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Jamaican Christmas Dinner Menu Ideas

Updated on December 21, 2016
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Carolee is a passionate writer with a love for learning and teaching. She is a published author, poet, blogger and content creator.


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What will my Christmas dinner menu be?

Many people are in a quandary as what to serve for Christmas dinner each year. Because of this, many people also stick with one menu they know works. This menu becomes a tradition and is used every year so participants know exactly what to expect.

If you are like me, you want something different each year and there lies the problem. Your Christmas dinner menu should take into consideration:

  • The amount of people at the dinner table
  • The types of food these people like for instance if anyone is hypertensive, diabetic or vegetarian
  • Your budget
  • The time you have to prepare the meal. If you are pressed for time your dinner menu should be simpler
  • Time dinner is served also plays a role in what you prepare
  • Your culture will also play a very important role

In some countries, the traditional Christmas Dinner would be held on Christmas Eve, how about yours?

I am Jamaican and our Christmas dinner is traditionally on Christmas day, anywhere between 2 and 5 pm. It usually involves a gathering of family members far and wide. Each person would carry a dish when coming and make a feast of the whole shebang.

My family is small and most of my relatives are abroad so I don't usually have a lot of people over but what I always try to do is invite some needy person over or take a plate to them. I also like to show off so someone single might be invited, someone I know may spend Christmas alone.

I live in the deep country where people are not quite familiar with other food cultures and some of these people are very poor. For instance many people in my neck of the woods have never had ham before, not the way you may know it anyway. Our grandparents used to prepare a pork leg by curing it for a few days with salt. They would then boil it and and then roast it in the oven on Christmas day but those traditions are extinct.

You will find the upper and upper middle class are the ones preparing ham. The rural people will roast pork or beef and definitely their chicken on this day. Some will also prepare curry goat as well.

Since I grew up in an upper middle class home, I have been exposed to various food cultures including the Christmas ham or turkey, and stuffing.

Traditional Gathering 2 - Christmas reunion


  • Curried goat
  • Grilled chicken
  • Rice
  • Boiled green bananas
  • Green salad
  • Sorrel


Regular family gathering 2

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Potato salad
  • Pice and peas
  • Green salad

Jamaican Christmas Dinner Menus

Traditional gathering 1

  • Roast pork
  • Roast chicken
  • Rice and peas
  • Potato salad
  • Shredded cabbage salad with cucumbers and tomatoes
  • Christmas pudding
  • Sorrel

Regular family gathering 1

  • Roast beef
  • Chicken
  • Rice and peas
  • Oven baked mac and cheese
  • Candied potatoes
  • Green salad

Mom's Christmas Menu

So my mom's home for Christmas. After twenty four years living and working in the United States, this Christmas will be special.

The last time we had duck was when I was around six years old so my mom wants duck this year. This menu is all my mom's idea. The family dinner will consist of mom, Steve, myself, my two brothers and perhaps a guest or two.

  • Stew or Roast Duck
  • Roast Pork
  • Sautee string beans
  • Cole slaw in a lettuce cup
  • Green salad
  • Fried ripe plantains
  • Green gongo rice and peas
  • Breadfruit salad
  • Christmas pudding
  • Sorrel

Note: She is thinking of having a third meat which might be curried goat or a fish dish.

Here's another menu idea - my favorite

I wanted this menu for last year but due to not getting the turkey in time I had to change it at the last minute. I am preparing my items early so that I don't miss out on my menu items.

  • Turkey: Roasted in the oven with my special herb marinade. This marinade will consist of white wine and fresh herbs blended together and rubbed all over. I will make a few incisions here and there and be sure to get some of the seasoning into these slits.
  • Stuffing: doing the traditional corn bread for the fiance's sake.
  • My special mac and cheese recipe using three cheeses, semi-heavy cream and sweet peppers, topped off with a herb seasoned bread crumbs.
  • A potato salad made with corn, cheese, green peas, carrots and sprinkled with parsley.
  • Our traditional rice and pigeon peas.
  • A salad of lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, apple slices, sliced olives and grapes topped with a homemade vinaigrette dressing.
  • A vegetarian dish of grilled or roasted tofu with a spicy strawberry jelly sauce. The sauce is made using strawberry jelly, preserves or jam boiled with hot peppers and sugar to get the right consistency. Can be served with pork and turkey.
  • Desert will be our traditional Christmas pudding.
  • Sorrel drink will wash down everything.

My Christmas menu last year

So my fiancé has never had ham before either. He has had pork, and the home made, make shift version of the ham. This is done by curing the porl leg, then boiling it then roasting. The pork is not smoked and does not have the same texture and taste, but it's not prepared with glazes and stuff.

  • Ham prepared with a cranberry glaze .
  • Our traditional gongo peas made with rice.
  • Roast chicken done with rosemary and olive oil. Poultry is a must for our table at Christmas
  • Oven Baked Mac and cheese. I used three cheeses; cream cheese, cheddar and mozzarella.
  • A green salad; made with lettuce, sliced apples, cucumbers, tomatoes and purple onions.
  • Jamaican Christmas pudding for desert
  • Sorrel drink

The must haves for the table

I usually know exactly what I am preparing for Christmas a month or two before the date. I've also prepared a Roast chicken and a pork pot roast with potato salad, rice and pigeon peas, salad medley of fruits, nuts and veges, pasta salad and sorrel drink on occasion.

The only Christmas food traditions you need to worry about in Jamaica are:

  • The sorrel drink
  • The gongo "rice and peas" (pigeon peas)
  • Christmas pudding

This year I want to give my fiancé something he has never eaten before. I have been exposed to different cuisines and food cultures by my family who tend to be a little more well off than the average, and because most of them have lived abroad for umpteen years. For instance, my mom has been travelling to from The US and other Caribbean countries since I was a baby.

So last year I gave my fiancé two options: a turkey or ham; he chose the turkey but we ended up having the ham. This year I am definitely doing the turkey. There will not be so many people as last year so I am doing only one meat.

I really hope your Christmas is peaceful and blessed, Remember to share the love. Have blessed Holiday and may your new years bring peace and prosperity.

Your menu ideas

There are many people looking for Christmas dinner menu ideas, hence me sharing mine. Kindly share your ideas in the comments box. Your ideas will be highly appreciated.

Is there something in my menu you think I should change or add?

© 2012 Carolee Samuda

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always interesting to hear how others celebrate Christmas, or what they are serving. Sounds like a great meal at your house.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      I hope it will be Billy. I will have my niece and her two kids, my brother, my nephew and a neighbor to feed. I don't know if there will be others, I suspect my nephew's bother will be here as well. I hope everything turns out well.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      This is nice, Cardisa. Sounds so good. I haven't heard about gongo peas in ages! Thanks for the memories. It's good to share history and traditions.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks Jan, I do hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous 2013.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      You're welcome, same to you and fiancé in 2013 ;-)

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Fascinating! Love reading your hubs about Jamaican culture and traditions. This menu sounds absolutely delicious!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks Sharkye11, I hope everything turns out well. What are you having this Christmas?

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

      Your Christmas dinner sounds like it will be wonderful. I'll do the traditional turkey and cornbread dressing along with some sweet potatoes, fruit salad, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy and probably a green veggie of some kind. Afraid I'm one of those folks who fixes the same thing every year -- so far, no complaints! Merry Christmas and may your blessings be many and often. Best/Sis

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Your menu sounds very good and close to what we will have. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegeable of some kind. Cookies and pies. Enjoyed reading your hub voted up and shared.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Angela, my mom usually makes a candied potato but I never attempted it for fear it might not turn out so well. Your menu brings back memories.

      Have a wonderful Christmas~~

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Wow, Moonlake that is wonderful. I think next year I'll make some cookies. I haven't decided on the gravy yet either. Thanks and please have a wonderful holidays.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing your Christmas dinner. We are a Christmas Eve family. Our Christmas dinner use to last all day.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Mhatter, I have seen where some families do it on Christmas Eve. Here in Jamaica, we have something called a Grand Market, where people do bargain shopping until Christmas morning. That's our Christmas Eve tradition. Have a wonderful holidays.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

      Carolee, I only have one thing to say: please invite me to your Christmas party immediately! LOL

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

      Hi Cardisa! I want to stay with you for Christmas!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Om, I would love to have you and bring some of those poppy seed cupcakes when you are coming!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Hey Dexter, come on by there is definitely more room for one.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Everything sounds absolutely wonderful. I am going to have to show up even uninvited ...I am sure I told you my nickname is carolee. So we have something in common.The turkey with the marinade sounds so good. Voting up++++

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Sounds like a delicious and tempting meal you serve.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I don't think you should change a thing, it all sounds delicious. I will be having baked ham and turkey and of course cornbread drsy. I will make the ' Cracker Barrel ' coke cake, it's delicious, you can get the recipe on the internet. Have a wonderful Christmas...

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Hey Carolee, I'll save a place for you. We always season our turkey. I know in the states the taste is all in the gravy, it's the opposite here. In most cases we use a cranberry sauce.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Shiningirisheyes, thank you. I hope it turns out the way I planned it, or a lot of people especially my nephew will be so disappointed.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Ruby, never heard about the Cracker Barrek coke cake before, will definitely look it up. Have a wonderful holidays.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Thanks so much, always need ideas. Somehow the ideas for meals "gene" missed me completely.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      lol..Tirelesstraveler, I seem to have gotten too much of that gene. Thanks for the feedback.

    • listsnthings profile image

      Toya Christie 14 months ago from London, United Kingdom

      Great hub and recipe ideas thanks

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