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33 Great Venezuela Foods & Their Traditional Recipes

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Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls, Venezuela

Like all other cuisines in different parts of the world, Venezuela foods is deeply intertwined with the history and the culture of the region. However, unlike other parts of the world, where the methods of food preparation and presentation are almost ubiquitous, traditional Venezuela foods change from one region to another, though there are some properties that all the places share.

History of Traditional Venezuela Foods

Most Venezuela foods recipes can trace its origins from the natives of the regions. The Auke, Caquetio, Kalina, and the Timoto-Cuicas were the earliest inhabitants of the region, there even before Christopher Colombus landed in the country.

During that time, the most dominant foods were potatoes and Ullucos, which is primarily a root vegetable but can be used as a fruit vegetable. The natives of Venezuela had elaborate irrigation techniques, which ensured that they had food throughout the year.

When Christopher Columbus arrived in the region, he came with his Spanish conquistadors, and Venezuela was colonized by the French. Obviously, the French culture and way of life had a huge impact on the cuisine of the native region. For example, the Venezuelans have a dish called Cachitos, which is very similar to the French Croissant and is filled with ham. French fries are also a huge delicacy in the region.

During the time of Venezuelan colonization, people from a myriad of European counties moved into the region. They were hoping to start new lives, since Venezuela had more fertile soil, and was less populated than Europe. Italians, Portuguese, and the French, although in smaller communities as compared to the Spanish, all moved into the region.

The Europeans came with their culture and their cuisine, and, over time, they managed to ingrain their foods and cuisine into that of the region. For example, the pasticho is a favorite amongst the Venezuelans. It is, in preparation and presentation, akin to Italian lasagna. Cheese is also very popular in Venezuela, and this can directly be attributed to the European immigrants that came into the country.

Traditional Venezuelan Recipes for Dessert - Tres Leches - Three Milk Cake

Old Style Venezuela Foods and Cuisine

As mentioned earlier, there are variations in the meals and cuisines in different parts of Venezuela. This is because of the different climatic and soil conditions of different parts of the country. Old school cooking techniques are based on the ingredients the locals were able to find in their immediate surroundings, and thus they tend to change from palace to place.

Some of the staple Venezuela foods in the country include tomatoes, onions, potatoes, eggplants, squashes, zucchini, and spinach. Venezuela is a tropical region, that gets a lot of rainfall, which was suitable for the growth of vegetables.

Moreover, vegetables were much easier to irrigate in seasons when rain was low. Vegetables are also much easier to cook, and are very nutritious. This is the reason why they are prevalent in most of the old-style Venezuelan dishes.

The vegetable soups were seasoned mainly through Aji dulce and papelon, which, even today, are found in most recipes.

The vegetable soups, once prepared, were served alongside corn, rice, beans, or plantains. These crops are not only simple to grow, but they also did not require a lot of labor, and also fulfilled all the nutritional requirements. Meat was also essential in old-style Venezuelan cuisine and food, and could also be made into a stew.

Traditional Venezuela foods ingredients for the old school foods include ground corn, precooked corn flour, limes, and the creole version of bouquet garini, which comprises green onions, spearmint, fresh cilantro, and parsley.

Venezuelan Street Vender

Modern Venezuela Foods and Cooking

Like most of the cuisines and foods from other parts of the world, modern-day Venezuelan foods trace its roots in the traditional and old-style way of cooking. As mentioned earlier, different regions of the country have different foods and methods of preparing food.

The eastern region of Venezuela is the one that is most influenced by the Spanish way of cooking, mainly because many Spaniards chose to settle near or around the coastal region. It also has influences from France, mainly Corsica. Indians from Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana have also played a huge part in the cuisine of the region, as well as immigrants from the Dutch Caribbean.

The traditional Venezuela foods from that area is filled with mixed aromas and spices, and yet it remains simple and fresh. Fish is a huge part of the cuisine in the region, mainly because of the sea. It is mainly accompanied by avocadoes and ripe tomatoes, which are sprinkled with juicy limes in order to accentuate their flavor. The creole version of France’s boudin noir, the fresh blood sausage, as well as the creole chorizos and native chilies are also intricate parts of the cuisine of the region.

The northwestern part of Venezuela borders Colombia, and the common food in the region is plantain that has been deep-fried. It is accompanied by shredded beef, cabbage, shredded carrots, or chicken, and can be dressed with tomatoes, mayonnaise, parsley, or garlic. These traditional Venezuela foods change by regions.

In the Andean region, soups are predominant. The soups there are rich, hot and delicious, and serve as an antidote to the region’s cold climate.

Sothern Venezuela is full of rivers and water bodies, and thus it should come as no surprise that fish is eaten quite a lot in the said region. The types of fish that are rich in fat, like lau lau, pavon, or the sapoara are used to make stews and soups. These stews and soups are uniquely different from those of the eastern region.

Venezuelan cocoa is internationally regarded as the best in the world, and it forms the base of some of the most delicious Venezuelan desserts. Alongside coconuts, and a plethora of other tropical fruits in the region, Venezuelan desserts are some of the best you will find.

Beverages also form an important part of modern Venezuelan cuisine. These authentic Venezuela foods include Cocada, which is a coconut milkshake, is mostly found in the coastal areas. Ponche crema is mainly served during the Christmas holidays. Frescolita is a strawberry-flavored soda that is also very popular in the country, alongside mango and passion fruit.

There is also a myriad of alcoholic beverages taken in the region. Rum, as is the case in most of the Caribbean and South American countries, is especially popular. Beer is also another alcoholic drink that Venezuelans love. On celebrations and special occasions, tequila is the drink that is served.

Our Favorite 33 Venezuela Foods & Their Traditional Recipes

1. Cachapas (Corn Pancakes) – Venezuela Foods

Cachapas - Venezuela Foods

The sweet-savory flavor is what makes cachapas special. These rustic and thin Venezuelan corn pancakes are filled with cheese.
Although cachapas are also a well-known dish in Colombia, their origin comes from the central region of Venezuela.

The indigenous people who populated the north-central Miranda region of Venezuela cultivated corn. This cereal was worshiped by the indigenous people and considered of divine origin.
Check out this recipe

2. Pabellón Criollo – Venezuela Foods Recipes

Pabellón Criollo - Traditional Venezuelan Food

Pabellón criollo is a traditional recipe from Venezuela. It is actually the local version of the rice and beans combination that you can find throughout the Caribbean and Central America, for example in Costa Rica with gallo pinto. It is composed of rice, shredded beef and black beans.

This pabellón criollo recipe is not one that you prepare in 30 minutes. However, it is not difficult to execute. This recipe is actually a combination of 3 to 4 distinct preparations. For my version of pabellón criollo, I chose to accompany my carne mechada (shredded beef) with traditional caraotas negras (black beans), rice and also tajadas (plantains). Some versions of pabellón criollo also include a fried egg.
Check out this recipe

3. Guasacaca – Venezuela Foods

Venezuelan Guasacaca - Venezuela Foods

This Venezuelan Guasacaca is creamy, smooth, fresh and absolutely delicious! Perfect for dipping, dressing, and spreading. The possibilities are endless.

Many people compare Venezuelan Guasacaca with Guacamole, but for me, they are two very different flavors. Guasacaca can be served as a sauce to top a steak, hamburger, hotdog, tacos, and tostadas. Even to dress other side dishes, such as potatoes, yuca, or anything else you can think of. Guasacaca can also be used as a simple dip to serve with chips.
Check out this recipe

4. Pasticho – Venezuela Foods Dishes

Pasticho - Traditional Venezuelan Food

Pasticho is the Venezuelan version of Lasagna. It is very creamy since it has bechamel sauce. YUM. This is a very popular dish back home. Each family has its own recipe – which is guarded jealously. In my opinion, the secret of good or Pasticho is the meat sauce.
Check out this recipe

5. Papelón con Limón – Venezuela Foods

Papelón con Limón - Venezuela Foods

Papelón con Limón is a traditional Venezuelan beverage that quenches your thirst on a hot Summer day. I learned from friend Angie, who is from Venezuela, that workers often drink Papelón con Limón while they are out working in the fields. The drink is so refreshing and helps you cool off in the hot heat.
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6. Chocolate Marquesa – Venezuela Recipes

Venezuelan Chocolate Marquesa - Traditional Venezuelan Food

Marquesa is a no-bake dessert made with layers of galletas Maria (Marie biscuit) and a delicious cream made with condensed milk and butter that is very popular in Venezuela. One of the things I love about this dessert is that best of all doesn’t require baking so it can be made in advance. Actually, it gets better after a few days.

This no-fuss dessert is part of many Venezuelan birthdays, holidays or gatherings with friends and family. But to be honest, I do not need an excuse to make it. it’s something you can get to see in my fridge very often because my whole family loves it.
Check out this recipe

7. Alfajores (Dulce de leche Sandwich Cookies) – Venezuela Foods

Alfajores - Venezuela Foods

Easy recipe for homemade alfajores or shortbread sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche. These traditional Latin American cookies are made with a cornstarch shortbread style dough, filled with caramel or dulce de leche, and then decorate with dried coconut or powdered sugar.

Alfajores are a popular sweet treat in many Latin American countries, including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, among others.

These delicious melt in your mouth sandwich cookies, are made using a mix of wheat flour and cornstarch. They have a filling of milk caramel or dulce de leche, also known as manjar de leche, manjar blanco, arequipe, or cajeta. Delicious authentic Venezuela foods.
Check out this recipe

8. Polvorosas – Venezuelan Recipes

Venezuelan Polvorosas - Traditional Venezuelan Food

When I feel nostalgic and like to recreate my childhood’s most comforting food memories in my own kitchen. Recently, the memories took me to the delicious Venezuelan Polvorosas.

These cookies were my weakness when I was a child. Sorry… Let me rephrase that; they still are!! Oh man… they are so good!! The name “Polvorosas” refers to the sandy texture of these delicate and crumbly cookies.
Check out this recipe

9. Arepa de Dominó (Corncake Filled with Black Beans) – Venezuela Foods

Arepa de Dominó - Venezuela Foods

In Venezuela, arepas, or mini round corncakes, are a staple for breakfast, at dinner tables to accompany the main dish (much like rolls of bread), or eaten as an any-time snack.

They can be eaten plain, served with sauce, or stuffed with a variety of fillings. Here, we stuff it with a traditional Venezuelan filling of black beans, known as caraotas
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10. Arepas With Chicken and Avocado – Venezuela Dishes

Arepas With Chicken and Avocado - Traditional Venezuelan Food

Arepas are gluten free corn cakes, eaten in Venezuela in place of bread. They’re crunchy outside, tender inside, and delicious when filled with chicken or cheese or anything you like. This authentic arepa recipe pairs homemade arepas with a scrumptious Venezuelan chicken and avocado salad.

Delicious authentic Venezuela foods with shredded white meat chicken tossed with tender avocado, mayonnaise, garlic, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and cilantro. It’s easy to imagine how delicious this chicken salad would be just from reading the ingredients, right? Just wait until you try it sandwiched between an arepa that’s still warm from the oven!
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11. Hallacas (Tamales) – Venezuela Foods

Hallacas - Venezuela Foods

Hallacas are traditional Venezuelan Christmas Eve gifts that are lovingly prepared for the recipients. The filling usually starts with whole chicken, pork shoulder, bacon, and beef chuck all separately seasoned, stewed, and shredded or chopped.

This lightened version uses leaner cuts of meat, skips the bacon, and stews all the meats together.
Check out this recipe

12. Bien Me Sabe (Coconut Cream Cake) – Venezuela Recipes

Bien Me Sabe - Traditional Venezuelan Food

Bien me sabe is a delicious Venezuelan dessert—a rich coconut cake with layers of cream and meringue. The name translates to "tastes good to me" (a good little grammar lesson for anyone studying those tricky Spanish reflexive verbs).

This cake is similar to tres leches cake in that it is served chilled and is extremely moist, sweet, and rich. You can prepare this cake using a cake mix to save time, or use your favorite white cake or sponge cake recipe. Bien me sabe is best if allowed to chill overnight, so plan ahead if possible.
Check out this recipe

13. Carne Mechada (Shredded Beef) – Venezuela Foods

Carne Mechada - Venezuela Foods

A Venezuelan pulled beef dish served over rice or as a stuffing for arepas and empanadas. This Venezuelan Shredded Beef recipe is amazing! It’s tender, juicy, and so flavorful.

Make a big batch, and you can have something different with it for days. Versatile traditional Venezuela foods.
Check out this recipe

14. Pollo Guisado – Venezuela Foods Dish

Venezuelan Pollo Guisado - Traditional Venezuelan Food

This Venezuelan pollo guisado is a staple recipe in my family. I can say that my grandmother makes a big pot of pollo guisado every week.

You can make this chicken stew with or without potatoes and carrot, that is up to your preferences. If you don’t add potatoes you can cook some rice as a side dish and it will work great with the pollo guisado sauce.
Check out this recipe

15. Ponqué De Toronja (Grapefruit Pound Cake) – Venezuela Foods

Ponqué De Toronja - Venezuela Foods

Save this grapefruit pound cake recipe for when you need an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. With grapefruit and yogurt, it's practically a parfait! No judgment here if you eat it in the a.m. I did. Delicious authentic Venezuela foods for desserts or breakfast.
Check out this recipe

16. Arepas – Venezuelan Recipes

Venezuelan Arepas - Traditional Venezuelan Food

Whether you’ve wondered how to make arepas or you’ve never heard of them before, you’re sure to fall in love with these easy and versatile South American corn bread rounds!

Hundreds of years ago, arepas were being cooked by indigenous tribes across Venezuela, on the northern tip of South America. In fact, the name arepa comes from the indigenous word Erepa, which means corn.

Arepas are corn patties that are now widely popular in both Colombia and Venezuela foods. Imagine a corn tortilla crossed with a tamale, all in an English muffin shape.
Check out this recipe

17. Easy Venezuelan Chicha – Venezuela Foods

Easy Venezuelan Chicha - Venezuela Foods

Venezuelan Chicha is a drink made from soaking, cooking, and blending rice and adding different kinds of milk. There are different variations of the chicha throughout Latin America – some are made with just water and raw rice, or corn and fermented pineapple, or nuts.

This Venezuelan Chicha is creamy, smooth, and super decadent! This refreshing and super easy to make drink will be enjoyed by everyone.
Check out this recipe

18. Avocado Chicken Salad – Venezuela Dishes

Venezuelan Avocado Chicken Salad - Traditional Venezuelan Food

This creamy delicious Venezuelan avocado chicken salad gets its creaminess from mashed avocados and its vibrant latin flavors from lime juice, garlic and cilantro. A fantastic chicken salad recipe without mayo and dairy-free.

This avocado chicken salad recipe was originally designed to be the stuffing for a beloved Venezuelan dish called reina pepiada: Venezuelan arepas with chicken avocado salad. Arepas are gluten-free corn cakes, eaten in Venezuela instead of bread.
Check out this recipe

19. Polvorosa de Pollo (Chicken Pot Pie) – Venezuela Foods

Polvorosa de Pollo - Venezuela Foods

Polvorosa de pollo is a highly appreciated dish. Not only because it’s delicious as a whole. There are many factors that make this dish something special that people want to eat again, and again.

First, I would say it’s the complexity of the flavors in the chicken stew. It reminds me of the complexity of the stew of the Venezuelan hallacas. In fact, every time I make polvorosa de pollo, my house smells like when I’m cooking the stew for the hallacas.
Check out this recipe

20. Easy Venezuelan Cocada – Venezuela Recipes

Easy Venezuelan Cocada - Traditional Venezuelan Food

Cocada is a traditional Venezuelan drink that is made with fresh coconut meat, milk, and sweetened condensed milk, then sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzle with more sweetened condensed milk.
Check out this recipe

21. Quesillo (Venezuelan Flan) – Venezuela Foods

Quesillo - Venezuela Foods

The Venezuelan quesillo recipe, pronounced ke-see-yo, has bounced around our family since as long as I can remember. I frequently get calls asking about my exact recipe.

It's not everyday your grandmother asks you how to cook something! I will however warn you: quesillo is not for everyone.

I have learned that some people just don't like the texture. To that I can only really say that at least there will be more for the rest of us.
Check out this recipe

22. Perico Venezolano (Scrambled Eggs) – Venezuela Dishes

22. Perico Venezolano - Traditional Venezuelan Food

A popular breakfast dish in Venezuela is perico, eggs scrambled with onions, tomatoes and peppers. It can be eaten with bread or stuffed into arepas. Delicious authentic Venezuela foods for breakfast.
Check out this recipe

23. Asado Negro – Venezuela Foods

Asado Negro - Venezuela Foods

I’m super excited to share this recipe with you. The Asado Negro and Carne Mechada are my signature Venezuelan dishes. Not trying to be modest over here, but they are truly amazing. I have made this recipe so much throughout my life that I could do it with my eyes closed.

Asado Negro is one of the most traditional dishes in Venezuela foods. Each Venezuelan family has its own version. But today you can forget all other Asado Negro recipes… this one is to die for! Usually, this dish is served with white rice and fried plantains but this time I served it with mashed potatoes.
Check out this recipe

24 Venezuelan-Style Barbecue Shrimp – Venezuela Dishes

Venezuelan-Style Barbecue Shrimp - Traditional Venezuelan Food

While living in Venezuela in the 70’s, I fell in love with this appetizer. It is definitely mouth watering and pairs great with a cold beer. Be sure you have lots of napkins on hand as it gets messy.
Check out this recipe

25. Venezuelan Pork Roast – Venezuela Foods

Venezuelan Pork Roast - Venezuela Foods

A succulent, soft, moist pork roast with a unique sweet and savoury gravy that's definitely worth making. Whether for Christmas as a substitute for turkey or for Sunday Roast this recipe will take your taste buds to a trip Venezuela.
Check out this recipe

26. Guarapo (Homemade Pineapple Cooler) – Venezuela Dishes

Guarapo - Traditional Venezuelan Food

I was in the market this week, taking photographs as I moved between the stands. Among the colorful fruit displays, there was one stand that was decorated with hanging pineapples.

That put me in mind of two things. One, my husband, who loves pineapple. Second, Guarapo de Piña. “Guarapo” is a fizzy, slightly alcoholic drink made from fruit, and Guarapo de Piña is based on pineapple rinds. I learned to make it when I lived in Venezuela.

I left the market pineapples alone, but bought a nice ripe one from the grocer close to home. My husband and Little One devoured the fruit, but I kept the fragrant rinds for my own treat.
Check out this recipe

27. Tizana (Venezuelan Fruit Punch) – Venezuela Foods

Tizana - Venezuela Foods

Crack open just about any Venezuelan fridge and you just might find a pitcher of tizana. Tizana is as much a drink as it is a fruit salad. The fruity concoction keeps for nearly a week, which makes it perfect for impromptu scooping.

Though perhaps not traditional, I’m guilty of digging into the pitcher at breakfast time, dessert time, and, of course, at midnight.

I can see how having tizana in the fridge would be a great way to get my daily allotment of fruit, especially when in a hurry
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28. Venezuela Libre – Venezuela Recipes

Venezuela Libre - Traditional Venezuelan Food

A Rum and Coke with a splash of lime juice- was created around 1900 during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. The Cuba Libre (Preparado) came to me only recently though.

I found it in a cute little book by Dave Stolte called Home Bar Basics and Not-So-Basics. The book lists 12 ‘basic’ drinks and 13 ‘not-so-basic’ drinks, most of them classics. They each come with illustrations, as Stolte does that sort of thing for a living.
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29. Abondigas Venezuelan – Venezuela Foods

Abondigas Venezolanas - Venezuela Foods

The traditional and succulent stuffed meatballs are a typical dish in Venezuelan cuisine. It is prepared based on ground meat, which is assembled in the form of meatballs or croquettes and is cooked in a delicious and juicy stew. This dish is widely served in Venezuelan homes, where it is loved by young and old.
Check out this recipe

30. Ponche Crema – Venezuelan Recipes

Ponche Crema - Traditional Venezuelan Food

Ponche Crema is the Venezuelan eggnog (or zabaione), made with Venezuelan rum {the best one is the Santa Teresa} and with sweet condensed milk, which I can serenely affirm to be the most consumed product in Venezuela.

Make it not earlier than two days and store it in the refrigerator. Then serve it in small glasses with a few ice cubes.
Check out this recipe

31. Venezuelan Chocolate–Rum Drink – Venezuela Foods

Venezuelan Chocolate–Rum Drink - Venezuela Foods

At the raucous late-night parties called parrandas, dancers need a pick-me-up. This one, from food author Maricel Presilla, fits the bill nicely.
Check out this recipe

32. Tres Leches – Three Milk Cake – Venezuela Dishes

Tres Leches - Traditional Venezuelan Food

This cake is made with three layers: Cake, filling, and topping. There are 4 types of milk in the filling and topping (whole milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream). This is an excellent cake for milk lovers!
Check out this recipe

33. Venezuelan Style Brisket – Venezuela Foods

Venezuelan Style Brisket - Venezuela Foods

My culinary curiosity has no limits. I love trying new recipes, experiencing different cuisines and cooking with exotic spices, herbs and ingredients… it’s fun! I’m lucky that my husband is willing to let me do my “foody” adventures in the kitchen although he’s come around a lot and now wants to try new “dishes” as well… awesome!

David and I have a big bucket list of things we’d like to do and places to visit. South America is on that list; Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile (including Easter Island), Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador (Galápagos Islands), and many more…
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You might also like some of the articles from our website about recipes from other South American countries.

25 Unbelievable Argentina Food Recipes
25 Unbelievable Bolivian Food Traditions & Recipes

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