Three Irish Christmas Recipes:  One Delightful Holiday of Irish Expressions!

There are many different traditional Irish Christmas recipes. Some of these date back for centuries.

For instance, spiced beef was popular long before anyone thought of inventing the refrigerator and came at a time when curing meat was the only way to prevent it from becoming rancid!

This is still a popular dish that has graced many an Irish Christmas table.


Traditional Irish Christmas recipes may take a long time to prepare or have ingredients that were quite expensive in the early days, making them perfect as a special treat for the holidays.

Here are a few of our favorites.  At the bottom of the page you'll find links to many more!

Irish Christmas Recipe #1: Cheddar Puff Appetizers

Grandma always had a few tidbits for us to snack on until dinner was ready. One was a particularly tasty cheesy treat she baked and placed on the table early.

It took quite a bit of labor for her to make the thin, flaky sheets of dough and Irish cheddar cheese.

Cheddar Puff Ingredients

  • ¼-cup of each, ricotta cheese, grated Irish cheddar and chevre--soft goat cheese (Pot cheese or cottage cheese is also a good substitute for the ricotta. You can also use cream cheese, mascarpone or thick English clotted cream instead of the chevre.)
  • 1 sheet of ready made puff pastry-thawed

Cheddar Puff Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Open the pastry sheet and lay it on a floured surface. Roll it lightly.
  3. Cut out 12 circles with a 2 inch round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. Put the circles on a baking sheet. There’s no need to grease the sheet. Prick the tops of the pastry circles with a fork and put in a preheated oven.
  4. Mix all the cheeses together in a bowl until they’re thoroughly blended.
  5. When the pastry rises, about 8 to 10 minutes, remove it from the oven.
  6. Place a teaspoon of cheese mixture on each pastry round and put the tray back in the over for about 5 minutes or until the edges brown and all the cheese melts.
Irish Christmas Food - Sliced Spiced Beef...

Irish Christmas Recipe #2: Spiced Beef (Main Course)

A traditional Irish Christmas recipe in my house is the classic spiced beef.

While there was a time you couldn’t purchase the saltpeter required for the recipe, and it never tasted quite as good, you can now get salt peter at most pharmacies or online, so it’s now back on our Christmas menu.

This delicious meat is wonderful to snack on throughout the holiday season. It’s also wonderful for a sandwich with a combination of mustard and mayonnaise.

Spiced Beef Ingredients

  • 3 kg joint of beef- my favorite is eye of round but you can use silverside or topside
  • 15 grams of crushed black peppercorns—1 tbsp
  • 60 grams of brown sugar (moscavado is my choice)—4 tbsp
  • 15 grams of molasses—1tbsp
  • 5 grams cloves—1tsp
  • 5 grams nutmeg—1 tsp
  • 5 grams mace---1 tsp
  • 15 grams juniper berries—1 tbsp
  • 12 grams of saltpeter
  • 100 grams of sea salt---about 8 tbsp
  • Optional ingredients
  • 1 Bottle of Guinness
  • 1 crushed garlic clove

Spiced Beef Directions

  1. Mix everything but the Guinness and beef together to create a rub.
  2. Rub the beef with the mixture thoroughly and place into a snugly fitting glass or plastic container. Cover the container and store in the refrigerator. Turn the meat daily for 7 to 8 days, basting with the juices.
  3. Tie the meat firmly. Place in a large pot and cover with water or a mixture of water and Guinness. (I prefer the second.)
  4. Simmer the meat gently for six hours. Let the meat cool. Wrap it in cling film and put into a clean dish with a top weight on it. Serve cold and thinly sliced.

Irish Christmas Recipe #3: Apple Cake Dessert

While many love the traditional Christmas cake made with candied fruit, dried fruit and nuts and topped with marzipan and white icing, I love the taste of freshly baked apple cake, particularly when we grew many of the ingredients in our own back yard.

It’s a wonderful way to use up the last of the fall harvest stored earlier.

Apple Cake Ingredients

  • 4-medium sized apples or 2 large—about 450 grams
  • 1-lemon (juice first then grate the rind-you’ll use both)
  • 1 ½ sticks of butter
  • 3-eggs beaten
  • 250 grams-self-rising flour—2 cups
  • 1-cup of sugar
  • 2.5 grams baking powder - 1/2 tsp
  • 2.5-grams ground cinnamon---1/2 tsp
  • 75-grams raisins—5 tbsp.
  • 30-grams chopped hazelnuts—2 tbsp
  • 32-grams powdered sugar---4 tbsp

Apple Cake Directions

  1. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Core, peel and slice the apples and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle them with the lemon juice you set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the lemon rind with the butter. Remove one tablespoon of sugar, mix it with the cinnamon and set aside. Beat the remaining sugar into the butter mixture until it’s fluffy.
  4. Gradually mix in the beaten eggs. Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture and blend well.
  5. Pour half of the batter into an already prepared cake pan. Put the apple slices on top and evenly sprinkle the apples with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  6. Sprinkle the raisins and hazelnuts evenly over the top of the apples.
  7. Spoon the rest of the cake batter on evenly top of the nuts and raisins.
  8. Bake for an hour.
  9. Allow the cake to cook for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.
  10. Put on a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Delicious!  Where Can I Find More?

One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to live your Irish side is to serve Irish food.  And guess what?

We have many, many more Irish recipes for you to explore in our section on Irish food recipes

Meanwhile, if you enjoyed our Irish Christmas recipes, please take a moment to share your feedback about them, or any other part of our site, using our contact form here.

In the meantime, thank you so much for visiting! 

Now, choose another topic to continue your exploration of Irish culture and traditions, and to share your Irish side with your growing community of friends at Irish Expressions.com!



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