44 Of The Scariest Christmas Recipes [View With Caution]

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2020 has been a strange year, and many of us may not be celebrating the holidays or new year in the way we normally would. But hey, there’s still a lot to be thankful for. Like family, friends and good food… just to name a few things.

And to show you just how much better 2020 is than the supposedly “good old days,” we’ve unearthed some vintage holiday recipes from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. These ghosts of recipes past are genuinely frightening, friends. And not for the faint of heart.

We’re talking about jellied turkey, aspics, Christmas trees made out of tuna and all manner of unnatural things inflicted upon perfectly normal foods. If you’re looking for a recipe list that calls for common holiday foods like cranberries and pecans or made up of well-known holiday desserts like toffee, truffles, white chocolate, candy canes, peppermint bark or sugar cookies, we suggest looking elsewhere.

But once you get a load of this collection of horrifying food mashups, you will be thanking your lucky stars that you live and eat in 2020, where we can enjoy any holiday brunch or perfect Christmas dinner without these dishes.

Now take a deep breath, and let’s dive into the land of culinary nightmares.

Christmas Lobster


I don’t know. It just seems wrong to decorate a dead crustacean in such a whimsical manner when you’re going to eat it. And I don’t want to even think about the horror show that this dish will turn into once people at your holiday party start ripping off its claws.

Frosty the Slaw-man

Mid-Century Menu

This recipe calls for 3 cups of mayo, 3 POUNDS of cottage cheese and 12 cups of cabbage. I would rather eat a snowman made from actual snow before this abominable creation. I’ll just take some pretzels for my appetizer, thank you.

Holiday Hostess Tree

Shelf Life Taste Test 

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. The ornaments on this festive tree are made from sausage weenies and other not-fine meats. Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how meaty are your branches!

Related: The 17 Best Places to Buy Ugly Christmas Sweaters 

White Mystery Food Cake

Mid-Century Menu

This mystery fruitcake looks far scarier than a regular old fruitcake. And we’re not even sure that we want to know what the big secret is. What’s no big mystery is why this recipe disappeared from all good society and was replaced with desserts like cheesecake.

Meaty Cheesy Faux Gingerbread House

Miss Retro Modern

We have to give props for the construction. But we’d still rather eat a gingerbread house made from actual gingerbread. And once the guests start digging in, this thing is going to look like a hot mess.

Shrimp Christmas Tree

Bon Appetit Magazine

A mini Christmas tree made from shrimp and olives! How festive! If only it smelled like pine instead of raw, buttery shrimp.

Candle Salad

The Kitchn

This easy recipe for an exciting side dish or holiday dessert dates back to the 1920s. Which were apparently much, much more innocent times.

Party Sandwich Loaf

Cookery in Carla

It’s a green sandwich with three different layers of meaty fillings. Because one meaty filling with your party loaf is not enough. Not sure we want to know what the green, creamy frosting is made of (maybe it’s whipped cream?), nor do we recommend making this for your Christmas party.

Holiday Tuna Tree

Bon Appetit Magazine

Who hasn’t dreamed of gathering around the Christmas tuna tree to sing holiday carols while trying not to gag on the stench of so much fish? Although it would make a wonderful holiday gift for someone on your naughty list…

Pickle Christmas Tree


What embodies the holiday season more than your favorite gherkins in the shape of a Christmas tree? Why nothing, of course!

Related: Weirdest Food From Every State [United by Strangeness]

Jellied Turkey

Charm and Poise

The color scheme is right for the holidays. But frozen, jellied turkey is just so very wrong.

Crusty Salmon Shortcake

Apartment Therapy

Who needs strawberries for your shortcake when you can have it with crispy salmon? You get a lot more protein this way!

Related: What to Serve with Salmon: The 15 Best Side Dishes

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Santa


It’s Jolly old St. Meatloaf! Sorry, Santa, we’re going to have to eat your face off now.

Crayfish Christmas Tree

Jello Kitty

This crustaceous Christmas tree is sure to incite a feeding frenzy among your friends. Just make sure they have a place to throw the shells.

Jello Mold Salad


It’s a salad encased in gelatin. Sorry, but vegetables shouldn’t wiggle like that.

Apple Mallow Yam Yums


Yams, apples and marshmallows. A few simple ingredients combined to take healthy produce and turn it into a blood sugar nightmare. No matter how much brown sugar or white sugar you add to this recipe, we don’t think you’ll enjoy it.

Chicken Croquettes


They look like a little forest of snow-covered Christmas trees at first glance, but they’re hiding a terrible secret: chicken and peas! Ugh!

Related: The 31 Best Christmas Movies [That You Can Stream Right Now]

Fruit Cocktail Eggnog Pie


If you like eggnog, you may not find this dessert so disgusting. The problem is that it contains no alcohol.

Pretty Pickle Tree


A mini tree made from pickles and pickled onions. If there were a pickle Christmas tree contest, this one would be the winner! Even though we can’t see the log, we know that it won’t be pretty.

Marinara Santa

Laughing Squid

This Santa is made out of pepperoni, cheese, marinara and cream cheese. The aftermath will not be pretty, and maybe it’s best just to order some pizza if you’re looking for an Italian dish.

Holiday Fun-due


Dipping ham and tater tots into processed cheese dip is much more festive than regular old fondue. The Swiss don’t know what they’re missing!

Pink Lady Salad

These Old Cookbooks

This classic holiday treat contains cottage cheese, pineapple and cool whip. And no, this isn’t what it looks like after somebody throws it up. Maybe it’s gluten-free? Is it crunchy? We honestly can’t tell, nor are we willing to find out for you.

Marshmallow Fruit Salad

Mom Spark

Canned fruit, marshmallows and sour cream. Also known as Granny’s chewy Christmas Dessert Mashup from Hell. We’ll just stick with Grandma’s fudge recipe, chocolate chip cookies or peppermint brownies, thank you.

Pleasure Island Devil’s Food 

Charm and Poise

Deviled ham covered in creamy white stuff, and they have the nerve to call it “Pleasure Island?” You do not want to get shipwrecked here.

24 Hour Vegetable Salad

Vintage Recipe Cards

The 24 Hour Vegetable Salad contains eggs, peas, bacon, cheese and mayo and will take at least 48 hours to digest.

Devil Pig


This culinary DIY masterpiece contains deviled ham, cheese and chili sauce. Surely they eat this stuff in hell. (Also, we love the addition of the hot chocolate and colored popcorn balls. These Christmas treats taste so great with deviled ham!)

Related: How To Cook Tender Ribs In The Oven [Recipes Included] 

Tuna and Lime Jello Wreath

Vintage Food Disasters

Who needs protein and a dessert when you can eat them at the same time? Or maybe we just send this one to the trash.

Cheesy Hotdog Soup

Click Americana

A soup made from butter, milk and American cheese with sausage. Every bowl decreases your lifespan by at least 12%.

Crab and Pear Cocktail


Crab and pear cocktail. You’re going to have to be very liquored up to get this baby down.

Cold Ham Mousse


A cold ham mousse. Also known as the pig’s last revenge.

Related:  The 31 Best Christmas Movies [That You Can Stream Right Now] 

Oriental Shrimp Sandwich Roll

18th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off Cook Book 

Oh god, a shrimp sandwich roll. Run! Run for your lives!

Ketchup Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Vintage Cookbooks & Crafts

I’ve had pineapple upside-down cake before and enjoyed it. What it wasn’t missing? Ketchup. It does not make everything better. Maybe just stick to some shortbread or gingerbread cookies for that one cookie exchange/dessert party you’re going to… or any other Christmas cookie recipe, really.

Star Aspic

Binged It

Aspics — gelatins made with meat stock and all manner of horrible things — are now (thankfully) a thing of the past. “Star of wonder. Star of meat. Star that I refuse to eat.”

Fish Mold

Fred’s AdverCity

It’s tuna and A1 Sauce, but it’s shaped into an actual fish. Your guests will never know it’s not salmon!

Miracle Whip Waldorf Mold

Vintage Ads

The jello itself may not be that bad. It’s the massive glob of miracle whip and marshmallows on top that make us want to hurl.

Chicken and Peas Aspic Towers


Why did they encase so many things in gelatin in the supposed good old days? It’s like they thought food would run off your plate if you didn’t trap it in something.

Jeweled Fruit Tart

McCallum Vintage Recipe Divas

This recipe is a master example of how to take something as innocuous as fruit and turn it into something entirely unappetizing. Imagine if they made these in cupcake form… no, thank you. We’ll just stick to Christmas cookies or Christmas candy for dessert.

Olive Tower

Knitting Paradise

We like potatoes, olives and carrots. Just not held together in a tower by god knows what.

Related: Hosting a Dinner Party: 12 Cheap Meals to Cook for the Masses

Tripe Something


If the name of this recipe is correct, it contains the stomach linings of animals. As if that weren’t enough, it looks like an unholy symbol.

Deviled Eggs


Many people find deviled eggs tasty. But with a load of deviled ham on top? We think a very sadistic cook contributed to this recipe.

Scary Green Thing

Funny Scary Recipes

A frightening green mass in a bath of tomato sauce. We don’t know what it is, but we’re afraid of it.

Lime Salad Thing


Again, why does produce always show up in green jello?

Sliced Salmon

Sliced Salmon
Funny Scary Recipes

You can make this festive loaf with salmon or tuna. But apparently, you’ll need an entire package of gum to get the taste out of your mouth or else it’ll stick to you like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth.

Shrimp and Potato Salad


Shrimp is good. Potatoes are good. Just stop with the culinary mashups already!

Bon Appetit

We hope this collection of frightening Christmas foods hasn’t put you off your appetite for the rest of 2020. Just be thankful you now live in a time when turkey and potatoes aren’t served in gelatin.

When aspics no longer exist. And you can sip your yummy hot chocolate and eat your holiday cookies with nary a thought of a deviled ham tower or mystery crockpot or slow cooker meal waiting for you on Christmas morning.

These are the good old days of #christmasrecipes and #holidaybaking, friends! Happy Holidays!

You might also like: 13 Soup Recipes Sure to Warm Up Your Day

44 of the Scariest Christmas Recipes:

  1. Christmas Lobster
  2. Frosty the Slaw-man
  3. Holiday Hostess Tree
  4. White Mystery Food Cake
  5. Meaty Cheesy Faux Gingerbread House
  6. Shrimp Christmas Tree
  7. Candle Salad
  8. Party Sandwich Loaf
  9. Holiday Tuna Tree
  10. Pickle Christmas Tree
  11. Jellied Turkey
  12. Crusty Salmon Shortcake
  13. Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Santa
  14. Crayfish Christmas Tree
  15. Jello Mold Salad
  16. Apple Mallow Yam Yums
  17. Chicken Croquettes
  18. Fruit Cocktail Eggnog Pie
  19. Pretty Pickle Tree
  20. Marinara Santa
  21. Holiday Fun-due
  22. Pink Lady Salad
  23. Marshmallow Fruit Salad
  24. Pleasure Island Devil’s Food 
  25. 24 Hour Vegetable Salad
  26. Devil Pig
  27. Tuna and Lime Jello Wreath
  28. Cheesy Hotdog Soup
  29. Crab and Pear Cocktail
  30. Cold Ham Mousse
  31. Oriental Shrimp Sandwich Roll
  32. Ketchup Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
  33. Star Aspic
  34. Fish Mold
  35. Miracle Whip Waldorf Mold
  36. Chicken and Peas Aspic Towers
  37. Jeweled Fruit Tart
  38. Olive Tower
  39. Tripe Something
  40. Deviled Eggs
  41. Scary Green Thing
  42. Lime Salad Thing
  43. Sliced Salmon
  44. Shrimp and Potato Salad

Sherry De Alba

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