5 Noche Buena food recipes to impress your Filipino friends this Christmas Eve


Impress your Filipino friends and family with these all-time favorite traditional Filipino Noche Buena food recipes you can serve this Christmas Eve.

Noche Buena and Christmas in the Philippines

We all know that the Philippines is known to have the most extended Christmas celebration in the world. As soon as September or the “ber months” begin, anything that would remind you of the Christmas season will start popping up. You’ll hear Jose Marie Chan’s Christmas in our Hearts, houses, and lights would be full of Christmas lights. Most of all, Noche Buena food packages will start appearing ins stores such as queso de bola and ham.


Noche Buena is the Spanish word for  “night of goodness” wherein Filipino families gather together and eat during Christmas Eve. According to pepper.ph, “Noche Buena came into being because the Spanish friars required Filipino churchgoers to fast until Christmas morning back in the 16th century. Since the natives were usually starving after coming back from the Christmas midnight Mass (and since any hour after midnight was technically considered to be part of the next day’s morning), they conjured up the nocturnal feast before going back to bed.”

5 Noche Buena food recipes to impress your Filipino friends

1. Pinoy Style Spaghetti

What makes Filipino Spaghetti unique in the world is its sweetness, hotdog slices (instead of meatballs), and cheddar cheese on top. You can even buy a Filipino style spaghetti sauce in the supermarket.

Pinoy Style Spaghetti
(Image from Pinoyway.com)

Pinoy Style Spaghetti Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup banana ketchup, preferably sweet and spicy
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup quick-melt cheese, shredded

Learn how to cook Pinoy spaghetti here.

2. Quezo De Bola (Edam)

Ask any millennial what cheese reminds them of Christmas, and the only answer you’ll get is Quezo/Queso de Bola. It is a Spanish term for Edam, which translates to “ball cheese.” It is a Dutch cheese in a spherical shape (usually slightly flattened at the top and bottom) and coated with red wax.

Quezo De Bola (Edam)
(Image from World Food Guide)

Among popular Quezo de Bola brands in the country are Marca Piña, Magnolia, Marca Pato, and Che-Vital. It is best paired with “pandesal” or loaf bread or “Tasty” as we call it here.

3. Barbecue

Another Noche Buena food recipe you should not miss this Christmas Eve is Barbecue. Whether it is pork, chicken, even pork liver or gizzard, Filipinos would love it. You can also add hotdogs, fishes, and eggplant in your grilling list. Pinoys eat barbecue as a snack or a meal. And don’t forget the sweet and spicy vinegar dip too.

Barbecue noche buena
(Image from Panlasang Pinoy)

Pinoy Barbecue Recipe Ingredients

  • 6 pounds pork butt, sliced to 1-inch wide and 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 cups 7-up
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups oyster sauce
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup garlic, peeled and minced
  • 10 Thai chili peppers (siling labuyo), minced
  • 2 cups banana ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil

For Vinegar Dip

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 Thai chili peppers, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Grilling tip: soak the barbecue sticks in water to prevent them from burning.

4. Filipino-style Pineapple Glazed Ham

It may be the only Noche Buena food on the list, which you will only see during the Christmas season. The process of making ham is long and meticulous, so you may opt to buy but it at the nearest store. But if in case you have plenty of time, you could still try to make one from scratch.

Filipino-style Pineapple Glazed Ham noche buena
(Image from Kawaling Pinoy)

Filipino-style Pineapple Glazed Ham Ingredients

  • 1 about 7 to 8 pounds fully cooked, bone-in ham
  • 6 cups pineapple juice
  • 3 cups Sprite or 7-up
  • 2 cups dark beer
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 20 to 30 whole cloves

For the Pineapple Glaze

  • 2 cups poaching liquid from boiling the ham
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple

Follow the steps on how to cook ham here.

5. Lechon

Whether it is a feast, birthday, wedding, lechon, or roasted pig will always be the center of any Filipino celebration. The first lechon was first served in Cebu in the 1920s. The late Anthony Bourdain described Cebu Lechon as the “the best pig ever.”

Since a traditional lechon would take at least four hours to cook, you may try the Cebu Bellychon instead.

how to cook cebu belly lechon
(Image from Panlasang Pinoy)

Cebu Belly Lechon Recipe Ingredients

2 kilograms of Pork belly slab

For the brine/marinade

  • 1 stalk of lemon grass (tanglad)
  • 1 stalk on onion leeks (or 3 stalk scallions)
  • 2 pieces of laurel (bay leaves)
  • 1 table spoon of ground black peppercorn
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup rock salt
  • 5 cups of water

For the fillings

  • 1 stalk of lemon grass (tanglad)
  • 1 stalk on onion leeks (or 3 stalk scallions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

For the glaze

  • 3 part of evaporated milk + 1 part of water

Get the step by step guide on how to cook Cebu Belly Lechon here.

Which of these 5 Noche Buena food recipes have you tried already? Share your experience below.