Give your American Christmas a Mexican flair with these festive Mexican Christmas foods!
In Mexico, as well as other Latin countries, Christmas Eve is given more attention than Christmas day itself.
The celebration starts in the morning, but the main celebration doesn’t happen until midnight, when presents are opened and food is eaten.
Called Noche Buena, this midnight Christmas feast is filled with colorful and flavorful Mexican treats such as empanadas, bunuelos, tamales, and more.
If you’re looking to add more Christmas cheer to your holiday celebrations this year, I highly suggest you give these recipes a try.
1. Red Pork Tamales
Tamales are a popular Mexican snack of meat-filled dough wrapped in corn husks. Its sweet and savory flavor profile makes it wonderfully addictive.
There are a variety of fillings you can use in tamales, and this is among the most popular ones.
Pork shoulder is simmered in a red chile sauce, making it melt-in-your-mouth tender and oh, so delicious.
I’ll be honest – the masa dough takes a while to prepare and cook, but if you enlist the help of a couple of friends, things will be super easy.
Next up, let’s head straight to bread. Conchas are Mexican sweet breads (pan dulce) with a distinct, white, seashell-looking topping.
The bread is light and airy, but what makes it super iconic is the topping, which is a creamy mix of powdered sugar and shortening.
The topping is traditionally white, but it’s also not uncommon to see pink, yellow, and brown conchas.
The seashell (which is concha, in Spanish) look is achieved by using a concha cutter or a knife.
3. Pozole Rojo
If you’re looking for comfort, that’s nothing a bowl of pozole rojo can’t provide.
It’s a Mexican stew brimming with pork, white corn soaked in wine (hominy), red chiles, and an incredibly rich broth.
Since it takes hours to cook, pozole rojo is commonly reserved for Christmas and other special occasions.
It’s also cooked in a huge pot that can serve up to 12. It requires so much time it just doesn’t make sense to cook a smaller batch.
4. Chicken Pozole Verde
Here’s another cozy Mexican stew that’ll make you feel loved and happy.
This version of pozole uses shredded chicken instead of the usual pork and green chile instead of red.
While it tastes a little different from pozole rojo, they both have one thing in common: they’re studded with sweet white corn soaked in lime (hominy).
5. Mexican Cinnamon Cookies
Cookies are the universal feel-good food. And no matter what kind they are, they never fail to put one in a good mood.
These Mexican cinnamon cookies are no exception. They’re so good, snacking on them will give you Christmas feels even in summer.
Called polvorones de canele, these cookies are wonderfully sweet and buttery with a melt-in-your-mouth powdered sugar-and-cinnamon coating.
6. Easy Pork Pozole Rojo (Posole)
Here’s another pozole rojo recipe that’ll make you full and happy.
This one is a lot easier to prepare than the first, so cooking amateurs, feel free to give this one a try.
Tender pork and sweet white corn are cooked in a rich and flavorful red enchilada sauce.
Garnished with shredded cabbage, avocado slices, diced onions, and fresh cilantro, this stew is a pure embodiment of Mexican comfort food.
7. Mexican Wedding Cookies
Mexican wedding pecan cookies are so incredibly light and airy, they melt in your mouth.
Also, how pretty are they, am I right? Covered in powdered sugar, they possess such an ethereal and exquisite appearance.
Perhaps that’s why they’re so ideal at weddings!
These cookies aren’t only perfect at weddings, though, but on Christmas and other special occasions, as well.
8. Easy Flan
Can you believe that as smooth, silky, and spectacular as flan is, it only calls for 5 simple ingredients? At least, this one does!
This flan recipe is ridiculously easy, anyone can pull it off. But just because it’s a breeze doesn’t mean it’s so-so.
With a wonderfully creamy and velvety custard and a sweet caramel syrup, this flan is simply divine.
Champurrado is a thick Mexican beverage made of chocolate, piloncillo (cane sugar), and cornflour. Think of it as the country’s version of hot chocolate.
There are many flavor varieties to champurrado, with some recipes calling for spices such as cloves, orange peel, cinnamon, and anise seed, but at its base is always chocolate.
Served warm, it’s the perfect beverage to drink on a cold and snowy Christmas morning.
10. Mexican Ponche
Ponche is another Mexican beverage often served at Christmas.
Just like the champurrado, it’s also served warm. But it’s not chocolatey, at all.
Flavored with apples, pears, oranges, guavas, and spices, it’s like a warm version of a fruit punch.
This is a kid-friendly punch, but you can always make it an adult twist with a splash of brandy or rum.
11. Easy Cranberry Margaritas
Speaking of adult-friendly drinks, here’s another one for you. These cranberry margaritas will definitely get the party started.
They’re margaritas with a cranberry twist. How awesome is that?
Besides the unique flavor, the cranberries also give the cocktail a stunning, deep, purple hue.
Sopaipillas, or sopapillas, are an addictive Hispanic snack made of puffed-up bread with a surprise center.
They’re similar to bunuelos, except the exterior is more pillowy than crispy.
Sopaipillas can be filled with savory or sweet fillings, so they can be either served as a main entree or dessert.
In this recipe, the filling is a sweet mix of sugar, cinnamon, and honey.
13. Tres Leches Cupcakes
Tres leches, which is Spanish for “three milks,” is a delectable sponge cake soaked in three different kinds of milk – evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream.
As you can imagine, this cake is wonderfully moist and bursting with a creamy and milky flavor.
This particular recipe makes small, cupcake versions of the classic, and with a strawberry and whipped cream topping, to boot.
14. Pumpkin Empanadas
Empanadas are the Latin version of turnovers, and they are absolutely delicious.
Just like any turnover, empanadas can be filled with either a sweet or savory filling.
For a Christmasy empanada, use this filling made of pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and spices. One bite will instantly get you into the holiday spirit!
15. Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars
Earlier we talked about sopapillas, the addictive snack of puffed-up bread with a surprise center.
This time, let’s take that to newer heights of deliciousness and add cheesecake into the mix.
These bars are made of a silky and creamy cheesecake filling sandwiched between crescent roll pastry sheets and finished off with a butter-cinnamon-sugar topping.
Oh wait, it doesn’t end there. The bars are given a drizzling of honey, just for extra sweetness.
My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
16. Mexican Bunuelos
It’s fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar. It doesn’t seem like much, but bunuelos are one of Mexico’s most popular snacks.
If you’ve never tried them, take this as the sign to do so.
These wildly crispy and puffy fritters are to die for!
The texture is on point, and so is the flavor. Nothing beats the goodness of cinnamon and sugar on pastry.
The best part? Bunuelos only call for seven ingredients, and they’re a cinch to make.
17. Chicken Tamale Casserole
Let’s take a super quick break from the sweets and say hello once again to a savory entree.
As delectable as traditional tamales are, I think we can all agree it’s not the simplest recipe in the world.
That said, here’s a fantastic alternative for you that still gives you all the amazing flavors and textures of the classic Mexican dish.
The difference? It doesn’t require as much effort.
18. Churros with Dulce De Leche
Churros are a world-famous snack no one can say no to.
These pillowy sticks are wonderfully crispy on the outside, and super tender and fluffy on the inside.
Sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, they’re super addictive, even on their own.
But why settle for churros alone, when there’s always store-bought dulce de leche to dunk them in?
This food partnership creates one of the most dangerously addictive snacks known to man.
19. Red and Green Enchiladas
Can’t pick between red and green enchiladas? There’s no need to! You can simply have them both.
This recipe combines both red and green sauces to make one stunning enchilada. Double the sauce, double the fun.
Plus, the two sauces make for a prettier presentation.
It’s also oozing with chicken, salsa, and shredded cheese. It’s all your favorite Mexican flavors in one casserole.
20. Hatch Green Chili Ribs
If you’re not familiar with Hatch green chilis, you’re in for a treat… if you can take the heat, that is.
Hatch green chilis are delectable green peppers that make for an even more delectable sauce.
This sauce can then be used in guacamole and salsa, among others.
This recipe uses Hatch green chili sauce to add more oomph to the classic baby back ribs.
I can already imagine myself licking my fingers!
21. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas
These chicken fajitas are bursting with flavor. And they’re as colorful as can be!
If you’re looking for something extra festive for Christmas, I think you’ve just found the recipe.
This dish gives you chicken strips, tri-colored bell peppers, and onions seasoned with spices and baked to perfection.
The only effort it requires is slicing the vegetables, but the rest is up to the oven. It’s a quick and easy one-pan dish that comes together in no time.
22. Marranitos (Mexican Gingerbread Pigs)
Marranitos are Mexican sweet bread (pan dulce) with the most adorable, almost-too-cute-to-eat shape.
It’ll take a moment for you to take a bite out of these charming gingerbread piggies. That’s just how cute they are.
But, once you take your first bite, I’m afraid you might never be able to stop. Seriously, these marranitos are that good.
They’re like a cross between a cookie and a cake – they’re not firm, but not soft, either.
They’re also not that sweet, which makes them perfect for dipping in milk or coffee.
23. Mexican Chicken Marinade
Whether you’re in the mood for grilled, fried, or oven-roasted chicken, it doesn’t matter.
Whatever cooking method you opt for, this marinade is the only marinade you’ll need.
It’s a simple blend of olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper.
It seems like a lot of ingredients, but I’m pretty sure you can find them all in your pantry!
This chicken recipe is great with burritos, taquitos, and enchiladas. Or, just serve it with rice and call it a day.
24. Zucchini and Corn Tamales
Have you ever tried tamales that are filled with vegetables instead of meat? If you think they’re not as tasty, this recipe will convince you otherwise.
Tender corn masa (dough) is filled with a combo of sweet corn kernels and zucchini cubes. Again, it doesn’t seem like much, but wait until you take a bite.
It calls for a lot of time and effort, so this is perfect if you’re spending Christmas with people who also love to cook. Make it a fun activity for everybody!
25. Easy Ensalada de Noche Buena – Christmas Eve Salad
Ensalada de Noche Buena or Christmas Eve salad is a festive combination of oranges, pineapple, beets, jicama, and pomegranates tossed in a sweet and citrusy dressing.
The colors alone will cheer you up. But it’s the bright and tasty flavors that’ll make you fall in love.
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