African Fufu Recipe

African Fufu Recipe, in a white bowl

The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
519 Calories
27g Fat
0g Carbs
65g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 519
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 202mg 67%
Sodium 272mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 65g
Calcium 36mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fufu is an essential food in most of West Africa, and it followed enslaved West Africans when they came to the Caribbean. It can be made with any of the starchy ground provisions like plantains, cassava, or malanga, but this recipe is a bit different—it calls for true yams

The traditional method is to boil the yams, then pound them in a wooden mortar until they're smooth and sticky like dough. They can be served with stew or soup. It's customary to eat fufu with clean hands—this is finger food in the truest sense of the term. Pull off a pinch of dough about the size of a quarter. Roll it into a ball in your hand, then make an indentation in the ball with your thumb. Scoop up the stew and enjoy.

Think of fufu as a version of an American dumpling. I've modernized this recipe by using a food processor, which cuts down on the amount of work involved. 


  • 2 pounds yams
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    African Fufu Recipe, yams, salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. Fill a pot halfway with cold water. 

    pouring water into pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Peel the yams, being very careful with the knife or peeler, as yams can be slippery.

    Peel and cut the yam, on a wood cutting board

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Cut the peeled yams into chunks. Place the chunks in the water in the pot. 

    Cut the yam, yam and water in a pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. Bring the water and the yams to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until the yams are soft - about 25 minutes. 

    Boil yams in a pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  6. Remove the yams and reserve about a cup of the water. Allow the yams to cool.

    Yams in a metal colander

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. Place the cooled yams in a large bowl along with the salt, pepper, and olive oil.

    yams in a large bowl along with the salt, pepper, and olive oil

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  8. Mash the ingredients using a potato masher. Don't worry if the mixture doesn't look like dough just yet. 

    Potato masher in a bowl of mashed yams

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  9. Place the fufu mixture in a food processor or blender. Pulse briefly to remove any lumps. Do not puree. Use a low speed/setting. 

    fufu mixture in a food processor

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  10. Place the yam mixture back in the bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it becomes smooth. The mixture should become sticky and slightly elastic. It's OK to use your hands to get it to this point.

    yam mixture back in the bowl with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  11. Shape the fufu into balls of equal size. Serve with your favorite Caribbean soup or stew and enjoy!

    Fufu shaped into balls on a wooden bowl

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn


  • You can use butter or margarine instead of the olive oil in a pinch, but olive oil is best.