16 Recipes to Know in Venezuelan Food

Venezuelan feast

Venezuela is a South American country known for its beautiful landscapes, international influence, and vibrant cultural heritage. Yet both those who have traveled to and lived in Venezuela can share in their fond food memories, as well. Whether one roams the bustling streets of Caracas or sits down for a home-cooked meal in the countryside, they’ll savor in a variety of dishes featuring classic ingredients like corn, beans, plantains, meat, and cheese. Learn how to do breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert as the Venezuelans do, below. 

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    Tequeños are Venezuela’s quintessential finger food. Made by spiraling dough around a stick of queso blanco, it's then fried or baked, and served with a dipping sauce, like guasacaca. It’s a gooey, satisfying affair you'll want to get involved in.

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    Proformabooks / Getty Images

    Patacones are sliced green plantains that are fried not once but twice. The crispy rounds are then showered in an assortment of shredded meats, sauces, and savory toppings. Alternatively, they can be served as a side in all their glistening, gold-hued glory. 

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    Guasacaca is as fun to say as it is to eat. It's a creamy sauce made from puréed avocado and a few choice herbs and spices. Use either the traditional or chunky guasacaca to grace your steaks, or plunge your yuca fries into a ramekin full of it.

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    Arepas are corn cakes made from precooked corn flour, masarepa. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, they're stuffed with various ingredients like chicken and avocado in the iconic arepa de reina pepiada.

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    In Venezuelan bakeries, you'll see what looks like croissants lining the display case windows. Yet these delicious creations are actually cachitos, or a buttery roll stuffed with juicy ham and melted cheese. Gobble it up for breakfast like the natives do (or really, any time you get a craving). 

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    If you want to familiarize yourself with a nation's cuisine, start with its street food. In Venezuela, that means feasting on a pepito, or a sandwich with seasoned meat, toppings, and a whole mess of tasty condiments like guasacaca.

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    Pan de Jamón

    pan de jamón

    Pan de jamón translates to "ham bread" but, this recipe offers so much more in flavor than its simple name implies. It rolls in salty olives, savory ham, and sweet raisins into its dough, resulting in a delicious baked good for special occasions and casual get-togethers, alike. 

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    Slightly sweet, fragrant, and oh-so comforting, cachapas are Venezuelan corn cakes, traditionally enjoyed for breakfast. The batter is rather thick, so the resulting texture is hearty and fit for a host of fillings, like thick cuts of melted cheese or even a kumquat marmalade.

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    Pabellon Criollo

    Pabellon criollo

    Fernando Fernández Baliña / Getty Images

    Pabellon Criollo is Venezuela's national dish and is a splendid example of its authentic flavors. Black beans and rice come together with slow-cooked flank steak, making for a hearty and flavorful dish. You can even go "a caballo" and add a fried egg on top since truly, eggs make everything tastier.

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    Pasticho Venezolano

    Pasticho Venezolano

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    If you like both lasagna and Worcestershire sauce, you should try the Venezuelan take on lasagna, pasticho Venezolano. Thanks to the Worcestershire, its meat sauce is a touch tangy, setting off the creamy bechamel in a satisfying, albeit surprising, twist on the Italian favorite. 

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    Much of Latin America cooks up both savory and sweet plantain dishes, and tajadas are Venezuela's answer to the latter. Cut into strips and pan-fried until lightly caramelized, they're a very simple, very addictive addition to any entrée. 

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    Cocada Venezolana

    cocada Venezolana

    Cocada Venezolano is a coconut-based smoothie and the perfect sidekick to a day on the beach. The traditional preparation includes condensed milk, though macadamia or cashew milk, are lovely alternatives that keep with the tropical theme.  

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    apomares / Getty Images 

    If you like your desserts creamy and sweet, quesillo is your calling card. It's similar to flan, with a custard filling and caramel-graced face. Enjoy it with a shot of espresso (or rum), if you please.

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    Latin America loves dulce de leche, and to be clear, so does the rest of the world. It's similar to caramel, but it swaps out the butter and cream for condensed milk. The Venezuelans call their recipe arequipe and make it the star ingredient in authentic and modern desserts alike. 

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    Bien Me Sabe de Coco

    bien me sabe de coco

    Bien me sabe de coco is a Venezuelan cake that's both a mouthful to say and to eat. Made with coconut cream and soaked in a rum-infused syrup, it's then lavished with a layer of shredded coconut. It's no wonder its name translates to "tastes good to me." 

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    Pionono Relleno

    pionono relleno

    Pionono is a Venezuelan dessert made with almond flour and dulce de leche. Rolled together and cut cross-wise, it makes for a mesmerizing confection that's slightly nutty and very tasty.