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45 Flavorful African Food Recipes To Excite Your Taste Buds

Quick Answer: What Are The Most Flavorful African Dishes?

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African food recipes are some of the most popular dishes in the world. They are rich and savory and include many different types of ingredients. The flavor of African dishes is distinctive because of the spices that are used, as well as the ingredients. African dishes are typically cooked with meat, vegetables, and spices, which can be seen in many different variations throughout the continent.

You don’t have to hop on a plane to discover all of the world’s cuisines.

Instead, travel through 54 colorful countries with this extensive list of flavorful, delicious, and detailed recipes that will have you feeling like a top chef in no time like African food recipes. 

With each region of Africa, you’ll experience different spices, ingredients, and side dishes, but feel free to mix and match. After all, food is about experimentation, and there’s no greater lab than the world’s breadbasket. 

Quick Table: Flavorful African Recipes

Recipes Calories Per ServingPreparation Time
Nyama Choma6473-5 Hours 
Shakshuka11130 Minutes
Fried Plantains 43120 Minutes
Egusi Soup 600 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Chapati1102 Hours
Puff Puff 1032 Hours
Pilau360 2 Hours
Jollof Rice 284 2 Hours
Kachumbari 3210 Minutes
Fufu21725 Minutes
Kebabs2382-12 Hours
Samosa2622 Hours
Doro Wat512 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Injera1265 Days
Mukimo232 45 Minutes
Ugali & Sukuma Wiki280 30 Minutes
Koki Bean Cake 1263 Hours 30 Minutes
Couscous17712 Minutes
Koshari270 1 Hour 22 Minutes
Githeri3502 Hours
Braai300-5002-5 Hours
Saka Saka84 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Wali Wa Nazi140 20 Minutes
Bunny Chow 60055 Minutes
Mandazi 10345 Minutes
Groundnut Sauce166 40 Minutes
Seswaa278 4 Hours 10 Minutes
Kapenta20245 Minutes
Piri Piri Chicken217 6 Hours
Matoke Stew400 30 Minutes
Alloco440 10 Minutes
Rolex200 5 Minutes
Suya 145 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Muhogo160 35 Minutes
Isombe 942 Hours
Chicken Tagine60455 Minutes
Namungodi Rice Balls25035 Minutes
Mealie Bread1391 Hour
Mufete5003 Hours
Malawah143 35 Minutes
Garba3596 Minutes
Moi Moi15545 Minutes
B’stilla398 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Pweza Wa Nazi25035 Minutes
Kuku Kienyeji280 2 Hours

1. Ugali And Sukuma Wiki (East Africa)

There’s no better way to start your journey through African food than with this simple & staple meal. Ugali is a semi-firm cornmeal mash paired with sukuma wiki, a mixture of kale and spinach, which literally means “push for the week.” 

The real flavor comes from the greens, which incorporate a mix of sauteed onions, garlic, and tomatoes and mixed spices. For extra richness, add a dash of coconut milk while cooking. 

Calories Per Serving: 280

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

2. Fufu (Nigeria/Ghana)

Fufu is the perfect accompaniment to a spicy soup like egusi. 

To keep it simple, stick with cassava, which is peeled and blended before it’s pounded over a stove into a smooth, semi-elastic consistency. For variety, incorporate other roots like yam. 

Though fufu is usually pounded with a mortar and pestle, you can still enjoy its rich and smooth texture without the extra labor. 

Calories Per Serving: 217

Preparation Time: 25 Minutes

3. Jollof Rice (West Africa)

Fresh, versatile, and full of rich West African tradition, you’ll fall in love with this dish. The secret lies in the tomato broth that the rice cooks in.

Your bubbling hot red sauce must be thick enough to cradle the long grain rice, creating a fluffy consistency. 

From Ghana and Nigeria to Liberia, so many jollof rice versions are worth a try.  

Calories Per Serving: 284

Preparation Time: 2 Hours

4. Mukimo/Mashed Potatoes (Kenya)

Tired of the same old mashed potato recipe? Try this corn, pea, and pumpkin leaf-infused Kenyan classic. It’s neutral enough to go with any veggie or meat pairing yet still packed with flavor. 

Try soft maize instead of yellow corn if you want that real Kenyan flavor. It’s twice as filling!

Calories Per Serving: 232

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes

5. Koki Bean Cake (Cameroon)

African food is both conveniently portable and conveniently healthy, and Koki bean cake is no different. This cake is great for anyone who wants to meal prep for the week. 

Try it with beef stew on the side for a double protein pump!  

Calories Per Serving: 126

Preparation Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes

6. Injera (Ethiopia)

Traditionally made with teff flour, making it completely gluten-free, this is a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerances. 

If you see the final prep time, don’t freak out! Think of it as a sourdough bread situation. First, you need to create the starter, or Ersha, which requires 4 days to fully ferment. 

After that, you’ll have the perfect source for Injera on demand!

Calories Per Serving: 126

Preparation Time: 5 Days 

7. Couscous (North Africa)

Couscous took the health world by storm as an alternative to white rice. The fluffy, small granules are a quick option when you want dinner on demand. 

Believe it or not, Couscous is pasta, so you can pair it with your favorite sauce or try this lemon option for an extra kick of flavor. 

Calories Per Serving: 177

Preparation Time: 12 Minutes 

8. Egusi Soup (Nigeria)

Craving some surf and turf? Egusi is your best bet. This chunky soup features crayfish, roast beef, and hearty vegetables with a rich broth. 

This recipe uses the seeds inside to create a coarse, curd-like texture to get its name from the egusi gourd, similar to a pumpkin or squash.  

Calories Per Serving: 600

Preparation Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

9. Koshari (Egypt)

Try this popular Egyptian staple if you’re in the mood for a little bit of everything. Inside your Koshari, you’ll find pasta, chickpeas, fried onions, lentils, and rice. 

It’s the perfect carb and protein alternative for vegans, and it tastes like an explosion of different continents. It’s also a healthy comfort food, excellent for a family platter. 

Calories Per Serving: 270

Preparation Time: 1 Hour 22 Minutes 

10. Githeri (Kenya)

Sometimes simplicity is all you need when looking for a new meal to cook. Githeri is a great option for anyone venturing into African cooking. It is essentially vegan chili, switching out ground beef for soft maize.

What truly shines in this meal is the spices. To add extra flavor, saute the onions and spices in butter. It will coat the beans and corn, giving a smooth feel and taste.

Calories Per Serving: 350

Preparation Time: 2 Hours

RELATED: 27 Authentic Twist Of African Dessert Recipes In Your List!

11. Braai (South Africa)

This one is for the meat lovers out there. Braai is the South African term for barbecue, so light up the coal and get outside! 

Beef braai is common, but you can get wild with your choices and go for pork or fish. The key to great braai is seasoning and marinating, so let your meat sit for a few hours in your favorite spice blends before you put it on the grill. 

Calories Per Serving: 300-500

Preparation Time: 2-5 Hours

12. Doro Wat (Ethiopia)

There’s no wonder this is Ethiopia’s national dish. It’s that good. Often coupled with Injera, this meal isn’t for those in a hurry, as Doro Wat is comparable to a slow-cooked crockpot meal. But it’s worth the wait. 

The chicken falls off the bone, and the vegetables mesh into one thick paste-like stew. Then, for an authentic kick, get some Berbere Ethiopian spices. 

Calories Per Serving: 512

Preparation Time:  2 Hours 15 Minutes

13. Pondu Or Saka Saka (DRC)

This humble yet flavorful meal comes from Africa’s heart, with cassava leaves as the star. It’s perfect atop rice or next to a meat stew and heavy mashed potatoes

Most African meals feature vegetables as the star, and this one is no exception. We’re highlighting a vegan option for those who want to spice up their Saturday night meals, but you can add smoked fish for a pescatarian version. 

Calories Per Serving: 84

Preparation Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

14. Wali Wa Nazi Or Coconut Rice (Tanzania, Kenya)

Coconuts are a key ingredient in Swahili dishes, given the closeness to the ocean for most Swahili communities. You’ll be instantly transported to the coast by featuring fluffy basmati rice and fresh coconut

If you want the flavor to pack a punch, pair this with some sweet beef or bean stew and use fresh coconut. Dried, desiccated coconut works just as well.

Calories Per Serving: 140

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

15. Bunny Chow (South Africa)

Never thought you’d be able to make South African street food at home. Think again. Bunny chow is a classic quick meal that packs the energy with chicken, chickpeas, thick bread, and curry-like soup. 

Now this one’s a little high on the calorie count. But that’s why it works best as a guilt-free comfort meal

Calories Per Serving: 600

Preparation Time: 55 Minutes

16. Mandazi (Kenya, East Africa) 

Every culture on earth has its version of a donut, and this sweet treat belongs to East Africa. 

You know you’ve made mandazi right when the edges are crispy, but the center is soft and airy. Of course, yeast works best, but baking powder is a quick fix if you don’t have the time. 

You can flavor these donuts with lemon zest, cinnamon, coconut, or rich brown sugar

Calories Per Serving: 103

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes

17. Groundnut Sauce (Uganda)

Uganda is known as the home of the groundnut, so there’s no surprise why this signature sauce is a prominent feature in most UG dishes.

Though you might be tempted, it’s best to use whole groundnuts instead of peanut butter. This way, you achieve a more flavorful sauce

The sauce pairs perfectly with Matoke (green bananas), chapati, or a bowl of flavorful rice. 

Calories Per Serving: 166

Preparation Time: 40 Minutes

18. Seswaa (Botswana)

You’ll absolutely love this recipe if you’re a fan of pulled pork or Sloppy Joes. It’s a slow cooker’s dream. Southern Africa loves its meat, which is why Seswaa was made into Botswana’s national dish.

Use a beef chuck on the bone for best results and let it simmer for hours before shredding the meat with two forks. 

If the meat falls off the bone, you’ve done it right. 

Calories Per Serving: 278

Preparation Time: 4 Hours 10 Minutes

19. Piri Piri Chicken (Mozambique/Angola) 

If you love Nandos, you’ll be happy to know that you can make the authentic version in your kitchen! Piri Piri chicken is a spicy Mozambique favorite with heavy Portuguese influences. 

This is a versatile yet time-consuming chicken dish featuring the Piri Piri pepper, which is Swahili for hot pepper. So pick your favorite hot chilies and let them marinate for at least 4 hours. 

Calories Per Serving: 217

Preparation Time: 6 Hours

20. Kapenta With Sadza (Zimbabwe)

Sun-dried fish is a common food among African countries due to the abundance of daylight. This ancient preservation method is responsible for the delicious Kapenta meal

The most common fish used is the Lake Victoria sardine, which is so small that you don’t have to take the bones out. 

You can use dried sardines if you don’t have the small cyprinid fish. Both will deliver the fishy flavor you’re looking for with this dish. 

Calories Per Serving: 202

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes

21. Kebabs (North Africa, Egypt) 

This is probably the most familiar dish on this list if you’re not from the African continent. Kebabs are popular for their simple assembly and strong, delicious taste

For North African kebabs, chicken and beef mince work fine, but if you want to go the extra mile, try some lamb. You can make quick kebabs or marinate the meat overnight for a flavor explosion.

Calories Per Serving: 238

Preparation Time: 2-12 Hours

22. Fried Plantains (West & Central Africa)

If you love the salty-sweet combination craze rocking the culinary world, fried plantains are for you. The perfect blend of sticky sweet bananas with salt to taste. 

Be sure to buy yellow peel plantains, not green or regular bananas, or you’ll have a completely different taste & texture. 

Calories Per Serving: 431

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

23. Matoke Stew (Uganda)

Let’s hop over to Uganda to celebrate the many forms bananas come in. Matoke is one of those amazing one-pot meals that take under 30 minutes to whip up. 

Suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, it’s a sweet and savory mix for banana lovers everywhere. It will also keep you full for a while and can be had any time of the day. 

Calories Per Serving: 400

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

24. Alloco (Côte D’Ivoire)

One major feature of African food is the love of bananas. Allocco is much like the fried plantains of Nigeria, except the shape differs and it’s most often paired with tilapia.

It can also be cut longways and sold on kebab sticks as street food. If you want a quick snack, pair it with the groundnut sauce. 

Calories Per Serving: 440

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

25. Samosas (Kenya, Tanzania)

Samosas are world famous for their warm, meat or potato-filled center and crispy, flaky outside. But, when it comes to East African samosas, spice is king. Cumin, cardamom, and black pepper bring the stuffing to life, no matter what’s inside. 

To turn this into a refreshing snack, serve it with a side of fresh lemon slices, and squeeze a few citrus-filled drops inside before each bite. Pure heaven!

Calories Per Serving: 262

Preparation Time: 2 Hours

26. Shakshuka (Tunisia) 

If you know these as “eggs in purgatory,” you’re not alone. This breakfast recipe is a common staple in many households. Though it’s known the world over, it originated in Tunisia. 

Shakshuka takes the stress out of poached eggs and offers a dressing that goes hand in hand with a warm slice of toast and coffee

Calories Per Serving: 111

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

27. Rolex (Uganda)

Yet another brilliant breakfast option, this Ugandan street food gets its name from a fancy watch, meaning it’s a classic dish. Slipped in between a hot crispy chapati, you’ll find a fried egg nursing with flavor from the accompanying tomato. 

It’s a quick burrito-style meal for anyone on the go. The chapati offers an energy boost, while the protein from the egg keeps you full all morning. 

Calories Per Serving: 200

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

28. Suya (West Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana)

What’s better than sweet, spicy smoked meat? There’s not much else, to be honest. These lively skewers combine the banging flavor of a dry rub with smokey sensations. Keep it authentic with beef cubes and wooden skewers. 

Choose a soft beef cut with minimal fat to give your skewers the best texture. Marinate the meat for an hour and a half before cooking for optimal taste. 

Calories Per Serving: 145

Preparation Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

29. Puff Puff (Nigeria) 

Puff puff is as fun to eat as it is to say. You don’t need to see it to figure out that it’s a fluffy, puffy fried dough with a sweet, soft center. Though puff puff is a type of donut, it doesn’t require much sugar. 

Since puff puff uses a yeasted dough, you should plan ahead by an hour before you make this meal. For extra texture, roll the fried donuts in a cinnamon & sugar mix immediately after frying.  

Calories Per Serving: 103

Preparation Time: 2 Hours

30. Muhogo Or Roasted Cassava (Kenya) 

Another delightful street food from East Africa, Muhogo celebrates the humble cassava root by serving it as is with a little chili and salt on top.

Just boil the cassava for a bit before you roast it to ensure it’s cooked all the way through. Or bake them in the oven until soft.  

Cassava can be dry on its own, so pair this with your favorite warm beverage, or go for an ice-cold lemonade. 

Calories Per Serving: 160

Preparation Time: 35 Minutes

31. Isombe (Rwanda)

These aren’t your typical greens. Rich in flavor, thanks to the cassava leaves, coriander, tomatoes, and red onions, Isombe is a favorite amongst Rwandan locals and anyone who visits the nation. 

With 3.7 grams of protein for every 100 grams, these superfood greens are great for vegans seeking to spice up their protein. With a few spices, you’ll have the perfect side dish for any meal.  

Calories Per Serving: 94

Preparation Time: 2 Hours

32. Chicken Tagine (North Africa)

Tagine is a word you’ll see alongside many restaurant menus in North Africa, as the method has become a common means of preparing food. Using the tagine pot, which is clay and coned, soups, stews, and different meat dishes are made. 

You don’t have to buy a tagine to experience the taste this dish can offer. Instead, go for a North African staple ingredient like apricots or preserved lemons. 

Calories Per Serving: 604

Preparation Time: 55 Minutes

33. Namungodi Rice Balls (Uganda)

Have you ever had a fried ball of rice? If your answer is no, then you’re missing out. This is a great way to remix that leftover rice. When freshly fried, this goes perfectly with fish and red sauce? 

If you want a ball that will stick together, go for short grain rice over long grain as long grain ice holds less starch. 

Calories Per Serving: 250

Preparation Time: 35 Minutes

34. Pilau (East Africa) 

Plain rice can get boring quickly, so pilau needs to be part of your food arsenal. It freezes beautifully and creates a warm and homely feeling in the mouth when eaten. 

If you’re feeling fancy, infuse the rice with hearty beef cubes. It will add to the flavor and create a protein-rich dish that’s perfect on its own. 

Calories Per Serving: 360

Preparation Time: 1 Hour

35. Mealie Bread (Zimbabwe, South Africa)

Mealie is a South African nickname for maize or corn, which is the primary ingredient in this quick bread. Originating in Mexico, mealie made its way to South Africa via colonizers who wanted to bring a bit of home with them. 

You can treat this like American cornbread and pair it with chunky beef chili, or pick one of the many African stews listed here. 

Calories Per Serving: 139

Preparation Time: 1 Hour

36. Kachumbari (Eastern Africa) 

Looking for a fresh salad for the summer? Why not try this citrus and tomato mix that resembles pico de gayo? Kachumbari makes every savory meal better, and you can find it next to Kenyan favorites such as nyama choma or fried tilapia. 

Simple when it comes to ingredients, all you need are tomatoes, lemons or limes, red onion, salt, and coriander. Add a dash of black pepper for that slight kick. 

Calories Per Serving: 32

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

37. Mufete (Angola) 

With around 1/3 of the Angolan population living near a body of water, you can expect fish to be on the menu most of the time.

However, Mufete combines that with lovely starches like cassava, beans, sweet potato, and plantain. This hearty meal might leave you feeling well rested, so take it before a nice afternoon nap. 

For a lighter version, have the Mufete fish with some kachumbari salad. 

Calories Per Serving: 500

Preparation Time: 3 Hours

38. Malawah (Somalia) 

If you’re looking for a sweet treat, try this crepe-like pancake from the Horn of Africa. Malawah is set apart by its distinct cardamom and ginger flavors. Paired with coffee and honey, this is a decadent breakfast. 

If you want to add to the indulgence, spread some melted butter over the warm pancakes. Sounds like the morning of anyone’s dreams. 

Calories Per Serving: 143

Preparation Time: 35 Minutes

39. Nyama Choma (Kenya, East Africa)

Much like a braai, nyama choma is the East African answer to barbecue. It’s simple and no-fuss meat that tastes like heaven. You can grill chicken or fish, but beef and goat are the most popular options

When it comes to nyama choma, less is more. Don’t bother with fancy marinades and spices. Simply ensure you get a high-quality cut of meat. Spray some oil on it, and let the smoke and heat from the grill do their thing. 

Calories Per Serving: 647

Preparation Time: 2-3 Hours

40. Garba (Côte D’Ivoire)

If you think the prep time is a typo, think again. This is a quick meal, especially on those days when you feel stranded in the kitchen. 

Tuna cooks fast, so you don’t need to dry it out by keeping it on the heat too long. A few minutes on each side is just enough. Serve with fresh tomatoes and rice. 

Calories Per Serving: 359

Preparation Time: 6 Minutes

41. Moi Moi (Nigeria) 

Want a lip-smacking snack that will leave you full for hours? Then, get a load of this bean-based, steamed delight. 

Moi Moi gets its name from the leaves traditionally used to wrap this affordable scotch egg-style treat. Moi Moi is a protein-dense, semi-solid bean mixture with hidden yet tasty elements such as fish and crayfish

Calories Per Serving: 155

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes

42. B’stilla Or Chicken Pie (Morocco)

Looking to feel like Moroccan royalty? This recipe is the perfect introduction. Once only reserved for the ruling class, B’stilla or chicken pie is a great breakfast option for anyone who wants some protein packed into their day. 

Using fluffy filo dough, sweet cinnamon, almonds, and chicken breast, you’ll instantly be transported to the culinary corners of this North African country.  

Calories Per Serving: 398 

Preparation Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

43. Pweza Wa Nazi/Coconut Octopus (Zanzibar, Tanzania)

Sitting under the Zanzibar sun and enjoying some coconut-flavored octopus is everyone’s idea of a great time. Try this meal out yourself until you can make it to the coast. 

Calories Per Serving: 250

Preparation Time: 35 Minutes

44. Kuku Kienyeji Stew (Kenya) 

Soupy, strong, and full of healthy fats, this chicken stew is beloved by most Kenyans. 

To get the most authentic flavor, buy free-range, organic chicken. Since it’s a slow-cooked dish, you need the dark meat and healthy marrow that only organic chicken offers. 

Calories Per Serving: 280

Preparation Time: 2 Hours

45. Chapati (Kenya)

Top off your African adventure with this fluffy East African version of India’s parathas.

Chapati was bought into the coastal region due to trade and interaction with Indian and Arabic cultures; this soft flatbread is perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, you won’t regret this vegan-friendly, health-conscious treat that goes well with stews, lentils, tea, or coffee. 

Calories Per Serving: 110

Preparation Time: 2 Hours

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types Of African Dishes Are There? 

Even with a continent as diverse as Africa, you can spot key similarities in culinary expressions. Depending on the region, common food themes tell a story about the people.

For example, North Africa has heavy Middle Eastern influences and vice versa, so you’ll see a lot of kebabs, rice, Couscous, red sauces, flatbreads, and mutton. 

East Africa has Indian and Middle Eastern influence, so expect those elements to show up in the food.

However, when it comes to Central and South Africa, you’ll see a lot of earthy ingredients such as cassava, beans, arrowroot, and sweet potatoes.

Most dishes in West, East, Central, and South Africa are savory, but there’s the occasional dessert thrown in, so if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re good to go. 

What Do Most African Dishes Feature? 

Like other global cuisines, African dishes feature three main elements: meat, starch, and a vegetable. You’ll also find many soup-based dishes, especially from the West African region.

Bone broth-based soups are popular across the continent as they add flavor and thickness.

Flatbread in chapati and Injera also acts as a side dish. For most recipes, there’s an emphasis on vegetables and legumes, but meat is also a favorite element.

The most common starch is a corn meal variation, like ugali in Kenya or Pap in South Africa.  

Is Cooking African Food Hard? 

Absolutely not. Though many people feel that African food is foreign and inaccessible, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

To dispel any myths about your ability to pull off an African dish, approach these meals as you would Italian or French cuisine. You try it, taste it, and try again. 

You might mispronounce the names, but your excitement about trying something new matters.

African cuisine is also pretty healthy, using clean and simple ingredients, and enhancing the flavor with spices. So pick one of the recipes above and get started!

45 Flavorful African Food Recipes To Excite Your Taste Buds

The classic African Food Recipes is one of the best to cook across the continent!


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review

Recipe Video

Jess Smith

Mois Pasta

Tuesday 29th of November 2022

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