Traditional Dishes for a Mexican Christmas

Traditional Dishes for a Mexican Christmas

In 2010 Mexican cuisine was added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Mexico’s delicious food, which is a fusion of Mesoamerican and European cooking, is rooted in the ancient history and colorful culture of this diverse country.

Every Christmas, or Navidad, Mexican families spend Christmas Eve, or Nochebuena together, enjoying their favorite traditional foods and drinks. They normally eat at 12:00 am and the next day they get together again for leftovers, or recalentado.

Navidad and its traditional dishes are an important part of Mexican life. Here are a few of the essential dishes for a traditional Mexican Christmas.


Although the turkey is a bird of Mexican origin, the recipes to prepare it at Christmas tend to have a European influence. It is generally prepared in the oven, moistened by injecting a variety of liquids that can be wine, citrus juice, or spirits, and stuffed with a stew of ground meat, fruit, and nuts.


Bacalao is a very traditional dish at a Mexican Christmas table. Although it originated in Spain, Mexican version has more ingredients. Made from salted cod prepared in roasted tomatoes, garlic, onions, olives, almonds, parsley, banana peppers and spices. The next day it may be eaten in a baguette (torta). Yum!


Romeritos is a dish made from the sprigs of seepweed, known in Mexico as romerito for its resemblance to romero, rosemary in English. Romeritos are prepared with shrimp, traditionally dry, and potatoes in mole sauce.



The name Ensalada Nochebuena translates to Christmas Eve Salad. This colorful cold dish is made from beets, apples, oranges, bananas, pineapples, nuts and a sweet and creamy dressing. There are many different versions of this holiday salad.


Rompope is a rich, sweet, spicy egg nog-like drink made from eggs, milk and vanilla. It can be purchased premade in a bottle or can be made at home. Rum is often added to the mixture. It is thought that the original Mexican rompope was created in Puebla’s Convento de Santa Clara in the early 1600’s.



Ponche is traditional Mexican Christmas punch. There are many variations of the recipe for this warm drink, but the main ingredients are tejocotes (small, apple-like fruit), oranges, guavas, prunes, pears, raisins, walnuts and cinnamon. Brandy or rum is often added to the mixture.

Add a Mexican touch to your Christmas party this year with one of these dishes or drinks, or better yet, look for them in Mexico at Sunset World Resorts!