12 Days of Christmas recipes

One of the most widely recognized Christmas songs is the “12 Days of Christmas.” As the spoiled little girl I was, I’d always ask Santa for each of those things. Of course as a tot, I had no idea exactly how much I was asking for and how much it would cost the man to deliver those.

Twelve Days of Christmas salad plate Set (Pottery Barn, $99)

Twelve Days of Christmas salad plate set (Pottery Barn, $99)

Now, according to Forbes, all 12 items cost nearly $25,000! Since receiving all 12 packaged gifts is out of the question for most of us, why not turn these gifts into something edible? Sure, a roast bird isn’t quite as whimsical as one chirping in a tree, but in this economy, what more can you ask for?

Not only will making these gifts into food save you money, it’ll also cut down your Christmas Eve menu planning, which leaves more room for caroling, drinking eggnog and kissing strangers under the mistletoe.

12 Drummers drumming

Since we do not condone cannibalism here at SheKnows, we’re going to take a different approach to this one. Leave the drummers be and just indulge in a deliciously sweet drum cookie! These beautifully decorated sugar cookies are the perfect addition to any Christmas cookie exchange or Santa’s cookie plate. To make these, prepare your favorite sugar cookie recipe (try this low-fat version!) and use a drum shaped cookie cutter. Once cookies have cooled, decorate with red, yellow and white icing and icing gel to replicate little drums!

11 Pipers piping

As beautiful as the sound of pipers piping may be, 11 is a bit of an overkill. Keep one piper to serenade you with music while you enjoy a flute of sparkling wine or Champagne. The flute you are enjoying is a little different than the flute the piper is piping, however, both can bring equal amounts of Christmas joy and cheer.

10 Lords a-leaping

In this day and age, and with today’s obesity epidemic, the only living things you’ll find leaping are the ones that croak and live in the pond. However slimy and repulsive frogs are to look at, they are incredibly good to snack on. Fried frog legs, a traditional French delicacy, have become a newfound favorite appetizer and main course for many American foodies. Impress your friends with your distinguished palate with this delicious frog leg recipe from All Recipes.

Serves 6


  • 24 frogs’ legs, skin removed
  • 4 ounces bread crumbs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups canola oil


  1. In a large Ziploc bag, mix bread crumbs, flour, cornmeal, onion powder, salt and pepper. Shake mix up. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should be deep enough to cover the frog legs.
  3. One by one, dip the frog legs into the milk/egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs. Carefully place them in the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about four to six minutes. Pat with a paper towel and serve!

9 Ladies dancing

If you want nine ladies dancing, it’s time to whip out the booze. And I’m not talking about wine or Champagne; you need the strong stuff, like tequila. The surefire way to get your ladies dancing (and some men dancing too — we’re all about equal rights here) is to keep these margaritas aplenty this holiday season. The recipe for a perfect margarita is 1-1/2 ounces of top shelf tequila, 1/2 ounce of Grand Marnier, 1/2 ounce of Cointreau (orange liqueur), 2-1/2 ounces of sweet and sour mix and 1 ounce of lime juice. Serve over ice and enjoy!

8 Maids a-milking

I grew up in the city, so I have no clue how to milk anything. The closest I’ve gotten to an actual cow is during a rebellious night of cow-tipping (not as fun as it sounds). Save yourself the legwork in trying to find a maid, for one, and one who knows the art of milking and just leave this task to the professionals. Instead, just enjoy a frosty glass of this calcium enriched dairy drink with Saint Nick. Your bones will thank you.

7 Swans a-swimming

Swans may be beautiful swimming along in your pond, but these birds are also quite messy! The cleanup from one swan’s droppings is a handful, so imagine doing that for seven! Save yourself the landscaping and instead enjoy a hearty burger made from these birds. Try this recipe, which can be found on Instructables.

Serves 6


  • 1 swan breast (about 1 pound)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 egg (optional if meat is looking dry)


  1. Defrost meat, and then make a coarse mince by chopping the breast into smaller and smaller pieces with a knife. (If you have a mincer, push meat through mincer.)
  2. Add Worcestershire sauce and pepper to the mix and stir. If the consistency is dry, add an egg. Mix in breadcrumbs and form patties and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a grill and grill burgers until done to your preference. Top with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and warm buns and enjoy!

6 Geese a-laying

Like the swan, geese are VERY messy animals, not to mention very loud. However, geese eggs are an incredible delicacy and have such a rich flavor. Once geese have laid your eggs, give them the boot and make scrambled eggs. Geese eggs are huge and can feed up to four people! To prepare the eggs, melt about a tablespoon of butter in the pan and crack the egg. These eggs are almost all yolk so they take a bit longer to cook and the flavor is much richer than a normal egg. Feel free to add chives, cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to soften it up.

5 Golden rings

I never understood the point of five golden rings. Unless you’re Mister T, why the necessity for so much finger bling? Instead of asking for wearable rings, ask for onion rings that you can eat instead. These popular bar snacks are as easy as they are delicious with this seven ingredient onion ring recipe from Southern Foods.

Serves 6 – 8


  • 3 large sweet onions
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Canola oil for deep frying


  1. Wash, peel onions and cut into 1/4-inch slices and separate rounds into rings. In a bowl, combine flour, seasonings and baking powder.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Blend wet mixture to the dry mixture.
  3. Dip rings into the oil (heated at 365 degrees F) and fry until golden brown, turning to brown both sides. Drain over paper towels and let cool before serving.

4 Colly birds

Like many, we’ve sung this song for years without any clue what a colly bird is. To be honest, I always thought it was “4 calling birds.” A colly bird is actually a European black bird. Since the thought of eating a crow, essentially, is repulsive, serve your true love chicken, turkey or duck instead. Save the blackbirds and crows for the rooftops.

3 French hens

French hens, also known as Cornish game hens, are essentially miniature chickens. They often weigh in at two pounds. Like a chicken, there are multiple ways you can prepare and serve them. Try the apricot glazed Cornish hen recipe below for a sweet and savory hen that makes the perfect addition to any holiday dinner. Cornish hen recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Serves 4


  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon grated onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon, divided


  1. Combine the salt, pepper and cayenne and rub 1/2 mixture into each hen’s cavity. Place 1/2 lemon into each hen cavity. Brush one tablespoon of butter over the hens and season with the remaining seasoning. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine the other tablespoon of butter, onion and preserves in a saucepan and cook until mixture is melted. Brush this over the hens and bake them for 35-40 minutes longer or until golden brown and a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F.

Two turtle doves

Doves are far too pretty and angelic to eat, especially since they are the symbols of peace. Instead, enjoy a decadent turtle dove bar, which is a thick dessert made of rich chocolate, butter, butterscotch and flaky pie crust. Make a few batches of this as it will go very fast, especially during the holidays! Recipe adapted from Christmas Cookies.com.

Yields 32


For the crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

For the filling:

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, combine all ingredients except the nuts in a large bowl and beat until pieces are fine. Press into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch pie pan and sprinkle walnuts over.
  2. To make the filling, combine butter and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, until mixture comes to a full boil. Boil until candy mixture reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately pour over crust.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until entire caramel layer is bubbly. Immediately sprinkle with butterscotch and chocolate chips and allow to melt, swirling to make a pattern.

Partridge in a pear tree

By this point in all the 12 days of eating, you’re probably stuffed up to your eyeballs of poultry (and eating for that matter). However, you can’t turn down a cookie, especially at Christmas. That’s illegal. So as you kick off the last day of Christmas, kick it off right with a delicious partridge in a pear tree cookie recipe, made with pear preserves! Follow this recipe, provided by Pastry Girl, and you’ll have a batch of these bird trees in no time — all you need is a fun pear and bird cookie cutter set! Not only do these cookies look adorable, but they taste just as good. Who said you can’t eat a partridge in a pear tree?

Luckily, the New Year is just around the corner and you can go back to drinking protein shakes and eating lettuce leaves.

More Christmas recipes

Christmas Eve tradition Feast of the Seven Fishes made easy
New ideas for Christmas appetizers
Top 10 Christmas foods and drinks


Comments are closed.