Discover the Festive Flavors: What Does Australia Eat at Christmas?

The holiday season is a time for delicious food, family gatherings, and festive traditions. As Christmas approaches, many countries have their own unique traditions when it comes to the food they eat during this special time of year. In Australia, Christmas is celebrated during the summer season, which means that the traditional holiday dishes may look a little different from what you might find on a cold winter’s day. So what exactly does Australia eat at Christmas? From backyard barbeques to seafood feasts, let’s explore the mouth-watering and diverse cuisine that makes up an Australian Christmas.

As the holiday season approaches, families and friends in Australia come together to celebrate Christmas. It is a time of joy, love, and sharing with loved ones. Amidst the festive decorations, carols and gift-giving, food plays a crucial role in bringing people together during this special occasion. While Christmas traditions differ across cultures and countries, Australians have their own unique culinary traditions that make their Christmas celebrations stand out. In this article, we will take an in-depth look into what Australians typically eat at Christmas.

The Traditional Festive Feast

The traditional festive feast in Australia is a true showcase of the country’s diverse cultural influences and agricultural offerings. It typically consists of roasted meats, fresh seafood, and various side dishes along with an array of desserts. As Australia experiences hot summers during the holiday season, lighter dishes are preferred over heavy meals.

Roasted Meats

Roasted meats take center stage on the Australian Christmas dinner table. The most common meat is roast turkey, which is often served with cranberry sauce or gravy. However, many households also opt for glazed ham or pork roast as alternatives to turkey.

In recent years, it has become popular to barbecue meats on a grill outdoors rather than roasting them in the oven. This allows for more flexibility in cooking different types of meats simultaneously. Some popular choices for barbecued meats include lamb chops, sausages, burgers, and prawns.

Fresh Seafood

Australia’s proximity to the ocean makes seafood an integral part of their culinary culture and a staple in their Christmas celebrations. Prawns are often served as appetizers while oysters are enjoyed either raw or cooked on the BBQ.

Other popular seafood choices include smoked salmon and barramundi served as main dishes alongside roasted meats or made into seafood pies. It is not uncommon for Australians to visit their local fish markets on Christmas Eve to purchase the freshest catch of the day for their festive feast.

Side Dishes

Side dishes vary depending on family traditions and cultural backgrounds. Roasted vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin are popular choices. Salads made with fresh seasonal produce like mangoes, avocado, and tomatoes are also common.

A unique side dish that has become a staple in Australian Christmas celebrations is the “roast potato chip”. These are thinly sliced potatoes arranged in a quiche or muffin tray, brushed with oil and herbs, and roasted until crispy. It is an easy and delicious alternative to traditional roasted potatoes.


Christmas pudding is the ultimate classic dessert served in Australia during the holiday season. This rich and fruity dish is typically made months in advance to allow it to mature in flavors before being boiled or steamed on Christmas Day. However, many households also opt for lighter and more refreshing desserts such as pavlova, a meringue-based dessert topped with cream and fresh fruits.

Other popular desserts include fruit mince pies – bite-sized pies filled with mincemeat made with dried fruits – along with traditional cakes such as yule log or gingerbread cookies. Trifle – a layered dessert made with sponge cake or ladyfingers, custard, fruit, jelly, and whipped cream – is also a favorite choice for many.

Ethnic Influences

Australia’s multiculturalism is reflected in its diverse culinary traditions. As a result, many families have incorporated dishes from their cultural backgrounds into their Christmas feasts.

For example, families of Greek heritage may serve lamb souvlaki alongside their roast meats while Italian families may have antipasto platters as appetizers. Vietnamese families may include dishes like rice paper rolls or beef pho while Indian families may have curries or samosas on their Christmas menu.

Modern Twists on Traditional Dishes

While Australians hold onto their traditional Christmas dishes, they also embrace modern takes on these classics. For example, glazed ham is sometimes infused with flavors like maple and mustard or pineapple and cloves. Prawns are often served with various dips and sauces such as mango salsa or chili lime mayo.

Many households also incorporate international flavors into their Christmas meals, such as adding a hint of Asian-inspired spices to roasted meats or using coconut milk in creamy desserts.

Special Dietary Requirements

As more people become health-conscious and follow special dietary requirements, the traditional festive feast has evolved to accommodate various dietary restrictions. Vegetarian and vegan options have become more prevalent, with many households serving meatless mains like lentil loaf or tofu turkeys.

Gluten-free versions of traditional dishes such as fruit mince pies and pavlova are now widely available to cater to those with food allergies or intolerances. Many families also opt for lighter, healthier alternatives by using olive oil instead of butter in cooking or using almond milk instead of regular milk in desserts.

Alternative Celebrations

While the traditional festive feast remains the norm for Christmas celebrations in Australia

Australian Christmas Traditions

Christmas in Australia is a time of celebration, family gatherings, and delicious food. Despite being located in the southern hemisphere, Australia has adapted many traditional Christmas traditions from Europe and the United States. However, some unique Australian twists have been added to the mix resulting in a one-of-a-kind festive season.

The Christmas Season Down Under

Christmas in Australia is celebrated during the summer season, which makes it vastly different from the typical winter-wonderland seen in other parts of the world. During this time, schools are closed and many businesses shut down for several days to allow families to come together and enjoy the holiday spirit. The weather is warm and sunny, creating an outdoor-friendly atmosphere for all ages.


With no snowfall or chilly weather in sight, Australians have come up with creative ways to decorate their homes and streets for the festive season. Instead of traditional pine trees, people use native trees like eucalyptus or decorate their palm trees with lights. In addition to these decorations, you can also spot light-up kangaroos or Santa Claus on a surfboard to embrace the unique Australian culture.

The Feast on Christmas Day

When it comes to food, Australians do not hold back on Christmas Day. A typical Aussie Christmas feast includes a mixture of traditional European dishes such as turkey, ham, and roast vegetables along with fresh seafood like prawns and oysters. With beautiful beaches surrounding the country, it’s no surprise that seafood has become an integral part of an Australian Christmas meal.

Pavlova – The National Dessert

The iconic dessert of Australia’s festive season is none other than Pavlova – a meringue-based cake with a crisp crust and soft marshmallow-like center topped with fresh fruits such as kiwi fruit and strawberries. The origins of this dessert are debated between Australia and neighboring New Zealand, but one thing is for sure – it’s a hit among Australians during Christmas.

Christmas Treats for Santa

Just like in other countries, children in Australia leave treats for Santa on Christmas Eve. However, instead of warm milk and cookies, they usually opt for a cold beer and some biscuits. It’s not uncommon to hear Australians jokingly say that Santa will be riding his sleigh pulled by kangaroos instead of reindeer due to the Australian climate.

The Boxing Day Tradition

The day after Christmas, December 26th is known as Boxing Day in Australia. While some people use this day to recover from the festivities, others continue the celebrations with family and friends by having a casual BBQ or going to a cricket match together. Shopping sales also start on this day with many people taking advantage of post-Christmas discounts.

The Spirit of Giving Back

Apart from spending time with loved ones and indulging in tasty food, Australians also make an effort to give back during the Christmas season. Many charities organize Christmas drives where food and gifts are collected for families in need. Schools also participate by organizing “Giving Trees” where students bring gifts that are later donated to children who may not receive any presents otherwise.

Christmas in Australia is a unique blend of traditional European customs mixed with Australian culture resulting in a festive season like no other. From festive decorations and feasts to giving back to those in need, Australians embrace the spirit of Christmas wholeheartedly making it a truly special time of year Down Under.

Q: What are the traditional dishes served at an Australian Christmas?
A: Some of the popular dishes served at an Australian Christmas include roasted turkey, ham, seafood, salads, pavlova, and fruit mince pies.

Q: How does the hot weather in Australia affect the food choices at Christmas?
A: The hot weather in Australia often leads to lighter and fresher holiday dishes such as salads and seafood instead of heavier and richer traditional dishes like roasts.

Q: Do Australians have any unique Christmas foods or traditions?
A: Yes, Australians often incorporate native ingredients such as kangaroo meat, emu meat, and damper (a type of bread) into their holiday meals. They also have a tradition of having a barbecue on Christmas Day.

Q: Are there any specific desserts that are popular at an Australian Christmas?
A: Yes, pavlova, which is a meringue-based dessert topped with whipped cream and fruit such as kiwi and strawberries, is a staple dessert at an Australian Christmas.

Q: How do Australians typically celebrate Christmas Day?
A: Australians often spend time with family and friends over a large meal on Christmas Day. They also participate in various outdoor activities such as beach trips or backyard cricket games.

Q: Is there any cultural diversity in the food choices for an Australian Christmas?
A: Yes, due to the multicultural population in Australia, there is a wide variety of food options available during the holiday season. For example, some households may serve Asian or Middle Eastern inspired dishes in addition to traditional Australian ones.

In conclusion, Christmas in Australia is a unique blend of traditions from various cultures and local customs. While some traditional dishes like roast turkey and fruitcake are still popular, Australians incorporate their own spin on these dishes by adding local ingredients or flavors. The holiday season is also a time for family gatherings and sharing meals together, which often includes a mix of both the traditional and modern Australian cuisine.

Furthermore, the multicultural nature of Australia ensures that the country has a diverse range of dishes served during Christmas, reflecting its rich cultural heritage. This not only adds variety to the food but also highlights the diversity within the Australian community.

It is clear that food plays a significant role in how Australians celebrate Christmas, bringing people together and creating a sense of unity. However, it is essential to remember that it is not about what you eat but who you share the meal with that truly matters during this festive season.

Additionally, the increasing popularity of alternative options such as plant-based or seafood dishes reflects Australia’s growing awareness towards sustainability and ethical food choices. As we become more conscious of our impact on the environment and animal welfare, these evolving food trends serve as an important reminder to celebrate Christmas in a more environmentally-friendly way.

Overall, Australia’s Christmas cuisine showcases its unique culture and diversity while also adapting to modern

Author Profile

Erick Benitez
Erick Benitez
In 2003, the Coast Sushi Bar was founded, quickly becoming a beloved fixture in its trendy neighborhood, appreciated for its exceptional sushi and vibrant BYOB atmosphere.

The chefs at Coast have developed a mastery in blending subtle yet intricate flavors, establishing a reputation for pioneering innovative New-Japanese cuisine with only the finest global ingredients.

Building on decades of culinary success, the founder launched a new endeavor in 2024—a blog focused on Japanese snacks. This blog marks a significant shift from restaurateur to food blogger, motivated by a desire to share comprehensive insights into Japanese culinary arts and snack culture. The content covers traditional snacks, the evolution of snack culture in Japan, and the global influence and adaptation of these snacks.

Each blog post reflects the founder's commitment to quality and attention to detail, mirroring the standards of Coast Sushi Bar.

Aimed at both aficionados and novices of Japanese cuisine, the blog serves as a resource for deepening readers’ knowledge and appreciation of Japan's rich and diverse food culture.