20 Popular Breakfast Foods in Africa

If you plan to travel to Africa, you may wonder what food you can expect to eat.

This post focuses solely on breakfast foods in Africa, the day’s most important meal! Is breakfast here sweet, savoury, light or heavy?

Read on to find out!

20 Popular Breakfast Foods in Africa

If you plan to travel to Africa, you may wonder what food you can expect to eat.

This post focuses solely on breakfast foods in Africa, the day’s most important meal! Is breakfast here sweet, savoury, light or heavy?

Read on to find out!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

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local African women cooking

From falafel wrapped in flatbread on the bustling streets of Cairo to flavourful shakshuka baked eggs in Tunisia to mouthwatering stews atop injera in Ethiopia, breakfast foods in Africa differ across the 54 nations that make up this fascinating continent. 

After we visited every country and ate breakfast in every African nation, I learned that breakfast foods in Africa are essential for fueling and nourishing the body.

In some countries, breakfasts are simple yet satisfying; in others, particularly the former French colonised countries, excellent bread and pastries can be found.

Either way, African breakfast foods vary from north to south and east to west, so let’s start.

20 Popular Breakfast Foods in Africa

1) Chapati

chapati popular foods from Africa

Chapati is an unleavened flatbread made from wheat flour, water, salt, and oil or ghee. This is a popular breakfast in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Regarding breakfast foods in Africa, chapati can be served with fried or scrambled eggs, beans, or a spicy meat stew. 

Locals often pair it with a cup of sweetened milk tea or coffee for a complete breakfast meal.

Chapati is enjoyed by tearing off pieces of the flaky bread and using it to scoop up mouthfuls of whatever breakfast dish they’ve paired it with.

2) Injera

injera food in Africa

Injera is a sourdough flatbread staple in Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine

Made from teff flour, a gluten-free grain native to Ethiopia, it has a spongy texture and slightly sour taste.  

The batter is fermented for up to three days, which gives it a distinct tangy flavour. 

Then, it is poured onto a hot, circular grill and cooked into a sizeable, spongy pancake-like bread.

3) Ful Medames

ful medames breakfast foods in africa

A dish of cooked and mashed fava beans mixed with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, then topped with tomatoes, fresh parsley, and tahini, is a popular breakfast food in Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Morocco.

This satisfying meal is usually served with a basket of fresh bread to scoop it all up. 

It’s a prevalent dish in the foods from Syria and Lebanese cuisine, too.

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Waakye Ghana

This popular rice-and-bean dish, originally hailing from Ghana, is a staple nationwide. 

Waakye can be modified to suit individual preferences, with a wide range of accompaniments to make it tasty and filling.

Common additions include fried plantains, talia (like spaghetti), a savoury black pepper sauce known as shito, boiled eggs, avocado, a tomato-based soup with meat, and gari foto, a mashed sauce crafted from finely grated cassava.

5) Bread with Condiments

bread and condiments breakfast in Tunisia
A selection of different bread and condiments for breakfast in Tunisia

This was by far the most common breakfast foods in Africa we consumed on our adventures across the African continent.

Freshly baked bread, such as baguette or khobz (round Moroccan bread), is commonly served for breakfast with various condiments, such as butter or margarine with honey, jam, or cream cheese.

If you’re visiting some North African countries, you can also expect olives, freshly sliced tomatoes, cucumber and hard-boiled eggs on the breakfast table.

6) Ugali

ugali kenya

Known as ugali in Kenya and ‘Pap’ in Lesotho, Botswana, Nigeria and South Africa, this is a staple breakfast food in these African countries.

Ugali is a good source of fibre. It is made from whole maize flour, sorghum, or finger millet. Once cooked, it is essentially a stiff white porridge, similar to polenta in texture. 

It’s usually eaten with moroho (leafy greens); beans, meat, canned fish, or eggs are popular additions. 

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Akara - Nigerian cuisine and snack food
Deep-fried treats are popular snack food in Africa.

Akara is a popular Nigerian breakfast food made from peeled and blended black-eyed peas. The beans are typically soaked, peeled, and ground into a paste with onions, capsicums, and spices. 

The mixture is then deep-fried in oil until golden brown, resulting in crunchy fritters.

Akara is usually served with pap (ogi), yams, or bread.

8) Mandazi 


Mandazi is one of the most common breakfast foods in Africa, typically in countries in the East like Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Mandazi is a doughnut or fried bread made from flour, sugar, yeast, coconut milk or water.

It’s first kneaded into a soft dough, then cut into pieces, shaped into balls or triangles, and deep-fried until golden brown.

Mandazi is often served plain but can also be dusted with powdered sugar. It’s a real treat when sprinkled with fragrant spices such as cardamom or cinnamon. 

9) Vitumbua

Vitumbua breakfast foods in Africa

Vitumbua is a popular breakfast food in Africa. It is typically consumed in the East, where it can be found in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Vitumbua are small, dense pancakes or fritters made from a rice flour batter, coconut milk, and sugar.

The batter is poured into small, round moulds and cooked until golden brown on the exterior, resulting in soft and fluffy fritters or cakes with a slightly crunchy texture outside.

Vitumbua is typically enjoyed plain or with toppings such as honey, icing sugar, or coconut flakes. 

10) Sfenj

bambalouni or sfenz is a kind of donut in Africa
Bamboulini (Tunisian donuts)

Sfenj, a cherished breakfast food from Libya, Tunisia (called ‘bambalouni’ here) and Morocco, is crafted from flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and water, resulting in a delicious dough. 

Rolled into little spheres and flattened, this dough transforms into delicate layers when fried. 

Usually served alongside a generous drizzle of honey or dusted with sugar and cinnamon.

Check out this Food Map of Africa

11) Attiéké 


Attiéké is a typical breakfast food in many West African nations.

The dish is made from fermented cassava pulp. The process involves grating cassava, fermenting it, squeezing excess liquid, and then drying the resulting granules, which look similar to couscous.

The granules are cooked and served alongside grilled or stewed meats, fish, or vegetables.

On its own, attiéké has a light, fluffy texture, but it’s quite sour, so it pairs perfectly with savoury dishes. 

I recommend trying this dish if you get the chance. These 8 popular West African dishes are also delicious.

12) Bessara

bessara is common breakfast foods in Africa

If you’re a fan of hummus, baba ghanoush, and other flavourful dips, you will appreciate bessara. It is a tangy dip with broad beans as the core ingredient. 

Garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, spicy red pepper, and salt are added and then blitzed. 

The result is delicious. I could eat breakfast foods in Africa like this with just a spoon, but it’s better eaten with fresh bread. This comforting food in Africa is prevalent during the winter months.

I tasted a very similar dish during my travels in Libya.

Learn more about Libyan cuisine – here are my favourite 10 dishes from Libya.

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13) Omelette and Bread

I lost count of how many omelettes we consumed for breakfast in Africa, but it’s up in the hundreds!

It’s one of the tastiest breakfast foods in Africa and will undoubtedly get you through to lunchtime!

Omelettes in Africa can be served plain or with onions, tomatoes, capsicum, and spices. They’re often not very memorable; however, when visiting some of the former French colonies, omelettes can get very fancy.

I still have dreams about this delicious omelette (pictured above, right side) we were served each morning (with an incredible breakfast banquet) and the gorgeous hotel we stayed at in Tunis.

Read more about this recommended hotel in this post about the top 5 unique things to do in the Medina in Tunis.

14) Fufu

fufu African food
Fufu is a common breakfast food in Africa.

Fufu is a staple food that is common in West Africa. Aside from Guinea, fufu is a staple food in Cameroon, Liberia, Ghana and Benin

Fufu is prepared by thoroughly mixing and pounding separate equal portions of cassava and green plantain flour with water. 

Other flours can replace cassava flour, such as maize flour, semolina, or mashed plantains.

Once the dough is ready, fufu is rolled into balls, dipped into sauces, or eaten with stews of fish, meat, or vegetables. 

15) Brik

brik breakfast foods in Tunisia

Brik is a Tunisian deep-fried snack stuffed with various fillings. This savoury, stuffed “pastry” originated in the Ottoman Empire, where it is known as ‘borek’. 

The two most common shapes are the cigar and triangle-shaped brik. The ingredients include egg, fresh parsley, tuna, potato, and cheese. 

Brik tastes best when piping hot, and the fine pastry flakes away as you munch your way into it. 

Don’t forget to squeeze some fresh lemon over the top before consuming; it tastes even better!

16) Anjero 

 anjero Somalia food
Anjero in Somalia. Credit: Wikipedia

Anjero is a common breakfast food in Somalia; it’s a type of pancake made from teff flour, similar to injera, the spongy flatbread staple in Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine. 

This pancake is usually served in Somalia with honey, ghee (clarified butter), or a spicy sauce.

17) Fried Plantains

Dodo or fried plantains - Nigerian cuisine

Fried plantains, or “dodo,” are a beloved African dish, particularly popular in Nigeria.

Plantains are a type of banana that is larger and starchier than the typical sweet banana.

Dodo refers specifically to ripe, sweet fried plantains, sliced and then fried until golden brown and caramelized on the outside while remaining soft and sweet inside.

Dodo is delicious when eaten with a rich dipping sauce, but they’re also a popular side dish for soups, rice dishes, grilled meats and stews. 

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18) Baguette and sauce

Yes, it’s one of the most basic breakfast foods in Africa, but it soon became one of our favourites during our overland travels across West Africa.

We enjoyed this simple breakfast too many times to count.

It’s the perfect African breakfast, as it packs well for those long overland bus journeys that you’re told will take 6 hours but always end up being 12+ hours.

baguettes, market and local women in Burkina Faso

The best thing about this breakfast food in Africa is that you can choose whatever filling you like.

My favourite fillings were chicken in curry sauce, omelettes, fried eggs with mashed beans, and omelettes with freshly sliced tomatoes and cucumber.

Of all the African countries, the most memorable baguettes with sauce I ate for breakfast were from the friendly country of Burkina Faso.

Look for local ladies carrying huge trays on their heads and ask to see what they have available.

19) Matoke

Matoke foods in Africa. Credit: Wikidata

Bananas are a staple of the Rwandan diet, and several different types can be prepared in various ways. 

The most popular cooking methods are to bake, mash, fry and roast bananas.

One popular type of banana is the matoke. It’s green and unripe, and when cooked, it has the consistency of a potato, so it’s a frequent addition to soups, stews, wraps, and more.

20) Shakshuka

shakshuka merguez Tunisia
Eating shakshuka merguez for breakfast in Tunis, Tunisia

Shakshuka is a breakfast dish enjoyed in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.

A tasty sauce of onions, tomatoes, cumin, cayenne pepper (for a little heat), paprika, and nutmeg simmers in the pan, and then eggs are added. 

The eggs poach in the sauce. Lamb or merguez sausage is often added to the dish, adding flavour. 

A basket of freshly sliced baguettes is commonly on the table to scoop up this fantastic dish.

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We’ve reached the end of our summary of Africa’s most common breakfast foods! Have you travelled much in Africa? Did you eat these foods for breakfast or something else? Let us know what it is in the comments below.

Travel Tips for Africa

We have many travel guides and tips for Africa – what a massive continent!

Have you ever wondered how many countries in Africa there are? 54 or 55? We cover them in depth in our ultimate Africa bucket list.

There is some delicious cuisine to be enjoyed across Africa, and these ten best African countries for food will inspire your food journey.

Check out how many of these 15 most popular foods you can taste.

If you’re wondering what they eat for breakfast in Africa, check out these 20 popular breakfast foods.

For food lovers, our Food Map of AFRICA lists the quintessential dish you need to eat in every nation!

It’s worth reading these 17 ESSENTIAL Things to know before travelling to West Africa, and our packing list for Africa may be helpful to you.

Don’t miss our recap of our travels across West Africa for even more helpful tips, and try these popular West African dishes; they’re fantastic!

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Africa. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual countries in Africa, or consider a regional eSIM for Africa (which covers 36 countries)

If your travels in Africa are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text Global eSIM. This eSIM has been a game-changer for us, and we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. View the best deals on group tours in Africa.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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Tasty Food Adventures

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