20 Great Traditional Paraguayan Recipes in 2024

Traditional Paraguayan Recipes and most South American food is celebrated for its solid Latin profile, and flavors fall beautifully on your tongue and rely heavily on spices like cumin, ancho chilies, and garlic. The overall cuisine focuses on an almost smoky flavor.

The Latin Influence

When you say the words Latin cuisine, Paraguay is not the first county you might name. However, traditional Paraguayan food and it’s cuisine is making a splash in countries worldwide, including New York and London, although they will never surpass the flavor traditional to its land.

Traditional Paraguay food is a departure from dishes that dominate the rest of the country. Besides meat and vegetables, they use ingredients like manioc and corn.

One surprising dish is Sopa Paraguaya (Paraguayan soup) which is not a traditional soup. This dish is similar to cornbread mixed with cheese, eggs, and milk. It’s one meal the country often eats for lunch or dinner.

Bagels aren’t native to New York. Paraguay has a version called Chipa. Although, it is made with Yuca Starch and aniseed. It is usually accompanied by a Terere, a cold-brewed tea that Paraguayans consume like Americans consume coffee.

Most traditional Paraguayan food items rely on staples made of eggs and cheese, a complete departure from traditional Latin food. Yet, their cuisine should not be overlooked when sampling foods throughout the world.

The History of Food From Paraguay

Paraguay’s national dish, Sopa Paraguaya, started as a mistake in the 19th century. A Machu (chef) attempted to make soup and added too much cornmeal, ending with bread. When she served it to the president, he was so impressed he served it to other ambassadors. Francisco Solano Lopez honored his father by keeping the dish a staple at state dinners.

Although the name stuck, anyone unfamiliar with this dish will not get what they think they are ordering. Sopa Paraguaya resembles cornbread baked in leftover fat from roast chicken, a cousin to Yorkshire pudding. It is similar to another Paraguay dish, Chipa Guazu, which uses fresh corn and is similar to a souffle and not a delicious accident.

The native Guarani relied on corn and flour in their dishes. They were typically prepared by wrapping guembe (banana leaves) and roasting them on an open fire. The Spaniards added staples like eggs, milk, and cheese, resulting in Sopa Paraguaya.

Old Style Paraguay Cooking and Food

Traditional Paraguayan food only used several ingredients native to the country; Maiz and Mandioca (yucca root), adding a flavor profile that relies on garlic, cumin, tomato, onion, and green peppers. Many Paraguay natives raise cattle, chicken, pork, and even freshwater fish, making traditional cuisine full of protein.

Aside from Sopa Paraguaya, there are many traditional Paraguayan recipes to try. Mbeju is another unique cheese dish made during cooler months. Much like other dishes, it relies on corn, milk, and oil. Pieces are deep-fried in a cast-iron skillet. Alongside is Cocido Paraguayo, tea made from burnt yerba mate.

Marinera and Milanesa are similar dishes; the only difference is cumin and egg batter added to bread crumbs. Milanessa is served several different ways, depending on the time of day. It is the base for various meats, including meat or chicken, pounded thin and seasoned with lemon, oregano, garlic, and salt. After seasoning, it is fried.

Empanadas are another traditional Paraguayan recipe perfected by locals. Typically they have a protein seasoned with cumin, peppers, and onions. Most natives prefer ham and cheese, a western favorite. However, fillings are varied and typically fried or baked by street vendors.

Pastel Mandi’o is a lighter version of traditional Empanada. The dough is made from yuca root. The filling is always and featured on winter menus.

One of the biggest standouts in traditional Paraguayan recipes is Tallarain Paraguayo, Paraguay Thick noodles. The sauce is bone-in beef or chicken browned in tomato sauce. Laurel gives this dish a unique flavor profile.

Paraguay remains rural. Much of their cuisine relies on products grown on farms native to the country. Kumada Peky Kesu is an example of this traditional style of Paraguay food. Red beans called portoto San Francisco are abundant and make an excellent stew. This dish is a tomato vegetable broth seasoned with garlic onions, green peppers, squash, and traditional Paraguayan cheese. For a variation, pasta might be added as starch.

Gallina Casera is another traditional Paraguayan food recipe steeped in Paraguay’s rural culture. When this dish is made, it’s out of a fresh hen stewed in a broth rich in oregano tomato, garlic, and scallions.

Desserts are another example of Paraguay’s rustic offerings. Dulce de Mamon is made from Papayas which grow abundantly, harvested before they are ripe. Slices are soaked in sugar and lemon, creating a candy.

Sugar is one of Paraguay’s natural resources, well used in the country’s desserts. Torta de Miel Negra relies heavily on the bi-product of sugar, molasses. The desert is similar to dessert bread.

Modern and Traditional Paraguayan Cooking Melt Together

Since traditional Paraguayan food does not enjoy the same renown as other popular South American countries, it hasn’t done as much to modernize its style of food. Several restaurants have given it an update.

Asucion (fruit of the platonia tree) wants to change that. Their restaurant relies heavily on the traditional offerings of the country’s food. Yet, they add modern differences like chick peopa flour and sourdough bread to tomato mandicoa. After it is caramelized on open flame, they top it with miel de cana, similar to sugarcane honey. Much like their appetizers and main courses, their deserts stay true to Paraguay’s traditional cuisine.

Another reimagining from is Paraguay is the  famous sopa paraguaya. They cook it like the chef who made the legendary mistake. However, it has a smoother feel aside from a crispy outside crust, made out of the polenta. One additional note is that this version doesn’t rely on animal fat, and the dish is vegetarian. Each of the restaurant’s dishes relies on the country’s native resources. Yet, they alter the ingredients and plate with a contemporary feel.

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1. Bife Koygua

Paraguayan Bife Koygua - traditional Paraguayan food

Bife Koygua is a beef stew from Paraguay made with beef steak, onion, tomato, and spices. The traditional Paraguayan food is an example of a typical meat stew made in the landlocked South American country, with a cuisine heavy in maize, manioc, meat, vegetables, and fruit. Bife Koygua is a simple dish that takes 30 minutes or less to make and is packed full of the bold, vibrant flavors of Paraguay.

2. Chicken Soup & Ricotta Dumplings

Paraguayan Chicken Soup & Ricotta Dumplings

A popular dish in Paraguayan gastronomy, vori vori are small, cornmeal flour and ricotta dumplings cooked in a rich chicken broth.

3. Chupín de Pescado

Paraguayan Chupín de Pescado

Made with chunks of firm white fish and potatoes, plus tomatoes, bell peppers, white wine, and aromatics, chupín de pescado (or el chupín, as it’s also known) is an traditional Paraguayan recipe for fish stew that’s typical of the north-western regions along the coast.

Chupín comes from the Ligurian dialect word, ciuppin, meaning, “chopped into pieces”. Pescado is the Spanish word for fish.

4. Paraguayan Bori Bori

Paraguayan Bori Bori - traditional Paraguayan food

Every country has a version of their own homemade soup that makes them feel at home, and in Paraguay it is a traditional Paraguayan food called Bori Bori. But there’s something special in the soup, too. This hearty chicken soup has cornmeal and cheese balls in the middle to keep people warm in the most freezing months. Bori Bori has a rich, creamy flavor. The cheeseballs have a sharp, lingering taste complimented by the spices in the stew itself.

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5. Paraguayan Vegan Pira Caldo

Paraguayan Vegan Pira Caldo - traditional Paraguayan recipe

Vegan Pira Caldo, a vegan take on a traditional Paraguayan recipe for fish soup. Made with hearts of palm and vegetables in an aromatic coconut milk broth. Finished off with vegan cheese and fresh coriander. Traditionally Pira Caldo is made with river fish, milk and soft white cheese. To veganize it we used hearts of palm. Its delicate texture and taste work great as a replacement for fish.

The flavour of coconut milk works well with the other ingredients. The cheese is harder to replicate as plant-based cheese tends to dissolve into the soup too quickly. We found adding some vegan feta when serving gets the best results.

6. Bife Koygua Or Paraguayan Beef Stew

Paraguayan Bife Koygua - traditional Paraguayan food

Bife Koygua is a traditional Paraguayan recipe for beef stew that is loved throughout the country. There is often a big pot brewing as part of their famous asado’s. This is a perfect example of how simple ingredients speak volumes. The egg on top is simple delicious and an integral part of this stew. It cooks up in a hurry so it can be made for both a special occasion or weeknight meal.

7. Paraguayan Beef Milanesa

Paraguayan Beef Milanesa - traditional Paraguayan food

This easy beef milanesa is an easy traditional Paraguayan recipe made in 25 minutes and is family friendly. It’s crisp on the outside and softer on the inside. It honestly reminds me of chicken fried steak without the gravy or Japanese Katsu. My kids love this Milanesa steak traditional Paraguayan recipe so much! Best of all it doesn’t break the bank.

8. Paraguayan Lampreado

Paraguayan Lampreado - traditional Paraguayan recipe

Lampreado, aka payagua mascada, are fried patties consisting of ground beef, mashed cassava, and lots of green onions. The ingredients are turned into a dough, formed into patties, dredged in flour, then fried until golden brown. The lampreado can be served as an appetizer or as a main course with a salad.

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9. Chipa Guasu

Paraguayan Chipa Guasu - traditional Paraguayan recipe

The chipa guazú is an ideal preparation to accompany various dishes of traditional Paraguayan recipe food, for example a roast, a milanesa or some delicious noodles. This traditional Paraguayan recipe, like some others from Paraguay, is also consumed and prepared in northwestern Argentina.

The chipa guazú, which is also usually written as ‘chipa guasu’, is a kind of cake that has an appearance and preparation very similar to the Paraguayan soup, but with the difference that instead of corn flour, tender corn is used for its preparation.

10. Paraguayan Squash Polenta-Kivevé

Paraguayan Squash Polenta-Kivevé - traditional Paraguayan recipe

This comforting traditional Paraguayan recipe for the side dish has the texture of thick, creamy polenta. Corn is a mainstay in the Paraguayan diet and is even used in desserts. Because it has both sweet and savory ingredients, this is often served alongside meats or as a dessert. The word kivevé means “reddish” in the native Guarani language. The traditional pumpkin used in this dish is the deep-orange-colored andaí, hence the name.

11. Paraguayan Rice Salad

Paraguayan Rice Salad - traditional Paraguayan recipe

Paraguayan rice salad or ensalada de arroz is a refreshing side dish made with bright, zesty flavors and fresh veggies. Perfect traditional Paraguayan recipe for any time of the year.

Pollerías in Paraguay are street stalls that sell roasted chicken. In our town you can drive on the main street and see stacks of chickens skewered on a spit and rotated over an open fire.

These places sell chicken with boiled cassava roots, and rice salad.

12. Paraguayan Cheese & Onion Cornbread

Paraguayan Cheese & Onion Cornbread - traditional Paraguayan recipes

This unique cheese and onion cornbread from Paraguay consists of corn flour, eggs, milk, cheese, and onion and comes together easily and quickly. It’s a gluten-free spongy cake, traditionally called sopa paraguaya, which translates to Paraguayan soup.

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13. Mate Cocido

Paraguayan Mate Cocido - traditional Paraguayan recipes

A convenient way of making an easy, practical, and delicious Paraguayan Mate Cocido. This Mate Cocido traditional Paraguayan recipe calls for only 3 ingredients: white sugar, plain yerba mate, and hot water.

14. Tereré

Paraguayan Tereré

Tereré, commonly known as ‘iced herbal tea’ is the national drink of Paraguay, South America. This refreshing drink is prepared from dried leaves and twigs of the ilex paraguariensis tree.

These leaves, simply called yerba mate, are then used to make the hot yerba mate tea as well as the terere. The only difference between terere and hot yerba mate tea is that ice cold water is used for terere.

15. Carrulim

Paraguayan Carrulim

A traditional Paraguayan recipe for Carrulim made of Sugar Cane Spirit and infused with lime, honey, and rue, it is believed that this herby drink wards off illnesses and drive away evil.

Carrulim is an ancient natural remedy from Paraguay, a potent drink that contains Sugar Cane Spirit (Caña Blanca), rue (a herb), and lime.

16. Clericó

Paraguayan Clericó

Clericó is a traditional Paraguayan food like fruit cocktail drink that can not be missed at a Paraguayan Christmas table. It’s prepared from a mix of red wine and fruits. You can also prepare this delicious concoction with white wine, cider, sparkling wine or natural fruit juices for the little ones.

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17. Mazamorra

Paraguayan Mazamorra

Learn how to prepare a delicious and refreshing Mazamorra, one of the most traditional desserts of Paraguay with this simple and easy traditional Paraguayan recipe. The mazamorra is a traditional sweet in the Guarani culture, it is refreshing and nutritious, since it is made from locro. Its preparation is simple and it will be a delicious dessert.

18. Dulce de Mamón

Paraguayan Dulce de Mamon

Directly from the cuisine of northeastern Paraguay and Argentina comes this dessert traditional Paraguayan recipe made with mamón – the regional name for papaya. This is a traditional Paraguayan recipe in which, using few ingredients, you can create a delicious syrupy-sweet dessert that will appeal to both young and old alike.

19. Pastafrola

Paraguayan Pastafrola

Try this Pastafrola traditional Paraguayan recipe! This quince paste tart is a classic for tea time in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Enjoy it at home with a hot cup of Mate! Pasta frola is a wonderful dessert made with a cookie-like shortbread crust and dulce de membrillo (quince paste) filling. Pasta frola is another example of the influence of Italian food on Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisine—its name comes from the Italian word for the shortbread crust, pasta frola, that is used to make Italian crostate (jam pies).

20. Kosereva

Paraguayan Kosereva

Kosereva is a traditional Paraguayan sweet dessert from Paraguay made of apepu sour orange peels, sugar, and molasses. The preserved orange rings are a mixture of sweet and sour, and are typically served by themselves or with a side of soft cheese.

Kosereva has a long history that dates back to Spanish colonization of the Paraguayan region, when the conquistadors preserved citrus fruit on their long journey across the ocean by cooking fruit in trimmed barrels with black molasses. This practice of preserving fruit helped to combat scurvy, a disease resulting from low vitamin C, known as the “sailor’s disease” due to its high incidence in sailors without access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

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