Christmas Cook Ups: The UK’s Most Googled Christmas Recipes

Every year, we slave over hot stoves to create spectacular festive feasts to fill the family. But what recipes are we most likely to cook up in December?

We analysed 3.7 million searches made on Google over the period of December 2019 to discover the recipes that we’re most likely to search for over the festive period in 2020.

So without further ado, let’s explore what we’ll be cooking up over the next couple of weeks!

The UK’s most Googled Christmas recipes

It may come as little surprise to find that the UK’s most Googled Christmas food is turkey! A traditional Christmas feast, turkey can be a delight, but it can also be very dry if not cooked well, and Google’s own data shows how we Brits turn to the internet for help in getting it right.

But it’s not just turkey itself; being keen preservers of food and avoiders of waste, we’re looking for different ways to use our turkey – plus lots more recipes besides. The table below shows the 20 most searched for terms including ‘how to cook’, ‘how to make’ or ‘how to prepare’:

Recipe December Searches
how to cook a turkey 165,000
how to cook a turkey crown 110,000
how to cook a boneless turkey crown 14,800
how to cook the perfect turkey 8,100
how to prepare a turkey 6,600
how to prepare sprouts 6,600
how to prepare brussel sprouts 5,400
how to cook a turkey in the oven to be moist 4,400
how to cook christmas ham 4,400
how to cook a ham in the oven 1,600
how to make turkey soup 1,300
how do you cook a turkey 1,300
how to make turkey stock 1,000
how to roast a turkey in the oven 720
how to cook a smoked ham 720
how to cook a turkey breast in the oven 720
how to cook a honey baked ham 320
how to cook a boneless turkey breast 320
how to cook fresh brussel sprouts 140

December’s most Googled meat recipes

The recipes we search for the most in December aren’t necessarily confined only to the Christmas period. But with many of us choosing to forego the traditional turkey in favour of other options, recipes for the best beef and chicken are high up there when we totalled up the number of searches for each meat, as shown in the table below.

The table below shows the meat we struggle with most is turkey – perhaps unsurprising given its popularity at Christmas but lack therein through the rest of the year. Next in our most searched for meat recipes was chicken, a popular alternative bird for the festive table.

Seafood is also a popular search around Christmas. Lobster in particular is anticipated to be very popular in 2020 as Covid regulations mean we’re less likely to gather in large groups to eat, and a smaller dish like lobster is more appropriate for those eating in smaller groups.

MEAT Number of Searches
Turkey 358,550
Chicken 118,790
Beef 113,320
Ham 36,230
Fish 14,020
Prawn 9,560
Lobster 9,130

Most searched for vegetable recipes

When it comes to vegetables, the one we struggle most with by far is the humble potato. Breaking this down further, roast potatoes were searched for 48,000 times, compared to mashed potato at 14,300.

Brussel sprouts may not be a favourite at the dinner table but it seems we’re still willing to give them a place, with more than 36,000 searches expected this month for brussel sprout recipes.

VEGETABLES Number of Searches
Potatoes 258,700
Cabbage 64,670
Red cabbage 54,200
Roast potatoes 48,000
Brussel sprouts 36,010
Parsnips 27,100
Mashed potatoes 14,560
Cauliflower 6,770

Most searched for extras

Yorkshire pudding is the most searched for dinner accompaniment in our analysis, with more than 40,000 people searching for advice to get the perfect pud.

It was stuffing, however, that put in the biggest uplift when we compare November to December, with a 720% increase in searches, while gravy, which so often comes from a packet through the rest of the year, sees a 200% increase in searches at Christmas – time to put that packet stuffing away in favour of proper, homemade fare?

Our previous research into gravy has shown that the best gravy is made with soft water, as hard water leaves a foggy layer on the top, which means that the best gravy in the UK this Christmas is likely to be found in the north, where water is naturally softer, or in homes where an investment has been made in a water softener.

EXTRAS Number of Searches
Yorkshire pudding 41,500
Gravy 8,620
Stuffing 4,020

Most searched for Christmas deserts

Ah desert – the best part of most meals! The most Googled desert in December is the mince pie, with more than 23,000 of us searching for mince pie making tips ready to treat Santa Claus himself.

DESERT Number of Searches
Mince pie 23,080
Cake 6,240
Christmas pudding 4,800
Gingerbread 2,400

Vegan Christmas options

Veganism has grown in popularity in recent years and so too have searches for vegan Christmas options. Here, we see the most searched for vegan options:

VEGAN Number of Searches
vegan christmas dinner 40,500
vegan christmas pudding 9,900
vegan mince pies 18,100
vegan roast 6,600
vegan roast dinner 5,400

Is there a regional divide?

Not to cause undue competition but… we were interested to find out if there is a regional divide in the number of searches for common Christmas dinner items.

So we went back into nearly 4 million searches across the UK and split them down into the main UK cities to see how we all compare… here are the results. The table shows the percentage of searches per query in each region to show the likelihood of people in each region seeking help with each food:

Search Query South England Midlands England North England Scotland Wales
how to cook beef 2.43% 4.15% 4.69% 1.04% 5.16%
how to cook brussel sprouts 8.60% 4.63% 4.05% 12.17% 4.52%
how to cook chicken 1.89% 2.41% 3.02% 2.67% 3.87%
how to cook ham 3.99% 2.32% 3.18% 5.34% 3.23%
how to cook lobster 2.85% 1.54% 1.11% 1.78% 1.94%
how to cook turkey 39.09% 40.44% 39.08% 42.73% 36.77%
how to make christmas cake 1.05% 1.06% 1.35% 1.04% 2.58%
how to make christmas pudding 0.99% 0.97% 0.56% 1.19% 1.94%
how to make gingerbread 4.95% 4.34% 3.73% 3.26% 3.23%
how to make gravy 8.48% 5.41% 6.27% 5.93% 10.32%
how to make mince pies 5.61% 8.40% 5.88% 2.67% 5.16%
how to make red cabbage 1.38% 1.45% 0.95% 1.04% 2.58%
how to make roast potatoes 8.66% 9.85% 10.56% 13.65% 8.39%
how to make yorkshire puddings 10.04% 13.03% 15.57% 5.49% 10.32%

The regions that are best and worst at cooking…

By calculating the regions most and least likely to search for each recipe, we can safely assume we’re also looking at the regions that are best and worst at cooking each thing. The regions least likely to search for each recipe are assumed to be the best at cooking them, which the regions most likely to search for them are assumed to be the worst at cooking them!

Let the regional competition begin… do you agree?

Recipe Best at Cooking Worst at Cooking
Beef Scotland North England
Brussel Sprouts North England Scotland
Chicken South England Wales
Ham Midlands England Scotland
Lobster North England South England
Turkey Wales Scotland
Christmas Cake Scotland Wales
Christmas Pudding North England Wales
Gingerbread Wales South England
Gravy Midlands Wales
Mince Pies Scotland Midlands
Red Cabbage North England Wales
Roast Potatoes Wales Scotland
Yorkshire Puddings Scotland North England

What is the most popular vegan option this Christmas?

As a final analysis of our data, we went back to see where in the country is most likely to be sitting down to a vegan feast this festive period.

The table below shows the percentage of searches in each region for each vegan option:

Recipe South England Midlands England North England Scotland Wales
vegan christmas dinner 29.44% 25.40% 24.84% 34.09% 24.32%
vegan christmas pudding 5.77% 5.44% 6.05% 5.30% 5.41%
vegan mince pies 16.53% 13.15% 13.56% 9.34% 16.22%
vegan roast 5.54% 5.22% 3.92% 4.29% 9.46%
vegan roast dinner 4.81% 3.85% 3.92% 3.03% 5.41%

Taking this information as we did before, we can assume the places best and worst at vegan Christmas recipes are:

Recipe Best at Cooking Worst at Cooking
vegan christmas dinner North England Scotland
vegan christmas pudding Scotland North England
vegan mince pies Scotland South England
vegan roast North England Wales
vegan roast dinner Scotland Wales

In terms of pure numbers, the region that searches for vegan options more than any other was the South of England at 21,840 searches in December 2019.

So, what will you be eating for Christmas 2020? Whatever you choose, we wish you a merry Christmas and a wonderful 2021.