European tradition of receiving gifts from Santa Claus the next day. (Interesting fact from Cultural Awareness: In 1972, the Peruvian government banned Santa Claus from the country’s radio and TV programs, alleging that he was a depiction of western capitalism, greed, and an anti-Christian myth.)
In some towns, fireworks are lit at midnight.
Christmas Day (December 25th) in Peru
In some households, Papá Noel (Peruvian Santa) visits while the children sleep. Peruvians may see another side of the family on Christmas Day, December 25th, always greeting whomever they do see with "Feliz Navidad"!
Epiphany or Three Kings Day (January 6th) in Peru
The holiday season lasts through the Roman Catholic celebration of Epiphany or Three Kings Day, which celebrates the Magi arriving and presenting gifts to the newborn King, Jesus. It's fitting therefore to exchange family gifts that day, instead of on Christmas Day and many Peruvian households observe this tradition, particularly in the Andean regions of Peru.
With all of these celebrations, you may be creating multiple Christmas meals this year! Here are enough recipes to serve authentic Peruvian food at each and every one!
27 Traditional Peruvian
Christmas Dinner Recipes
Papa a la Huancaína from Eat Peru
A creamy, cheesy classic Peruvian appetizer using potatoes, lots of cheese, and the ají amarillo (the yellow chili pepper)
Causa Sushi Rolls from PeruDelights
Causa is a Peruvian potato. In this Japanese-Peruvian fusion dish, the Causa is mashed and filled with crab meat and seasoning. (Peruvian food is heavily influenced by Asian cuisine, as Peru is home to a large Asian population.) If you don't have access to Causa, use yellow, waxy potatoes.
MAIN COURSE IDEAS
Peruvian Style Roasted Turkey from Olenka Cooks
Begin with a large roast turkey: Brine, marinate, fill with aromatics, and roast in the Peruvian style!
Pollo a la Braza – A Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken from Mi Comida Peruana
Although we may not have access to the traditional “rotombo” - the woodburning oven typically used when grilling chickens - we can still recreate their famous Peruvian rotisserie chicken using the marinade and methods in this recipe.
(If you didn't love the previous recipe, here's another Peruvian Chicken Recipe from NYT Cooking.)
Christmas Baked Milk Suckling Pig from Mi Comida Peruana
Flavored with lots of citrus, garlic, and rosemary, all the traditional Christmas flavors are in here.
Or choose any protein...
Puré de Papas (Peruvian Mashed Potatoes) from Jamea Peru
If Peruvian cuisine is new to you, you'll make this one similarly to how any country makes mashed potatoes. To ensure they’re as authentically Peruvian as possible, choose gold potatoes.
Papa Rellenos from Eat Peru
Super famous around Latin American and the Caribbean, Papa Rellenos are stuffed potatoes. This Peruvian version features ground soy meat (or ground beef), olives, raisins, and their famous Aji Panca, Peruvian Chili Paste
(Here's another recipe for Papa Rellenos from The Spruce Eats)
Yacan Tuber “Applesauce” from Attainable Sustainable
Combine the famous Peruvian Yacan with cinnamon, lemon juice, raisins, and honey for a sweet potato side dish
Christmas Rice with Balsamic Syrup from Peru Delights
A beautiful rice dish with Christmas colors from spinach and red pepper. Includes traditional Christmas spices like cinnamon and almond and apricots.
Arroz Moro from Peru Delights
Rice, angel hair noodles, garlic, bell peppers, unexpectedly sweetened with Coca Cola!
Even simpler version of rice and angel hair pasta. This version is Chilean. With only 4 ingredients, this recipe is so simple it cannot go wrong!
Christmas Arab Rice Peruvian Style from Mahatma Rice
An Americanized version of Peruvian rice.
Peruvian Cabbage Salad from Qué Rica Vida
A Peruvian cabbage-based stir-fry made with pork and lots of veggies, including tomatoes, olives, and peppers
A beautiful fuschia-colored salad, deriving its color from the main ingredient of Beets. A Peruvian salad with Russian roots.
Ensalada de Pallares – A Peruvian Lima Bean Salad from FoodFidelity
Another gorgeous, festive, multi-colored salad featuring lima beans, bright purple cabbage, gem-colored tomatoes, radishes, and peppers
Carrots, celery, apple, and raisins – this seems to be a classic with a version found in many cuisines around the globe
Tamales need no introduction! You can find a classic Peruvian version from Que Rica Vida right here.
This gorgeous dish is sweet and bursting with vitamins at the same time. Granny Smith Apples, sweet potatoes, and brown sugar available at any American store
Peruvian Applesauce (Puré de Manzana) from Mi Comida Peruana
You could find hundreds of applesauce recipes and all would be just fine to use! I chose to share this one because its from a Peruvian website and because it suggests some mix-ins that are common in Peru but less than typical in North America.
Peruvian Panetón (Panettone)
This sweet treat, along with hot chocolate (see below) is, by far, the most typical of all Peruvian Christmas foods. It came from the large population of Italian immigrants that arrived in Peru between 1840 and 1866. (Although there were Italians in Peru as early as the 16th century.)
Try any of the Panettone recipes below:
Hot Chocolate Panettone Bread Pudding from Food52
A bread pudding creation from a chef with Peruvian heritage, this dish combines the classic Paneton with the equally traditional Peruvian hot chocolate.
Peruvian Hot Chocolate from EatPeru.com
This creamy treat is spiced with orange peel and lots of classic Christmas flavors
La Algarrobina (Pisco Egg Nog) from Nico at PiscoTrail
Named after Algarrobina – carob syrup – this cocktail is cold, creamy, and nutritious as Carob is high in fiber and a valuable source of vitamins E, D, C, Niacin, B6, and folic acid
The Pisco Sour from Nina Moons at Enigma Peru
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