Foods from Iran - Iranian cuisine

The complex use of saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and dried lime adds depth and richness to the dishes.

Additionally, Iranian cuisine often incorporates fresh herbs like coriander, parsley, and mint, giving it a fresh and vibrant taste.

Here’s a closer look at 10 foods from Iran that you must try:

1. Chelo kebab

This traditional dish features grilled meat, usually, lamb or beef served with a generous portion of fluffy saffron rice.

You could say this is a staple food of Iranian cuisine, traditionally served with grilled tomatoes, onions, and fresh herbs.

Foods from Iran - Chelo Kebab
Foods from Iran – Chelo Kebab

Kebabs are a popular food in Iran, and there are many others to try.

Firstly, the bargh kebab, finely sliced lamb fillet, often marinated overnight in minced onions and lemon juice is absolutely delicious once grilled.

Then there’s koobedeh, ground meat blended with minced onion and heavily seasoned with salt and pepper. Or perhaps the joojeh kebab is for you. This kebab is marinated chicken, and saffron, then painted with butter when grilled (my favourite).

2. Gheimeh

A hearty stew made with lamb or beef, yellow split peas, and dried limes. It’s a popular dish in Iran, especially during winter when temperatures get very cold.

Gheimeh is usually served with saffron rice and is a great comfort food. 

Foods from Iran - Gheimeh
Foods from Iran – Gheimeh

3. Fesenjan

A rich and flavourful stew made with chicken, pomegranate molasses, and ground walnuts. The result is a thick and luscious sauce that’s both sweet and savory. The chicken is cooked until it’s fall-off-the-bone tender, making every bite an explosion of flavour.

Fesenjan is a signature dish from the northern region of Iran and it’s a popular dish for special occasions like weddings or religious holidays.

Khoresht fesenjan - Popular food in Iran
Khoresht fesenjan – Popular food in Iran. Credit: Wikipedia

4. Ghormeh sabzi

This dish is another famous stew made with lamb or beef, kidney beans, and various herbs. It’s a staple of Iranian cuisine and is often the case with foods from Iran; this dish comes with rice. 

I admit that this dish doesn’t look so appetising, but wait until you taste it! So much flavour! This is sure to be one of your most memorable foods from Iran once you’ve tasted it.

Ghormeh Sabzi is also prevalent during the Persian New Year celebrations.

Ghormeh Sabzi - Delicious foods from Iran
Ghormeh Sabzi – Delicious foods from Iran. Photo Credit:WikiMedia Commons

5. Kuku sabzi

This is the most delicious savoury herb and vegetable frittata. I love foods from Iran like this that I could recreate at home.

Packed with fresh herbs like parsley, coriander, and dill, it’s also a typical dish during the Persian New Year celebrations, symbolising the renewal and rebirth of spring.

Foods from Iran - Kuku sabzi
Foods from Iran – Kuku sabzi

Read more about this fascinating country on our IRAN Destination Page!

6. Ash Reshteh

Ash reshteh is a hearty soup that’s perfect for a cozy night in, especially during winter. It’s made with noodles, beans, fresh herbs, and a tangy whey sauce, and often served with yoghurt and garlic bread. 

The combination of tender noodles, creamy beans, and zesty sauce is like a warm hug in a bowl. Plus, the fresh herbs give the soup a burst of fresh, zesty flavour that’s sure to bring a smile to your face.

RELATED POST – Masouleh – A Beautiful Rooftop Village in Iran

Foods from Iran - Ash Reshteh
Foods from Iran – Ash Reshteh. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.

7. Baghali polo

A meal originating in the northern region of Iran. This tasty dish of rice, lima beans and dill is comforting. It’s served with lamb or chicken or baked vegetables for non-meat eaters.

The dish is seasoned with a blend of spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom, which give it a unique taste.

Baghali polo is one of those foods of Iran that you’ll want to eat over and over again. 

Foods from Iran - Baghali Polo
Food in Iran – Baghali Polo. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.


8. Mirza ghasemi

A smoky eggplant dip made with garlic, tomatoes, and eggs. It’s a popular appetiser, served with warm Iranian bread (of which there are many). It’s a speciality of the northern region of Iran and is known for its bold and delectable taste.

I lost count of how many times I ordered this wonderful dish during my travels in Iran. 

Foods from Iran - Mirza Ghasemi
Foods from Iran – Mirza Ghasemi

9. Zereshk polo

A rice dish made with barberries, saffron, and pistachios. Chicken or lamb is usually served with this dish, and you’ll likely find it in the central region of Iran.

Zereshk polo is a beloved dish in Iran because of its delicious taste, beautiful presentation, and rich cultural significance. The barberries add a sweet and sour flavour to the dish, while the saffron rice is fragrant and flavorful.

The combination of sweet, sour, and savoury makes this dish an absolute winner.It’s a popular dish during religious holidays and special occasions too.

Foods from Iran - Zereshk polo
Foods from Iran – Zereshk polo. Photo Credit – Wikipedia.

10. Halva

Halva is a popular sweet treat in Iran that’s made from ground sesame seeds, sugar, and often flavored with rosewater or saffron. It has a dense, crumbly texture that’s similar to fudge, and it’s often garnished with slivered almonds or pistachios.

Halva is a beloved treat in Iran for several reasons. Firstly, it’s incredibly delicious! The combination of nutty sesame seeds and sweet sugar is simply irresistible. The addition of fragrant rosewater or saffron gives the halva a unique and exotic taste that’s hard to find in other desserts.

Furthermore, halva is a versatile treat that can be enjoyed in many different ways. It can be eaten on its own as a snack, served alongside tea or coffee, or even used as a topping for ice cream or yogurt. Halva can also be incorporated into other desserts like cakes and cookies, adding a rich, nutty flavor.

Finally, halva has a long and rich history in Iranian culture and is also considered to be a symbol of hospitality and generosity in Iranian culture, so it’s often served to guests as a sign of welcome and warmth.

You can find this delicious dessert in other countries like Turkey, Greece, and Azerbaijan to name just a few. 

RELATED POST – Food in Azerbaijan – 10 Most Popular Dishes

Foods in Iran - Halva
Foods in Iran – Halva

Final Thoughts on Best Foods from Iran

Overall, Iranian cuisine offers a unique and flavorful culinary experience. From hearty stews to flavorful rice dishes and sweet desserts, there’s something for every palate when exploring the foods in Iran.

So, if you’re ever in Iran, be sure to try some of these incredible foods and experience the magic of Persian cuisine for yourself. If you need a reason to visit Iran, then read the things I loved most about visiting Iran, it may just surprise you.

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We travel the world to eat too! In fact, we’ve eaten the cuisine in EVERY country in the world! Are we addicted to tasting new foods when we travel? Yes!

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