13 Chilean Christmas Foods to Celebrate the Festival

by Ella

Chilean Christmas traditions are rich in flavor, with a vibrant array of dishes that reflect the country’s cultural heritage and culinary diversity. From hearty stews to sweet desserts, Chilean cuisine takes center stage during the festive season, bringing families and friends together to celebrate in joyous harmony. In this article, we’ll explore 13 traditional Chilean Christmas foods that add warmth and flavor to holiday gatherings, offering a glimpse into the culinary delights of this South American nation.

13 Chilean Christmas Foods to Celebrate the Festival

1. Cazuela de Ave (Chicken Stew):

A quintessential Chilean comfort food, cazuela de ave is a hearty chicken stew simmered with potatoes, corn, pumpkin, rice, and other seasonal vegetables. Flavored with a fragrant blend of herbs and spices, this nourishing dish is often enjoyed as the centerpiece of Christmas Eve celebrations, bringing warmth and sustenance to festive gatherings.


2. Pan de Pascua (Christmas Fruitcake):

Pan de Pascua is a traditional Chilean Christmas cake that bears resemblance to fruitcake, with its dense texture and rich flavor. Made with a combination of dried fruits, nuts, spices, and rum, this indulgent dessert is often enjoyed with a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of Chilean wine, serving as a delightful treat for the holiday season.


3. Cola de Mono (Monkey Tail Cocktail):

Cola de mono, which translates to “monkey tail,” is a popular Chilean Christmas cocktail that packs a flavorful punch. Made with aguardiente (a distilled alcoholic beverage), milk, coffee, sugar, and spices like cinnamon and cloves, this creamy libation is served chilled over ice, offering a refreshing respite from the summer heat.


4. Empanadas de Pino (Meat Empanadas):

Empanadas de pino are savory pastries filled with a flavorful mixture of ground beef, onions, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and raisins, all encased in a flaky pastry shell. These handheld delights are a beloved Chilean tradition, often enjoyed as a festive appetizer or snack during Christmas gatherings.


5. Ensalada Chilena (Chilean Salad):

Ensalada Chilena is a simple yet refreshing salad made with fresh tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt. This vibrant side dish adds a burst of color and flavor to the Christmas table, complementing the richness of other festive fare.

6. Asado al Palo (Spit-Roasted BBQ):

Asado al palo is a traditional Chilean barbecue dish that involves slow-cooking meat on a spit over an open flame. Popular meats for this festive feast include lamb, pork, and beef, marinated with a flavorful blend of herbs, spices, and Chilean wine. Asado al palo is a favorite choice for outdoor Christmas celebrations, bringing families together to enjoy the smoky aroma and succulent flavors of grilled meat.

7. Humitas (Corn Tamales):

Humitas are steamed corn tamales made from fresh corn masa, filled with a savory mixture of onions, cheese, and basil, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed until tender. These traditional Chilean treats are often served as a side dish or appetizer during Christmas gatherings, offering a taste of authentic Chilean cuisine.

8. Mote con Huesillo (Wheat Berry Drink):

Mote con huesillo is a traditional Chilean drink made with cooked wheat berries (mote) and dried peaches (huesillo), sweetened with sugar and flavored with cinnamon and cloves. Served cold in tall glasses, this refreshing beverage is a popular choice for quenching thirst and cooling off during the warm summer months of the Christmas season.

9. Pernil (Roast Pork):

Pernil is a succulent roast pork dish that takes center stage at many Chilean Christmas feasts. Marinated in a flavorful mixture of garlic, herbs, and spices, the pork is slow-roasted until tender and golden brown, imparting rich flavors that delight the senses and evoke feelings of warmth and conviviality.

10. Sopaipillas Pasadas (Sweet Pumpkin Fritters):

Sopaipillas pasadas are sweet pumpkin fritters soaked in a syrup made from piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), cinnamon, and orange peel. Served warm and dusted with powdered sugar, these indulgent treats are a festive favorite, enjoyed as a decadent dessert or snack during the holiday season.

11. Pavo Relleno (Stuffed Turkey):

Pavo relleno, or stuffed turkey, is a classic Christmas centerpiece that graces many Chilean tables during the holiday season. The turkey is typically stuffed with a flavorful mixture of ground meat, nuts, dried fruits, and spices, then roasted to perfection, resulting in a succulent and aromatic dish that delights the senses.

12. Cordero al Palo (Spit-Roasted Lamb):

Cordero al palo, similar to asado al palo, is a traditional Chilean dish featuring spit-roasted lamb cooked over an open flame. Marinated with garlic, herbs, and spices, the lamb is slow-cooked until tender and infused with smoky flavors, making it a favorite choice for festive gatherings and outdoor celebrations.

13. Leche Asada (Baked Custard):

Leche asada is a creamy baked custard dessert that holds a special place in Chilean culinary tradition. Made with eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla, leche asada is baked until set and golden brown, then chilled before serving. Its velvety texture and delicate flavor make it a delightful conclusion to any Christmas meal.

See Also: A Traditional Hungarian Christmas Dinner: 18 Dishes


Chilean Christmas foods are a testament to the country’s rich culinary heritage, showcasing a diverse array of flavors, textures, and traditions that bring joy and warmth to festive gatherings. From hearty stews and savory empanadas to sweet desserts and refreshing beverages, each dish tells a story of family, community, and celebration, inviting us to savor the magic of the holiday season in every bite. As we indulge in these time-honored delicacies, let us embrace the spirit of togetherness and gratitude, cherishing the moments shared with loved ones and creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.



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