Nigerian Food: 20 Traditional Dishes to Try in Nigeria or At Home (2023)

Nigerian cuisine is rich with unique recipes and in the way the food is prepared. For example, it’sa well-known factthat Jollof rice tastes better as a leftover. Unfortunately, few people in the Western world have experienced authentic Nigerian food. Food in Nigeria is aromatic, delicious, and always made straight from the heart.

If you’re heading over to Nigeria, there are traditional dishes you have to try during your visit. Check out the local menus as you explore nearby bukas(casual Nigerian restaurants).

The Best Nigerian Cuisine

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Nigerian Food: 20 Traditional Dishes to Try in Nigeria or At Home (1)

Nigerian food is surprisingly hearty and tasty. From the interesting texture of pounded yam to the commonly eaten varieties of Nigerian soups like Ogbono soup, Egusi soup, and Afrang soup, Nigerian food will turn you into a fan of African food instantly. Do you need a little help selecting your Nigerian cuisine? Below are 20 Nigerian foods you must try.

1. Iyan (Pounded Yam)

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One of the world’s largest producers of yams is Nigeria, so it’s no surprise Iyan isone of those Nigerian foods that is loved so much. In fact, the saying, “yam is food and food is yam” is popular in many parts of the country.

A popular method of preparing yams in the country is by pounding them into a somewhat solid paste. Depending on the ethnic group preparing the dish, the yams may be pounded slightly differently. Once the yams are pounded out to create a smooth paste, they are then formed into balls. These pounded yam balls, Iyan, are part of a great group of foods called “swallows”.

It’s common to serve the pounded yam alongside some soup, such as a vegetable stew.Make it at home with this great recipe!

2. Ewa Riro (Beans Porridge)

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Tons of food in Nigeria features beans due to the abundance of beans in the country. Ewa Riro is a popular dish because it packs addicting flavors and is cheap to make.

The Yoruba-speaking area of Nigeria created and popularized this delicious dish. The beans are boiled until they’re soft and then they’re stewed with spices and palm oil.

Special ingredients added to the stew depend on who’s making the dish. Some people enjoy adding crayfish while others add smoked fish. If you’re making the dish at home, add what satisfies your tastebuds.Use this recipe to create your own at home.

Do you want to add a tasty side dish to your Ewa Riro? Many people eat it with fried plantains or fresh bread.

3. Jollof Rice

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When traveling in Nigeria, you can’t leave the country without trying this classic dish that is served in many West African countries. But we have to warn you! Nigeria has a friendly rivalry with Ghana about who makes Jollof rice better, so be prepared to become involved in the competition.

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The heart of the Nigerian Jollof rice dish includes rice, tomatoes, and peppers. Many people then add delicious mixtures of other add-ins such as prawns, peas, or onions.You’lloften see jollof rice served with juicy proteins such as minced meat or chicken. It might even come with a stew or plantains.Make sure to try it with a Nigerian pepper sauce for some heat.

We think this dish is so good that it deserves to be one ofthe World Wonders.

4. Beef Suya (Thin Strips of Seasoned, Grilled Beef)

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Visitors will notice this street food plenty of times while exploring casual dining in Nigeria.Thin slices of beef are marinated in an array of spices- a combination that’ll ignite your mouth. Typical spices used include roaster peanut powder, cayenne, and ginger.

Making the beef this way was popular with the Hausa and Fulani people. They were groups of nomads that had unique ways of preserving meats.

You won’t see this dish made much in a home, but you can get plenty from suya spots along many roads in the country. It’s often served with tomatoes and onions as well as pepper sauce.

5. Dodo (Fried Plantain)

No matter the problem, plantains are the answer in Nigerian cuisine. It doesn’t matter if they’re fried, grilled, or dried.

Did you know that the cut of the plantain determines where and how the ingredient is served at the table? When you see thick, long slices of this delicious food, it’s served as part of the main dish.

Dodo features cubed pieces of plantains that are deep-fried and are commonly eaten all around the country. It is usually served as the appetizer of a meal or as a delicious snack.All that’s needed to make this dish is plantain and palm oil or vegetable oil if you want to cut the fat content down. It’s that simple.

6. Egusi Soup (Ground Melon Vegetable Soup)

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If you’re looking for something to warm your soul and fill your stomach, this soup is the dish for you.

It’s a one-pot meal that’s easy to make and loved by all. When eating Egusi soup, you’ll typically eat it with popular swallows such as Fufu or Eba. Some people even serve it over rice.

Instead of grounded melons, you may also notice Nigerians creating this soup withtoasted pumpkin seeds. The seeds add a layer of warmth that’s perfect after a long day of exploring on your feet.It is commonly served with pounded yam. This is a great dish to try making at home.

7. Nigerian Egg Rolls (It’s Not What You’re Thinking)

When we think of egg rolls, we think of the delicious Asian dish. We don’t want to create any competition between the two, but you should definitely check out Nigerian egg rolls while on your trip.

In Nigeria, this dish is much more literal. It’s a boiled chicken egg that’s been covered in batter and fried.

While simple but effective, you’ll love biting through the crisp batter and sinking your teeth into the soft yolk. It’s a delicious finger food that you’ll crave again and again.

8. Puff Puff (Sweet Deep Fried Dough)

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If you’re wanting another fried delicacy of Nigeria, check out Puff Puff.

It’s nothing fancy, but it’ll sure make your mouth water. To compare it to something American, think of a donut or a beignet you found in New Orleans. (Yes, I know beignets are French!)

To make this dish, all you’ll need to do is roll up and fry the sweetened dough. Top the snack off with a fine dusting of powdered sugar. Yummy!

9. Agege Bread

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Served with tons of Nigerian dishes, this bread isn’t meant to steal the spotlight. Instead, it’s meant to be a versatile complement to delicious main courses.

Agege bread is white bread but is much denser than what Americans use to make sandwiches. The name comes from a town named Agege, and this town used to be the only known site of a wholesale bakery that made and distributed this type of bread.

Lagos has now taken over this small town, but you can still find this bread anywhere in the country.Because it’s so versatile, you can eat it with stew for dinner or in the morning with your eggs and fried plantain.

10. Ogbono Soup (Mango Seed Soup)

This soup might surprise you with its texture, but we promise you’ll enjoy it. Ogbono soup is a slippery draw soup made with blended Ogbono seeds. Ogbono translates to mango!

Southeastern Nigeria is popular for this type of soup, but you’ll also find it in the southwest region. No matter where you eat it, you’ll be getting tons of nutrients such as proteins, fibers, healthy fats, and calcium.

The maker of the soup will customize it to their liking by adding ingredients such as melon seeds and a variety of vegetables. It’s another vegetable soup you can eat several times and never have the same experience twice.

11. Akara (FriedBlack-Eyed Peas Cake)

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Are you a vegetariantraveling across Africa? Are you wanting something savory, crunchy, and filling?

Akara is the Nigerian dish for you. This dish is created by deep-frying a delicious black bean paste. Most people also add onions and a variety of spices.

The Yoruba tribe created this dish; but, because it’s so good, it’s spread to other West African countries. It’s often enjoyed with fresh bread or just as a warming snack.

12. Nigerian Pound Cake

You’ll want to keep scrolling if you intend on keeping a strict diet during your visit. But if you want something sweet that’ll make your mouth water for days, this is a dessert you need to try.

It’s not like pound cake you can buy in America. Nigerian pound cake is denser and more delicious than you can ever imagine, and it’ll never crumble in your hands as you grab a slice.

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Oftentimes, you can find this type of cake at celebrations, such as birthday parties.

13. Moi Moi (Bean Pudding)

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When Americans think of pudding, we often think of a sweet, dense dessert. While Moi Moi isn’t a dessert pudding by any means, it’s an incredible dish you must try while in the country.

This pudding is made with either black-eyed peas or brown beans. Steamed beans are combined with tomato paste, onions, garlic, an array of peppers, and spices to create a mouth-watering dish.

Moi Moi isoften steamed while wrapped in banana leaves, but some Nigerian people even bake their Moi Moi.

14. Nkwobi (Head and Legs of Cow)

Most of us have had a juicy hamburger. But have you ever had spicy cow feet and/or legs? It sounds odd to some, but Nkwobi is a staple Nigerian dish.

We do want to share a warning. This dish is often made extremely spicy so ask about the number of peppers the chef uses before ordering it.

Thepeople of Owerricreated this dish by mixing cooked cow’s foot in spicy oil paste. It takes a while to get the cow’s feet nice and tender, but the dish is worth the wait. Try it with Nigerian pepper sauce and a cold beer for the full effect.

15. Pepper Soup

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If you’re craving more spicy dishes, give Nigerian pepper soup a try. But don’t complain if you can’t feel your tongue for a few hours!

This type of soup is often made with goat meat. Spices such as ginger and red chili flakes are used for a punch of flavor.African cuisine is packed with tons of soups and stews, but pepper soup is one recipe you’ll want for the rest of your life after trying it.

Are youstuck in the US for the winter? Make this soup duringyour winter vacationfor a boost of warmth.

16. Ila Alasepo (Okra Soup)

Known as Ila Alasepo to the Yoruba people, this amazing Nigerian okra soup will lift your spirits even on the most exhausting of traveling days.

Different chefs prefer different consistencies of okra soup, so you may have a bowl of a more crunchy okra edge or end up getting a bowl with pureed okra. If your chef adds fresh leafy vegetables, you’ll typically notice the addition of spinach, basil leaves, or pumpkin leaves.

Some people who make this soup leave out the palm oil or substitute vegetable oil if they’re watching their fat intake, but we suggest having this soup with palm oil!

17. Chin Chin (Deep Fried Snack)

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Are you in need of a quick snack while checking out the streets of Nigeria? Grab some Chin Chin for a tasty crunch.

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Everyone makes their Chin Chin a bit different, depending on whether they like to sweeten their recipe or not. In short, it is a crunchy,donut-like frieddoughmixed with and other baking items available in the region. No matter what, you won’t want to stop eating this fried West African snack.

If you’re not sure where to look for this snack, stop by a roadside kiosk or snack cart it is popular street food.

18. Tomato Stew

If you’ve visited any Nigerian household, there’s a good chance you caught word about tomato stew. It’s a staple that must be tried during your vacation.

It’s super easy to make and can be made with a variety of meats, including braised ram. Tomato stew can also be vegetarian-friendly byonly using tomatoes, spices, and oil.

Diveinto this dish with a huge heap of rice for the full experience.

19. Chicken Stew

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Do you want a stew with meat? Try a Nigerian chicken stew.

This simple dish brings back nostalgic home memories for many Nigerian households. It’s made with roasted peppers, chicken drumsticks, and African spices.

The roasted peppers deliver an out-of-this-world flavor and are paired best with rice or pounded yams. When eating any type of Nigerian stew, make sure your pants are stretchy. “Hearty” is an understatement.

20. Peanut Soup

If you’re a world traveler, you may have noticed peanut soup as a staple both inWest Africaand Taiwan. It’s a dish loved around the world- and for good reason!

Because there are so many peanuts in this soup, it’s great for a protein boost. Have this soup after a long day of hiking to nourish your body.

In addition to peanuts, some chefs also add beef or chicken.Don’t forget to askabout the spice level. It’s not uncommon to sneak a habanero pepper into the mix.

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Tasty Travels: Must-Try Nigerian Dishes

Nigeria is a country full of breath-taking natural sites and vibrant culture. One thing that adds to their culture the most is the delicious Nigerian food.

Between delicious stews, soups, and fried snacks, you’ll never run out of a hearty, flavorful meal. Don’t forget to breathe in the spices as you wander down the streets past the markets.

Grab your passport because it’s time to plan your next adventure. Check out a large variety of destinations and experiences around the globe by browsing the rest of the site. If you’re tight on money,we have tips on how totravel on a budget.

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FAQs

What can I cook for dinner at home in Nigeria? ›

TOP 7 NIGERIAN DISHES FOR DINNER
  1. PLANTAIN PORRIDGE.
  2. BALANGU JOLLOF.
  3. SEMOVITA/EBA WITH OKRA SOUP.
  4. SPAGHETTI WITH BEEF STEW.
  5. FISH AND YAM STEW.
  6. JOLLOF RICE.
  7. RICE AND STEW GARNISHED WITH VEGETABLES.
29 Apr 2019

What are the 7 types of food? ›

Food are divided into 7 different groups : drinks, carbs, fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat / fish / eggs, fats and high-sugar foods. Each of these groups provide different nutrients and should be consumed at a different rate.

What are the examples of traditional food? ›

Traditional Foods Are:

Foods that are whole and nutrient-dense. Foods that are simple and basic: meat and poultry, eggs, whole grains, fish, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, dairy, fats.

What is our traditional food? ›

Source Chaat is considered to be one of the primary street foods in India, and one will surely find many chaat vendors on every street of the country. These snacks include kachori, pani puri, bhel puri, dahi chaat, masala puri, and many more distinct variations in the same.

What is Nigeria's national dish? ›

Jollof Rice

It's made with rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, pimento peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, and other spices. Jollof rice is one of the most widely consumed dishes in West Africa. It's regarded as a national dish in Nigeria and often served with some type of meat like chicken, turkey, beef, or fish.

What can I cook for lunch in Nigeria? ›

Healthy Nigerian Lunch Ideas
  1. Rice and stew. Rice and stew are among the most common Nigerian food combos. ...
  2. Beans and Dodo. ...
  3. Jollof rice and chicken. ...
  4. Boiled potato and tomato egg stew. ...
  5. Amala & Ewedu. ...
  6. Pounded yam with Egusi soup. ...
  7. Eba with Okra soup and meat/chicken. ...
  8. 8 Splendid Health Benefits Of Yoghurt For Women.
5 Nov 2019

What is the food culture in Nigeria? ›

Nigerian cuisine traditionally is made up of rice, couscous, potatoes, grills, and chicken which have been influenced by the Portuguese and English. However due to the influence of Indian cuisine, Nigerian cuisine also consists of a lot of hot peppers and spices.

What are the list of food items? ›

Canned, Jarred, & Pouched Foods
  • Fruits and vegetables (choose options without added sugar or salt)
  • Meat, poultry, & seafood (fish, chicken, or other meats)
  • Beans (pinto, black, garbanzo)
  • Soups (look for lower sodium varieties)
  • Nut butter (peanut, almond)
  • Dried fruit.
  • Sauces (tomato, spaghetti, pizza)
  • Salsa.

What are the main 3 types of food? ›

The three main types of foods are energy-giving foods, body-building foods, and protective foods.
  • Energy-giving foods: They are made of carbohydrates and fats. ...
  • Body-building foods: Proteins are considered to be body-building foods as they help in body growth and also help in repairing damaged parts of the body.

What are the six classic of food? ›

The six classes include: fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and water. Yes, even water! These are elements of a diet that you cannot live without ingesting.

What are the 4 types of food? ›

There are 4 (four) basic food energy sources: fats, proteins, carbohydrates and alchol.

What are the 6 basic food groups and give examples? ›

The 6 Major Food Groups
  • Whole grains and starchy vegetables. ...
  • Fruits and non-starchy vegetables. ...
  • Dairy and non-dairy alternatives. ...
  • Fish, poultry, meat, eggs and alternatives. ...
  • Heart-healthy oils. ...
  • Elective or Discretionary Calories.
6 Jun 2016

Why is traditional food best? ›

Less calories - helpful for weight control. Less saturated fat -- better for the heart. More lean meats and fish. More iron -- better for muscles and blood.

What is the most famous food? ›

Italian pizza is probably the most famous food in the World. Pizza has crossed the borders of Italy a long time ago and nowadays it is consumed all over the world. Pizza is the topmost liked food in the world. Today you can find pizza in almost every corner of the world.

Why are traditional foods? ›

Traditional foods are nutrient-rich and have a long history of supporting health and wellness. Indeed, these foods have been consumed for thousands of years. Traditional foods are simply prepared and basic – from vegetables and fruits, to meat, poultry, and fish, to dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

What are special foods? ›

A specialty food is a food that is typically considered as a "unique and high-value food item made in small quantities from high-quality ingredients". Consumers typically pay higher prices for specialty foods, and may perceive them as having various benefits compared to non-specialty foods.

What is main food? ›

A food staple is a food that makes up the dominant part of a population's diet. Food staples are eaten regularly—even daily—and supply a major proportion of a person's energy and nutritional needs.

What new food should I try? ›

  • Lardo. While this is something that would never appear in our healthy section, as a rare treat this Italian dish of cured pig's fat is far more appetising than it sounds. ...
  • Razor clams. ...
  • Laverbread. ...
  • Goji berries. ...
  • Tripe. ...
  • Wild garlic. ...
  • Truffles. ...
  • Dulce de leche.

What is Nigeria staple food? ›

Rice is the country's staple meal for events and celebrations, ranging from weddings to funerals to holidays. However, for a period of time since the introduction of this staple into the Nigerian food basket, rice was perceived as a luxury item, readily available only to the rich and upper-middle class households.

What is fufu made of? ›

It consists of starchy foods—such as cassava, yams, or plantains—that have been boiled, pounded, and rounded into balls; the pounding process, which typically involves a mortar and pestle, can be laborious. Fufu is often dipped into sauces or eaten with stews of meat, fish, or vegetables.

What kind of meat do Nigerians eat? ›

Here are five of the most popular meat dishes in Nigeria: Nkwobi, Peppered Ponmo, Spicy Beef Offals, Bushmeat and Chicken. Nkwobi (which means spicy cow foot) is an Igbo meat delicacy made of palm oil, ugba, pepper, fresh utazi leaves or bitter leaf, ehuru seeds, edible potash and cow foot.

What is the food culture in Nigeria? ›

Nigerian cuisine traditionally is made up of rice, couscous, potatoes, grills, and chicken which have been influenced by the Portuguese and English. However due to the influence of Indian cuisine, Nigerian cuisine also consists of a lot of hot peppers and spices.

Does Nigeria have a national dish? ›

Jollof rice is Nigeria's national dish that is believed to be the origin of the popular Cajun dish known as jambalaya. The other name for the dish is benachin, meaning one pot in the native language of the Wolof people who created it.

What is a typical Nigerian diet? ›

Traditional Nigerian foods include maiz, yams, cassava, and plantains. Typical Nigerian meals are tomato stew, porridge, soups such as egusi soup, and jollof rice. All of these foods can be used to create a Nigerian-inspired meal that fits MyPlate!

What is the traditional food of Yoruba? ›

Ewedu is the most popular Yoruba foods in Nigeria. The soup consists of Ewedu leaves, crayfish, and unique spices. You must add the Ewedu broom to attain a mouth-watering flavour. Ewedu sauce goes well with Semo, Amala, or Eba.

What is food in our culture? ›

Food is often used as a means of retaining their cultural identity. People from different cultural backgrounds eat different foods. The areas in which families live and where their ancestors originated influence food like and dislikes.

What food is in season in Nigeria? ›

  • Soyabean - September - December.
  • Ginger - November - January.
  • Rice - October - December.
  • Yam - September - December.
  • Sesame Seed - January - March.
  • Egusi - July - September.
  • Corn - September - November.
  • Beans - November - December.
3 Feb 2022

What is fufu made of? ›

It consists of starchy foods—such as cassava, yams, or plantains—that have been boiled, pounded, and rounded into balls; the pounding process, which typically involves a mortar and pestle, can be laborious. Fufu is often dipped into sauces or eaten with stews of meat, fish, or vegetables.

What is Nigeria most famous for? ›

Nigeria is the most populous black nation on Earth. It is home to the second largest film industry on the globe whilst also being the fashion, technological and creative hub in Africa. Nigerians are known for their vibrant and friendly energy expressed through diverse creative expressions.

What kind of vegetables do Nigerians eat? ›

We also love to eat beef, goat meat, lamb, chicken, turkey, you name it. The most popular vegetables are Lagos spinach (efo shoko), African spinach (efo tete), bitter leaves, pumpkin leaves (ugwu), water leaves, jute leaves (ewedu), and scent leaves (efirin).

How many meals do Nigerians eat? ›

Nigerians typically eat two large meals during the day and, depending on the family, may also consume a light breakfast. The most important meal is served at noon and generally consists of hura or sauce and tuwo, baobab or okra sauce poured over millet or sorghum paste.

What is a typical Nigerian breakfast? ›

In Nigeria, a typical breakfast includes a fermented cereal pudding with baked beans fried in Palm oil or groundnut oil. This food is very popular among every Nigerian household and is affordable by a verse majority.

What do they drink in Nigeria? ›

Today, beer has become the most popular drink in the country but traditional beverages (palm wine, burukutu, ogogoro, pito) are still widely consumed in both rural and urban areas.

What is the traditional food of Igbo? ›

Key traditional staple foods in the Igbo culture area included: yams (Dioscorea spp.), cocoyam (Colocasia/Xanthosoma spp.), cassava (Manihot spp.), maize (Zea mays), some of which were status symbols. Other food groups such as legumes, nuts, seeds, wild fruits and vegetables were abundant.

What is Oyo traditional food? ›

Oyo state is inhabited mainly by the Yoruba people. The economy of Oyo is based chiefly on agriculture and handicrafts. Agricultural products include yams, corn (maize), cassava (manioc), beans, millet, plantains, tobacco, cacao, palm oil and palm kernels, cotton, kola nuts, indigo, and fruits.

What is the most popular soup in Nigeria? ›

Nigerian Egusi Soup is one of the most popular soups consumed in Nigeria. This delicious soup is well-sought all over the country and beyond, and it is equally enjoyed by everyone. The Nigerian soup is made from melon seeds in Africa.

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