31 Recipes to Make in December
December tends to be a busy time of the year, but with these 31 recipes—one for each day of the month—we’ve got you covered. Treats like kumquat-Riesling gummies and white chocolate-swirled malted milk fudge make delicious gifts; options for holiday mains range from a cranberry-onion Hanukkah brisket to juniper-rubbed roast duck with cherry jus. Looking for drink recipes? We’ve got a vegan (yes, vegan!) version of eggnog, and a warming mulled wine to keep the cold at bay. Read on for even more recipes to make in December.
Pan-Roasted Lobster with Chive Beurre Blanc
“Be sure to serve the lobsters on a warmed large platter so the beurre blanc stays hot,” Food & Wine’s Mary-Frances Heck writes. “ I love to line the platter with hot cooked linguine before topping it with the roasted lobsters and lemony sauce.”
Triple Chocolate–Peppermint Cookies
The peppermint bark in these cookies is simple to make and adds a beautiful pop of color and flavor in each cookie, though store-bought bark will work well here, too.
Cranberry-Onion Hanukkah Brisket
This nearly effortless brisket gets a festive garnet glaze from cranberries; their tart sweetness cuts through the super-savory onion soup mix and hearty brisket with ease. Double-roasting the brisket yields incredibly tender meat that soaks up the concentrated sauce.
Red Wine Venison Stew
Made with venison, this stew is intensely flavored and has a silky, thick sauce that clings to the vegetables and meat as they slowly cook together. Beef chuck roast works very well here, too, but may add more fat, so be sure to skim the final stew before serving.
Inspired by old-school 7-UP sherbet punch, this grown-up version is spiked with piney gin, tart lemon sorbet, and a generous splash of fizzy Champagne. This punch is only as good as the Champagne you use, so splurge for the good stuff!
Speck-Wrapped Haricots Verts with Date Molasses
Wrapped in salty speck and glazed with date molasses, these bundles of crisp, tender haricots verts are the perfect pairing for beef or duck. Date molasses is thinner than standard molasses, so it needs to be cooked down to reach a glaze consistency; if it sets up too much, gently reheat it.
Hebrew for “doughnuts,” sufganiyot are the most popular Hanukkah food in Israel. These fried treats are simply made from balls of yeast dough and filled with chocolate, creams, curd or, as here, jam. Bakeries and markets start frying them weeks before the actual holiday and keep going until the week after. With Andrew Zimmern’s recipe, you can prepare them year-round.
Standing Pork Rib Roast with Cracklings
Farro and White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard and Herb Oil
Winter Chicory Salad with Kumquats and Date Dressing
A mix of young chicories, like endive, frisée, and radicchio, make for a blast of color welcome during colder months. If kumquats are unavailable, use paper-thin slices of unpeeled clementines.
Walker’s Mulled Wine
This mulled wine, from Walkers Maine restaurant in Cape Neddick, Maine, is gently infused with nutmeg, vanilla, and star anise, then lightly sweetened with honey and maple syrup. The result is a concoction you’ll want to sip all winter long.
S’mores Linzer Cookies
Linzer cookies are descendants of the linzertorte, named with the Austrian city of Linz. Swapping graham flour and hazelnut meal for the all-purpose flour and almond meal gives these linzer-inspired cookies the flavor of s’mores.
Sour Cherry–Cheesecake Trifle with Black Pepper and Saba
Pichet Ong’s riff on a proper British trifle retains the classic form while reinventing the components. Cheesecake stands in for egg custard; pound cake replaces ladyfingers. Rather than sherry, Ong’s trifle uses saba, a syrup made from cooking down grape must, which has a flavor similar to balsamic vinegar.
Juniper-Rubbed Roast Duck with Cherry Jus
Angie Mar models her roast duck on the one her father made every Christmas. After a prolonged salt cure, he’d cold-smoke it so the fat picked up the whiff of sweet smoke. Then he’d slow-roast the bird until it resembled the crisp-skinned, mahogany-hued ducks that hang in the windows in Chinatown. Mar serves hers with a rich sauce of reduced duck broth and tart cherries as a nod to the cherry trees in the Pacific Northwest where she grew up.
Cauliflower Salad with Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate
Inspired by her mother’s (much richer) fried eggplant salad, Reem Kassis tops fried cauliflower with toasted nuts, pomegranate arils, and lemon-and-garlic-laced yogurt.
Afro-Spiced Fried Guinea Hen
“When I serve fried guinea hen, I call it simply ‘fried bird’ because it truly is the best fried bird,” says J.J. Johnson. “I also really like the history of this recipe and the connections that it makes. You’ve got this African bird, so loved by the French that some people call it the French bird, and I’m putting chiles, cinnamon, and peanut butter on it and frying it in a Southern tradition. It just makes so much sense to me.”
Pickled Pepper Cheese Ball
Hoop cheddar cheese is made from milk alone, after all of the whey has been strained out, leaving a creamy, mild flavor and texture to the cheese. Along with saltier aged cheddar and pickled sweet Peppadew peppers, it adds a pimento cheese–like flavor to this nostalgic appetizer.
Crispy Skillet Latke with Kale
For Ashkenazi Jews (those hailing from Central and Eastern Europe), latkes are the heart and soul of Hanukkah. Instead of frying batches of traditional pancakes, here the whole lot of shredded potato batter is pressed into a sizzling frying pan and finished in the oven. The oversized pancake emerges golden with a tender center and crackly shoestring curls around the perimeter. To amp this dish up for brunch, serve it topped with lox.
Relying on fragrant and starchy basmati rice to thicken this vegan “eggnog” results in a luxuriously creamy drink. Cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg add warming spice notes, while smooth tahini lends a pleasing subtle bitterness, preventing the drink from leaning too sweet.
Brown Butter-Cardamom Spitzbuben
German for “cheeky boys,” these Bavarian cookies will be the star of your holiday cookie platter. Brown butter and cardamom make this simple cookie into a fragrant treat. Take the time to freshly grind the cardamom—its robust, citrusy flavor is worth it. You can use round or fluted cutters to cut out the cookies and any shape that takes your fancy for the center.
Coulibiac of Salmon with Pickled Beets and Kale
Once the centerpiece on the tables of czars, coulibiac has a storied past. The pastry-wrapped parcel of fish and various layered fillings started its life as kulebyaka, a Russian delicacy, before being commandeered by the French and rechristened coulibiac. This modern update on the classic swaps labor-intensive brioche with store-bought phyllo, which bakes into an ethereally crisp parcel that encases lemony rice, mustard-brushed salmon, pickled beets, and garlicky kale.
Carrots en Croûte
This filling appetizer stars curry-and honey-roasted carrots wrapped in flaky puff pastry. For best results, look for carrots that are 5 to 6 inches in length. Pre-roasting carrots with curry and thyme balances their natural sweetness with rich, savory flavor, making them a satisfying stand-in for sausages.
Caramelized Five-Onion Dip
A mix of five different alliums—shallots, scallions, and sweet, yellow, and red onions—upgrades this classic caramelized onion dip with layers of flavor.
Oyster Mushroom Tamales with Mole Encacahuatado
Paola Briseño González roasts oyster mushrooms, concentrating their flavor, for a hearty vegetarian tamale filling. Paired with velvety, intensely aromatic, and deeply savory peanut mole, or mole encacahuatado, these tamales satisfy everyone at the table.
Chile Crisp-Glazed Bacon Bites
For this party snack, meaty bites of slow-roasted slab bacon are tossed with a homemade chile crisp that's studded with freshly toasted chunks of dried chiles, fresh ginger, and garlic. Native to Mexico, slender and spicy dried Japones chiles lend their heat to this quick and easy version of the popular Chinese condiment. For an even easier version, try this with your favorite store-bought version of chile crisp.
Erbazzone Reggiano (Emilian Spinach and Cheese Pie)
Flavorful and filling with a light, almost cracker-like crust, this rustic spinach pie relies on simple ingredients for an impressive finish. Because the spinach gently steams within the crust, it retains its fresh, verdant flavor even after cooking.
Bright orange kumquats give these gorgeous gummies their all-natural sunny glow and a puckery, sweet-and-sour flavor. To play up the tartness, a citric acid coating adds a burst of sour flavor and a craveable quality.
Farro Mafaldine with Black Truffle Butter and Mushrooms
“The best way to cook with truffles is as simply as possible,” says chef Karen Akunowicz, of the Northern Italian restaurant Fox & the Knife in Boston. Bold in scent and flavor, black winter truffles require very little coaxing to lend their heady punch to a dish, though Akunowicz does recommend using a bit of gentle heat, which helps develop and release their deepest flavor, as in this elegant-yet-hearty dish, which pairs creamy butter, nutty farro pasta, and a fortifying mix of wild mushrooms with just enough truffle to elevate each forkful.
Passing the cooked potatoes through a ricer, instead of mashing or processing them, results in an airy, delicate puree. Choose Yukon Gold potatoes for best results; they are the perfect mix of waxy and starchy for a fluffy and creamy mash.
White Chocolate-Swirled Malted Milk Fudge
Fudge can be finicky; stir too little or too late, and it can go grainy. This version overcomes that obstacle with a surprise ingredient—marshmallows. Their gelatin coats the sugar crystals as they form, resulting in an ultra-creamy texture. Enhanced by the deep, roasted flavor of espresso, dark cocoa adds a rich chocolate flavor that’s perfectly balanced with malted milk powder and creamy white chocolate.
Guava Ponche with Sweet Vermouth
Ponche Navideño is a Christmastime spiced tropical fruit punch that’s served warm with a shot of tequila in Mexico. Paola Briseño González’s chilled riff on this holiday classic pays homage to her love of vermouth. Light and fragrant with perfectly balanced bitterness, it's refreshing and bright thanks to hibiscus, guava, apples, and mint.