When people think of going on a culinary adventure, African cuisine may not always be top of mind. But it should be! Nigerian Foods are as diverse as the country’s culture and geography.
[Update and Editor’s Note: Thank you for your kind concerns about some of our mismatched foods in this article and letting us know. We will be working on updating to better reflect a more authentic Nigerian experience, as shared by a few of our readers! It is always important to us that we stay informed and we couldn’t do it without you. – Andi]
African food isn’t as popular or as “mainstream” as other international cuisines.
However, this shouldn’t really stop you from trying out some of the amazing dishes from this part of the world.
And what better place to start your culinary journey than Nigeria?
This West African country is home to some of the most delicious and flavorful dishes you’ll ever taste.
The different regions of Nigeria have their own unique dishes made with locally available ingredients.
If you want something savory and filling, you must try Pepper Soup with its generous helping of meat and other ingredients.
Peppered Fish is also available for those who want a more fish-based diet.
At the same time, Jollof Rice would make everyone dance, whatever their food preferences are.
But #19 is proven to be a crowd favorite (wink, wink).
1. Jollof Rice
The Nigerian version is popular for being full of flavor, thanks to the special mix of Nigerian-style curry and tomato paste, giving the dish a radiant red color.
Pair it with some plantains, and you can call this one comfort food, at the very least.
This is a staple in many Nigerian households.
Many kids grew up eating this dish and forming happy memories with their families.
Also called the Nigerian chicken stew, this dish is a win-win for kids who are picky with their food and those who want to eat white meats for their meals.
Nigerian chicken stew has red tomatoes in the dish, which is also found in their Jollof rice, so you know what to do with leftovers the next day.
If you want a chicken dish that tastes better than chicken casseroles back home, try this red tomato stew for a heartwarming meal.
This dish is a staple in many Nigerian parties, so everyone might have eaten it on any type of special and memorable occasion, such as a baptismal, a wedding, or someone else’s birthday party.
Nigerians also call this any meat pepper soup.
Aside from offals, you can also put other kinds of meat available there.
This dish is spicy, warm, comforting, and intensely rich with the peppery and filling flavors of West Africa, which makes for a great African eating experience.
Offals might be an acquired taste, but this is one of the best ways to celebrate Nigerian culture through cuisine and delights.
This delicious Nigerian dish has spinach as its main ingredient, along with seafood, primarily shrimp.
This meal is usually enjoyed by the people from the western regions because they are close to the oceans, where shrimps can be caught in abundance.
This is a perfect and comforting dish that you can cook on cold, rainy days.
Pair it with a cup of steaming hot rice, and you’re in for a filling meal.
“Exotic” is the first thing that comes into our mind whenever we think of African food, and Nigeria is no exception.
This might be the first you hear about a dish using the cow’s feet as the main ingredient, but cow feet are more affordable, so this is worth trying.
This tastes gamey, meaty, and delicious, thanks to the various spices used in the dish, such as calabash nutmeg, a hearty dose of habanero peppers for the fire, and ground crayfish.
6. Egusi Soup
Aside from Jollof rice, this soup is one of the most iconic Nigerian dishes they have to offer.
Egusi Soup is perfect for when you want to enjoy something warm, and ramen noodles just don’t cut it.
Rich in flavor, this dish has melon seeds ground to fine powder, also called egusi.
7. Ewa Agoyin
Hearty and homemade, this spicy dish has lots of Cameroon peppers and onions smothered along with mashed black-eyed peas.
This is a perfect dish for those looking for a kick of African spice and rich flavors.
This is one of the classic Nigerian dishes staples on every table.
If Americans have waffles and pancakes, Nigerians have Akara to go with oatmeal or smooth corn porridge.
These fried bean cakes are made with a dash of hot peppers, making this one a fiery breakfast dish.
[Thank you, Adedayo, for your helpful email.]
9. Ogbono Soup
Ogbono Soup is another hearty Nigerian dish quite popular among the people on the west coast.
This one is made with prawns, and a couple different kinds of fish, which makes this their own version of gumbo, if that makes sense.
[Thank you to our Nigerian visitors who helped us revise this summary!]
10. Puff Puff
Known as one of the most iconic Nigerian street foods, Puff Puff is a satisfying snack that can recharge you in the middle of the day.
This Nigerian dish is made with flour, sugar, yeast, water, and eggs.
This is much like West African fried doughnuts.
Sprinkled with sugar, this is a perfect tea-time snack.
11. Moi Moi
This steamed bean pudding is also a popular breakfast dish in Nigeria.
It’s heavy on the stomach which makes it the perfect meal to start a hectic day.
The preparation resembles tamales, but this has fish and shrimp on it instead of the usual meat.
12. Tuwo Shinkafa
This northern Nigerian dish comprises only two ingredients: rice and water.
This dish is usually served with Gbegiri, a savory and spicy sauce paired with plantains and other dishes.
Filling and satisfying, what can go wrong?
The main ingredient in this dish is Banga or palm nuts.
This alone gives the Nigerian dish a distinct nutty flavor.
If you are tired of frying your catfish and have some palm nuts in your pantry, try this dish out for dinner.
This dish is similar to Efo Riro mentioned earlier, but this dish uses pumpkin leaves instead of spinach.
Unlike Efo Riro, this is also not spicy, so this is perfect if you want your kids to have a great African eating experience.
Nigerian cuisine also has its own version of beef jerky.
Suya spice is what gives this dish a savory taste and makes it even more special.
The name of this dish is a mix of two words: gizzard and dodo, or plantains.
Simply put, this dish has gizzard and plantains on it.
As expected with many Nigerian dishes, this has a lot of spice and fire.
Cooking it can take hours but it’s worth the wait!
18. Abacha And Ugba
If you want an African-style salad, then you should try this one.
Abacha is dried, shredded cassava, while Ugba is fermented oil bean seeds.
This dish is wildly popular in the eastern part of Nigeria.
This dish will give a new life to your classic barbecue parties.
This dish is closer to a kebab than an American barbecue, but kids would surely gobble this all up.
It is usually spicy, but you can tone down the spice for the kids.
Puff puff, Moi Moi, and Chin Chin are the perfect trifecta of Nigerian street foods.
You can have this hard or crunchy, and it is perfect as an appetizer for parties.
21. Afang Soup
This is such an iconic dish that local musicians often include the soup’s name in their lyrics.
Made from beef and lots of different vegetables, this is one dish that is both hearty and wholesome at the same time.
22. Nigerian Okpa
This Nigerian delicacy is a mix of umami and spice on a bean cake, giving you that heavy feeling in your stomach.
Most dishes have peppers on them, but you can always tone down the spice for the kids.
24. Asun & Dodo
Written with enthusiasm and a love for delicious food, recipe author Nma shares her excitement for this spicy smoked goat meat and roasted plantains cooked with lots of onions in a heavy-bottomed pot and finished in the oven!
This dish is spicy, guilt-free, and heartwarming for your loved ones.
Peppers and fish really are a match made in heaven.
The bottom line
Now that you’ve learned a little about Nigerian cuisine, which recipe has caught your interest?
We’re confident all of these recipes are worth the try.
So get cooking and let us know how it turns out!
- Jollof Rice
- Nigerian Red Tomato Stew
- Nigerian Pepper Soup
- Efo Riro (Nigerian Spinach Stew)
- Nkwobi (Spicy Nigerian Cow Foot)
- Egusi Soup
- Ewa Agoyin
- Akara (Nigerian Fried Bean Cakes)
- Ogbono Soup
- Puff Puff
- Moi Moi
- Tuwo Shinkafa
- Catfish Banga Soup
- Edikang Ikong Soup
- Kilishi (Nigerian Beef Jerky)
- Ayamase Ofada Soup
- Abacha And Ugba
- Beef Suya Skewers
- Chin Chin (African Snack)
- Afang Soup
- Nigerian Okpa
- Boli And Plantains
- Nigerian Peppered Fish
- Skim through our Nigerian Foods list.
- Select the recipe you’re looking for.
- Prep the ingredients as instructed.
- Spill your thoughts on our Facebook page!