Yule Recipes: 13 Traditional & Modern Winter Solstice Meals & Beverages
It’s almost time to break out your warm blankets, cozy slippers, and dutch ovens. Look, I know most pagans live for the Samhain season. But I most look forward to the Winter Solstice season every year. Particularly for the warm, hearty meals and drinks. I mean, truthfully, there’s more to it than just the food. But who am I kidding? The food is hands-down the best part! Here we give you our favorite 10 traditional and modern Yule recipes for the Winter sabbat season. Solstice Blessings!
13 Yule Recipes for Heartwarming (And Tummy-Filling) Meals and Drinks
The Winter Holidays scream the colors of red and green, as well as heavy, rich flavors. Depending on where you live, the traditional Winter and holiday meals will differ. I think that’s half of the fun! Try making both traditional Yule fare as well as modern meals and alternatives. Include your own traditional Winter foods. Make these meals throughout the Winter season, as well as on the Yule sabbat. You won’t regret it.
1. Ham (In Place of a Roast Boar) *A Traditional Yet Modern Yule Recipe*
To our Norse ancestors, the Winter Solstice (or Yule as they called it), was a time of being together and feasting. It was a time to give thanks to the gods for all they had. On Yule, a great boar was sacrificed in the name of the god Freyr and then eaten. Since most of us don’t have access to a wild boar for our Yule feasts, a ham or roast pork is a delicious substitution. Order a special honey-baked ham and have it delivered to your front door. OR try this delicious brown-sugar, mustard glazed ham recipe as your main entree next Yule. Pair it with traditional American sides like broccoli casserole and mashed potatoes.
2. Wassail *A Traditional Yule Recipe*
Wassail is an ancient Yule tradition in the British Isles that still continues today. Hot wassail is essentially a hot cider drink infused with heady spices and fruit juices. There is more than one custom of wassailing, including going from door-to-door to visit neighbors and wish them luck. AND singing blessings in apple orchards to ensure a good harvest the following harvest season. Whether you have a local orchard or not, making hot wassail this Yuletide honors your ancestors from the Isles and the spirits of Yule.
3. Cioppino *Italian Seafood Soup* For Christmas and Yule
If you’re Italian, you know how decadent Cioppino is as a Winter holiday meal. A tomato-based soup jam-packed with shellfish like clams, mussels, oysters, as well as calamari, fish, and basically any seafood you like. The seafood is NOT cheap, so this is what makes Cioppino such a special Yule dish. Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to disclose our family recipe; HOWEVER, I’ve found one that’s pretty darn close. Find a Cioppino Recipe for Yule here. Don’t forget to add some crusty bread, polenta, and green herbs to this meal. The green herbs and red soup evoke all the Yule feels.
4. Surf and Turf *Steak and Crab*
I don’t know where you live. But whether it’s out in the country or near the sea, surf and turf for the holidays is always a great choice. We can’t always afford steak and lobster year round, but like I said before, we try to go “all out” for Christmas and Yule every year. So save up your extra dough and indulge on some filets (or rib-eyes, whatever you can afford). Then pair your turf (steaks) with some rich seafood like lobster tails, snow crab, etc. This meal is a LOT of meat, so balance it out with a side of vegetables or mashed potatoes.
5. Prime Rib With Pureed Parsnip
Prime rib. Yummy. One of my all-time favorite Yule meal recipes that any meat lover will drool over. Frankly, my favorite part of THIS meal is the horseradish dressing. Call me a weirdo. I can’t help but enjoy having my sinuses cleared out on Yule eve. This is a decadent dish and if you add pureed root vegetables like parsnip to it, you have a Winter Solstice meal perfect for nobility. Keeping in mind, you can substitute the parsnip for mashed potatoes OR roasted carrots. Any root veggie is traditional for Yule.
6. Eggnog (Alcoholic and Non-alcoholic) *Traditional American Recipe*
You love it. Or you freaking hate it. Either way, eggnog made our list for Yule recipes. It’s just too darn prevalent around the Winter holidays. And to give you a brief history, eggnog apparently dates back to Medieval Times. In the thirteenth century, there was a drink called posset. The monks made and drank this beverage and it was made from milk, figs, and eggs. This may have been the origins of eggnog and over the centuries, folks decided to add liquor. Leave it to us partiers. Here’s a traditional eggnog recipe made from scratch. Of course you can always buy your eggnog from the store and simply add liquor and spices to it, if you’d like (you cheater you). I like thinking of eggnog as a magical way to encourage Spring to come soon, since eggs are a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.
7. Yule Log Recipe
Ever made a Yule log? Like a real log decorated with greens, ribbons, and topped off with candles? Or thrown into the Yule fire? If not, don’t worry about it. You can always make one this year. PLUS you can make an EDIBLE yule log. It’s called cake. And it’s fantastic. It looks like a REAL yule log but tastes like you’ve died and gone to the Summerland. Try Ree Drummond’s Yule Log Recipe here.
8. Rum Cake
Nothing says the Winter Solstice to me than a rum-soaked bunt cake…aka the rum cake. I have a few family members who enjoy making rum cakes every year and giving them as gifts. And, I’m lucky to be on the receiving end. Even luckier that these two women can be rather competitive. I don’t mind being the rum cake judge, trust me. ANYWAY, if you’d like to try your wintry hands at a divine rum cake this holiday season, check out this easy rum cake recipe. Don’t forget to add an extra floater to the top wink wink.
9. Sun Wheel Bread *A Traditional Yule Jul Recipe*
On Yule, aka the Winter Solstice, it is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Which to our prehistoric ancestors might have first felt scary, but then they realized the next day, the sun began its triumphant return to the sky. So on Yule, our Norse and Northern European ancestors celebrated the return of the sun. And baking sun bread is also traditional. According to the Cailleach’s Herbarium, adding caraway seeds “prevents the virtue of the sun from being stolen” by the trickster sidhe. She provides her personal Sun Wheel Bread recipe here. I recommend giving the first slice or piece as an offering to your deities or ancestors and/or to the Sun itself.
10. Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Crab Bisque
Soup of any kind is a great appetizer OR lunch for Yule. I’m a huge fan of seafood bisques, and particularly for the Winter holidays. It’s warm, creamy and rich. And if you’d like to try out a seasonal version, make this Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Crab Bisque. It’s got your reds and greens and it tastes absolutely amazing with some cheese sprinkled on top and crusty bread for dipping purposes. You can even make this soup ahead of time, freeze it, then pull it out when you’re ready to eat. I love make-ahead holiday meals!
11. Hot Toddy
Feeling ill? Hot toddy. Want to honor Odin on Yule Eve? Hot toddy. Need to take a break from the crazy holiday madness? Hot toddy. It’s a Yule recipe AND a necessary remedy for all of your woes, y’all. I’m seeing claims the hot toddy is from Britain-ruled India, while other sources claim Scotland in the 1700s. I’m inclined to say Scotland during the Jacobite rebellion, because…it just makes sense. Back then, they needed alcohol in ERE’THANG. If you’d like to make the Irish traditional version, look up the “hot whiskey”. This hot toddy recipe includes cinnamon, honey, and lemon juice along with whiskey. ALL magical ingredients that welcome abundance and the sun!
12. Hot Cocoa
For children, nothing says cozy and warm on Yule than a cup of hot cocoa. I remember being a little girl and going sledding, then coming inside and my grandmother had a mug with hot cocoa ready for me. In addition, because melted chocolate wasn’t good enough, she would add a candy cane and whipped cream! Go all out for your kiddos this Yule and offer them hot cocoa with a “buffet” of hot cocoa toppings: sprinkles, cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, whipped cream, candy canes, etc. This is such a FUN Yule recipe tradition your kids won’t ever forget. Warning: don’t feed this to the kids right before bed or you’ll never get them to sleep!
13. The Yule Goose Meal
If you thought eating goose was purely a Christmas Christian thing, think again. It’s pagan, man. Apparently eating goose on the Winter holidays dates back to ancient Greece and Rome (before the Church). Not to mention, there’s evidence the Norse people offered goose to the gods Odin and Thor around the Winter Solstice. SO, keep our ancestors happy and roast a goose this year! If I’m making a goose, I’m going with Gordon Ramsay’s traditional recipe. And if you live somewhere where goose isn’t necessarily on the menu, opt for a roast chicken or duck instead.