Home Recipe Roundup 20 Traditional British Christmas Foods

20 Traditional British Christmas Foods

Give this year’s holiday feast a twist with these mouthwatering British Christmas foods!

With recipes for turkey, roasted chicken, trifle, and bread sauce, this list is complete from main entrees to dessert.

A traditional British Christmas dinner offers a wide array of dishes, ranging from savory to sweet and everything in between.

Sweet Christmas Pudding Cake
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Turkey is the Yuletide centerpiece in most British households. 

But besides the big bird, you can also look forward to appetizing treats such as Yorkshire pudding (which is a savory side dish) and mincemeat tart (which is a sweet dessert).

So, if you want a taste of the British holidays without leaving your home, these recipes have you covered.

1. Christmas Chicken (Roast Chicken)

While most British households serve roast turkey at Christmas dinner, roast chicken is not an uncommon substitute.

After all, you can’t go wrong with tender and succulent chicken with wonderfully crispy skins. 

It’s not only easier to cook, but also a lot more ideal for smaller households and intimidate celebrations.

In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make roast chicken so juicy, from the drumsticks down to the breasts.

2. British Ploughman’s Lunch

The British ploughman’s lunch is a festive platter filled with British meats, cheeses, crusty bread, chutney, and more.

It’s a grazing board with a mix of sweet, salty, and savory nibbles. 

The components can all be served cold, as the platter was originally meant for farmers or ploughmen to eat in the fields for lunch.

Over time, it eventually became a staple Christmas appetizer.

3. Beef Wellington

If turkey or chicken just won’t do, how about beef Wellington? This scrumptious dish will make for an extra fancy Christmas centerpiece!

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Boeuf en croute or beef Wellington is a ridiculously tender piece of beef wrapped in mushrooms duxelles and golden puff pastry.

Because it’s usually featured in cooking competitions, people get intimidated by its seemingly complicated recipe.

But believe me, if I can pull it off, so can you.

4. Bread Sauce

This next entry sounds a bit odd, but it’s a definite must-try. 

Believe it or not, bread sauce is one of those traditional Christmas foods that goes way back to the medieval period.

It doesn’t take a historian to know why it’s lasted this long, though.

It’s made with stale bread, milk, onions, and spices, and it’s absolutely divine.

Serve this with turkey and alongside cranberry sauce and stuffing and voila, your Christmas feast is complete.

5. Traditional British Christmas Pudding

Just like everywhere else in the world, a holiday feast is not complete without dessert.

And in the United Kingdom, pudding is synonymous with Christmas dessert.

Also known as plum pudding, it’s a brandy-infused steamed cake with a delectable fruit filling in the middle, giving you wonderful flavors inside and out.

Fun fact: back in the day, these sweet delights used to contain a silver coin in the center, and whoever finds it would supposedly receive good fortune.

6. Braised Red Cabbage

The thought of red cabbage doesn’t seem at all that enticing, but don’t knock it until you try it!

This British Christmas staple is tart and crisp, which provides a refreshing contrast to other holiday dishes that are normally super rich and heavy.

It’s not all-tart, though. Infused with apple juice, the red cabbage slaw also has a bit of sweetness to offer. Mustard seeds also give it a lively zing.

7. Cranberry Orange Relish Recipe

As turkey is usually the main star of a British dinner, cranberry relish is also naturally always present at the table.

Tart cranberries are made sweet by simmering them in sugar. This recipe infuses orange into the relish, giving it a bright, citrus flavor.  

Serve this alongside any meat entree to give it a refreshing, berry-citrus contrast.

8. Traditional Figgy Pudding Recipe

Here’s another pudding recipe guaranteed to tickle your taste buds.

Not to be confused with a traditional Christmas pudding, a figgy pudding is made with suet (meat fat, if you’re not familiar) and dried figs.

Don’t let the suet throw you off! Together, these two elements, along with others, create a sweet and savory pudding your palate won’t soon forget.

While it’s still technically a dessert, it’s not as sweet as usual. This is why it’s usually served with custard or warm syrup for drizzling.

9. British Mincemeat Tarts

While they did back in the day, modern mincemeat tarts are completely meat-free.

Instead, they are filled with a bright and refreshing mix of chopped fruits and spices.

These pastries are also as delicious as they are beautiful.

With a star-shaped outer crust and a dusting of powdered sugar, one look will definitely get you into the holiday spirit.

10. British Brandy Butter

Brandy and butter: just the thought of this combination alone uplifts my spirits. And it definitely does.

Also called hard sauce, this delectable syrup is a mix of butter, sugar, brandy, flavored with orange zest and vanilla. It’s sweet and buttery with a bit of a kick!

Drizzle it over a warm slice of pudding or cake to give your dessert that extra festive pizzazz. 

11. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Garlic 

We can all agree that boiled Brussels sprouts for Christmas aren’t the tastiest.

But with just a few ingredients, you can jazz up the bland vegetable and turn it into a certified hit.

Nothing makes Brussels sprouts taste better than bacon and garlic.

These simple additions are the only two things you’ll need to make the underrated sprouts a hit, even with the kids.

12. English Roast Potatoes

Roast potatoes are another must-have at British Christmas feasts, and for good reason.

You can’t beat the deliciousness of crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside spuds. 

Besides the flawless textures, the flavors are also on point.

It’s easy to make, too. All you’ll really need are a pinch of salt and pepper, and a spoonful of love.

13. Bubble and Squeak (British Potato Cakes)

I mean, how intriguing is this dish’s name, am I right? 

It sounds complicated and strange, but bubble and squeak is actually just a simple dish that refers to potato cakes.

Think of it as a savory pancake filled with leftovers veggies bound together by mashed potatoes.

But despite the use of yesterday’s ingredients, this dish is bright, shiny, and simply delicious.

14. Pigs in Blankets

Pigs in blankets are just as popular in the U.K. as they are here in the U.S. And why shouldn’t they be? 

These appetizers are savory mini-sausages wrapped in bacon and baked to crispy perfection. It’s the ultimate meaty combination, and it is to die for.

To say these bad boys are addictive is an understatement. Webster’s dictionary will have to come up with a brand new word to describe them.

15. Best Roast Parsnips

These roasted parsnips are the best companion to your Christmas turkey!

They’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and wonderful in every bite.

Roasting this humble root vegetable brings out its natural sugars and caramelizes it to golden perfection.

It becomes pleasantly sweet, even without assistance from honey or maple syrup.

Don’t worry about those unappetizing stringy middles, either! You won’t be getting any of those here.

There’s a simple trick to get those nasty things out of the way, and this recipe will show you how.

16. Traditional English Trifle

A collection of British Christmas foods is not complete without the traditional English trifle. 

This dessert is a light and refreshing combination of sponge cake, fruit, pudding, and custard.

It’s one layer of deliciousness after another! It’s the dessert that keeps on giving.

There are tons of variations of this classic dessert. This one, in particular, uses raspberries and almonds, and infuses pound cake with Grand Marnier. 

It sure has a lot of components, so I highly suggest you just use store-bought pound cake for convenience. I won’t judge! I do it too, all the time.

17. Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

This creamy soup will absolutely get your taste buds ready for the feast.

While it does contain potatoes, it’s still a very light appetizer, so don’t worry about it weighing you down.

This is one of the best soups the U.K. has to offer! It’s outrageously smooth and silky with leeks and toasted hazelnuts on top to provide some crunch.

It’s British comfort food at its finest. It’s often served at Christmas, but don’t let this stop you from whipping this up any day. 

18. Traditional Yorkshire Puddings

Don’t be confused with the word, “pudding.” This isn’t a sweet entry, but a savory side dish that goes perfectly with Christmas roast.

A Yorkshire pudding is a puffy egg-based bread with a crispy outer shell and a soft center.

It’s traditionally served with roast meats because it can soak up the juices beautifully.

Also, it’s a lot of fun to make. Seeing the batter puff up in the oven always gives me a different level of satisfaction!

19. Turkey Christmas Dinner With All the Trimmings

The British Christmas dinner is complete with tender turkey, pork and apple stuffing, gravy, pigs in blankets, and roasted veggies.

It sounds like a lot of work. But surprise – it all comes together in just 1 hour. The secret? Just get store-bought items and put them on a plate.

Seriously, the only real work required from you, here, is roasting the vegetables and making a super simple gravy. Believe me, it’s a lot easier than you think.

20. Traditional British Rich Fruitcake

I wasn’t the biggest fan of fruitcakes when I was a kid. But now that I’m older with a more developed palate, I couldn’t get enough of it!

Unlike sponge and chiffon cakes, a fruitcake has a rather dense and heavy crumb.

It’s soaked in brandy and tea, giving it a slightly bitter but delightful flavor.

Studded with dried cherries, almonds, and orange peel, every bite is bursting with mind-blowing tastes and textures. 

Happy Christmas, indeed!

20 Traditional British Christmas Foods


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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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