Panamanian recipes are a mix of African, Spanish, and Native American techniques, and ingredients, reflecting its diverse population. Since Panama is a land bridge between two continents, it has a large variety of tropical fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are used in native cooking.
Typical Panama recipes are mildly flavored, without the pungency of some of Panama’s Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. Common ingredients are maize, rice, wheat flour, plantains, yuca (cassava), beef, chicken, pork and seafood.
Traditional Panama Food Recipes
Traditional Panama food recipes are worth exploring. Panamanian recipes which is ruled by corn, coconuts and diverse fruits due to its tropical climate. While all Latin American countries share culture and language to a certain extent, our traditional gastronomy is different.
Carimañolas, sancocho, and cabanga are some of the cuisine Panama food recipes. Traditional Panamanian recipes involves a mix of the Hispanic, African, Indigenous, and Afro Antillean cultures that coexist within the country. Thanks to this, Panamanians use many ingredients in their recipes.
Panamanian recipes are as diverse as Panamanians themselves. Whether sweet, savory, or spicy, they’re all mouthwatering. A large part of Panama recipes revolves around staple foods such as rice, corn, yuca, and plantains. An explosive fusion of Native American, Spanish, and African flavors, Panamanian food recipes bring a huge amount of Central American color, heat, and spice to the table.
Often pairing hearty staples, such as wheat and cassava, with exotic produce, salty-fresh seafood, and plenty of heat, sugar, and spice, there is so much to get excited about when it comes to Panamanian cooking.
Corn-based recipes come from the kernel, cooked in water, and then ground in order to obtain a dough (as opposed to using cornflour to obtain the dough). Fresh corn is also used in some recipes.
Due to the multicultural background, many of the Panamanian recipes are heavily influenced by the recipes of other Latin American countries and also the Caribbean as well as European.
FAQs About Panama Food Recipes
What is a Typical Panamanian Dinner?
The people of Panama can be seen eating the following Panamanian recipes for lunch or dinner:
Arroz with pollo (chicken and rice) – rice in Panama is usually served plain white or yellow.
The chicken is frequently braised or slow cooked and served with veggies in this region (and also, a little less commonly, with beef or pork as the meat component).
What is the Most Typical Ingredients in Panamanian Recipes?
Rice, beans, red meat, chicken, pork, and fish are all common ingredients in Panamanian recipes.
Because many vegetables do not grow well in the tropics, tourists are unlikely to come across a wide range of vegetables unless they dine in a fine restaurant.
The most common veggies in Panama recipes are yuca and plantains.
Are the Panamanian Recipes Spicy?
With such a diverse population, it’s only natural that Panamanians consume a wide range of recipes, including North American and Spanish.
Traditional Panama food recipes, on the other hand, is most reminiscent of Creole recipes: fiery and spicy at times, but always hearty, with rice at every meal.
20 Top Panamanian Recipes to Try (Updated 2023)
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1. Panamanian Carimañola
Carimañola, a traditional pastry from Panama, is a favorite sweet in the country. This dish, which gained national renown after being perfected in the province of Bocas del Toro, is named after the province itself. The empanada known as a carimañola has a flaky crust and a filling of either ground pork or cheese. The filling is typically flavored with a variety of spices and herbs.
Carimañola is made by first flattening out dough into thin circles and then filling them. To make a half moon shape, the dough is folded over and sealed. After then, the pastry gets deep-fried until it’s crisp and golden. The end result is a delicious meal or snack that may be eaten at any time of day.
The dish known as “Panamanian Carimañola” has become a mainstay in the country’s cuisine and is frequently served at celebrations. It is also widely available in restaurants and food stands across the country. Because of its adaptability, carimañola is a great example of Panama’s varied and interesting culinary tradition. One of the traditional Panamanian recipes.
2. Panamanian Ropa Vieja Stew
Ropa Vieja, a traditional stew from Panama, is a national favorite. Shredded beef is slow-cooked with a variety of veggies and spices to create this savory stew. White rice, black beans, and sweet plantains are common accompaniments to the dish, making for a hearty and substantial lunch.
Panamanian Ropa Vieja stew is thought to have been brought to the country by the Spanish during the colonial era. But now that it’s been updated to include regional flavors and ingredients, it’s truly one-of-a-kind in Panama.
Tender beef is shredded after being slow-cooked with aromatic vegetables such as onions, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes. A tasty sauce created from tomato paste, spices, and beef stock is then incorporated into the meat. The stew is then allowed to simmer until the ingredients have combined, at which point it will have a deep, delicious flavor.
Ropa Vieja, a traditional stew from Panama, is a popular choice for celebrations and get-togethers with friends and family. To truly appreciate the distinct flavors of Panamanian cuisine, you must sample this meal, which is representative of the country’s long and varied culinary tradition. One of the many delicious Panama food recipes.
3. Panamanian Fruitcake
One of the most popular holiday desserts is the Panamanian fruitcake. Dried fruits and nuts such as raisins, cherries, apricots, and walnuts are baked into a dense and delicious cake. Rum or brandy is commonly used to saturate the cake, giving it a rich and celebratory flavor.
It was during the colonial era that Europeans are thought to have brought the recipe for Panamanian fruitcake to the country. Yet, the recipe has evolved over time to include local ingredients and flavors, creating it a dessert that is really one-of-a-kind in Panama.
Butter, sugar, and eggs are the foundation of most cakes’ batters; these are combined with flour and various spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The addition of the dried fruits and nuts to the batter makes for a hearty and merry treat. Then, the cake is cooked until it is golden brown and solid, at which point it can be served either warm or cold.
Holiday gatherings aren’t complete without a slice of Panamanian fruitcake. If you want to sample the authentic flavors of Panama, you simply must eat this delicacy, which is a reflection of the country’s long and varied culinary tradition. Traditional dishes created with simple Panama recipes.
4. Panamanian Ceviche de Corvina
Popular in Panama as an appetizer, Ceviche de Corvina is a typical seafood dish. Fresh corvina fish is marinated in lime juice and other seasonings to create a light and delicious dish. You can have this dish as an appetizer or a light supper, and it’s best when served cold.
Ceviche de Corvina is thought to have been created in Peru, but is now widely consumed throughout Latin America. Marinated in lime juice, salt, and other seasonings including onions, cilantro, and peppers, the meal is often served using fresh corvina fish.
Tomatoes and avocado are added for taste and texture, and the fish is combined with them. In order to achieve the ideal harmony of flavors and textures, Ceviche de Corvina is commonly served with crackers or tortilla chips.
The Ceviche de Corvina from Panama is a delicious example of the country’s diverse and extensive culinary heritage. This meal is a great example of Panama’s coastal cuisine and should not be missed by anyone interested in sampling the authentic flavors of this Central American country. It’s simple to make and tastes great, so it’s great as an appetizer for any occasion, and the light and refreshing flavor makes it a great dish to cook at home. One of the traditional Panamanian recipes.
5. Panamanian Yucca Fries with Spicy Mayo
In Panama, a crowd-pleasing appetizer is Panamanian Yucca Fries with Spicy Mayo. Yucca, or cassava, is a root vegetable that is often used in South American cooking because of its high starch content. You may make a tasty and flavorful snack by peeling the vegetable, cutting it into strips, and frying it until it becomes crispy.
Yucca Fries with Spicy Mayo are traditionally made by slicing the root vegetable into thin strips and deep-frying them until they are crisp and golden brown. The fries are salted and accompanied by spicy mayonnaise, which gives them a tart and savory kick.
It is a common staple on the menus of Panamanian restaurants and stands around the country. Its simple preparation makes it an easy and delicious snack to cook at home, and it serves as a wonderful representative of the country’s colorful and diversified cuisine.
The Spicy Mayo and Yucca Fries from Panama are a delicious example of the country’s diverse and rich culinary heritage. If you’re seeking something savory and tasty, this dish is guaranteed to hit the spot with its delightful blend of textures and flavors. One of the many delicious Panama food recipes.
6. Panamanian Hot Sauce
The country’s namesake hot sauce is always on the table when local fare is served. The delicious heat and intensity of habanero peppers are just two of the many peppers used to make the hot sauce.
Typical ingredients for Panamanian spicy sauce include peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt. Depending on how many peppers you use, the sauce can range from mild to fiery.
Adding flavor and heat, Panamanian hot sauce can be utilized in many different ways. It pairs well with ceviche, empanadas, and tamales, as well as burgers, sandwiches, and other foods for an extra touch of heat.
The popularity of hot sauce in Panama is evidence of the locals’ penchant for bold flavors. It’s a must-try for anyone who wants to sample the diverse flavors of Panamanian cuisine, and it’s easy to prepare and full of flavor. Panamanian hot sauce is sure to satisfy your needs for heat, whether you’re a die-hard fan of spicy foods or just trying to spice up your meal. Traditional dishes created with simple Panama recipes.
7. Panamanian Mondongo
Mondongo, a classic stew from Panama, is a go-to dish for many Panamanians on cold nights. Tripe, a sort of cow’s stomach, is used to make a hearty stew that is seasoned with a wide range of vegetables and spices.
Mondongo, a traditional dish from Panama, is thought to have been brought to the country by the Spanish during the colonial era. The dish has evolved over time to become uniquely Panamanian by using regional ingredients and spices.
After being cleaned, the tripe is slow-cooked until soft with onions, garlic, and other vegetables. In order to give the stew more depth and flavor, a variety of spices, such as cumin and oregano, are added to the pot.
Serve this Panamanian staple, Mondongo, over white rice and top with fried plantains for a filling and satisfying meal. A must-try for anybody curious about the distinct flavors of Panamanian cuisine, the meal is emblematic of the country’s long and varied culinary tradition. One of the traditional Panamanian recipes.
8. Panamanian Lengua Guisada
Lengua Guisada, or Panamanian tongue stew, is a traditional dish that is often eaten as a comfort food in Panama. Stew prepared from beef tongue, veggies, and seasonings.
Lengua Guisada, a national dish of Panama, is thought to have been brought to the country by Spanish colonists. The dish has evolved over time to become uniquely Panamanian by using regional ingredients and spices.
Before being prepared with onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables, the beef tongue is boiled till soft. A variety of spices, including cumin and paprika, are then mixed in with the stew to enhance its flavor.
Lengua Guisada is a traditional dish from Panama, and it goes great with white rice and beans. A must-try for anybody curious about the distinct flavors of Panamanian cuisine, the meal is emblematic of the country’s long and varied culinary tradition. One of the many delicious Panama food recipes.
9. Panamanian Seafood Stew
Delicious and filling, Panamanian Fish Stew is a classic dish in the country’s cuisine. Fish, shrimp, and clams are used to make this seafood stew, which is then cooked in a broth created from a combination of vegetables and spices.
Since fresh seafood abounds around the coasts of Panama, it stands to reason that this stew’s roots are there, too. This dish highlights the diversity of Panamanian ingredients and flavors and the country’s devotion to fish.
When the seafood is fully cooked, it is sautéed with onions, garlic, and other vegetables. The stew is then seasoned with a variety of spices, such as cumin, achiote, and cilantro, to enhance its flavor and complexity.
When combined with white rice, Panamanian Seafood Stew makes for a hearty and substantial supper. This meal is a staple at celebrations and gatherings of all kinds in Panama, and it’s a must-try for anybody curious about the authentic flavors of the country’s cuisine. The mix of the fresh seafood and the robust tastes makes for a great and filling supper. Traditional dishes created with simple Panama recipes.
10. Panama Canal Dessert
A popular sweet in Panama, the Panama Canal Dessert is an authentic and delectable take on the iconic Panama Canal. Cookies, vanilla custard, and chocolate are layered to make a delectable dessert that will please any sweet craving.
The 1914 completion of the Panama Canal is credited with inspiring the creation of the dessert known as Panama Canal Dessert in the country of Panama. Delicious and significant, the dessert is claimed to depict the tiers of the canal through which water flows.
Cookies, vanilla custard, and chocolate are generally layered in a dish to make this delicacy. After being prepared, the dish is chilled until firm, at which point it becomes a delightful and creamy dessert fit for any celebration.
One of the best examples of Panama’s diverse and varied culinary heritage is the Panama Canal Dessert. As a dessert, it is a must-try for anybody interested in sampling authentic Panamanian fare because of the interesting flavor and texture combinations it offers. Whatever your sweet craving, the Panamanian Panama Canal Dessert will fulfill it. One of the traditional Panamanian recipes.
11. Panamanian Arroz Con Pollo
Panamanian Arroz With Pollo is a staple meal that exemplifies the country’s fondness for rich, filling food. Chicken and rice are cooked with a variety of veggies and spices to make this flavorful and filling dish.
It is thought that the recipe for Panamanian Arroz With Pollo originated in Spain; nevertheless, the meal has been modified to include local ingredients and flavors, making it truly a Panamanian specialty.
Chicken is often cooked through in a saucepan while being sautéed with onions, garlic, and other vegetables. The rice and a spice mixture, often consisting of cumin and paprika, are then added to the saucepan. The ingredients are combined and cooked in a covered pot over low heat until the rice is soft and the flavors have blended.
A side salad or fried plantains complement Panamanian Arroz With Pollo to provide a filling and enjoyable meal. This meal is a staple at celebrations and gatherings of all kinds in Panama, and it’s a must-try for anybody curious about the regional flavors of the country’s cuisine. One of the many delicious Panama food recipes.
12. Panamanian Sancocho
Panamanian Sancocho is a traditional stew that is a popular comfort food in Panama. The dish is made with a variety of meats, including chicken, beef, and pork, and is simmered with a blend of vegetables and spices, creating a rich and flavorful broth.
The recipe for Panamanian Sancocho is believed to have originated in the indigenous communities of Panama, where it was traditionally made with yucca and other local ingredients. Over time, the recipe has been adapted to incorporate different meats and spices, making it a unique and distinct Panamanian dish.
The meat is first sautéed with onions, garlic, and other vegetables until it is cooked through. The stew is then seasoned with a blend of spices, including cumin and oregano, which add depth and flavor to the dish. Yucca, plantains, and corn are often added to the stew, creating a hearty and satisfying meal.
Panamanian Sancocho is often served with white rice and avocado, creating a delicious and filling meal. The dish is a perfect representation of the rich culinary history and diversity of Panama, and it is a must-try for anyone looking to experience the unique tastes of Panamanian cuisine. Traditional dishes created with simple Panama recipes.
13. Panamanian Empanadas
Empanadas are one of my go-to snacks These savory pastries are a staple of Panamanian street cuisine, and they’re great as a quick bite or as an appetizer for a large group.
Traditionally, the dough for Panamanian empanadas is made from flour, salt, and water, and then rolled out into circles. You can use ground beef, chicken, or cheese to make the filling, and a variety of spices like cumin and paprika give it flavor.
After placing the filling in the middle of the dough circle, a half-moon is formed by folding the dough over and sealing in the filling. Next, the empanadas are fried in oil until they are brown and crisp.
Hot sauce or salsa is a common accompaniment to Panamanian empanadas, turning them into a flavorful and filling finger food. They are a must-try for anybody interested in experiencing the distinctive flavors of Panamanian cuisine, and they perfectly embody the country’s rich culinary heritage and diversity. One of the traditional Panamanian recipes.
14. Panamanian Pork Stew
Home is where the pork stew is, and as a part time Panamanian, there’s no place I’d rather be than eating a bowl of that. Pork is the star of this rich and satisfying stew, which is prepared by simmering it with a variety of vegetables and spices.
Commonly used ingredients in a Panamanian pork stew include onions, garlic, and other aromatics that are sautéed with the meat until the meat is browned. The stew gets its robust taste from a combination of spices like cumin and oregano.
The addition of yucca, potatoes, and plantains makes the stew a hearty and fulfilling dinner. After the pork has been cooked until it is tender and the flavors have merged, you will have a tasty and savory stew that is excellent for chilly or wet days.
The traditional accompaniments to Panamanian pig stew are white rice and a salad. It is a must-try for anybody interested in experiencing the distinctive flavors of Panamanian cuisine, and it serves as a superb depiction of Panama’s rich culinary heritage and diversity. One of the many delicious Panama food recipes.
15. Panamanian Rum Cake – Sopa Borracha
I have a soft spot in my heart for rum cake or sopa borracha, a traditional Panamanian delicacy. A typical Panamanian cake, this dish is drenched in a blend of rum and sugar for a rich and savory delight.
A classic cake for Panamanian sopa borracha is formed from flour, sugar, and eggs and is then soaked in a syrup of rum, sugar, and citrus juice. The cake is soaked overnight so the flavors can combine and the cake becomes moist and flavorful.
Being a popular dessert in Panama, sopa borracha is frequently offered at celebrations like weddings and festivals. It is a must-try for anybody interested in experiencing the distinctive flavors of Panamanian cuisine, and it serves as a superb depiction of Panama’s rich culinary heritage and diversity.
Whether you’re looking for a spectacular dessert for a special occasion or just want to treat yourself, Panamanian sopa borracha will not disappoint. Traditional dishes created with simple Panama recipes.
16. Panamanian Hojaldres
Weekends aren’t complete without hojaldres, a traditional Panamanian breakfast treat. Pastries like this, which are both delicious and flaky, are a breakfast and snack mainstay in Panama.
Flour, salt, and water form the basis of the dough used to make Panamanian hojaldres, which is then rolled out and cut into circles. The dough is cut into circles, then fried until crisp.
Scrambled eggs and a hot cup of coffee are common accompaniments to hojaldres, making for a hearty and delicious breakfast. You may make a delicious and filling snack by stuffing them with things like cheese, ham, or sausage.
To truly appreciate the unique flavors of Panamanian food, one must consume hojaldres, which are emblematic of the country’s long and varied culinary tradition. Enjoyed best with coffee or tea, hojaldres are a traditional pastry from Panama that can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack. One of the traditional Panamanian recipes.
17. Panamanian Guacho de Mariscos
As a native frequent visitor to Panama, I enjoy preparing guacho de mariscos for festive occasions and gatherings with loved ones. Fish, shrimp, and clams are just some of the shellfish that go into this savory and filling stew, which is then cooked in a broth prepared from a combination of vegetables and spices.
Cooking the shellfish in a mixture of onions, garlic, and other vegetables is a standard step in the preparation of Panamanian guacho de mariscos. Then, a variety of spices, including cumin and achiote, are mixed together and used to season the stew, giving it a rich, complex flavor.
The addition of yucca, plantains, and corn to the stew makes for a hearty and nutritious lunch. Stew is cooked until seafood is soft and flavors have blended, making it a hearty and flavorful meal fit for a crowd.
In order to provide a complete and full dinner, guacho de mariscos is typically served with a side of white rice. It is a must-try for anybody interested in experiencing the distinctive flavors of Panamanian cuisine, and it serves as a superb depiction of Panama’s rich culinary heritage and diversity. One of the many delicious Panama food recipes.
18. Panamanian Bistec Picado
Bistec picado is a cuisine that takes me back to my trip to Panama. Ground beef is sautéed in a mixture of veggies and spices to create this tasty and filling dish.
Bistec picado, a traditional Panamanian dish, is made by browning ground beef in a skillet with onions, garlic, and other vegetables. Spices such as cumin and paprika are added to the mixture for additional flavor and depth.
It’s common practice to add tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro to the mix, turning out a colorful and flavorful main course. The ingredients are put in a pot and cooked until the tastes have blended into a delicious and filling dish.
The traditional accompaniments to bistec picado are white rice and a side salad, making it a complete and balanced meal. There is no better way to sample the unique flavors of Panamanian cuisine than by trying this dish, which is a wonderful reflection of the country’s long and varied culinary tradition. Traditional dishes created with simple Panama recipes.
19. Panamanian Arroz con Guandú y Coco
To this day, the smell of arroz con guandi y coco transports me back to my boyhood trips to Panama with my family. As a mainstay of Panamanian cuisine, this tasty rice dish exemplifies the country’s fondness for robust and varied flavors.
Rice, pigeon peas, coconut milk, and a variety of spices like cumin and oregano are the standard ingredients of the traditional Panamanian dish arroz with guand y coco. To give the rice more flavor and depth, sofrito, a sauce consisting of onions, garlic, and peppers, is sometimes used.
The rice takes on the unique and delightful taste of the pigeon peas and coconut milk, making for a hearty and filling dish. When paired with fried plantains or a salad, this dish becomes a complete dinner.
People in Panama love arroz with guandi y coco, so it’s no surprise that it’s a common dish during celebrations and get-togethers. It is a fantastic illustration of the rich history and diversity of Panama’s cuisine and is a must-try for anybody interested in trying the authentic flavors of Panama. One of the traditional Panamanian recipes.
20. Panamanian Chicheme
During the warm summer months, I prefer cooling myself with a glass of chicheme, a traditional drink in Panama. The sweet corn, milk, and cinnamon in this drink create a flavor profile all their own, making it a great example of Panamanian cooking.
Panamanian chicheme is a sweet drink made by combining sweet corn, milk, cinnamon, and other spices. The drink is made by combining ingredients and chilling them till they become cold and pleasant, making it ideal for hot and humid weather.
To round off a hearty meal, fried cheese or empanadas are common accompaniments to chicheme. It’s a common drink in Panama, distributed by street sellers and consumed at parties and celebrations.
Chicheme is a staple of Panamanian cuisine and a must-try for anybody interested in the country’s rich history and culture. Drinking chicheme is a great way to relax and unwind, and it also makes for a tasty and unusual addition to any meal. One of the many delicious Panama food recipes.
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