Haitian foods and recipes consist of cooking traditions and practices from Haiti. Haitian cuisine is comparable to that of ‘creole’ cooking and similar to the rest of the Latin Caribbean, but differs in several ways from its regional counterparts.
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25 Great Haitian Foods and Easy Haitian Recipes
Poulet ak Nwa, also known as Haitian Black Chicken, is a traditional Haitian dish. It features chicken cooked in a rich and flavorful sauce made with spices like cloves, thyme, and black pepper and cashews. The dish gets its dark color from the addition of burnt sugar or caramelized sugar. Poulet ak Nwa is often served with rice and beans or alongside plantains for a hearty and satisfying meal that showcases the bold flavors of Haitian cuisine.
Joumou, or Squash Soup, is a beloved Haitian dish traditionally prepared on New Year’s Day. It features a rich and creamy soup made with butternut squash, vegetables, and various spices. The soup is often cooked with meat, such as beef or chicken, and flavored with aromatic herbs like parsley and thyme. Joumou symbolizes Haitian independence and is cherished as a symbol of freedom and unity. It is enjoyed as a comforting and nourishing dish, often served with bread or rice.
Mayi Moulen, also known as Haitian cornmeal porridge, is a popular traditional dish in Haiti. It is made from cornmeal, milk, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The porridge has a creamy and slightly thick consistency, and it is often served as a warm and comforting breakfast or dessert. Mayi Moulen is loved for its sweet and comforting flavors and is a staple in Haitian cuisine.
Tasso, also known as Haitian steak bites, is a flavorful and tender meat dish in Haitian cuisine. It is typically made using marinated beef, which is cut into small pieces and cooked to perfection. The marinade often includes ingredients like garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, and various spices to infuse the meat with a rich and savory flavor. Tasso is a popular dish enjoyed as an appetizer or as part of a main course in Haitian cuisine.
Pikliz, or pickled vegetable relish, is a staple condiment in Haitian cuisine. It is made by combining shredded or thinly sliced vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions, and bell peppers, and marinating them in a tangy mixture of vinegar, lime juice, Scotch bonnet peppers, and spices. The mixture is allowed to sit and pickle for a period of time, which enhances the flavors and creates a deliciously tangy and spicy relish. Pikliz is commonly served as a side dish or topping for various Haitian dishes, adding a vibrant and zesty element to the meal.
Bouyon Bef, or beef stew, is a hearty and flavorful dish in Haitian cuisine. It features tender beef chunks simmered in a rich and aromatic broth, often flavored with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and a blend of spices such as thyme and bay leaves. Additional ingredients like potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers are often added for extra flavor and texture. Bouyon Bef is typically enjoyed with a side of rice or served alongside traditional Haitian bread for a satisfying and comforting meal.
Eggs and plantains is a simple yet delicious Haitian dish. It combines ripe plantains, which are sliced and pan-fried until golden and caramelized, with scrambled eggs cooked with onions, garlic, and peppers. The combination of sweet and savory flavors makes for a satisfying and filling meal. It is often served for breakfast or brunch and can be enjoyed with a side of Haitian bread or accompanied by avocado slices for added freshness.
Haitian beignets, also known as “beignet ak pwa,” are delightful fried dough balls made from a mixture of flour, sugar, yeast, and mashed black beans. The dough is then deep-fried until golden and crispy, resulting in a fluffy and flavorful treat. These beignets are often enjoyed as a snack or dessert and can be dusted with powdered sugar for added sweetness. They are a popular street food in Haiti and are best enjoyed fresh and warm.
Makawoni au graten, or Haitian-style mac and cheese, is a comforting and cheesy dish that is popular in Haitian cuisine. It features cooked macaroni noodles mixed with a creamy cheese sauce, which is often made with a combination of cheddar and Gruyere cheese. The dish is then baked in the oven until the top is golden and bubbly. Makawoni au graten is a beloved comfort food in Haiti and is often served as a side dish or main course.
Tchaka is a traditional Haitian dessert made from cornmeal, coconut milk, and sweetened with sugar or sweetened condensed milk. It is typically flavored with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. The mixture is cooked on low heat until it thickens and reaches a pudding-like consistency. Tchaka is often served warm and can be enjoyed as a dessert or a sweet breakfast dish. Its creamy texture and sweet flavor make it a comforting treat in Haitian cuisine.
Epis is a flavorful seasoning blend used in Haitian cuisine. It is made by blending together a variety of aromatic ingredients such as garlic, onions, bell peppers, parsley, thyme, and other herbs and spices. Epis is commonly used as a base for marinades, sauces, and soups, adding depth of flavor and a savory kick to dishes. It is a staple in Haitian cooking, adding a distinct and delicious taste to many traditional Haitian recipes.
Breakfast Spaghetti is a popular Haitian dish that combines traditional spaghetti with a hearty breakfast twist. It typically includes cooked spaghetti noodles mixed with scrambled eggs, vegetables such as bell peppers and onions, and sometimes protein like bacon or sausage. The dish is seasoned with herbs, spices, and a touch of hot sauce for added flavor. Breakfast Spaghetti is a filling and satisfying meal that is enjoyed as a breakfast or brunch option in Haitian cuisine.
Legim, also known as Legume, is a traditional Haitian dish consisting of a hearty vegetable stew. It is typically made with a variety of vegetables such as eggplant, cabbage, carrots, and green beans, along with flavorful spices and herbs. Legim often includes meat or seafood for added protein, such as beef, chicken, or fish. It is a popular and nutritious dish in Haitian cuisine, served alongside rice or bread for a satisfying meal.
Labouyi Bannann, or Plantain Porridge, is a comforting and delicious Haitian dish. It is made by simmering ripe plantains in coconut milk along with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. The result is a thick and creamy porridge with a naturally sweet flavor from the ripe plantains. Labouyi Bannann is often enjoyed as a breakfast or dessert dish, and it provides a comforting and filling start to the day.
Haitian Patties, also known as Pâté Haïtien, are a popular savory pastry in Haitian cuisine. They are made with a flaky pastry dough filled with a flavorful mixture of ground meat (commonly beef or chicken), onions, garlic, and a variety of spices and herbs such as thyme, parsley, and scotch bonnet pepper. The filling is typically seasoned with a combination of spices like cumin, paprika, and curry powder. Haitian Patties are often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer and are loved for their delicious taste and portable nature.
Pork Griot is a traditional Haitian dish made with marinated and fried pork chunks. The pork is typically marinated in a flavorful mixture of citrus juices (such as lime and sour orange), garlic, and a blend of aromatic spices like thyme, cloves, and Scotch bonnet pepper. After marinating, the pork is fried until crispy and served with rice, beans, and pikliz (pickled vegetable relish). Pork Griot is a popular and beloved dish in Haitian cuisine, known for its tender and flavorful meat.
Chicken Pâté Puffs are a delightful Haitian appetizer made with a flaky puff pastry shell filled with seasoned chicken pâté. The pâté is typically made by blending cooked chicken, onions, garlic, spices, and herbs into a smooth and flavorful spread. The mixture is then piped or spooned into the puff pastry shells and baked until golden and crispy. Chicken Pâté Puffs are a delicious and savory bite-sized treat often served at parties, gatherings, or as an appetizer before a meal.
Poule Creole is a traditional Haitian dish consisting of chicken cooked in a rich and flavorful Creole sauce. The chicken is typically seasoned with a blend of spices, herbs, and citrus juices, then simmered in a tomato-based sauce with onions, bell peppers, garlic, and other aromatic ingredients. The result is a tender and savory chicken dish with a hint of tanginess and a touch of spice. Poule Creole is often served with rice, beans, or plantains, and it is a beloved dish in Haitian cuisine.
Haitian meatballs, known as boulettes, are a delicious and savory dish made with ground meat, such as beef or pork, mixed with various seasonings and spices. The meat mixture is typically combined with breadcrumbs or rice, along with ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs, and sometimes peppers for added flavor. Boulettes are usually formed into small balls and then cooked by frying, baking, or simmering in a flavorful sauce. They are commonly served as an appetizer or as part of a main course with rice and vegetables.
Haitian-style cottage pie is a comforting dish made with ground meat, typically beef or lamb, cooked with onions, garlic, and a blend of aromatic spices. The meat mixture is then topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes and baked until golden and bubbly. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is often enjoyed as a main course, served with a side of vegetables or a fresh salad. The combination of seasoned meat and creamy mashed potatoes makes it a satisfying and comforting meal.
Akasan is a traditional Haitian beverage made from corn flour, also known as maize flour. It is prepared by mixing the corn flour with water and sweetening it with sugar or other sweeteners. The mixture is then cooked on the stovetop until it thickens into a smooth and creamy consistency. Akasan is often flavored with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, giving it a warm and comforting taste. It is typically served chilled and enjoyed as a refreshing and nourishing drink.
Chicken fritters are a popular Haitian snack made from ground chicken mixed with various ingredients and seasonings. The mixture is typically formed into small patties or balls and then deep-fried until golden and crispy. Chicken fritters are often seasoned with herbs and spices such as garlic, onion, thyme, and parsley to enhance their flavor. They are commonly served as appetizers or finger food, and can be enjoyed on their own or with dipping sauces for added flavor.
Haitian chicken is a flavorful dish made with marinated chicken cooked in a rich and aromatic sauce. The chicken is typically marinated in a blend of herbs, spices, and citrus juices to infuse it with delicious flavors. The dish often incorporates ingredients like garlic, onions, bell peppers, and Scotch bonnet peppers for added heat and depth of flavor. Haitian chicken is traditionally served with rice, beans, and plantains, and is a popular and beloved dish in Haitian cuisine.
Dous Makos, also known as Haitian Fudge, is a sweet and indulgent treat that is popular in Haitian cuisine. It is made with a combination of condensed milk, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and often includes additional flavors like nutmeg or cinnamon. The mixture is cooked on the stovetop until it thickens and reaches a fudge-like consistency. Once cooled, it is typically cut into squares or rectangles for serving. Dous Makos is enjoyed as a dessert or a special treat during holidays and celebrations in Haiti.
Gateau Ayisyen Zoranj, also known as Haitian Orange Cake, is a delicious dessert in Haitian cuisine. It is a moist and flavorful cake made with fresh orange juice and zest, along with ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. The cake is typically baked until golden and fragrant, and then topped with a sweet orange glaze or frosting. Gateau Ayisyen Zoranj is enjoyed as a special treat for various occasions and celebrations in Haiti.
What Are Some Traditional Haitian Foods?
Poulet aux noix: A Haitian dish featuring chicken and cashews as the main ingredients.
Joumou: Besides pumpkin or squash, the thick, savory joumou is loaded with various other vegetables, beef, and flavorings such as thyme, parsley, and chili peppers.
Tassot: Tassot is a traditional Haitian dish made with goat meat or beef as the main ingredient. Cubed meat is usually marinated in a combination of onions, orange juice, and lemon juice.
Pikliz: Pikliz is a Haitian relish consisting of a combination of pickled vegetables such as shredded cabbage, carrots, onions, shallots, and spicy peppers.
Bouillon Soup: Bouillon is a hearty and slightly thick Haitian soup made with meat, yams, kelp, cabbage, plantains, potatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, and celery.
Makawoni au Graten: This is not an ordinary mac & cheese. Haitians use rigatoni or penne along with other unusual flavorings.
Tchaka: Haitian tchaka is a hearty stew made with dried corn, red beans, squash, and smoked pork, particularly pork legs.
Legim: Heavily influenced by African cooking traditions, legume is a popular Haitian dish typically consisting of various mixed vegetables that are cooked with meat (usually beef) and then mashed together.
Haitian Patties: These Haitian delicacies consist of puff pastry that is shaped into small squares and filled with various types of meat such as beef, chicken, pork, or even fish.
Griot: Griot is a typical Haitian dish consisting of pork meat cubes slowly simmered in a sweet, spicy, and tangy marinade of chili peppers, onions, and orange, lime, or lemon juice until tender, then fried in a skillet.
Frequently Asked Questions About Haitian Foods
1. What is Haitians Cook?
The flavor base of much Haitian cooking is épice, a combination sauce made from cooked peppers, garlic, and herbs, particularly green onions, thyme, and parsley. It is also used as a basic condiment for rice and beans and is also used in stews and soups.
2. What is Haiti’s Favorite Food?
Beef or goat (and sometimes turkey) become tasso, while pork becomes griot, which is considered Haiti’s national dish. In general, the average Haitian diet is largely based on starch staples such as rice, corn, millet, yams and beans.
3. What do Haitian Eat for Breakfast?
There are numerous breakfast combinations. You can try out one of these 5 delicious dishes in the comfort of your own home. Eggs and Plantains, Mayi Moulen, Haitian Spaghetti, Plantain Porridge, or Corn Flour Shakes.
4. Is Haitian Food Spicy?
Haitian food is influenced by French, African, and Spanish foods with Taino roots. Typical meals include imported rice, local vegetables, and meats native to the island. Meals tend to be mildly spicy.
5. What Do Haitians Eat for Lunch?
Lunch (manje midi) is a large meal. Usually rice, beans, and meat. Snacks are frequent and consist of fruit. The evening meal (dine) is soup or hot cereal.
6. What Haitian Foods Are Eaten At Holidays?
The most important Haitian holiday is Carnaval, a flamboyant display of pageantry similar to the Mardi Gras of deep-south American cities like New Orleans. Everyone eats Haitian Beignets (Beignets de Carnaval), a delectable casual dessert made with bananas.
About Haitian Cuisine
Haitian cuisine consists of foods and cooking traditions from Haiti, a country in the Caribbean. It originates from a myriad of culinary blends and styles, mostly from peoples and communities that have populated the country, such as the French, Africans, and the Spanish. Most of all, though, the indigenous Taino people have had the biggest impact on Haitian cuisine and other cuisines all over the world.
Haitian cuisine is known for its simplicity and unpretentiousness. It is also wildly recognized because of its wild flavors and boldness in preparation and presentation. The latter demonstrates the influences that the French and African cultures.
Another culture that has had a huge influence on Haitian cuisine is Arabian. Arabian migrations into the country have led to Levantine influences to be well ingrained in not only the cuisine of modern-day Haiti but also in the general culture and way of life.
The History of Food from Haiti
The Taino natives, who not only influenced Haiti but also a myriad of other Caribbean islands, were the ones who introduced what is now known as a barbeque to the rest of the world. The word is derived from ‘Barabicu’ in the language of the Taino and that of the Timucua, who were the native inhabitants of Florida and the area around it.
When Christopher Columbus and his explorers first landed in Haiti, they found the natives of the land roasting meat over a grill. The grill was not as we know it today; rather, it was made of a wooden framework that rested on sticks, and the fire was underneath the grill. The smoke and the flames underneath the grill would rise and envelop the animal meat, thus giving it a certain appealing flavor.
When the Spaniards colonized Haiti, they brought in many diseases with them, diseases that the natives were not immune to. Thus, many natives died, and the Spaniards began to bring in slaves from Africa to work on the plantations they had set up. The African food that the colonizers brought had a major influence on the cuisine of the area. Foods such as Okra, which is an edible root, pigeon peas, and spices were introduced to the region.
During the colonial times, the French were also able to exert their culture into Haitian cuisine. They introduced cocoa, coffee, and sugarcane into the fold.
Old-style Haitian Cooking and Food.
Even though old-style Haitian cooking and food are in many ways akin to that of other Caribbean islands, it is distinct. Haitian food has a very independent and unique flavor. One of the more frequent ways of Haitian cooking today and in older times was barbequing. Moreover, old-style Haitian cooking involved the extensive use of herbs, and the chefs did not use pepper sparingly either.
One of the top foods both now and in past times is Legume Haitian. This is a thick vegetable stew made from spinach, eggplant, chayote, cabbage, and watercress. More vegetables were added into the mix, depending on the chief preference.
There were many types of stew in old Haiti, and many of them, though there have been a couple of nuanced changes, still exist today. Some of them include the aforementioned Legume Haitian, Tchaka, consisting of beans, pork and squash, and many others. Rice is most often what accompanied the stews.
Meat was a common dish, or ingredient, in traditional Haitian cuisine, and it still is. The cook would boil chicken meat in a marinade that consisted of sour orange, lemon juice, garlic, and bonnet pepper before he or she eventually fried it to a crisp. Meats common in traditional Haitian food are beef, goat meat, called cabrit, and pork.
Starch, mainly through the influence of the Africans, was a common ingredient in traditional Haitian cuisine. Foods such as potatoes, breadfruit, yams, and sweet potatoes are even to this day a major staple piece of the cuisine in the country.
Modern Haitian Cooking and Food
Today, not only is barbeque still part and parcel of the Haitian cuisine, it has somehow managed to be an intricate part of many other cuisines in other parts of the world, though, of course, there is a myriad of regional variations.
Like many other cuisines the world over, traditional Haitian cooking methods, from preparation to actually cooking and eventual presentation, are an intricate part of modern-day Haitian cooking and food. One of the top ingredients in modern Haitian cooking is called epice, a combination of garlic, peppers, and other herbs, particularly thyme, parsley, and green onions. It is mainly used as a condiment for the stews mentioned earlier, as well as rice.
Modern Haitian cuisine is also made up of a myriad of drinks. One of the main drinks from Haiti is rum. Haitian rum is well known globally. Rhum Barbancourt is the finest rum in the region and is recognized as the finest rum in the entire world. Rum is made from molasses, and thus you can trace the impact of the Spanish sugarcane plantations on modern Haitian cuisine.
Beer is also very common in Haiti and is mainly drunk in festivals and celebrations. Clairin is an alcoholic drink that is fundamentally distilled spirit and is sometimes referred to as white rum. Cremas, an alcoholic drink made from creamed coconut, evaporated or condensed milk, and rum, is also very popular.
One of the region’s best-known appetizers is Haitian Patty. It is made from grounded meat, either chicken, beef, salted cod, turkey, or smoked cod. A flaky or crispy crust then surrounds the grounded meat.
Modern Haitian cuisine and foods entail dishes from the country’s numerous regions. For example, the region called Jeremie, which is on the country’s southwest tip, has a dish called tonmtonm, which, essentially, is streamed breadfruit and mashed in a pilon. It is swallowed without chewing with the help of a sauce called okra. Okra is cooked with meat and savory spices.
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