Traditional and Modern Venezuelan Recipes

Venezuelan Recipes That Will Have You Cooking Like a Native

Venezuelan food is melting pot of European cuisine (especially Italian, Spanish, and French), African cuisine, and traditional dishes from indigenous cultures. Within the country there is a lot of culinary diversity as well.

Along the coastline, fish, shellfish, fish soups, fish stews, and dishes with coconut are abundant. In the mountainous regions of the Andes, the food is quite different. Whereas arepas are traditionally made with cornmeal everywhere else in Venezuela, in the Andes they are made with wheat. Also common in the Andes are cured meats and sausages and freshwater trout from the many Andean lakes and streams.

In the tropical regions of the Amazon, yucca, corn, beans, bananas, turtles, tapirs, and birds are the order of the day. A typical bread is casabe, made out of yucca flour. 

Some dishes are popular throughout the country, but each region of Venezuela puts its own spin on the same dish. We've gathered some of the most popular dishes in the country, regardless of region.

  • 01 of 12

    Arepas de Choclo


    nehopelon / Getty Images

    Arepas are a popular breakfast, snack, and lunch in Venezuela made of a corn dough and cooked on a griddle. They can be filled with all sorts of ingredients like beans, stewed meats, plantains, and scrambled eggs. This simple arepa is filled with queso fresco.

  • 02 of 12

    Pabellon Criollo

    Pabellon Criollo

    Fernando Fernández Baliña / Getty Images 

    Pabellon is the national dish of Venezuela. A plate filled with tender, flavorful beef, black beans, and rice is sure to satisfy. The dish is often served with fried plantains and occasionally with a fried egg on top.

  • 03 of 12

    Fried Plantains

    Fried ripe plantains recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Fried plantains are a popular side dish in Venezuela and a clear example of African influence. Green or ripe plantains can be used, with unripe plantains offering a more savory note while ripe fruit offer sweetness.

  • 04 of 12

    Frozen Coconut Smoothie (Cocada Venezolana)

    Frozen Coconut Smoothie (Cocada Venezolana)

    Getty Images

    Coconut is a popular ingredient in Venezuela, especially near the coast. This deliciously refreshing coconut smoothie is the perfect treat on a hot summer day.

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  • 05 of 12

    Tequenos (Venezuelan Cheese Sticks)


    saraidasilva / Getty Images

    Tequeños are a classic Venezuelan cheesy treat. Made by frying queso blanco (cheese) wrapped in flaky dough, they're an irresistible appetizer or snack.

  • 06 of 12

    Fried Empanadas With Beef and Potato Filling

    Fried Empanadas With Beef and Potato Filling

    Juanmonino / Getty Images

    Empanadas are a popular dish all over South America, but the Venezuelan and Colombian version typically uses a corn flour dough. The results are tender and crispy, and goes nicely with a hearty beef and potato filling.

  • 07 of 12

    Chunky Guasacaca

    Chunky Guasacaca

    Ray Kachatorian / Getty Images

    Guasacaca is Venezuela's version of guacamole. The traditional version is smooth and can be used as a sauce. This recipe leaves the ingredients a little chunky, perfect for dunking a plantain chip into.

  • 08 of 12

    Pan de Jamón (Venezuelan Ham and Olive Bread)

    Pan de Jamón (Venezuelan Ham and Olive Bread)

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

    Especially popular during Christmas, pan de jamón is a slightly sweet bread swirled with ham and olives. It's a real treat, and worth the time and effort of making homemade.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Cachapas (Venezuelan Corn Cake)

    Cachapas: Venezuelan Corn Cake

    The Spruce

    Cachapas are pancakes made from fresh, sweet corn and they make a tasty breakfast. Spread them with cream cheese or another mild cheese and fold them over like a taco before chowing down.

  • 10 of 12

    Bien Me Sabe (Venezuelan Coconut Cream Cake)

    Bien Me Sabe - Venezuelan Coconut Cream Cake

    James Baigrie / Getty Images

    This tender cake soaked with rum and layered with coconut cream and meringue frosting is fit for any special occasion. Bien me sabe is similar in flavor to tres leches cake, and also benefits from chilling overnight. Plan ahead for best results.

  • 11 of 12

    Venezuelan Perico (Scrambled Eggs With Onions and Tomatoes)

    huevos perico

    fazeful / Getty Images

    Huevos pericos is a creamy egg scramble with tomato and onion that's often used as a filling for arepas. It's also delicious all on its own. Add chopped bell pepper if you like.

  • 12 of 12

    La Tizana (Tropical Venezuelan Fruit Drink)

    La Tizana: Tropical Venezuelan Fruit Drink

    Long Mengtao / Getty Images

    For a refreshing summertime drink, whip up some tizana. A combination of tropical fruits, juice, and grenadine, it's just sweet enough and a pretty color, too.