Noche Buena Recipes

Christmas is a joyous season when family and friends gather together and share stories and food. Picture this: during Noche Buena, the aroma of delicious dishes wafting through the air, colorful decorations illuminate the surroundings, and the warm laughter of loved ones fills the room. It is not just a meal; it’s a heartwarming tradition that embodies the spirit of the season.

Learning Noche Buena recipes is a fixture of every Filipino family as Christmas holds a very special place in our hearts as a culture. As you prepare for the holidays, we rounded up 8 foolproof Noche Buena recipes that will be a knockout when you serve them this season.

1. Lechon Kawali – deep-fried pork belly

noche buena recipes lechon kawali
Image credit: Amanda Lim via Pexels

Lechon Kawali is a popular succulent roast pork belly dish seasoned with a flavorful blend of herbs and spices, creating a crispy skin and tender meat reminiscent of the iconic Filipino lechon. It’s a favorite among Noche Buena recipes and it’s almost always present in many Filipino celebrations.

Christmas in the Philippines is a time of celebration and feasting, and lechon kawali embodies the celebratory spirit with its indulgent and flavorful nature. It’s a dish that signals a special occasion and is perfect for gatherings with family and friends.

Serves 6


  • 2 lbs. pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorn
  • 5 pieces dried bay leaves
  • 3 cups cooking oil
  • 34 ounces water


  1. Pour water into a cooking pot. Boil.
  2. Add the pork belly and 1 tablespoon of salt. Put some pepper pepper and bay leaves. Boil for 30 minutes or until the meat gets tender.
  3. Remove the meat from the pot and let it cool down for a few minutes.
  4. Spread 1 tablespoon of salt on the pork belly. Make sure to distribute it evenly in all sections.
  5. Start to deep fry the boiled meat. Heat oil on a cooking pot.
  6. Put each piece of boiled pork belly into the hot oil with extra caution. Fry until crispy. Turn the meat over to completely fry the opposite side until crispy. Note: be extra careful when frying as oil can splatter. You can use the cover of the pot to cover it while oil splatters, but do not cover it completely as steam will be trapped. It will cause more splatters.
  7. Remove the meat from the cooking pot. Arrange on a wire rack to cool down.  Slice according to desired portions
  8. Serve with lechon sauce. Share and Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: Vanjo Merano via Panlasang Pinoy 

2. Pancit Canton – Pinoy stir-fried noodles

pancit cantonImage credit: Christian Moises Pahati via Pexels

Pancit Canton features stir-fried noodles that are usually made from wheat flour. The dish is typically cooked with a variety of ingredients, such as meat, shrimp, vegetables, soy sauce or oyster sauce, making it a flavorful and hearty option for festive occasions.

Pancit, in general, is associated with long life and good luck in Filipino culture. The long noodles are believed to symbolize longevity, making Pancit Canton a fitting choice for a celebration like Noche Buena, as it signifies hope and prosperity for the coming year.

Serves 5


  • 125 g pork, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 small pc onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken liver, cut into bite-sized pcs
  • 1/2 cup shrimp peeled (optional)
  • 1 small pc carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup chicharon, ends trimmed
  • 1/4 pc cabbage, sliced into thick strips or baby pak choi
  • 2 tbsp kintsay, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup beansprouts, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 pcs Knorr Shrimp Cubes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pack (240 g) pancit canton noodles


  1. First, you need to get a pan and boil the pork in 1/4 cup water for 10-15 minutes or until the water dries up.
  2. Next, pour in the oil and begin sautéing the pork until it turns brown in color.
  3. Throw in the onions and garlic next and cook until they are tender.
  4. Now, add the chicken liver and sauté them until fully cooked before adding the shrimp.
  5. When the shrimp changes color, add the carrots, chicharon, cabbage or pak choi, beansprouts, and kintsay and sauté for a good 1 minute.
  6. Since the meats and vegetables are done, let’s now make the sauce. Pour the water, Knorr Shrimp Cube, and soy sauce into the pan and allow these to simmer until the cube is dissolved well. Give this a nice seasoning of pepper.
  7. We’re almost there with only a few more steps. Take the meat and vegetables out of the pan and drain them in a strainer or colander before transferring them to a bowl. This ensures that the noodles will cook properly in the stock and that the vegetables are still firm and not overcooked as well.
  8. With the stock still simmering, drop the noodles in. Stir it every once in a while. We need to move it around from time to time to let the noodles absorb all the flavors of the stock. If the noodles have absorbed all the liquid and it’s still not yet tender, water may be added.
  9. Once the noodles are tender, transfer them onto a serving platter and arrange the cooked meats and vegetables on top. This dish is best served and paired with some calamansi and soy sauce on the side.

Recipe adapted from: Knorr

3. Rellenong Manok – deboned and stuffed roasted chicken

noche buena chicken relleno
Image credit: @chi.koppe via Instagram

Rellenong Manok is a festive Filipino dish that often takes center stage during Christmas celebrations. It’s definitely one of the grander Noche Buena recipes worth learning for festive occasions. It is a whole chicken stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, sausages, and other flavorful ingredients, creating a delicious and visually impressive dish.

Once prepared, the stuffed chicken is either roasted or baked until the skin turns golden brown and crispy, and the stuffing is cooked through. It is often served sliced, revealing the layers of delicious filling encased in the tender chicken.

Serves 8


  • 1 (4 to 5 pounds) whole chicken, deboned
  • ½ cup calamansi or lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  •  teaspoon pepper
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the meat stuffing:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground pork
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 onion, peeled and grated
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ¼ cup banana ketchup
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine calamansi juice, soy sauce, and pepper. Marinate deboned chicken in a mixture for about 1 hour (under refrigeration), turning the chicken occasionally. Drain chicken well and pat dry.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground pork, pineapple, onion, carrots, bread crumbs, cheese, raisins, ketchup, and beaten eggs until well distributed. Add salt and pepper and combine well.
  3. Through the lower opening, spoon half of the stuffing into the chicken. Insert the boiled eggs, positioning them at the center line of the chicken.  Fill the chicken with the remaining half of the stuffing mixture.
  4. Sew the neck and lower openings of the stuffed chicken. With a paper towel, gently wipe down the surface of the chicken to remove stray bits and pieces of the meat stuffing. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
  5. Liberally brush the surface of the chicken with mayonnaise.
  6. Carefully transfer onto a lightly greased roasting pan, tucking wings close to the body of the chicken to prevent them from burning before the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Roast in a 375 F oven for about 1 ½ hours, occasionally brushing with mayonnaise. At the last 20 minutes of cooking, liberally brush the skin with butter and continue to roast until the internal temperature reaches 165 F and the skin is golden brown.
  8. Remove from heat and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.


  • For food safety, make sure the filling reaches 165 F. If the skin is browning too quickly before the stuffing is fully cooked, loosely tent it with foil.
  • Let rest before stuffing to re-distribute flavorful juices and to allow stuffing to set.

Recipe adapted from: Lalaine Manalo via Kawaling Pinoy

4. Hamonado – a sweet and savory holiday ham dish

noche buena recipes pork hamonado
Image credit: @lizbelle_28 via Instagram

The term hamonado is derived from the Spanish word “jamón,” which means ham. In the context of Filipino cuisine, Hamonado typically refers to a style of preparing meat, especially pork, by marinating it in a sweet and tangy mixture. The meat is then slow-cooked until tender, allowing the flavors to infuse and the natural juices to be absorbed.

Hamonado is one of the classic Noche Buena recipes to learn. It is well-suited for large gatherings, as it can be prepared in advance and easily scaled up to accommodate a crowd. This makes it a practical choice for Christmas Eve and Christmas celebrations, where families often come together to share a hearty meal.

Serves 5


  • 2 lbs pork butt about 1 kilo
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 cup beef broth


  1. Mix the pineapple juice, sugar, and soy sauce in a large bowl
  2. Marinate pork with the pineapple juice, sugar, and soy sauce mixture for about 1 to 3 hours
  3. Remove the pork from the marinade and set the remaining mixture aside
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the marinated pork until the meat turns light brown (approximately 3 to 5 minutes)
  5. Pour in the remaining marinade mixture together with the pineapple chunks and beef broth and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Serve Hot. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: Vanjo Merano via Panlasang Pinoy

5. Pinoy-style Spaghetti – sweet take on Italian spaghetti

Rein's Kitchen baked pinoy style spaghetti
Image credit: @reinskitchen_ via Instagram

Pinoy-style spaghetti is a Filipino twist on the classic Italian pasta dish. It’s characterized by its sweet, savory, and slightly tangy flavor profile, with ingredients that often include a sweet-style sauce, sliced hotdogs, ground meat (usually pork or a pork and beef blend), and sometimes liver spread.

This Noche Buena recipe is a sure hit among the kids and kids at heart. The spaghetti is typically topped with grated cheese, and the overall result is a comforting and distinctly Filipino take on a beloved international dish.

Serves 8


  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 Filipino-style hotdogs, sliced diagonally
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded, cored and chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup banana ketchup, preferably sweet and spicy
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup quick-melt cheese, shredded


  1. In a pot over medium heat, cook spaghetti in salted boiling water according to the package’s direction for about 7 to 9 minutes or until firm to bite. Drain well.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add sliced hot dogs and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add onions, garlic, and bell peppers to the pan. Cook until softened.
  4. Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking into small pieces until lightly browned. Drain any excess fat.
  5. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, and beef broth. Stir in sugar.
  6. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer, covered, for about one hour or until meat is fully cooked and sauce is thickened. If the sauce is getting too thick, add water in ½ cup increments as needed.
  7. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add browned hot dogs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. To serve, spoon spaghetti sauce over noodles and top with shredded cheese.

Recipe adapted from: Lalaine Manalo via Kawaling Pinoy

6. Puto Bumbong – purple sticky rice cakes steamed in bamboo tubes

Puto bumbongImage credit: @acelram via Instagram

Puto Bumbong is a traditional Filipino delicacy and a beloved Christmas treat. It is a steamed rice cake made from purple glutinous rice that is soaked, ground, and then steamed in bamboo tubes. The name puto bumbong is derived from “puto,” meaning rice cake, and “bumbong,” referring to the bamboo tube in which it is traditionally cooked.

Puto Bumbong is often sold by street vendors during the Christmas season, creating a sense of community as people gather to enjoy this festive delicacy together. The act of waiting in line before or after Simbang Gabi and sharing Puto Bumbong with family and friends adds to the joyous atmosphere of the holidays.

Serves 6


  • 3 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 18 tablespoon water
  • 0.75 teaspoon violet liquid food color
  • 1.5 cup grated coconut
  • 3 tablespoons Butter or margarine for brushing
  • 9 tablespoons Brown sugar or muscovado
  • Grated cheese optional


  1. Shape cuts of foil into thin long containers, about 4 inches long and ¾ inch thick and high. Make about 8-10.
  2. In a small bowl, combine water and food color and mix.
  3. Place glutinous rice flour in a separate bowl. Add colored water 2 tablespoons at a time and mix it well using a spoon after every addition.
  4. Once all liquid is added, mix using your hand while breaking clumps with your fingers into tiny crumbs or grains.
  5. Brush the shaped foils with butter or margarine generously. Fill each container with the glutinous rice mix.
  6. Steam for 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them cool down a bit.
  7. Invert each piece on a banana leaf brushed with butter or margarine up to 4-5 logs per leaf.
  8. Brush the top and sides with butter or margarine, then top with grated coconut and brown sugar or muscovado. Add grated cheese or roasted sesame seeds if desired.

Recipe adapted from: Foxy Folksy

7. Ensaymada – sweet and buttery pastry

noche buena recipes ensaymada
Image credit: McHail Hernandez via Pexels

Ensaymada is a sweet and buttery Filipino pastry that has Spanish roots. It is a soft, coiled bread topped with butter, sugar, and grated cheese. While the classic ensaymada is a simple sweet bread, variations may include additional fillings such as ube (purple yam) jam, salted egg, or ham.

Unlike the other Noche Buena recipes on this list, the Ensaymada is enjoyed throughout the year, but it holds a special place during the Christmas season in the Philippines. It’s a treat that is often associated with memories of family gatherings and festive celebrations. Its presence on the Christmas table evokes a sense of nostalgia, connecting individuals to cherished moments spent with loved ones.

Serves 32


  • 2 cup milk
  • 0.67 cup sugar
  • 1 cup shortening -softened to room temperature
  • 2 envelope active dry yeast (about 7-9 grams (¼ oz) or 1 tablespoon) – proofed in ¼ cup warm water ( See Note 1 for alternative)
  • 7 cup flour
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 0.5 tablespoon salt
  • 0.5 cup butter – softened to room temperature – for brushing


  • 1 cup butter – softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups Kraft cheese or other grated cheese


  1. In a mixing bowl, mix milk, shortening, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add half of the flour and the bloomed yeast and mix for 3-5 minutes at medium speed until a paste-like consistency is achieved.
  3. Add the egg yolks and the rest of the flour and mix for another 3 minutes. Add more flour if the mixture is too liquid or too sticky but not too much. The dough is supposed to be sticky.
  4. Scrape the sides while folding the dough in the middle of the bowl and then cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it rest and rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours or until it doubles its size.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl while tipping the sticky dough over to the thinly floured working surface.
  6. Roll the dough into a log and cut into 2. Roll each log again and cut it into 2. Repeat this process until you end up with 16 slices.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll a slice into a rectangle (about 8×4 inches) and brush the surface with softened butter. Roll it from one end of the long side to the other end, creating a long, thin log then shape it into a coil (spiral) with the end tucked under.
  8. Place each coiled dough in a greased mold and let it rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes to 1 hour until it has risen to almost double its size.
  9. Bake them in a preheated oven at 300°F /150°C for 20-25 minutes. Once baked let them cool down for a few minutes before removing from molds. Then let them cool completely.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream by creaming ½ cup of softened butter and ½ cup powdered sugar.
  11. Using a knife or spoon, cover the top of the ensaymadas with buttercream and lastly with a generous amount of grated cheese.


  1. You may also use instant yeast which requires no proofing and can be added directly to the flour before kneading. Using instant yeast will also cut the rising time. Add the ¼ cup of water for proofing ADY to the liquids instead.
  2. For puffier and faster rising, I recommend using SAF Instant Gold which is made for sweet dough.

Recipe adapted from: Foxy Folksy

8. Pinoy Fruit Salad – sweet and creamy twist on fruit salad

Noche Buena recipes Pinoy fruit saladImage credit: @foodwithmae via Instagram 

Pinoy Fruit Salad, a popular and festive dessert in the Philippines, is a delightful medley of canned fruit cocktails, cream, and sweetened condensed milk. It is often enhanced with additional ingredients such as kaong (sugar palm fruit), nata de coco (coconut gel), and sometimes cheese or grated coconut. This dessert is well-loved for its sweet, creamy, and refreshing taste.

The sweet and creamy nature of Pinoy Fruit Salad appeals to all ages, making it a universally enjoyed dessert during family gatherings. This Noche Buena recipe is often a hit among children and adults alike, and it will definitely add that sweet ending to your festive meal.

Serves 12


  • 1 can (836 grams) fruit cocktail
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded buko
  • 1 cup nata de coco
  • 1 cup kaong
  • 1/2 cup whole corn kernels (optional)
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cheese (diced)
  • 2 cups all-purpose cream
  • 1 cup condensed milk


  1. Open the fruit cocktail can. Drain and separate the fruits from the syrup. Next, drain the nata de coco and kaong.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the fruit cocktail, nata de coco, kaong, shredded coconut, whole corn kernels, raisins and diced cheese. Stir them gently until the ingredients are well distributed.
  3. Add the all-purpose cream and the condensed milk. Stir gently until well combined.
  4. Chill it for at least 4 hours before serving.
  5. Transfer some of the fruit salad to your bowl and enjoy while chilled!

Recipe adapted from: Yummy Kitchen

Easy to make Noche Buena recipes

What makes Noche Buena even more special is how it brings people together. It’s not just about the food; it’s about sharing, laughter, and creating lasting memories. With these Noche Buena recipes, the table becomes a haven of warmth, where stories are exchanged, and joy is served in generous portions.

In Filipino culture, Noche Buena isn’t just a meal – it’s a celebration of togetherness, a time to savor the flavors of home and a reminder that the best moments are shared with those we hold dear. Why not learn these Noche Buena recipes and stir up a storm in the upcoming Christmas celebration?

Check out this list of more traditional Christmas food, and if you’re looking for more holiday gift ideas, here’s a list of eco-friendly gifts.

Cover image adapted from: @chi.koppe via Instagram, @reinskitchen_ via Instagram, and McHail Hernandez via Pexels 

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