Mexican Holiday Recipes

Festive Breads and Traditional Treats to Feast On

In Mexico, women traditionally gather together to cook large amounts of food for holiday festivities. They make all sorts of authentic Mexican dishes, from breads to sweets to savory favorites, sometimes spending days in the kitchen. Even without that kind of time, you can bring the flavors of Mexico to your holiday celebrations with these delicious recipes.

  • 01 of 10

    Tamales

    Tamales

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    Tamales top the list of favorite holiday fare in Mexico. Because they require so much time to make, they're usually done only a few times a year in large batches. Steaming hot tamales make a perfect celebration food because you get to unwrap them like a little present.

  • 02 of 10

    Mexican Wedding Cakes (Cookies)

    Mexican Wedding Cookies (Polvorones) Recipes

     The Spruce

    With Christmas treats top of the mind in December, you can add these Mexican wedding cakes, called polvorones in Spanish, to your list of favorite cookies. Their crumbly shortbread texture with the flavor of roasted pecans makes a homey addition to other favorite recipes on a holiday cookie plate.

  • 03 of 10

    Rosca de Reyes: "Three Kings Bread"

    Rosca de Reyes

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    Made for Posadas in late December or Día de los Santos Reyes on January 6, this sweet holiday bread looks like a wreath decorated with candied figs, lemon, cherries, and mango. According to tradition, whoever gets the slice of Three Kings Bread with the little baby Jesus doll baked into it must provide the food for the next party at Candelaria or Candlemas on February 2.

  • 04 of 10

    Atole

    Mexican hot drink with cinnamon stick

    Andrea Gomez / Getty Images

    Atole, a rich, porridge-like drink made from corn, is a traditional holiday staple in Mexico, served a la carte for breakfast or to accompany lunch or dinner. Sweetened with brown sugar, spiced with cinnamon, and topped with fruit, it is satisfying and filling.

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  • 05 of 10

    Pan Dulce

    Pan dulce in basket

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    Local panaderias (bakeries) make these sweet Mexican rolls fresh daily. Almost like a Mexican doughnut, they make a great side to your morning cup of coffee and a festive addition to a holiday brunch menu. You can use food coloring to turn the pan dulce red or green for Christmas or add colored sugar to decorate the tops of them in pastels at Easter.

  • 06 of 10

    Capirotada

    Capirotada

    Emma Farrer / Getty Images

    Capirotada is a thick, rich Mexican bread pudding. This recipe flavors it with apples, pecans, cinnamon, and raisins, making a perfect fall treat. A piloncillo (or brown sugar) syrup sweetens the dish, which can be served topped with whipped cream.

  • 07 of 10

    Rompope

    Rompope

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    Rompope, a thick, frothy drink similar to eggnog, gets spiked with a shot of rum for Christmas and New Year's celebrations. You can serve it chilled or warm, and include the rum or not, making it a versatile way to raise a toast.

  • 08 of 10

    Arroz con Leche

    Arroz on leche recipe

    The Spruce 

    Serve arroz con leche, a wonderfully thick and rich rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and condensed milk and topped with butter, for a holiday breakfast or as a special-occasion dessert.

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  • 09 of 10

    Champurrado

    Mexican hot chocolate
    Lisa Romerein / Getty Images

    Whether you're waking up on a freezing cold morning or enjoying time with family next to a cozy fire, a cup of this thick chocolate drink feels like a decadent treat. Flavored with anise and sweetened with the earthy flavor of piloncillo, a raw cane sugar, this corn-based drink comes from the Mayans.

  • 10 of 10

    Buñuelos

    Bunuelos

    Brett Stevens / Getty Images

    A type of fried bread, sweet buñuelos dusted in cinnamon and sugar make a special holiday breakfast, akin to a warm cinnamon roll. You can make them in bite-size balls to pop into your mouth or flatten the dough into larger disks.