Planning a Classic New Year’s Eve Dinner

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When you think of a classic New Year’s Eve dinner, you might picture a roast with baked potatoes, wine and a decadent chocolate dessert. But the truth is, none of those things would be served at a classic New Year’s Eve dinner because they’re not considered a lucky food to eat before the coming year.

Here are nine of the luckiest foods you can eat on New Year’s Eve to bring good fortune in the coming year.


Fish also symbolize money and abundance; their scales resemble coins while they swim in schools. Fish has also been a popular dish through the ages because it is easily salted and preserved for long travels or future meals. Some Chinese celebrations even serve the fish whole, as the complete and intact head and tail will ensure a good year from start to finish.

Classic New Year’s Eve dinners often focused on cod and herring main dishes. Elevate your party by serving up whole branzino for a good year from beginning to end.

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The tradition of eating grapes for good fortune dates back to 1909 when growers ate the grape surplus to prevent waste. This eventually turned into eating 12 grapes at midnight, one for each stroke of the clock. Each grape translates to a different month, so the taste of the grape hints at what you can expect for the corresponding month.

A great way to incorporate this into your classic New Year’s Eve dinner is to have a fruit tray loaded with grapes for your guests.


Your classic New Year’s Eve dinner should include noodles, as they symbolize abundance. Even the smallest portions of noodles can fill a whole plate.

Noodles can be your main dish or a side dish. Mix things up by offering a variety of noodle shapes and sauces.



Pomegranates symbolize many things, including the human heart, life and fertility. In addition, their many seeds and benefits helped give eaters hope for a fresh start in the year filled with good health and prosperity.

Throw pomegranate halves in with the grapes on your fruit tray or serve the seeds on a decorative glass bowl.

Peas and Beans

Peas, beans and legumes are all symbolic of money, stemming from both their coin-like appearance and greenish colors. Lentils specifically plump up with water, which was taken to represent growing wealth.

Use beans to make a simple, spiced bean salad appetizer your guests can enjoy before the big meal. Not only are beans symbols of coins, they’re also great at settling your stomach and absorbing champagne.

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Pigs symbolize progress in many countries. Curiously, it’s believed to be because the animals never move backward. It can also symbolize wealth and prosperity because of its rich fat content.

Use pork in fun, creative ways like pig-shaped cookies for your classic New Year’s Eve dinner. If you’re all set on desserts, you could make a pork loin or pork chops.


The story behind eating greens on New Year’s Eve might be a little more obvious than the other foods. Greens resemble money and they represent economic fortune in the year to come. Many believe that the more greens you eat, the larger your fortune will be.

While a large salad may be the most apparent choice, try branching out to create other hot and cold green dishes. From collard greens to the Danish tradition of stewed kale with sugar and cinnamon and even sauerkraut, there’s something for everyone and every menu.



Cornbread’s golden color is what makes it a popular NYE food. Some people even add extra corn kernels for additional luck and to symbolize gold nuggets.

Traditional cornbread is great, but if you want to impress your guests, add small pieces of jalapeno to your batter before baking to give it subtle heat.


Cake might not seem like a special dish for a classic New Year’s Eve dinner, but for it to be lucky it needs to be round. Often NYE cakes have a hidden prize or trinket inside, and the finder will have great fortune in the new year.

This can be a fun way to wind down the evening, but be sure to tell your guests if you do decide to hide a prize in your cake. Round cakes also include doughnuts; create a doughnut bar and let your guests personalize their own desserts.


Whether you’re planning a big party or a small, quiet get-together, your menu should include one (or a few!) items from this list of lucky classic New Year’s Eve dinner ideas!

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