40 Vintage Christmas Recipes That Deserve a Comeback

Pork Crown Roast
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

In the South, Christmas season revolves around family, time-honored traditions, and the kitchen. We can't think about our childhood Christmas memories without landing on our favorite holiday meals and treats that make appearances year after year—and are passed down generation to generation. From mouthwatering roasts to perfect pound cakes, our Christmas recipes are too good to forget. At Southern Living, we've featured some of the very best holiday recipes that deserve to be spotlighted yet again.
These throwback recipes go back decades and feature the old-school holiday dishes we have loved the most. Several were developed in our test kitchen, but many were submitted by our talented readers over the years. Spice up your holiday menu this year by giving these vintage Christmas recipes another look—you might just be reminded of that family classic that needs to be introduced to a new generation.

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Christmas Snow Salad

Christmas Snow Salad
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Christmas Snow Salad

Originally from our November 1982 issue, this bright retro salad still deserves a spot on your Christmas buffet today. It's not only pretty, but it's a refreshing option to heavy holiday sides.

02 of 40

Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots

Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots

Once a classic side for Christmas Eve, glazed carrots offer the sweetness that sweet potato casserole does on Thanksgiving. Carrots, meet your special-occasion makeover.

03 of 40

Apple-Bourbon Pie

Apple-Bourbon Pie Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Apple-Bourbon Pie

Apple pie might be a traditional Christmas dessert, but this creative version submitted by Eugenia W. Bell of Lexington, Kentucky is anything but ordinary. It gets a spiced twist from bourbon-infused raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, apricot preserves, and toasted pecans or walnuts.

04 of 40

Slow-Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

Slow-Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

The not-so-secret ingredient to the best meatballs is grape jelly. Make sure to have a crock of these slow-cooker meatballs ready for hungry guests when they arrive—they'll go fast.

05 of 40

Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Citrus Glaze

Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Citrus Glaze
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Citrus Glaze

With a glistening ham residing at the head of the holiday table, you're already off to a good start. It pairs well with any side Mama wants to serve. Bonus—all you have to do is glaze and heat.

06 of 40

Homemade Eggnog

Homemade Eggnog
Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Homemade Eggnog

You'll never go back to store-bought once you try this rich and sweet version. Omit the bourbon if you'd like—the vanilla and nutmeg provide all the flavor you need.

07 of 40

Buche de Noel

Buche De Noel
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Buche de Noel

The name of this festive Christmas cake is literally translated as "yule log." Trust us—everyone gets excited when they see this dessert.

08 of 40

Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls

Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls
Laurey W. Glenn

Recipe: Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls

We might be serving hearty roasts and casserole-happy sideboards, but there's always room for rolls at Christmas, and they make your home smell incredible.

09 of 40

Japanese Fruitcake with Lemon-Coconut Frosting

Japanese Fruitcake Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Japanese Fruitcake with Lemon-Coconut Frosting

"It was the signal that Christmas really was coming when this heavenly smell filled the kitchen," said Susan Houston of Tucker, Georgia. She submitted this family recipe with hopes it would spread that same Christmas joy to others.

10 of 40

Pecan-Coated Pork Loin Roast

Pecan-Coated Pork Loin Roast
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Pecan-Coated Pork Loin Roast

Southerners love pork loin, and this recipe dresses it up nicely for the holiday.

11 of 40

Shrimp on Seasoned Crackers with Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese

Shrimp on Seasoned Crackers with Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Shrimp on Seasoned Crackers with Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese

Southern grandmothers have been gracing our table with the classic appetizer duo of pepper jelly and cream cheese for as long as we can remember. Here, it's upgraded into a holiday-worthy dish with the addition of seasoned shrimp.

12 of 40

Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon-Molasses Glaze

Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon-Molasses Glaze
Southern Living

Recipe: Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon-Molasses Glaze

Feel instantly fancy and old-fashioned when serving this perfectly crispy roasted duck. (Break out both the vintage china and Mama's old apron.) The secret is in the sauce: a glaze of orange marmalade, bourbon, molasses, lemon juice, and ginger.

13 of 40

Retro Rum Punch

Retro Rum Punch
Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe: Retro Rum Punch

Greet your guests with a glass of nostalgic cheer. The seasonal fruit makes this the perfect festive sip.

14 of 40

Classic Cornbread Dressing

Classic Cornbread Dressing
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Classic Cornbread Dressing

Southerners know that any classic dressing recipe starts with skillet cornbread. As far as we're concerned, it goes with any Christmas main.

15 of 40

Molded Cranberry Salad

Molded Cranberry Salad
Hector M Sanchez

Recipe: Molded Cranberry Salad

This pretty vintage jewel of a dish just wants to be on the Christmas sideboard. And this cranberry rendition tastes great! The congealed salads of the 1960s deserve some love, and they sure are conversation-starters.

16 of 40

Bacon Bow Tie Crackers

Bacon Bow Tie Crackers
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Tami Hardeman

Recipe: Bacon Bow Tie Crackers

Everyone from the kids to the grandparents will be grabbing for these simple, but oh-so-yummy nibbles.

17 of 40

Chocolate Trifle

Chocolate Trifle Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Chocolate Trifle

High on style, low on effort. This chocolate trifle looks decadent and fancy enough for the holiday spread but takes only five store-bought ingredients. (They never have to know.)

18 of 40

Old-School Green Bean Casserole

Old-School Green Bean Casserole
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Old-School Green Bean Casserole

Is there a world where this doesn't belong on the list? From the frozen French-cut green beans to the crispy fried onion topping, it's a familiar staple on every Southern holiday table.

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Old-Fashioned Trifle

Old-Fashioned Trifle
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Trifle

It's the holidays, so why not go for a showstopper dessert? Whiskey-soaked pound cake and orange custard give this trifle warm holiday flavors.

20 of 40

Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini with Pepper Jelly

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Crispy Wonton Chips
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini with Pepper Jelly

If Aunt Barb said she loved this smooth, velvety mousse topped with spicy-sweet pepper jelly once, she said it a million times. This retro holiday snack is a favorite among the Southern crowd.

21 of 40

Cassandra's "Light" Fruitcake

Cassandra’s “Light” Fruitcake
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Cassandra's "Light" Fruitcake

"Every time your mama wasn't looking, I'd sneak into the closet and pour more whiskey over those cakes," said author and Southern Living contributor Cassandra King's father. This family recipe was a childhood tradition that lived on through King after her mother passed, but it didn't taste exactly right until her daddy let her in on the secret she was missing.

22 of 40

Angel Biscuits

Angel Biscuits
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Angel Biscuits

Were they sent from heaven? Perhaps. Do they capture the holiday spirit with both the fluffiness of a biscuit and the yeasty flavor of a dinner roll? Definitely.

23 of 40

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

This is what Christmas smells like. Top with softly-whipped cream, and enjoy this elegantly classic holiday dessert.

24 of 40

Spicy Sausage-and-Cheddar Kolaches

Spicy Sausage-and-Cheddar Kolaches
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Spicy Sausage-and-Cheddar Kolaches

A beloved Texas tradition, this classic Czech pastry gets a spicy Southern kick from a combo of smoky Conecuh sausage and sharp Cheddar cheese.

25 of 40

Oyster Casserole

Oyster Casserole
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Oyster Casserole

You'll know it when you see that familiar topping of Saltines. Whether you call it oyster dressing, oyster pie, or even scalloped oysters, oyster casserole is right at home on any Southerner's Christmas table.

26 of 40

Grits Dressing

Grits Dressing Recipe
Laurey W. Glenn

Recipe: Grits Dressing

Change up traditional cornbread dressing with this equally-Southern side dish, or here's an even better idea—serve both.

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Rum Balls

Rum Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Rum Balls

Rum balls, rum balls, how we love thee. It's not a Christmas party in the South without some form of tipsy treat. Originally from our December 1993 issue, this boozy confection is also a perfect gift.

28 of 40

Hot Cheesy Crab Dip

Hot Cheesy Crab Dip
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Hot Cheesy Crab Dip

Put this bubbling-hot throwback dip out for a Christmas appetizer, and watch everyone swoop in.

29 of 40

Hot Cranberry Bake

Hot Cranberry Bake Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Hot Cranberry Bake

If you've never used your Christmas cranberries for this simple, crisp-like dessert, you haven't lived. We can thank Sue-Sue Harstern of Louisville, Kentucky for this reader recipe submitted over 25 years ago.

30 of 40

Buttermilk Spoon Bread

Buttermilk Spoon Bread
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Buttermilk Spoon Bread

Can there ever be enough cozy, old-fashioned sides at holiday dinners? We say no. This creamy dish pairs well with green bean casserole and any main dish.

31 of 40

Green Tomato Mincemeat Pie

Green Tomato Mincemeat Pie
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Green Tomato Mincemeat Pie

There's no Christmas pie more traditional (or divisive) than classic mincemeat pie. It's time to bring back this flavor-filled, holiday-spiced classic.

32 of 40

Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole

Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole

Enter: the original day-after-a-holiday turkey casserole. It's hands-down the tastiest, most family-friendly use of leftover turkey. So much so, that even after almost 30 years, it's still our favorite.

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Orange Cake

Orange Cake Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Orange Cake

This retro recipe makes a beautiful centerpiece for any holiday buffet, and the citrus-flavored cake offers a bright finish to Christmas brunch.

34 of 40

Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller
Southern Living

Recipe: Oysters Rockefeller

Because if there's ever a time to go retro-fancy, it's at Christmas.

35 of 40

Ambrosia Pudding Pie

Ambrosia Pudding Pie
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Ambrosia Pudding Pie

Following British tradition, the earliest custard pies were recorded as puddings in antebellum cookbooks. We added a festive ambrosial note with orange marmalade, crushed pineapple, and coconut custard.

36 of 40

Molasses Crinkles

Molasses Crinkles Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Molasses Crinkles

Sprinkles might get more attention, but nothing tastes as much like Christmas as these irresistible cookies. Make everyone happy and bring these classic holiday crinkles to your cookie swap.

37 of 40

Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

Some things are better when kept the absolute same, like this old-fashioned pot pie recipe. How do you know it's vintage? It uses hard-boiled eggs in the filling.

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Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Consider these Christmas cookie jar-approved. What makes these stand out from basic oatmeal cookies: the toasted oats.

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Chicken Alouette

Chicken Alouette Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Chicken Alouette

Before the name scares you, know that Alouette is just cheese. Gloriously creamy, garlicky, herby spreadable cheese. This retro-fancy recipe belongs on your holiday table, because who doesn't love a pastry-wrapped main dish?

40 of 40

Pork Crown Roast

Pork Crown Roast
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Pork Crown Roast

Nothing centers a Christmas table quite as stunningly as a crown pork roast. If you want to go really retro, get the frilly paper bone-covers, called manchettes, like Grandma used to use.

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