12 Foods You Should Eat for Good Luck in the New Year

Look to these good luck foods when the clock strikes midnight for good fortune in the year to come. Plus, try our favorite recipes for enjoying these lucky bites.

The holiday season is full of long-standing traditions, but our favorites always tend to center around eating. No matter where you're from, many people believe what you do on January 1 can set the tone for the entire year to come. While we can't confirm that picking a four-leaf clover or hanging a spider ornament on our tree brings good luck, we can all agree that clinking glasses to the New Year on a full stomach is a lucky way to start the next 365 in itself.

People from around the world will eat traditional foods as the clock strikes midnight in hopes of bringing a little more luck and good fortune into their lives. As you reflect on the past year and make those resolutions, try these edible traditions from around the world to ring in your luckiest (and tastiest) year yet.

overhead view of Gluten-Free Cake Donuts
Blaine Moats

1. Down Donuts for the New Year

Ring-shaped foods are said to be symbolic of the year coming full circle. For your New Year's breakfast, consider a tasty bundt cake or another one of our favorites, the classic donut. Trying to eat a bit healthier already? Celebrate all you've accomplished with less guilt by making a baked version instead of frying them in oil.

overhead view of Vegetarian Hoppin' John in skillet
Jason Donnelly

2. Make Black-Eyed Peas for Southern Superstition

If you're cooking a New Year's dinner in the South, chances are you're serving black-eyed peas prepared with pork, celery, and onion. Also known as Hoppin' John, the traditional dish has been consumed for luck for more than 1,500 years (they got their start as part of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah). These little legumes also pack in important nutrients, like fiber and vitamin A, so you can stick to your healthy resolutions, too.

Soba Noodle Bowl
Andy Lyons

3. Twirl Soba Noodles for Longevity

The longer the noodle, the longer the life. At least, that's what this ancient superstition says. Traditionally slurped up for Chinese New Year, soba noodles are extra-long and symbolize longevity. Just be careful to not break or chew the noodles on their way from bowl to mouth!

Pork Carnitas Tacos with Cherry-Chipotle Salsa
Blaine Moats

4. Look to Pork for Prosperity

If it's wealth and prosperity you seek, pork should be your main course this New Year. New Year's Eve should be celebrated with great food, so consider dishing out some pork carnitas seasoned with spices like cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and oregano. Nothing says "Happy New Year!" like tacos, right?

Pomegranate Pavlova with Pistachios and Honey
Kritsada Panichgul

5. Smash Pomegranates for Good Fortune

Pomegranates are considered good luck to the people of Greece, but they're not used in the way you'd expect. Instead of eating this sweet red fruit, Greek families crush a pomegranate on the threshold of their home at the start of the New Year. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't add extra fruit to your sparkling drink when you toast at midnight or turn it into a delicious treat—like pomegranate pavlova with pistachios and honey—for your guests.

Classic Roast Chicken
Andy Lyons

6. Break a Wishbone for Luck

Fighting over the wishbone is almost as much of a tradition as the breaking of the wishbone itself. In fact, Ancient Romans saw chickens as predictors of the future and good luck omens. Legend says that, if the wishbone breaks evenly between the people pulling it, they both get their wish. If the bone doesn't break right down the middle, the person with the longer end will have his or her wish granted. We're ready to roast up a whole bird and make our wish come true.

dish of spaghetti with Lentils Bolognese
Jacob Fox

7. Eat Lentils for Prosperity and Success

As lentils are soaked in water, they expand in an act that many believe symbolizes prosperity. Wintertime is great for a hearty bowl of pasta, so turn your sights towards a prosperous year with a big pot of our favorite lentil bolognese.

Grilled Trout Stuffed with Lemon and Herbs
Kim Cornelison

8. Cook Whole Fish for Wholesome Months Ahead

Legend has it that eating a whole fish—literally the head, tail, and all—brings forth a good year. Once prepped, this grilled stuffed trout recipe will have your dinner on the table within 10 minutes. Not feeling ambitious enough to tackle a whole fish? Nod to the tradition with a crispy oven-baked fish instead.

Fortune Cookies
James Carriere

9. Crack Fortune Cookies for Well Wishes

Kick off the New Year with messages of luck, hope, and prosperity for your friends and family. Slide each personalized message into a handmade cookie (yes, you really can make your own fortune cookies at home). If your loved ones have a good sense of humor, consider swapping in a joke or two—starting the New Year off with laughter can't be a bad thing! If you're really crunched for time, you can pick up a set of pre-made fortune cookies ($7, World Market) before the evening begins.

Sauerkraut and Pork Shoulder Roast
Jacob Fox

10. Saute Sauerkraut for Longevity, Luck, and Money

For the Pennsylvania Dutch, shreds of cabbage represent a long life, making sauerkraut a must-have on the New Year's dinner table. Be sure to cook up a hefty portion—the Pennsylvania Dutch also wish for as much luck and money as the number of cabbage strands on the table.

Brazilian Fish Stew
Adam Albright

11. Cook up Herring for a Bountiful Year

Look to Europe for your newest New Year's tradition. In countries like Norway, Germany, Poland, Finland, and Sweden, herring is bountiful thanks to its proximity to the Baltic Sea. So on New Year's, right at midnight, herring is served to encourage bounty and prosperity in the coming year. The fish's silver scales are also said to resemble coins, which is a good sign of future fortune.

Roasted Berries and Grapes Tart
Jason Donnelly

12. Snack on a Grape for Each Month

New Year's celebrations in Spain kick off with a handful of grapes; 12, to be exact. Tradition states that, at the stroke of midnight, you should eat 12 sweet grapes (one for each month of the upcoming year). You can keep the symbolism alive with a celebratory dessert, like our roasted berry and grape tart, too.

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