//Typical Venezuelan Christmas dishes

Typical Venezuelan Christmas dishes

Venezuela’s cuisine is as diverse as its culture. However, when the most beautiful time of the year arrives “Christmas” it is stylized to prepare some delicious recipes. For this reason the importance of knowing in detail the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas.

These typical Venezuelan Christmas dishes conquer the palate of its people. But it’s not all about savoring each of these delights. But in the preparation of these, as is the case with the findings that each family member performs a specific task.

All this process was enjoyed by Gustavo Mirabal during his childhood, adolescence and adulthood with his family. As this young man grew up he assumed other roles in the development of the hallacas.

Throughout the national territory they delight in the hallacas, chicken salad. In addition, ham bread, pernil, black cake, milk candy among others.

Without a doubt each of these dishes are very tasty, however each of them leads a complex elaboration process.

Christmas is a very special time when the Birth of the Child Jesus is celebrated. For this reason it is ideal to share and enjoy with family.

For this reason to celebrate this great event is always made of succulent dishes typical of Venezuelan Christmas.

Hallacas, a Venezuelan Christmas tradition!

The hallaca is one of the main dishes typical of Venezuelan Christmas

The development of the hallacas is an event in most Venezuelan families.

It is very common to hear the following motto in Venezuelans:

“My mom’s “hallacas” are the best”

Today, when there are so many Venezuelans around the world, these traditions have been internationalized. In this way they dare to prepare their own versions.

This being a way to preserve the traditions of typical Venezuelan Christmas dishes.

A complex process is required to enjoy this succulent Christmas dish.

  • In principle, a budget should be drawn up based on the number of findings to be made
  • Then the selection of each of the ingredients, seeking quality levels in these.
  • Already having all the ingredients at home, we proceed to the elaboration of the stew. In this sense it will vary depending on the region of the country. Well, there are regions where they cook the foundies with raw stew.
  • There are other variants in terms of ingredients, but this varies from the area.
  • The day after the stew is made comes the wrapping, mooring and then the cooking of the hallacas.
  • All family members participate throughout this process by distributing the tasks.
  • All this task is enjoyed by placing music all theusive to Christmas and as a drink to share.
The "hallacas" in Christmas
“Hallacas” in Christmas

The Christmas Bun – Typical Venezuelan Christmas Dishes

The “bollito navideño”, “bollo navideño” or Venezuelan Christmas Bun is a derivative of the Venezuelan Christmas hallaca. It is easier to make and is also visually more appealing to children.

Many children don’t like hallaca because they see the pieces of onion, paprika, among others. In the Christmas bun, all the dressings are chopped very small and in this way they do not generate displeasure in children.

In addition, the elaboration of the hallaca is quite laborious to assemble. The bun takes the same ingredients and mixes them so that they are more or less homogeneous, significantly reducing the work.

Also, in some houses it is customary to make buns with the stew that is available from making the hallacas. In the same way, the leftover dressings and the leaves of the banana tree that were not in condition for the hallacas are used. In this way, the buns turn out to be smaller than the hallacas.

The size of the buns reinforces their role as “Christmas food for the kids” or also as a snack at parties.

When they are used as snacks, the buns are cooked and when they are taken out, they are chopped into squares and served with chopsticks. Really, as a passing, they turn out to be a delicacy.

The typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas are very tasty and elaborate, a luxury Christmas gastronomy. That’s why we’ll tell you how Christmas buns are made.

Recipe for Venezuelan Christmas Buns

In general, making Venezuelan Christmas buns means taking the hallaca dough and mixing it with the hallaca stew and dressings. But all this is chopped into small pieces, both the stew and the dressings.

In this way, we comply with making a homogeneous and well-distributed mixture. It is then wrapped in the leaves of the hallacas to give that characteristic taste and tied with the famous wick (cooking thread). A funny thing is that the task of tying the hallacas is always delegated to the gentlemen of the family, or to the children who are a little old for this “enormous responsibility”.

Without a doubt, it is a tradition that “wraps them all in banana leaves”.

Chicken salad is part of typical Venezuelan Christmas dishes

This chicken salad recipe is a favorite, which serves as a complement to accompany the hallaca.

It is usually done a little before lunch or dinner as the case may be.

This element of the main course of Christmas carries as ingredients:

  • Potato, carrot, boiled eggs, chicken breast or shredded chicken
  • Mayonnaise, peas among others.

Potatoes, carrots and eggs should be cooked in relation to the preparation. Separately, the breast is placed to cook.

Once cooked, it is allowed to cool and then it is chopped and all ingredients except mayonnaise or dressing that apply to it are added.

Chicken salad - Typical Venezuelan Christmas Dishes
Chicken salad – Typical Venezuelan Christmas Dishes

Ham bread a delicacy of typical Venezuelan Christmas dishes

The ham bread that serves completely on Christmas plate of the good night is a delight.

But we don’t have to wait until Christmas if we want to eat it.  Well, in most bakeries they start selling it before the beginning of December.

For this reason it is a tradition that has gradually become increasingly important.

The preparation of ham bread goes through several stages that we will mention below:

  • The dough is first prepared taking into account that it takes a while to wait for it to grow.
  • Then stretch with a roller and add ham, chopped olives and raisins
  • Subsequently comes the baking process.

Without a doubt it is a very exquisite bread thus becoming a favorite of the Holiday season.

Ham bread has different variants. That’s why we can find some with turkey or puff pastry.

Ham bread - A venezuelan Christmas Dish
Ham bread – A venezuelan Christmas Dish

Pork’s leg or “pernil”.

Just as the finds this element of the Christmas dish also carries a complex process of elaboration.

This preparation can take several hours, the result being a succulent dish.

It is usually one or two people who are responsible for the preparation of the pig’s pernil, as it knows too.

The meat should be juicy and at its point. After maceration and many hours in the oven.

The preparation of the pork’s leg, to which are added different adobos, fine herbs.

In addition to a special touch with wine or beer. This is part of the typical christmas dishes for brekfast, after New year’s Eve, a pork’s leg sandwich.

Baked Pig's Pernil
Baked Pig’s Pernil

Holiday Ham (In Spanish “Jamón Planchado”)

Holiday Ham is used to accompany the Christmas dish or to fill some ham breads. Generally, it is chosen to use smoked ham or ironed ham to make the typical Venezuelan ham bread, which we talked about earlier.

Holiday Ham is a variant that has a sweet layer. This layer, in addition to sealing the ham for its conservation, gives it a sweet touch that contrasts with the salty ham, causing a delicious sensation.

Today’s Holiday Ham is a derivation of true traditional smoked ham. And it is that the Holiday Ham of yesteryear was cured with cinnamon, fruit juices, guava leaves and sugar. With the use of an iron griddle, it was sealed using heat and different juices to create an outer layer that allowed the ham to be preserved.

This ham was imported from New York and the whole process was carried out in an artisanal way.

With the passage of time, the accelerated way of life of Venezuelan cities people had little time to prepare Holiday Ham. Companies discovered this taste for ironed ham and began to manufacture it industrially.

The current Holiday Ham is made through a glazing process that creates a sweet layer causing effects like the previous process. It is usually served with pineapple slices and cherries to decorate and is one of the great typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas.

This is the sweet touch that every Christmas dish needs along with the traditional ham bread.

Main dish on Christmas Eve

The main dish in December 24th at the Venezuelan Table is: La Hallaca, chicken salad, pig’s pernil and ham bread. You can also add ironed ham if desired or the ham bread may already be made using ironed ham.

Each of the elements of these dishes we have mentioned in detail.

On the other hand, there are desserts such as sweet of “Lechoza” and black cake. These are some of Gustavo Mirabal Castro’s favorite desserts since he was a kid. Well, his mother made them for this Christmas season.

We can see that each of the components of Christmas gastronomy in Venezuela are a delicacy to the palate.

Main dish on Christmas Eve
Main dish on Christmas Eve


Black Roast

This is a typical Venezuelan Christmas meal. The dish is made with a cut of meat called in Venezuela “round boy” which in English is called “Long, tube shaped eye of the round” and comes from the back of the beef. Some also do it with another cut called a square boy or paper.

The traditional presentation consists of a cylindrical cut that is filleted. The slices of meat are placed in a dark sauce based on “papelón”, dressings, wine and meat juices.

To do this, the meat is prepared in a mixture of “papelón”, spices or dressings and wine. On this mixture when caramelize, the meat is placed on each side to seal the meat with the caramel. That candy must be almost burnt.

One of the most important spices of Venezuelan cuisine is sweet chili.

In this case the sauce in which the meat is cooked is made from wine, chili, paper. This mixture gives a sweet taste to the preparation.

After sealing it through all parts, pour all the sauce and let it cook for a good while.

Some preparations also choose to marinate the meat before sealing it.

Each black roast recipe is unique. Every family and every chef does it their own way. The spice mixture, ways to cook roasted in a frying pan or oven.

Venezuela's famous Black Roast
Venezuela’s famous Black Roast

The companions of the Black roast

Some rely on a good ration of vegetables. Olives are also sometimes added as it is a taste that in Venezuela is associated with Christmas.

Many proceed to prepare it from the previous day by marin it in wine or beer along with varied spices.

This dish is usually served accompanied by side dishes of white rice and slices. The slice is the ripe banana sliced and fried.

Others accompany the dish with various salads or mashed potatoes. Among the favorite salads is:

  • Chicken salad based on potatoes, carrots and chicken.
  • A mixed salad based on onion, lettuce and sliced tomato.

Without a doubt one of the great typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas

Black Roast with companions - One of the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas
Black Roast with companions – One of the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas

Desserts and Sweet dishes typical of Venezuelan Christmas

Certainly not only of main dishes lives man. Desserts, especially at Christmas, are part of the traditions of all cultures.

For Venezuelans, the typical sweet at Christmas is no exception. We certainly don’t just talk about the sweet touch at the end of lunch or dinner.

There is also an alcoholic beverage that has made Venezuela famous in the world. Yes, we mean Eliodoro González’s fabulous cream punch.

This cream punch has made us famous for its quality. But those who know Venezuela know that each region gives it its own touch.

Without further ado we will talk about the sweet touches of Venezuelan Christmas.


Papaya Sweet

We start with the sweet papaya, the sweet that accompanies the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas.

This sweet is the product of cooking the green papaya in a caramel prepared with sugar or paper.

Like it’s papaya in syrup. One of its main features is its texture as it is cut into thin strips to give it its typical appearance.

The cooking of papaya in sugar or paper is also done with different variants. This is how sweet spices such as cloves or guavanites are used.

Without a doubt a dessert or sweet dish typical of Venezuelan Christmas that you should not miss try.

Papaya Sweet - A Typical Christmas Sweet
Papaya Sweet – A Typical Christmas Sweet

A drink for Christmas – The cream punch

If there is a drink to accompany the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas (other than pepsi-cola) is the cream punch.

It serves to accompany meals or to toast when the new year arrives. Eliodoro Gonzalez has managed to position The Cream Punch as a luxury drink worldwide.

However, there is not only the cream punch of Eliodoro González because in each region of Venezuela punch is produced in different ways.

Venezuelan cream punch is a creamy drink made from Rum. In some places they make it based on custard giving it a very special and lasting touch.

However, traditional punch is made with egg cooking to create suspended microparticles. In this way it is given its creamy consistency.

In some places we can find coffee or cocoa punches. This idea typical of Venezuelan genius was also taken by Eliodoro González who for a few years has been marketing a version of his famous coffee-flavored punch.

Eliodoro González's Cream Punch Looks Like a Golden Fork
Eliodoro González’s Cream Punch Looks Like a Golden Fork

Torta Negra (Black Cake in english) or Venezuelan Christmas cake

Although it is not a recipe of Venezuelan origin, the truth is that the black cake is an acquired tradition.

The recipe for “torta Negra” has Spanish origin. Since among the Venezuelan cultural roots is the Spanish culture, it is ours too.

It is one of the favorite dishes to accompany Christmas dinner. Its sweet and bitter touch of cooked sugar gives it a very special seasoning.

The black cake is perfect for people who are celebrating with alcoholic beverages because it does not have such an intense sweet.

It is also consumed in some regions of Argentina and Colombia. It is usually made in round and high shape and is accompanied with nuts.

The base of black cake is wheat flour, milk, butter, salt, and brown sugar. There are also those who choose to make it with paper. The “papelón” is an artisanal way of presenting cane sugar in “panelas” or blocks as if it were a brick.

Thanks to the color of brown sugar or “papelón” and cooking, the cake acquires that dark touch that is characteristic of it.

In the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina there is a festival dedicated to the black cake. In this festival huge black cakes are made and contests are held. This type of festival is held in other areas such as the town of Buenos Aires called Rafael Lavalle.

One of the most important differences in the elaboration of Venezuelan black cake is the maceration of nuts and candied fruits.

In Venezuela, fruits are left to soak in liquor to soften them and add flavor. This process is done in a glass jar to prevent the flavors from being altered. This container is reserved in a refrigerated and dark place.

The black cake – A typical dish of Venezuelan Christmas
The black cake – A typical dish of Venezuelan Christmas

The candied fruits of the black cake or Venezuelan Christmas Cake

Definitely, the macerated fruits make the difference in the Venezuelan black cake. Among the fruits that are used are:

  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Miscellaneous candied fruits
  • Almonds
  • Nuts
  • Cherries
  • Sultana raisins
  • Dates

For the maceration of fruits tends to use sweet liqueurs. Among the most used first is Venezuelan rum. Other liqueurs that are also widely used are gin, and orange and strawberry liqueurs.

The longer the fruits are macerated, the more flavor they acquire. Sometimes they even macerate for several months or even a year.

Another element that differentiates the Venezuelan black cake is that chocolate is added to reinforce the color but also to give it a great flavor.

Venezuelan-style black cake
Venezuelan-style black cake

The ingredients of the black cake

The ingredients of the black cake are the key to differentiating it. Next

  • Two and a half cups of all-purpose or self-rising wheat flour. In case of using all-purpose flour remember to add the baking powder.
  • Two cups of papelón or brown sugar
  • 210 gr. margarine or butter
  • 5 eggs
  • Half a cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 small bar of dark chocolate
  • Tablespoon and a half of baking powder, if using all-purpose flour.
  • Pinch of salt
  • You can add a pinch of cinnamon or other sweet spices.

Additionally, macerated fruits are added, which are the special touch of the Venezuelan black cake.

Without a doubt it is one of the tastiest and most typical recipes of Venezuelan Christmas. If you want to try the “torta Negra”, one of the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas you will not regret it.



The pannetone is of Italian origin, specifically from the Milan area. In Latin America and Spain, it is known as “panetón”. It is also called in some countries Easter bread or sweet bread.

It is a soft sweet bread made with brioche-like dough with a cupcake or giant ponquecito shape. Pannetone is usually filled with candied fruits or raisins or with the mixture of both.

Among the candied fruits traditionally used are citron, orange, and lemon. Also, in Venezuela you can use lechoza and cherries.

Even in some countries like Venezuela the Panetón is filled with chocolate drops.

It is dome-shaped, and the dough is made with strength flour, sourdough or fresh yeast, eggs, butter and sugar.

This traditional dessert originates from the Milan region. Its origins date back to the 15th century.

Thanks to the Italian immigrants who fled the world war, it became popular in Latin America.  One of the countries where panettone is most popular is Peru.

In Peru the pannetone is so popular that it is not only associated with Christmas and the end of the year. Pannetone is also consumed in Peru on its national festivities.

Pannetone has become internationalized and competition and production in different parts of the world is important

In Venezuela you can not miss the Pannetone on the table of December 24 and the end of the year. Without a doubt an Italian delight that has conquered the table of Venezuelans.

Panettone as one of the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas
Panettone as one of the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas

Venezuelan Christmas trunk

Venezuelan cuisine is characterized by a miscegenation as intense as that of the Venezuelan population. Thanks to this, Venezuelan cuisine contains recipes that have become the heritage of the Venezuelan and yet have a foreign origin.

With Venezuelan pizzas, hot dogs, or hamburgers, we see that the Venezuelan knows how to give it its national touch. Ingredients like grated salad and Parmesan cheese in dogs, or egg and avocado in burgers make them a delicacy.

That is why it is not surprising that the Venezuelan Christmas trunk is of French origin. Let us also remember that the country had a very marked influence of French culture during the presidency of Antonio Guzmán Blanco. Venezuelan words like “musiú” (derived from the monsieur) or “creyón” (derived from the French crayon meaning pencil).

The French Christmas trunk is traditionally a flexible sponge cake that is rolled filled and covered with chocolate. In Venezuela it can also be filled with arequipe and to maintain the idea of the trunk it is also covered with chocolate.

It is certainly a delicious preparation and a dessert that decorated can delight diners. This dessert seeks to resemble a trunk of those used in fireplaces in the winter season, ideal for December.

The Venezuelan always knows how to add his own touch to Christmas and world gastronomy. Another dish that has become a typical Venezuelan Christmas dish in its own right.

Another dish that has become a typical Venezuelan Christmas dish in its own right.
Another dish that has become a typical Venezuelan Christmas dish in its own right.

Dishes “less typical” of Venezuelan Christmas

At Christmas there are numerous typical dishes in each country. In Venezuela we have presented the most representative of Christmas in Venezuela. However, there are other delicious dishes that are typical of Venezuelan Christmas but are less common and known. Today we will do you the honor of mentioning them and giving you some tips so that you know them

Next, the typical dishes of Venezuelan Christmas less common.


Stuffed Turkey

The Stuffed Turkey in the Venezuelan Christmas is displaced by the so-called Christmas dish. The Christmas dish with “hallaca”, ham bread, chicken salad and ham leg is the star of Christmas. However, turkey sometimes replaces ham leg or can become a main dish. It is not one of the typical traditions, but it has become a regular visitor to the table during Christmas.

Stuffed turkey has multiple ways to be prepared, so today we will present some alternatives for this delicious dish.

The first step is to choose a turkey with a good size. It is suggested that the turkey be between 3.5 and 5 kilos. This turkey should be natural. If it is a frozen turkey, we must ensure that it is well thawed.

Thawed turkey can be marinated in different combinations. One of the options is to use the juice of a citrus fruit that can be lemon, orange, pineapple, passion fruit or a mixture of them. Citrus juice mixed with salt, pepper, chives, celery, coriander, and parsley. Some recipes also use thyme or rosemary, although we do not recommend it.

You should “prick” the turkey everywhere sprinkle it with the mixture to marinate it. This turkey is reserved in the fridge until the next day to leave it juicy.

Fundamentally in the preparation of the turkey varies in the filling. Depending on the filling, a different flavor is acquired. Here are some recipes for turkey stuffing.

Stuffing for pig turkey, bacon, and raisins.

Fry the bacon with onion and garlic cut into small pieces to extract the flavor. This is added to ground pig meat with salt and pepper to taste to cook it together. When the meat is quite cooked, raisins are added with red or white wine, depending on the taste.

Stuffed with pork and beef with apple

Cook the pork and beef with the onion and apples in wine with salt and pepper to taste. Add wine and cinnamon to both the meat and the inside of the turkey to give it flavor. Before filling it, you can add a glass of sherry to the cooked meat and a little cinnamon and reduce.

Stuffed with nuts

This recipe is made with a smaller turkey, estimating between 2 and 3 kilos, given the density of the nuts. Among the nuts that we can use are raisins, apricots, pine nuts, plums, walnuts, and almonds. The first step is to fry apple pieces with onion and the nut mixture of your choice for 6 minutes and then add a glass of sweet liquor and cinnamon. Among the sweet liquors we can choose rum, a sweet wine, brandy, or orange liqueur to then reduce. It is called reducing the action of cooking until the liquid evaporates a little and concentrates the flavor.

The Art of Turkey Stuffing

The stuffing is placed inside the turkey and the legs are tied to prevent the stuffing from escaping, but also to protect it from cooking the turkey. This is done so that the turkey stuffing does not dry out during the cooking of this delicious dish

These delicious Stuffings with the turkey have everything to become a Christmas tradition in any family. However, in Venezuela turkey is much less common than chicken and therefore has not become so popular.


The important thing about these typical Venezuelan Christmas dishes is to enjoy family preparation.

When you enjoy every step of these delicacies it is a privilege for Venezuelans. Gustavo Mirabal loves venezuelan christmas food.

The ideal of the Christmas season is to enjoy in the company of family and friends these wonderful moments.

Another aspect is to be supportive of others, for time to share. So don’t hesitate to share a Christmas plate with someone in vulnerable conditions. Well, there’s the essence of true Christmas…