4 typical Christmas dishes and desserts from Canada

4 typical Christmas dishes and desserts from Canada

by Lingoda Team

Updated November 1, 2023

Christmas is a time for family, friends and food. And in Canada, Christmas food is no exception. From roasted turkey to tourtière, there are many delicious and traditional dishes that are served across the country during the holiday season. In the English-speaking parts of Canada, the traditional Christmas dinner is very similar to what is served in the United States. In Quebec, the traditional Christmas dinner is known as réveillon. It is a multi-course meal that is often served on Christmas Eve. Let’s embark on this tasty journey through the most delicious Canadian dishes.

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Main dishes

Tourtière (French-Canadian meat pie)

I’m often asked what is traditional Christmas food in Canada and that’s a hard one. As a nation of immigrants and of course First Nations and Inuit, there are so many traditions thrown into the mix you can pick and choose what you fancy. My mother is from Quebec and their traditional Christmas Eve dish is a very medieval country French meat pie. It can be made with venison or pork, or a mixture of both and the meat is mixed with generous amounts of mashed potato, the whole lot being heavily spiced with clove and nutmeg. The benefit of a giant meat pie is it keeps for several days and it tastes wonderful cold.

Christmas ham or roast beef

Ham is another popular main course option for Christmas dinner. It is often served with a glaze or sauce made from brown sugar, maple syrup, and spices. On the other hand, roast beef is a more expensive option, but it is also a popular choice for Christmas dinner. It is often served with Yorkshire pudding and gravy.


Brussel sprouts

A typical side dish in North America, Brussels sprouts are a common sight on Canadian tables for both Thanksgiving celebrations as well as Christmas. Try them with chestnuts and be ready to experience a tasteful Canadian holiday side, perfect with a juicy slice of ham.

Mash potatoes

The queen of all vegetables, regardless how it is cooked, a potato will always turn from a humble root to a delicious presence in Canadian tables for Christmas (and not only!). Soaked in gravy or sharing the stage with some voluptuous cranberry sauce, mash potatoes are a staple of holiday meals and will not be missing!


It wouldn’t be a complete and satisfying meal without a sweet ending.

Bûche de Noël

Chocolate lovers gather around: this typical Christmassy dessert will make you salivate! The Bûche de Noël is a chocolate yule log cake that is a popular dessert in Quebec. It is decorated with chocolate icing and powdered sugar to look like a log. And it is a dessert to die for!

Nanaimo bars

Traditional of the British Columbia province in Canada, this dessert doesn’t need any baking. It consists of a crumb bottom, custard icing in the middle and a chocolate ganache layer to top it off. For the crumb base, there are many variations, but the most common one would include ingredients as nuts and coconut.

Butter tarts

Butter tarts are a classic Canadian dessert enjoyed during the Christmas season in Quebec. They consist of a flaky pastry shell filled with a gooey and sweet mixture made with ingredients such as butter, sugar, eggs, and syrup.

Your own Christmas food experience

Canadian Christmas food is a delicious and diverse mix of dishes from different cultures. The traditional Christmas dinner in English-speaking Canada is very similar to what is served in the United States, while the réveillon meal in Quebec is a more elaborate multi-course meal. No matter what your preferences are, there is sure to be a Canadian Christmas food that you will enjoy. Experiencing a new country’s traditions and food is one of the best parts of moving to a new part of the world. When you’re living there and not just visiting, you get to really dive deep into local food culture and, why not, mix it with your own.

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