A family enjoying Christmas dinner
Find out what British people traditionally eat at Christmas

People around the UK look forward to Christmas for many reasons, but one of the things we get very excited about is the thought of all the delicious food we can eat (and how much of it)!

Some items on a traditional Christmas dinner menu might vary from region to region in the UK – so Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland will all have slightly different customs. But here is a general list of items you may find during Christmas dinner across Britain.


What do British people eat during Christmas dinner?


1. Turkey

This one is probably one of the most popular dishes at Christmas because it is usually the main course! Other popular dishes include ham or roast beef, but in the UK, turkey is the main course of choice. People often buy a frozen turkey, thaw it, and then roast it in the oven for a couple of hours before adding garnishes and sauces. Then it’s ready to carve and serve!#


2. Roast Potatoes

There is nothing like a scoop of properly roasted potatoes! These are often cut into small squares, and put into the oven with goose fat or olive oil, along with herbs such as parsley and thyme, and salt and pepper. Once the edges are browned, the potatoes are good to go!


3. Stuffing

Stuffing is another dish that can vary from region to region. Interestingly, in North America, chestnut stuffing is a popular choice (chestnut puree is stirred into the mixture of onions, breadcrumbs, butter, and other herbs) while in Britain, herb stuffing is a more traditional choice, with large quantities of rosemary or thyme added to similar ingredients. The most popular type of stuffing at Christmas dinner is sage and onion. The stuffing can be served inside the turkey or as a side dish.


4. Pigs in Blankets

These are small sausages that are wrapped in bacon, and often surround the turkey when it is served. Fun fact: In Scotland, these are called kilted sausages!


5. Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding originates from England, and is made from a batter that includes eggs, milk, and flour. It’s usually eaten with the roast turkey, but it can be served as a dessert! Although Yorkshire Puddings are traditionally served with roast beef, many families choose to serve them alongside their Christmas dinner.


6. Gravy

Gravy is actually a type of sauce that comes from the drippings of the turkey when it is cooked. Then the drippings are mixed with wheat flour to make it thicker, as well as salt and pepper, and finally poured over the slices of turkey and stuffing. There are also beef, chicken, and vegetarian versions available in shops.


7. Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is another type of sauce that is made from, yes: cranberries! Though it often accompanies Thanksgiving dinner in North America, it is a popular sauce for Christmas dinner here in Britain. Pour a little onto the turkey and stuffing along with the gravy for a wonderful mixture of flavours!


8. Brussel Sprouts

This polarizing vegetable is a key part of a traditional British Christmas dinner. Even though many people dislike brussel sprouts (they can have a slightly bitter taste) they can always be found on the table at Christmas! They are normally served steamed or fried with bacon- delicious!


9. Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding is a dessert that is made from dried fruit and is normally served with brandy butter. It is also tradition to soak the cake with brandy and set it on fire before serving. A Christmas pudding made with figs is referred to as “figgy pudding.” Although people may serve a number of different desserts at Christmas, Christmas pudding is the most traditional.


10. Mince Pies

Mince pies are tiny pies that are filled with fruits such as raisins, cranberries, and sultanas, as well as chopped nuts and spices such as cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. Once they are baked, they are dusted with a little icing sugar and ready to eat – perfect with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and a nice finish to a delicious Christmas dinner!


Merry Christmas, and happy eating!

Want to learn more about the UK and its culture? Find out more about learning English in the United Kingdom.

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