Regardless of which part of the world you reside in, one feature that remains a constant on the dining table during Christmas is meat, lots of it. However, the type of meat may vary from one country or continent to another.

In America, a typical Christmas dinner usually consists of fried turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and Gravy. Bet that is already getting monotonous. This year, do something different with your menu and transform the Christmas experience for your family.

One continent you should check when looking for diversity is Africa. Why? There is no African recipe that comes alone. Virtually all African recipes come in variations. So, you can eat fried rice in Nigeria and the taste will be totally different from what you will get in Liberia.

The reason for the variation in taste and experience of African recipes is often linked to the diversity of African spices. Africa has a broad collection of spices that is often locally prepared by fermenting native seeds or mashed plant parts.

As you plan for this year’s holiday season’s menu, introduce the element of surprise by sprinkling in a few African recipes into the mix. Your family will never be able to guess what hit them—but they will be thankful that you did. If you are eager to try something new this holiday season, take a look at the African recipe variants below.

#1. Tripe pepper soup

Pepper soup is a big deal in Africa. When friends gather to celebrate after a long day at work, there is usually pepper soup and a cold bottle of beer to wash it down.

While pepper soup can be prepared using any type of meat, it is traditionally done in Africa using tripe.

Instead of steak or bacon for this holiday season, go for tripe and surprise your family with well-seasoned pepper soup.

Make it more fun by serving more than one pepper soup variant. Choose your pepper soup variant here.

African recipe comes in different shapes and spices

#2. Fried rice

Fried rice in Africa is always reserved for a special occasions.

When you get to an event in Africa where fried rice is served, you may have to know somebody that knows somebody before you will get your hands on a plate of fried rice.

Fried rice is a popular delicacy in West Africa and virtually all countries in that region have their variation of this popular cuisine.

It is easy to prepare and rich in nutrients. If you want to transform the holiday experience for your family this Christmas, plan to make one of the fried rice variants found here.

Jollof is one of the African recipes that has so many variations

#3. Jollof rice

Perhaps you have heard about the ‘Jollof War’ between Nigeria and Ghana. Well, that should tell you the amount of influence that jollof rice wields on the continent.

While jollof rice is eaten throughout the continent (as a staple in some cases), an event in West Africa is incomplete if there is no jollof rice.

Just like fried rice, you will quickly notice that all West African countries have their unique jollof rice variant—that will leave you spoiled for choice. Want to bring the Jollof excitement to your Christmas dinner? See the different variations here.

African meatball is an important inclusion to Christmas dinner

#4. Meatballs

Some chefs will tell you that a good meatball is made up of about 50% meat and the remaining 50% is breadcrumbs. Well, that is because you have not tested African meatballs. They are 100% meat and still come out sizzling hot.

If your Christmas menu has hitherto included meatballs, there is no need to swap it out. Instead, prepare the meatballs the African way.

Since they smell and taste different, your family may think that it is an entirely different dish. Get the different meatball variations from different African countries here.

Salad is a unique African recipe mostly eaten by elites

#5. Salad

When you attend an event in West Africa, the presence or absence of salad can tell you the social status of the celebrants.

Salad is associated with the rich because it rarely satiates, and only the rich have the luxury of eating for pleasure rather than to fill the tummy. However, make no mistake, salad is eaten all over the continent—albeit in different forms and constituents.

Salads can be eaten alone as an appetizer or paired with rice. It can take a while to cut the required vegetables.

The burden should be lower if you have other family members spending the Christmas holiday with you. Choose your favorite salad recipe here.

Africa has the largest soup variety for Christmas

#6. Soup

Break away from the monotony of fried turkey this year’s Christmas by introducing your family to soups.

There is a whole world of soups out there that your family can benefit from. When we talk about sop, we don’t mean the gooey orange or brown dish that Americans are used to.

We mean a rich soup filled with vegetables and a healthy dose of meat and smoked fish. Depending on your skill level and your choice, soups can be a handful to prepare.

One place that is beaming with a large diversity of soups is Africa. If you are excited about trying African recipes, check here for options.

Plantain is a versatile African recipe usually used for Christmas celebrations

#7. Plantain

Ripe and unripe plantain should have their place on a Christmas menu. Do you know why? The nutritional content of ripe and unripe plantain differs significantly.

While very ripe plantain has a higher sugar content, unripe plantain is richer in starch. Plantain is versatile and can be served in a multitude of ways.

If your family is not used to having plantain on the menu, here is your chance to transform their experience.

Likewise, if they are used to having fried plantain on their plate, try serving them plantain in a different way and watch their experience. Unsure of where to find a different plantain recipe? Your search ends here.

Africans don't eat potatoes like Americans. They find a way to make it fun

#8. Potatoes

Mashed potatoes have become a staple on the American Christmas dinner menu. But who said your potatoes must be mashed?

Bet it must have become boring after eating it for many years now. Perhaps, it is time to try something different.

Numerous African recipes contain potatoes as their base which will help you to break away from the monotony of mashed potatoes.

From Ugandan curry potatoes to Ethiopian sweet potato fonio, your options are really limitless. Check out this archive of African recipes using potatoes and try your hands on a few of them.

Chin chin is a famous West African snack

#9. Snack

Children (and some adults with a sweet tooth) love snacks and for their sake, you should have snacks on your Christmas dinner table.

Don’t have time to make a cake snack? No problem! Maybe you should try chin chin. This African recipe is popular in West Africa and shares similarities with Klenat, a Scandinavian snack.

Chin chin is crunchy and can be made from baked or fried dough of flour blended with customary baking items.

Also, chin chin can be cut into small cubes or cuboids or stretched and twisted—it is up to you to decide. Here is a library of chin chin recipes to get started.

Fruits are often used to make healthy African drinks

#10. Drinks

With the buzz of trying to get the Christmas menu right, we can easily forget the importance of drinks.

When it comes to drinks, there is a sea of options to choose from. In fact, some shopping malls have a large section dedicated to just drinks.

Like food, drinks start losing their charm if you take them too frequently. This Christmas, let your family experience something different.

Instead of serving bottled drinks, fill the table with a variety of homemade drinks. Here is a list of drinks to try out.

Try something different this Christmas!

Christmas is becoming less interesting for most families. Some children no longer see the need to travel to meet their families during the holiday season. The reason is simply that they no longer find anything exciting in such gatherings.

The smallest of changes often makes the greatest impact. That change can start from your Christmas menu. Expanding your Christmas menu has never been easier. Head over to and select from the large catalog of African recipes and transform your Christmas experience.

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