Traditional Guatemalan food is healthy and tasty, it is also very diverse and reflects a lot of influences from Mayan to African. We have found the 15 best Guatemalan recipes that you will adore.
These dishes will be among your favorites from now on and this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more great Guatemalan recipes for you to try.
Guatemalan green bean fritters are also called tortitas de ejotes and are a very popular dish.
They are the perfect way to use up extra green beans from the garden and are very versatile, for side dishes, breakfast, or as an appetizer.
They are very easy to make and taste delicious served with some spicy salsa. This recipe will make enough for six servings.
Green bean fritters take just 15 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook.
The key is to keep them crispy and not pack too many green beans into each fritter.
This Spanish salt cod stew is popular throughout Latin America including Guatemala.
Bacalao a la vizcaina is a traditional Basque dish and is particularly popular at Easter and Christmas in Spain. In Guatemala, it is a must-eat dish during Lent.
The Guatemalan recipe calls for the salt cod to be battered whereas the Basque version leaves the fish unbattered.
The dish takes 2 hours to prepare, and the cooking time is 45 minutes. However, the salt cod needs to soak for 3 days prior to cooking.
In Guatemala, this dish is known as arroz guatemalteco. It is an ancient dish with its roots in the Mayan culture and Spanish influence.
You may find various versions of this dish as each family has their own favorite way of making it.
Our recipe is quite a simple variation and is a combination of white rice, vegetables, spices and a liquid all cooked together in a large skillet or pot.
Preparation time is less than 5 minutes and cooking is just 25 minutes.
Pepian de pollo is a national dish of Guatemala. It is made with chicken, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, chilies, and sesame seeds.
The pumpkin and sesame seeds are ground together to make a pepitoria, this thickens the sauce.
You can also add some vegetables to this dish including potatoes, green beans, squash, or corn.
In Guatemala, vegetables are typically charred before being added to the dish. The preparation time is half an hour and the cooking time is 45 minutes.
Serve pepian de pollo on a bed of white rice sprinkled with sesame seeds and cilantro.
In Spanish this dish is called pollo en leche de coco and is a specialty in many Guatemalan homes.
The chicken pieces are slowly simmered in the coconut milk which has been flavored with sweet onion, seasoning, and bell pepper.
It has just the right balance of sweet and savory to make it an irresistible dish.
Preparation will take just 10 minutes, but the slow cooking means you’ll have to wait an hour to taste this delicious dish. The recipe yields enough for six servings.
Fiambre is a traditional salad that is made particularly on Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, traditionally on November 2nd.
The tradition is to prepare dishes that can be shared with the dead.
However, this dish is also eaten the day before on Día de Todos los Santo or All Saints’ Day.
It is a combination of cold meats, cheeses, and vegetables. There are many variations with some more traditional in certain parts of the country.
Meats can include pork ham, chorizo, sausage, chicken, or turkey. Vegetables commonly used are green beans, carrots, cauliflower, and fava beans.
Traditionally called sopa de albondigas, this healthy meatball soup is very easy to make and low in carbohydrates.
You can serve it with rice, homemade tortillas, and avocado for a complete meal. Don’t forget the lime wedges and salsa too.
The preparation time is only 10 minutes, and it takes just 20 minutes to cook.
If the beef meatballs have a high fat content you may have to skin the fat off the surface of the soup before serving.
The meatballs are done when they float to the top of the soup.
This refreshing Guatemalan salad is full of wonderful flavors and fresh herbs.
It contains fresh radishes, tomato, onion, and chicharrones which are salty and smoky pork rinds. Fresh mint, cilantro, and jalapenos add some distinctive flavors.
It takes just five minutes to prepare this salad which is dressed with a tangy lime and orange juice dressing.
Serve with corn tortillas or tortilla chips. This zesty salad makes a great side dish or appetizer.
Tapado is a Guatemalan seafood soup made with coconut milk and is also popular in Honduras and Belize.
It is a flavorful dish containing various seafood, yucca, plantain, and fresh spices. This dish has a distinctive African influence.
Typically the dish is served with a fried whole fish across the top.
One of the most important ingredients is achiote which is a spice and food color which is made from crushed annatto seeds. It adds the all important red color to this soup.
This recipe takes just 10 minutes to prepare and half an hour to cook.
Pollo en pina or chicken with pineapple is exactly what it says it is, chicken cooked with pineapple.
It is a simple dish to make, although it does take an hour and a quarter from start to finish. However, most of the time the dish is simmering.
This recipe yields enough for six servings and can be served with your preferred rice dish. You can use either fresh or canned pineapple whichever is easier to find.
Tamales are typically served on Christmas Eve or other holidays in Guatemala. They are also frequently served on Saturdays or tamale day.
An authentic tamale Colorado is made from corn dough, meat, and a recado sauce all wrapped in banana leaves.
The meat in tamales Colorados will either be chicken or pork. It is garnished with red peppers and green olives.
Making this dish is time-consuming, but the sauce can be made ahead of time, although the tamales should be made on the day they are eaten.
Pulique is a traditional chicken stew in Guatemala and is often eaten on special occasions.
It is usually made with yellow chicken and cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, tomatillos, vegetables, and spices.
Serve over rice with corn tortillas on the side to mop up all that delicious and flavorful sauce.
Pulique is sometimes cooked for large gatherings and this happens over an open fire with the stew being stirred by a large paddle.
Preparation time will take you 30 minutes and the stew takes an hour to cook.
This shredded beef stew from Guatemala is also known as hilachas.
It is a beloved comfort food and as such it does take a while to cook. But the effort is very much worth the delicious taste of this traditional dish.
The meat is cooked slowly for an hour and a half and is then shredded and added to the sauce along with the other ingredients.
You can enjoy this stew with white rice. You can also eat it inside a soft tortilla or served with a rice pilaf.
Tostadas are oven-toasted or deep-fried corn tortillas that have various toppings added to them.
The word tostada means toasted. These are such a versatile food, and you can put practically anything you fancy on them.
This dish may be over 2,000 years old but are still as popular today as they have always been.
It’s also a great way to use up any day-old tortillas into a tasty snack, appetizer, or part of a main meal.
A crucial tip when making tostadas is not to stack them after frying as the steam will make them lose their crispy texture.
Ceviche typically involves marinating raw seafood in lime food and ‘cooking’ it this way.
However, this recipe features cooked shrimp as a way of avoiding any seafood-borne illnesses. Cooking is more likely to kill any potential bacteria in the shrimp.
This dish takes 20 minutes to prepare as you will be peeling and deveining the shrimp. It will take another 20 minutes to cook. Serve with some saltines and hot sauce.
Guatemala is a country rich in culture and history as well as in its cuisine.
This short trip around some of its best recipes has hopefully given you a taste of what Guatemala has to offer and made you hungry for more.
We hope you enjoy making some of these dishes and that you discover even more about this wonderful country’s cuisine.