Most Popular African Christmas Dishes

Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah is a content marketing specialist, with a passion for the food niche, she writes engaging content that celebrates the joy of food and its power to bring people together. Having worked on different projects. Her curiosity and creativity shines through in her writing.
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The holiday season is a magical time filled with joy, togetherness, and of course, delicious food like the exciting African Christmas dishes! For many families, gathering around the dinner table is at the heart of celebrating Christmas with delicious African Christmas dishes bring back memories.

However, coming up with new and exciting dishes year after year is no easy feat. Why not try some African Christmas dishes this season?

Jollof rice day

African cuisine beautifully combines the freshest local ingredients, exotic spices, and scrumptious flavor combinations that are sure to wow your guests.

The continent is home to diverse culinary traditions that can elevate your holiday feast to new heights. Spicy stews, sweet indulgences and comforting starches, prepare your tastebuds to savor African dishes with these 15 can’t-miss African Christmas dishes!

Appetizers to Start With

Nigerian Meat Pies

Savory pastries are a foolproof way to kick off any celebration one of the easiest African Christmas dishes. These Nigerian meat pies, with their flaky and buttery crust, make for the perfect finger food while guests are still mingling over drinks before sitting down to dinner.

The minced meat filling seasoned with curry powder and herbs provides a wonderful depth of flavor in every bite. Serve while still warm from the oven for a truly unforgettable appetizer.

Nigerian Meat Pie e1466591388767 scaled

Zanzibar Bhajia

Also known as Zanzibar fritters, these crispy snacks originate from the island region and are a beloved starter and street food. The main ingredients are chickpea flour and onions, blended with local spices like cumin, coriander, garlic and hot pepper.

Deep fried to golden perfection, they make for the ideal appetizer to serve before an Indian Ocean-inspired main course and side dishes.

Potato Bhajia - African street food
Image from Sanjanafeasts

Satisfying Main and Side African Christmas Dishes

Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Couscous

This aromatic lamb stew simmered with olives, lemon, spices, and seasonal produce is a true taste of North African Christmas dishes. Allow the tagine’s cone shape to let flavors mingle while the meat becomes fall-off-the-bone tender.

Served over a bed of light and fluffy couscous, it’s the ultimate comforting Christmas dish that will fill your home with wonderful spice-scented air.



Kenyan Pilau

This East African rice dish gets its vibrant red-orange color from stewing tomatoes and is punctuated by whole cloves and cardamom pods one of African Christmas dishes in Kenya. Slow cooked with meat or chicken, vegetables like carrots and green beans, and fresh ingredients like cilantro, it’s the perfect one-pot meal.

Pilau makes for a simple but festive centerpiece, and the bright acidic tomato broth pairs excellently with the other rich dishes on your table.


Ghanaian Red Red

This hearty Ghanaian bean stew is a protein powerhouse from its combination of black-eyed peas and red kidney beans slowly simmered in a palm oil-infused broth.

It gets its name from blending both bean varieties to create a distinct red hue. Served with tuber staples like plantain, yam or cassava, a big spoonful of this stew makes for ultimate comfort food on a chilly Christmas night.

ghana red red

Nigerian Fried Rice

One of African Christmas dishes that is a crowd-pleaser and adds a local twist by tossing fragrant jasmine rice with scotch bonnets, curry powder and parsley. The spicy, aromatic rice provides the base that soaks up all the delicious flavors of the main protein and stewed vegetables like green beans, sweet corn and peas.

Christmas dinner just doesn’t feel complete without fried rice, and this version infused with Nigerian spices will have everyone asking for seconds.

Nigerian Fried Rice

South African Chakalaka

As a zesty relish or side made with savory vegetables like carrots, beans, peppers and tomatoes stewed in a blend of spices, Chakalaka brings a tasty kick to any spread.

It can be served warm, room temperature or cold, making it the ultimate versatile condiment for your holiday table. The sweet and spicy flavor profile pairs excellently with grilled or roasted meats and starchy sides.


Delectable African Christmas Desserts

Moroccan Almond Cookies

These rich cookies scented with almond, cinnamon and orange blossom water will make for a sweet ending to your Moroccan-themed feast. While time-consuming to prepare, shaping the dough into crescent moons, dots or diamonds makes for a fun project for the kids too.

Once baked, lightly dust them with powdered sugar right before serving so they look as beautiful as they taste. Enjoy with a cup of signature Moroccan mint tea.

Chebakia (Moroccan Sesame Cookies)
Image Credit: Amira’s Pantry

Kenyan Mandazi

As East Africa’s beloved doughnuts, these sweet fried treats are a must-have on the dessert table.

Made simply by deep frying yeasted dough till golden brown, they have a melt-in-your-mouth texture perfect for soaking up a dipping sauce. Coat mandazi in sugar or fill them with chocolate hazelnut spread, banana slices, coconut cream or your favorite preserves.

Image from Blue Band

Nigerian Chin Chin

With a perfect balance of sweetness and crunch, chin chin is a quintessential Nigerian Christmas snack made iconic by its deep fried, golden brown exterior and flaky layers on the inside.

Though preparation is tedious and time-consuming to slice then fry the dough strips, the end result is well worth it. Feel free to flavor the quick bread with vanilla, lemon or almond extract before frying. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or dip in chocolate sauce.

Chin Chin Recipe
Chin Chin Recipe

South African Malva Pudding

This warm and comforting dessert is prepared the night before so flavors have time to mingle. The sticky, dense cake is soaked in hot syrup which creates a meltingly soft crumb.

Served with vanilla ice cream or custard, it’s an ideal ending to a heavy dinner and sure to satiate everyone’s sweet tooth. Apricot jam swirled into the batter provides lovely pops of tartness too.

Chocolate Malva Pudding
Chocolate Malva Pudding

Beverages to Quench Your Thirst

South African Rooibos Tea

Take tea time to new heights by steeping earthy, antioxidant-rich rooibos tea leaves harvested from South Africa’s Cederberg region. This caffeine-free variation has a subtly sweet, vanilla-toned flavor profile.

Enjoy alongside dessert or combine with fresh citrus slices and warming spices like cinnamon sticks and allspice berries for a festive flavor.

Rooibos tea - African beverage
Image credit: The Conversation

Spiced Zanzibar Coffee

Once traded as a treasured commodity, coffee still reigns strong on the Spice Islands in blends laced with other native goods like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves for depth.

Savor the caramel sweetness of this creamy brew served in petite ornamental thimble-sized cups as you catch up with loved ones in the glow of holiday lights.

Sudanese Coffee
Image Credit: Kahawa Roasting Company

Ginger Pineapple Punch

Quench your thirst with tropical flavors by blending sweet pineapple juice with the zing of fresh ginger and lime. Splash in sparkling water for some effervescence.

The sweet and sour juice mingled with spicy ginger makes for an incredibly refreshing beverage between bites of rich dishes. Garnish with mint or pineapple wedges.

Serve mocktail style without alcohol or splash in some rum or vodka for added holiday spirit!

Ginger Pineapple Punch

Mulled South African Wine

Warm up from the inside out by mulling South Africa’s famed red wine varietals like Pinotage or Shiraz with classic holiday spices and citrus fruits. Notes of black cherry and blackberry blend beautifully with fragrant cinnamon, star anise and orange.

Ladle into heat-proof mugs and enjoy fireside as you wind down from the cooking, eating and festivities.


There you have it—a complete round-up of festive African dishes, sweet things and drinks to take your holiday spread to extraordinary new heights this Christmas!

From spiced starters to hearty mains and comforting desserts, we hope these exotic yet welcoming recipes inspire you to give your traditional menu an exciting makeover they’ll remember.

Gather your favorite people, pop some African holiday music and delight in these flavors from across the continent. No matter which recipes you choose to try, prepare your home and tastebuds for some serious yuletide magic. Happy cooking and happy holidays!


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Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah is a content marketing specialist, with a passion for the food niche, she writes engaging content that celebrates the joy of food and its power to bring people together. Having worked on different projects. Her curiosity and creativity shines through in her writing.

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