Peruvian Christmas Foods: What Do Peruvians Eat for Christmas?

You can hear the Christmas music ringing through the air, and it immediately sparks memories of your mother’s Christmas ham and mashed potatoes. Life couldn’t be better, right?

Well, it depends on whom you ask.

If you’re a foodie or you’re particularly intrigued by Peruvian culture, this year may be the perfect time to add some Peruvian spice to your holiday meal. You may soon discover that Peruvian cuisine makes life that much better.

So, what exactly do Peruvians eat for Christmas dinner? Here’s a rundown on popular Peruvian Christmas foods worth trying out this holiday season.

Let’s dig in!

Peruvian Christmas Foods Include Meat and Special Spices

If you and your loved ones enjoy eating tasty meats at Christmas, be sure to try turkey, roast pork, or chicken covered with a few special spices for a Peruvian-style main course for Christmas.

Here are a few items you can combine to add some Peruvian flavor to your Christmas meal:

  • Oregano
  • Smoked paprika
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Cumin

You can create your special spice blend by mixing these ingredients together and then dry rubbing the mixture on your meat.

Alternatively, you can combine the spices with vegetable oil and apply them to the meat. Either way, your family will likely want seconds of your spice-covered entree.


Tubers in market in Peru

Tubers, like sweet potatoes, the maca, and the yucca (cassava), are another important part of Peruvian Christmas dinners.

If you like a sweet potato dish at Christmas, you’ll no doubt love the Peruvian version of this flavorsome treat. To create Peruvian sweet potatoes, you’ll need to mash your tubers and then bake the mashed potatoes with yummy marshmallows atop them.

In the end, you’ll end up with a mouthwatering and relatively filling side dish that your loved ones will likely request every Christmas moving forward.


Peruvian Christmas tamales with sliced red onion
Peruvian Christmas Tamales

These delicious corn-based treats are extremely common to eat around Christmas time in South and Central America.

To prepare Peruvian-style tamales, you’ll need white corn, which will serve as your filling. You’ll also need banana leaves, which you’ll wrap your completed tamales in.

So, what should you use as your filling along with the corn? You can feel free to use any protein of your liking, ranging from fish to pork.

The most important thing when preparing tamales is that you complete this enjoyable task with friends and family. That’s a critical part of the tradition — and one that’s meaningful to keep alive with your family.

Christmas is all about togetherness, so making tamales together couldn’t be a better way to ring in the Christmas season year after year.

Peruvian Christmas Salad

Peruvian Christmas Salad with Quinoa in bowl with avocado, tomatoes and eggs
Peruvian Christmas Salad

Salad is another popular item that people enjoy including among their Christmas dinner spreads. This is especially true for those who are health conscious.

However, rather than sticking with vegetables that have little flavor this Christmas, why not create the more flavorful Peruvian Christmas salad?

To accomplish this, you can simply include quinoa, beans, corn, avocado, and eggs in your salad. Your salad should also feature a fruit puree, like quince puree or applesauce.

All of these items are traditionally found in excellent Peruvian salads. And if you’ve never tried the combination of these flavors before, you’re in for a treat when you try this salad for the first time.


Peruvian Rice in white bowl
Peruvian Chaufa Rice

If you’re looking for another way to make your Christmas dinner as authentically Peruvian as possible, make sure that you include rice with your meal.

Peruvians’ obsession with rice comes from Asia’s influence in their cuisine. In fact, Chinese-Peruvian cuisine, called chifa, is quite common in Peru. And Peruvians as a whole eat regularly.

In Peru, people usually flavor their rice dishes with steamed vegetables, fruits, or pork products. You could even create a rice dish featuring balsamic vinegar sauce, apricots, almonds, and bacon for a unique Christmas dinner side. The sky’s the limit when it comes to how you prepare your Peruvian rice.

A Peruvian-style rice dish would pair well with your Peruvian-style ham, turkey, or pork. Without a doubt, the Peruvian zestiness in your rice can easily make your Christmas dinner more vibrant.


Peruvian Christmas Panettone slice with candied fruits with blurred Christmas lights
Christmas Panettone

For guests who can’t get enough bread, this is another excellent addition to any Peruvian-style Christmas meal.

This sweet bread is made from sweet yeast baked in a pan shaped like a cupola. You can also add candied raisins or other fruits to the bread, along with ginger.

The Peruvian panettone is known for having accents of citrus and jasmine. Serving the bread with hot cocoa in Peru is akin to serving hot cocoa with cookies in the United States — your guests are sure to love it time and time again. A must have traditional Peruvian Christmas food.


Peruvian Christmas Tres Leches Cake in bowl
Peruvian Christmas Tres Leches Cake

No Peruvian Christmas dinner would be complete without dessert, of course. A delicious option is the tres leches cake.

Although this dessert isn’t exclusive to the country of Peru, Peru’s version of it is beyond heavenly.

The name of the dessert comes from the fact that three kinds of milk are used to prepare the cake: cream or whole milk, condensed milk that has been sweetened and evaporated milk.

Tres leches cake is a heavy treat that looks a lot more like pudding versus cake. However, if you love pudding or cake, you’ll likely eat this dessert up — literally. And pairing it with some black coffee couldn’t be a better way to end your Christmas dinner.

How We Can Help

Along with highlighting some of the most common Peruvian Christmas foods, we offer a glimpse at other popular Peruvian foods you can enjoy year round.

For instance, we provide information on the popular Peruvian anticuchos if you have a hankering for fire-grilled meat skewers. We can also show you how to use the Peruvian aji amarillo pepper to create a delicious rice and dipping sauce.

Take a look here to learn more about scrumptious Peruvian dishes you can start enjoying this year and in the years ahead. And be sure to learn about Peru’s most traditional drinks.

And to shop for imported Peruvian foods and drinks visit our online store.

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