American Christmas Recipes

Christmas cookies

There are so many good things to eat at Christmas that you might be spoiled for choice. Here are some favourite American Christmas recipes which I’m sure you will love.

Christmas dinner in the US is very traditional and closely resembles Thanksgiving day dinner and Christmas dinner here in the UK. The centrepiece is usually a roast turkey with all the trimmings, or sometimes a beef rib roast, roast duck or rack of lamb. Whatever you’re planning on serving, the main meal on Christmas day is a feast – as it’s intended to be.

December is a cold, dark and often gloomy time of year. What could be more uplifting than a festival of lights, good food, and music to brighten up a winter’s day?

I hope that you enjoy these recipes and that your friends and family love them too!

Butter Roasted Turkey

Roast turkey

Turkey can sometimes seem a bit dry compared to chicken. But follow this recipe and you will never have a dry turkey again. Serves 8 – 10.

One 6.5kg turkey
8 rashers of fatty smoked streaky bacon
150g of softened butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
4 large sprigs of fresh thyme
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Line a large, deep roasting tin with non-stick baking paper. Place the turkey in the tin and spread the butter all over the breast and legs. Push some of the butter inside the cavity too. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the turkey, then put the lemon shells inside the bird. Push the rosemary sprigs inside with the lemon. Season the turkey with salt and pepper, scatter over the thyme leaves and lay the bacon rashers over the breast in a row.

Preheat the oven to gas 5/190C/375F and cook the turkey for 20 minutes per kilo plus 90 minutes. Use a large spoon to baste the turkey frequently with the buttery juices during cooking; this will keep it nice and moist.

To test if the turkey is done, push a skewer into the thickest part of the leg. If the juices are clear, then it’s cooked. If any trace of pink is showing, give it another 15 minutes then test again.

Cover the turkey with foil and allow it to rest for up to an hour before carving. The bacon will be very crisp so discard it if you want. Or break it up and use it to sprinkle on salads.

Best-Ever Turkey Gravy


Rich and full of flavour, this will have you coming back for more. Serves 8 – 10.

60g plain flour
850 ml of good-quality chicken stock
8 tablespoons port or sherry
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
Salt and pepper

To make the gravy, pour off the fat in the roasting tin, leaving just the turkey juices behind. Place the roasting tin over a low heat and add the flour, stirring continuously, to form a paste. Cook for a minute then gradually add the stock, whisking well all the time so that no lumps can form. Add the port or sherry and cranberry sauce and stir. The gravy should be of pouring consistency but not too runny. Transfer to a jug or gravy boat to make pouring easier.


The only thing better than roast turkey is turkey with stuffing. It helps to keep the turkey moist during cooking but is also a tasty dish in its own right. Here are 2 tried and tested recipes for stuffing that I’m sure you will love.

*Just be sure to weigh the turkey after stuffing as the cooking times will need to be increased.

Pork, Sage and Onion Stuffing

For this recipe, you can use sausage meat or good-quality sausages with the skins removed. Makes enough for a 6.5 kg turkey.

4 heaped tablespoons of fresh breadcrumbs
1 large onion, peeled and very finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
900g pork sausage meat or butcher’s sausages
1 medium egg, lightly beaten (optional)
Salt and pepper

Put the breadcrumbs, sage and onion into a large mixing bowl, add a splash of hot water and mix well. Using your hands, add the sausage meat and work it into the breadcrumb and onion mixture until thoroughly combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. You can leave the stuffing as it is, or if you want a firmer, less crumbly, texture, add the egg. Chill until needed.

*If you’re using whole sausages, slit the skin along the length of the sausage with a pair of scissors or a sharp knife and squeeze out the filling. Discard the skins.

Chestnut and Apple Stuffing

This is a delicious blend of sweet, savoury and sharp flavours. As there’s a lot of work involved in preparing chestnuts, buy a tin of whole unsweetened chestnuts to save time. Makes enough for a 6.5 kg turkey.

450g tin of unsweetened chestnuts
700g of sausage meat or good-quality sausages
450g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and very finely chopped
1 medium egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
A good pinch of ground nutmeg

Drain the liquid from the canned chestnuts and put them in a large bowl. Mash with a fork until you have a rough puree, then add the rest of the ingredients except the egg and mix well. Lastly, add the egg to combine. Chill until needed.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

The quality of this mashed potato depends on the quality of the potatoes used. I would suggest Yukon Gold or Maris Piper. Both have a good flavour and a floury texture. Serves 8 – 10.

1.2kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
100 ml milk
50g butter
Salt and pepper

Put the chunks of peeled potato into a pan of cold water, add salt (about a teaspoon) and put a lid on the pan. Bring it up to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes with a lid on the pan, until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart. Test them after 15 minutes by pushing the point of a knife into them. If the knife meets resistance, they need a bit longer.

Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander and shake off the excess water. Tip them back into the hot pan, add the milk and butter and season generously.

Using a potato masher or a large fork, start to break up the potatoes, making sure there are no lumps. You should have a smooth, fluffy texture. You can also use an electric hand whisk. This is the easier option as it saves time and energy. But feel free to mash the potatoes by hand if you like a workout.

*This recipe also works with sweet potatoes.

Creamed Spinach

This is a different way to serve spinach and it tastes fantastic. Simple and delicious. Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish.

600g baby spinach leaves
225 ml double cream
50g finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
A tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper
Grated fresh nutmeg

Put the spinach into a colander – you might not be able to fit it all in so work in batches – and pour over some boiling water. Immediately drop the spinach into cold water. This is important, as it keeps the fresh green colour. Don’t be tempted to skip this step or your spinach will have an unpleasant brown colour instead of a vibrant green.

When all of the spinach has been wilted, squeeze as much water out of it as possible, preferably using your hands. Spinach holds a lot of water so it’s important to get it as dry as possible.

Put the cream, Parmesan, and garlic into a shallow pan and bring to the boil. Add the lemon zest and stir. The cream mixture should have thickened up. Tip in the spinach and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Tip into a warmed serving dish and serve piping hot.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This dish is a blend of sweet and savoury but it goes surprisingly well with your Christmas turkey. Nutty and creamy, the pecan nut crumble on top gives it a lovely crunch. Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish.

500g orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
125g butter
125g light muscovado sugar
150 ml full-fat milk
3 medium eggs
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
75g light muscovado sugar
50g pecan nuts, chopped

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Place them in a pan of salted water, put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until tender when pierced with the point of a knife. Drain in a colander and leave to dry out.

Tip the potatoes into a large bowl with the butter and mash vigorously until smooth. Add the sugar, beaten eggs, milk, spices and salt and beat well.

Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C/375F and lightly butter a 20 x 30 cm baking dish. Scoop the mixture into the dish and flatten the surface with the back of a spoon. Make the topping by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and chopped pecans and stir to combine.

Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potatoes and level with a fork. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy on top. Serve straight from the baking dish.

*Some people like to add marshmallows to this dish, so if you want to you can add a handful to the mixture or chop them and sprinkle them on top.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Herbs

Roasted root veg

These are good served with just about anything; the herbs take it to another level. Make more than you think you’ll need as the vegetables will shrink during cooking and they are very moreish. Serves 6 as a side dish.

12 shallots, peeled
350g peeled and deseeded butternut squash
350g peeled sweet potato
350g peeled turnips
350g peeled celeriac
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
*Please note the weights given are for the prepared vegetables

Cut the vegetables into 4 cm chunks and put them into a deep bowl. Pour over the oil, season, add the chopped herbs and mix thoroughly. Your hands are best for this job but otherwise use a large metal spoon. You can cook the vegetables straight away or put them into a sealed plastic bag and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to gas 7/220C/425F. Line a 28 cm x 40 cm baking sheet with non-stick baking paper and tip the vegetables onto it, moving them around so that they’re in a single layer. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until the vegetables are tender and browned at the edges. Serve at once.

Christmas Desserts

If you have any room after your Christmas dinner, there are some delectable desserts to choose from to round off your meal. Traditional favourites are cheesecake, apple pie and raisin pudding.

Traditional Apple Pie

Apple pie

Who doesn’t love apple pie? Soft, sweet apples, warm spices and melt-in-the-mouth pastry. A real winner! Serve with custard, cream or good vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.

*I would suggest using ready-made shortcrust pastry, but if you want to make your own, here’s a reliable recipe.

225g plain flour
A pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of caster sugar
100g butter, at room temperature
Ice cold water

750g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
175g light soft brown sugar
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg
Finely grated zest and juice of half a lemon
To finish:

Caster sugar

To make the pastry, use a sieve to sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Hold the sieve up high to get as much air into the flour as possible; this helps to make the pastry nice and light. Stir in the sugar then add the butter, cut into small pieces, rubbing it into the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add enough water to bind the mixture together, then wrap the pastry in cling film and pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the filling.

The easiest way to remove the core from the apples is to cut the peeled fruit into quarters, then use a paring knife to slice out the core and pips. You can then cut the apples into thick slices. Put them into a bowl with the sugar, spices and lemon zest and mix well.

Sprinkle a board or work surface with flour and divide the pastry into 2 halves. Roll out one half into a circle, about 20 cm in diameter. Use it to line a 20 cm pie dish. Roll out the other half of the pastry to roughly the same size as the base.

Tip the apples into the baking dish, flatten out the surface with the back of a spoon, and then wet the edge of the pastry with water. Carefully lay the pastry lid on top of the apples and use your fingers to press the edges together, creating a seal. You can press down with the prongs of a fork for an extra-tight seal if you like.

Cut 3 slits in the pastry lid to allow steam to escape, then brush the top with milk and sprinkle over a little caster sugar.

Bake in a preheated oven, gas 6/200C/400F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to gas 4/180C/350F and bake for a further 20 – 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool for ten minutes before serving.

Vanilla Cheesecake

Fruity cheesecake

This is not too sweet and has a nice tang of lemon to it. No cooking is involved and you can make this a couple of days in advance, then leave it covered over in the fridge until you need it. But don’t decorate it until you’re ready to serve, otherwise the juice from the berries will discolour the cheesecake filling. Serves 10 – 12.

80g butter
250g shortbread biscuits
1 tablespoon soft light brown sugar
800g full-fat soft cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
800 ml double or whipping cream
75g icing sugar
Fresh fruit to decorate (optional)

Put the butter into a heavy-based pan on a low heat and allow it to melt. Meanwhile, crush the biscuits by putting them into a strong plastic bag and bashing them with a rolling pin, or blitz them in a food processor. Tip the biscuits into the melted butter, add the sugar and mix well.

Scoop the mixture into a deep, 23 cm springform tin, levelling it out with the back of a spoon and pressing it down firmly. Chill in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes so that it firms up.

Whisk the cream and icing sugar together until thickened. Put the cream cheese, lemon zest and juice and vanilla extract into a large bowl and mix well. Add the thickened cream and fold it in gently with a large metal spoon. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base, smoothing it out with a palette knife, then cover it with cling film and chill in the fridge for about 4 hours.

Remove the cheesecake from the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to serve it. Decorate with fresh berries and some edible flowers if you have some. A jug of cream on the side is also good.

Christmas Drinks


You’re going to need something to wash down all that good food! Wine is an obvious choice with dinner, but what about pre-dinner tipples? Here are a few ideas to get you and your guests into a festive mood.



Deliciously creamy and very warming, this is just the thing for a cold day. It goes back a long way, to 13th century England, when monks used to mix ale and figs with warm milk to make a drink called posset. Makes 12 glasses.

6 very fresh medium eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
500 ml full-fat milk
400 ml double cream
350 ml rum, brandy or bourbon
Whipped cream and nutmeg to serve

Put the egg yolks into a large bowl with 100g of the sugar and whisk until the mixture is pale and thick. An electric hand whisk is best for this job. Stir in the milk, cream and alcohol of your choice. You can now store the eggnog in the fridge in sealed bottles for up to 2 weeks. Freeze the egg whites in a lidded box until you need them.

Defrost the egg whites and whisk to the soft peak stage. Add the remaining 50g of sugar and continue whisking until the whites have become thick and glossy.

Pour the eggnog into a large bowl and gently fold in the egg whites until thoroughly combined. Ladle into 12  glasses and top each with a spoonful of whipped cream and a grating of fresh nutmeg. Serve at room temperature.

Hot Buttered Rum

This is a perfect end to a meal; warming, spicy and very potent. Serves 2 but the quantities can be easily scaled up to cater for more guests.

1 tablespoon soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg
100 ml dark rum
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a bowl and slowly pour in the rum and melted butter. Stir well. Pour into 2 heatproof glasses and top with 100 ml of boiling water. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Limeade with Rosemary

This refreshing drink is for those who don’t drink alcohol, or are the designated driver. Top with lemonade, sparkling water or soda water. Serves 8.

300 ml water
100g caster sugar
8 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
Juice of 8 limes

Put the sugar and rosemary in a pan and add the water. Heat gently until the mixture has come to the boil, stirring continuously, until the sugar has dissolved. Check the back of your spoon – you shouldn’t be able to see any sugar crystals there. Remove from the heat and allow to go cold.

Strain into a jug and add the lime juice, then chill until ready to serve. Put some ice into 8 tall glasses and pour over the rosemary and lime syrup. Top with lemonade, soda or sparkling water.

I hope that you enjoyed this article and that it’s given you some ideas for the big day. If you have any comments or questions please leave them below.

For more information on how Christmas is celebrated in the US go to American Christmas food traditions

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4 thoughts on “American Christmas Recipes”

  1. I am so excited it’s almost Thanksgiving and Christmas!

    This post just made me hungry… but thank you for sharing all these recipes!

    I am going to bookmark your site and maybe try one of them!

    I love making and trying new stuff!

    One that I always wanted to make but never tried, is sweet potato casserole!

    You should make tiktok videos you would be great!

    • Hi Lorenz, I’m glad the article made you hungry and that you enjoyed it! You should definitely try the sweet potato casserole, it’s very different but it works. I’m pleased that you’ve bookmarked my site because there’s so much more to come and you will have lots of inspiration! 

      I will consider your idea for the videos, thank you for the suggestion. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas and I hope you enjoy trying the recipes 

  2. Christmas is one of our favorite seasons in the Philippines simply because of 2 things: presents and food 😊. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Christmas is also the most celebrated holiday in the west.

    We all love to prepare special recipes and while we have our own, we still love to add American recipes. I guess because we were colonized by the US many years ago.

    Thank you for sharing these American Christmas recipes. I am sure they all taste great especially butter roasted turkey and sweet potato casserole. I will start practicing how to make these 2 recipes and have my husband try them. I hope to master these recipes before Christmas. 

    • Hi Alice, you’re correct, Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the western world! It’s interesting that you use American recipes and thanks for sharing the connection with the US. I hope you enjoy trying the recipes and that your husband enjoys eating them. They are not complicated dishes so I feel sure that you will be able to cook them to perfection on Christmas Day!

      I’m doing a whole series of articles on Christmas food and traditions in different parts of the world. I’d love to write about your country and would value your input. You can PM me on Wealthy Affiliate, I’m KarenJulie63. If I don’t hear from you I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas 🎄 


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