These authentic Italian Christmas Eve and Christmas Day recipes will help you to plan a holiday just like my Nonna Chiarina used to have.
Originally published December 16, 2016.
The following Italian dishes are the types of food my southern Italian family (some of whom are now all over the globe) makes at Christmastime, both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
They may not be exactly the same as other southern Italian families’ recipes, but I can assure you one thing: they are authentic. Nonna taught my mother how to make most of these recipes, and my mother taught me. I hope you enjoy them and find something to add to your Christmastime menu. Maybe you can even introduce some dishes to start an Italian tradition in your own home. Buon Natale!
Click on the photos for the recipe.
Italian Christmas Eve Dishes
As is the tradition in Italy, the Christmas Eve meal consists mainly of seafood and no meat. Often called Feast of the Seven Fishes (Cena della Vigilia).
Insalata di Baccalà ~ Salt Cod Salad
Deep Fried, Battered Salt Cod ~ Very delicious!
Spaghetti with Anchovies ~ Super quick and easy recipe
Oven-Baked Fish -White fish topped with tomatoes, breadcrumbs and spashed with vinegar, this is a super easy yet delicious seafood dish.
Linguine and clams – Nonna didn’t make this, but families nearer the coast would (spaghetti alle vongole).
Frittelle ~ called many different ways, these are Italian style Christmas doughnuts
Christmas Day Dishes
Lupini with Olives ~ Super healthy and nutritious snack
Chicken Soup with Grattini all Uovo ~ Homemade pasta for soup
Cioffe ~ Light and crispy fried ribbons of slightly sweetened pastry.
Cicerchiata ~ Cioffe, made and served in a different style.
Pizzelle ~ Crisp, flat pastries made in a special pizzelle iron.
Zuppa Inglese ~ A no bake dessert made from biscuits/cookies.
Panettone~ A very traditional lightly sweetened yeast bread. No Italian Christmas is complete without this classic Italian bread which is almost like a cake.
Ceppo di Natale or Tronchetto di Natale ~A Yule Log
Zuccotto ~ a pumpkin shaped dessert that is lined with sponge cake and filled with cream.
I’ll keep adding to this post as I publish more authentic recipes for the holidays, so check back every now and then.
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I have been making the seven fishes Christmas Eve Dinner, for about 53 years now. I am not Italian, born an American with Irish & Polish Ancestry. Who happens to love Italian cooking. Our grandchildren are American born with Italian Ancestry added by their grandfather, and they love Christmas Eve. “Sometimes, they think of themselves as more Italian, which I try to explain is not nice.” They have the good from each culture, and should never forget that! Always be proud of your Ancestries, some had it hardier than others! I have raised my children and grandchildren to enjoy, Irish cooking, Polish cooking and Italian cooking. Along with many other types of food. Now our great grandbabies will enjoy the same types of food. Already they are leaning to Italian food, Pastina, Pasta Fagioli & Lentils with pasta, and they are only 4yrs old and 1yrs old. The one month old of course is too small to eat food yet. Like you, I enjoy cooking, love to see people eat and enjoy the food. I have to admit I enjoyed your page and the different desserts. I love lupini beans and always have since childhood.
Oh Jacqueline, I am so incredibly sorry I didn’t respond to your lovely comment earlier! I see by the date that I went to visit my parents for the first time since the pandemic started, and must have missed it due to traveling.
I am delighted that you love Italian food so much! That’s such a wonderful thing to read about your whole family following suit! I agree, though, one’s own heritage is so important and must not be forgotten or tossed aside. :)
Thank you for you message and again, I apologize that I didn’t see it until now! Happy Thanksgiving!
So many wonderful treats here, but right now – sitting by the fire – the soup sounds irresistible!
I want to eat them all! Do you deliver?
Depends how much you’re willing to pay! haha!
I love when you share all of these delicious looking Italian traditional recipes. Many of them I’ve heard of, some I’ve tried and the rest I need to learn! Thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes for a real Italian Christmas, Christina.
You’re so welcome, Jill! :)
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What fun, Christine! I know many of these but am glad for a few new ones to try! Happy Christmas!