7 Classic Canadian Christmas Dishes

by Ella

Christmas is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness, and no holiday gathering is complete without a sumptuous feast. In Canada, Christmas dinner is a cherished tradition that brings families and friends together around the table to indulge in delectable dishes. With influences from various cultural backgrounds, a Canadian Christmas dinner is a delightful blend of flavors, showcasing the country’s rich culinary diversity. In this article, we explore the elements that compose a traditional Canadian Christmas dinner and the stories behind these beloved dishes.

7 traditional Canadian Christmas foods:

1. Roast Turkey


The undisputed star of a traditional Canadian Christmas dinner is a succulent roast turkey. Typically seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, the turkey is roasted to perfection, creating a tantalizing aroma that fills the air. This festive centerpiece is a symbol of abundance and is believed to have originated from English traditions, with early settlers bringing this custom to Canada.


Read more: How to Make a Roast Turkey: A Step-by-Step Guide


2. Maple-Glazed Ham


While turkey takes center stage, many Canadian households also serve a juicy maple-glazed ham alongside or in place of the bird. The combination of sweet maple syrup and savory ham creates a delightful contrast of flavors that Canadians have come to love. This dish reflects the country’s love for maple syrup, a Canadian icon derived from the indigenous practice of collecting sap from maple trees.


3. Tourtière


A traditional French-Canadian Christmas dinner would be incomplete without a tourtière. This savory meat pie is deeply rooted in French culinary traditions and dates back to the early days of Canadian settlement. Typically filled with seasoned minced meat, such as pork, beef, or veal, and sometimes mixed with wild game like venison, tourtière is a flavorful and comforting addition to the holiday table.


4. Seafood Delights


In regions close to the coasts, seafood dishes often grace the Canadian Christmas dinner menu. Lobster, crab, and oysters are popular choices for those who celebrate the holiday by the sea. These dishes represent a bountiful harvest from the waters, embodying the country’s connection to its vast marine resources.

5. Yorkshire Pudding


Many Canadians, particularly those with British heritage, incorporate Yorkshire pudding into their Christmas dinner. Made from a simple batter of flour, eggs, and milk, these light and airy puffs are baked to golden perfection. They are traditionally served with roast beef and complement the main course with their unique texture and flavor.

6. Festive Sides

No Christmas dinner is complete without an array of festive sides that add a burst of flavor and color to the table. Some popular side dishes in Canada include:

a. Stuffing: Made from a blend of bread, herbs, onions, and celery, stuffing is cooked inside the turkey or separately and enhances the overall taste of the meal.

b. Cranberry Sauce: Tangy and sweet, cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the main dishes, cutting through the richness with its vibrant flavor.

c. Roasted Vegetables: A medley of roasted vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts, provides a healthy and delicious addition to the feast.

d. Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes serve as a comforting and classic side dish that complements the meats perfectly.

7. Traditional Desserts

No Christmas dinner would be complete without a tempting array of desserts to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Canadian Christmas desserts often include:

a. Butter Tarts: A Canadian specialty, butter tarts are small, flaky pastries filled with a delectable mixture of butter, sugar, and syrup.

b. Nanaimo Bars: Named after the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, these no-bake bars feature layers of crumbly base, custard-flavored filling, and a chocolate topping.

c. Christmas Pudding: This dense, fruity, and spiced dessert, often soaked in brandy and flambéed before serving, traces its origins back to British Christmas traditions.

d. Bûche de Noël: A French-inspired dessert, the Bûche de Noël, or Yule log cake, is a rolled sponge cake filled with cream and frosted to resemble a log.


The traditional Canadian Christmas dinner is a delightful blend of flavors, showcasing the country’s diverse culinary heritage. From the roast turkey and maple-glazed ham to French-Canadian tourtière and British Yorkshire pudding, each dish adds a unique touch to the festive spread. With regional variations and influences from different cultural backgrounds, Christmas dinner in Canada celebrates the country’s rich history and diverse communities. Whether it’s the seafood delights of coastal regions or the hearty comfort foods of the hinterlands, the Christmas dinner table in Canada is a reflection of warmth, love, and the spirit of togetherness during this cherished holiday season.



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