17 Traditional Venezuelan Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (2024)

Bring the flavors of Latin America to your holiday menu with these traditional Venezuelan Christmas foods!

Known for its lavish celebrations, food makes up a huge aspect of the holiday festivities in Venezuela.

17 Traditional Venezuelan Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (1)


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The party starts on Christmas Eve, leading to Noche Buena – a midnight Christmas feast. Families and friends gather to eat tasty dishes such as hallacas, pan de jamon, and quesillo.

So, if you want to bring some of that magic home, why not try one of these 17 delectable Venezuelan Christmas foods?

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

1. Traditional Venezuelan Hallacas Recipe

Let’s kick things off with the number one dish that no Venezuelan Christmas is complete without.

Hallaca is synonymous with Christmas in Venezuela! While it’s also present on other days of the year, it’s guaranteed to be there on Christmas Eve.

Hallaca is a thin layer of steamed corn dough wrapped in banana leaves and filled with a mixture of meats, vegetables, raisins, and olives. Think of it as a more colorful and festive tamale.

2. Venezuelan Chocolate Marquesa

It’s got chocolate in the title, so that alone tells you it’s a delightful treat.

This Venezuelan icebox cake is a delicate and delectable chocolate dessert that requires zero baking.

It has layers upon layers of biscuits and chocolate-flavored cream, which is then refrigerated until the biscuits become tender.

Because it’s easy to make, it’s ideal for Christmas and busy holidays when all your time and energy are usually spent on main entrees and side dishes.

3. Venezuelan Asado Negro

The Venezuelan Asado Negro is one of the most flavorful stews on the face of the earth. Seriously, if you’re a fan of rich meals, this one’s a must-try.

Round roast is slow-cooked with a flavor-packed wine broth until it becomes so tender it melts in your mouth.

Besides wine, the broth is infused with Worcestershire sauce, oregano, bay leaves, piloncillo, and more. Expect nothing but an explosion of flavors here.


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Serve the stew with rice or fried plantains for a hearty Venezuelan Christmas meal.

4. Traditional Tres Leches

Tres Leches is a traditional Hispanic dessert known all over the world, and for good reason.

This cake is outrageously moist, tender, and bursting with milky goodness. It tastes like it came straight out of a fancy bake shop, but it really couldn’t be easier to make.

The secret is to soak sponge cake in a blend of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and cream. This simple technique will moisten even the driest cake.

5. Venezuelan Bollos Pelones

Venezuelan Bollos Pelones are beef dumplings with a corn dough exterior and a meat filling center. It’s then smothered in a rich tomato sauce.

This is a versatile dish that can be served any time of the day, but it’s particularly popular around the holidays.

Fun fact: Bollos Pelones means “hairless buns” in English. The name refers to the fact that, unlike tamales, these treats aren’t wrapped in leaves.

6. Roasted Ham with Pineapple & Spice Glaze recipe (a.k.a. Jamón Planchado)

Jamon Planchado is another popular staple on the Venezuelan Christmas menu.

Tender and succulent ham is covered in a decadent pineapple and spice glaze, giving the holiday centerpiece a lovely combination of sweet and salty flavors.

Let’s also just take a quick moment to appreciate how insanely gorgeous this hunk of meat is. Those pineapple rings and cherries give the ham such a festive flair.

7. Latin Style Roasted Turkey {Pavo a lo Criollo}

Just like in many countries, it’s not uncommon to see a roast turkey on a Venezuelan Christmas feast.

But don’t be fooled by this seemingly familiar roast. The Venezuelan turkey is stuffed with Relleno, a mix of pork, ham, and bacon, resulting in a mind-blowing explosion of flavors.

While the stuffing is phenomenal, the turkey itself is also a treat. Marinated in garlic, cumin, achiote, and beer, this turkey is wonderfully unique.

8. Ponche Crema Venezuelan Eggnog

Venezuelan eggnog will definitely make your Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s just as smooth, creamy, and flavorful as the eggnog we all know and love, but with a bit of a kick. The Hispanic version of this classic beverage is spiked with rum.

This little addition makes the eggnog extra warming and more comforting! Feel free to add less (or more), depending on your preference.

9. Quesillo

Quesillo is a simple, four-ingredient dessert that will make your Christmas sweeter and more delightful.

Made by steaming a blend of milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract, quesillo is the Venezuelan version of what we all know as custard or flan.

It’s smooth and creamy with caramel syrup on top, to boot!

Unlike trifles and fruitcakes that tend to be on the heavy side, quesillo is very light and refreshing. Just what you need after a heavy Christmas dinner.

10. Christmas Rum Cake

This Christmas rum cake is the Venezuelan twist on the classic fruitcake.

The cake itself is dense but light and it’s infused with a blend of rum and spices.

You’ll also see plenty of nuts and dried fruit dotted throughout, giving it a lovely look, wonderful aroma, terrific textures, and fabulous festive flavors.

You can serve the cake for Christmas or store slices in tin cans for gifting. This is the kind of dessert that stays fresh for a long time and tastes better the next day.

11. Pan de Jamon (Venezuelan Ham Bread)

If you’re serving Jamon Planchado for Christmas, you might as well whip up a few of these tasty appetizers as well.

Pan de Jamon (Venezuelan ham bread) is more than just rolled bread filled with ham.

It also features raisins, capers, and olives, resulting in a beautiful medley of colors, flavors, and textures.

12. Hornado de Chancho – Roasted Pork Leg

Hornado de Chancho is a slow-roasted pork leg marinated in garlic, achiote, spices, and chicha.

If unfamiliar, chicha is a beer-like beverage made from fermented corn with a taste similar to dry apple cider.

Marinated for two to three days and slow-roasted for over three hours, the pork is infused with the most beautiful combination of flavors. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but the results are worth it.

13. Venezuelan Chicken Salad (Ensalada de Gallina)

Ensalada de Gallina is one of the most addictive Venezuelan side dishes around.

This is one of the first to disappear at any holiday feast, so you might want to make extra.

While Gallina technically means hen, this salad is often made with chicken.

It features shredded chicken, diced carrots, potatoes, apples, onions, and fresh peas coated in a mayo dressing.

The dressing has pleasant hints of sweetness and tanginess, as well. Yum!

14. Venezuelan Pasticho

With this Pasticho recipe, you’ll see how Venezuelans put their own Hispanic spin on classic lasagna.

Pasticho has layers of flat noodles, creamy bechamel, meat sauce, and cheese. It’s a hearty dish that’s perfect if your guests are feeling extra hungry on Christmas morning.

It’s just as creamy, meaty, and cheesy as you would hope for! Italians may be very protective of their recipes, but I won’t be surprised if they find this enjoyable.

15. Dulce De Zapallo or Candied Squash in Spiced Syrup

If you’re hoping for something unique to end your Christmas meal, look no further than this dulce de zapallo recipe.

This is caramelized pumpkin covered with a sweet and spiced syrup, and it’s delicious.

Some people may find this Venezuelan Christmas dessert a bit too sweet, but that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Just remember that it’s not meant to be eaten on its own, rather, with a slice of fresh cheese to cut through the sweetness.

16. Arepas Venezolanas

Arepas are a classic Latin snack of grilled corn-based pita pockets stuffed with a variety of fillings. It’s a highly versatile dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

It’s also easy enough to be made any day of the week, but delicious enough to be served on special occasions.

In this recipe, the arepas are filled with black beans, avocado slices, and cheese.

17. Golfeados

Let’s end this holiday collection with a bang, shall we? Golfeados are a mind-blowing treat guaranteed to make you drool.

They’re the Venezuelan version of sticky buns, and they’re irresistible.

Instead of the usual brown sugar and butter filling, the buns are also loaded with cheese. It adds a lovely layer of saltiness that complements the buns’ sweetness.

Also, instead of cinnamon, the buns are flavored with anise, which gives them a wonderfully distinct flavor.

17 Traditional Venezuelan Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (2)

17 Traditional Venezuelan Christmas Foods

Take your holiday menu up a notch with these 17 traditional Venezuelan Christmas foods. They’re bright, fresh, and full of festive flavors.


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17 Traditional Venezuelan Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (3)

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17 Traditional Venezuelan Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (2024)


What is a traditional Venezuelan food for Christmas? ›

The traditional Venezuelan holiday table consists of Hallacas (Tamale-style delights), Pan de Jamon (Ham-Olive Raisin Bread), Ensalada de Gallina (Potato-Hen Salad), and Pernil de Cochino (Pork Roast).

What are the traditional foods of Venezuela? ›

Venezuelan cuisine varies greatly from one region to another. Food staples include corn, rice, plantains, yams, beans and several meats. Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, squashes, spinach and zucchini are also common side dishes in the Venezuelan diet. Ají dulce and papelón are found in most recipes.

What are 3 traditional Christmas foods? ›

Every family in every part of the world serves their own traditional Christmas foods, but in the U.S., some are enjoyed nationwide:
  • Turkey.
  • Prime Rib.
  • Baked Ham.
  • Mashed Potatoes & Gravy.
  • Stuffing.
  • Green Bean Casserole.
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes.
  • Roasted Vegetables.
Dec 19, 2022

What is the most popular dish in Venezuela? ›

Pabellón Criollo is the iconic food of Venezuela, and for very good reasons. It features shredded beef, rice, black beans, and fried plantains as the main ingredients. What you get is a wonderfully balanced, flavor-packed supper, symbolizing Venezuelan history and culture.

What is the morning tradition in Venezuela for Christmas? ›

A week before Christmas there are early church services around 5am followed by music in the squares for children to roller skate or cycle to. All of this happens while drinking hot chocolate “to get warm” in a country where the temperature remains pretty much the same during the whole year (around 28 degrees C).

What is a traditional Christmas song in Venezuela? ›

Aguinaldo It is a genre of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan traditional and cultural music, popular in several Latin American countries., based on Spanish Christmas carols or villancicos which is traditionally sung on Christmas itself or during the holiday season.

What are 2 traditions in Venezuela? ›

Unlike most Americans, Venezuelans don't leave a group without saying good-bye to every person individually. Other customs include sending flowers in advance to an event you were invited to, hand-writing "thank you" letters, and opening a gift immediately after you receive it.

How is Christmas different in Venezuela? ›

Modern decorations are also common and many homes may have an artificial spruce complete with fake snow in honor of North American Christmas traditions. Unlike the tradition of Santa Claus, in Venezuela, children receive presents from Baby Jesus himself and occasionally St. Nicholas.

What is Venezuela holiday dish? ›

Victor Aguilera: Hallacas are a Venezuelan holiday food, traditionally served every Christmas, like tamales. Now that there are more Venezuelans in the U.S., they're also being made for Thanksgiving as well. Sometimes they're eaten at other times of the year, but it's really mostly for the holidays with your family.

What does Venezuela eat for breakfast? ›

A Venezuelan breakfast often includes baked corn flour bread called arepas, which are filled with cheese, fish, beef, or chicken, or eaten as a side with shredded beef, black beans, white cheese, avocados, and/or fresh fruit juices.

What are the seven dishes of Christmas? ›

Recipes for the “seven fishes” vary from region to region; this one uses crab, shrimp, calamari, clams, mussels, scallops and white fish.

What is a traditional Christmas dinner menu? ›

Traditional Christmas dinner features turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables. Other types of poultry, roast beef, or ham, are also used. Pumpkin or apple pie, raisin pudding, Christmas pudding, or fruitcake are staples for dessert.

Who celebrates Christmas in Venezuela? ›

Christmas is definitely one of the most important holidays for Venezuelans. As a country with a strong Catholic background, many of the traditions are closely linked to this religious heritage. And for many families, including my own, Christmas is a unique time to reunite as a family.

What is the symbol of Christmas in Venezuela? ›

Many homes put up a Christmas tree but the most authentic Venezuelan custom is to display a nacimiento (Nativity scene). A more sophisticated nacimiento is the pesebre. This represents an entire region with mountains, hills, plains and valleys. The central point is a replica of the manger at Bethlehem.

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