20 Most Popular Foods From Nigeria

Nigeria, situated in West Africa, boasts a population exceeding 200 million, earning the title of the continent’s continent’s most populous nation.

With over 250 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own language and cultural practices, Nigeria is one of the world world’s most culturally diverse countries. 

20 Most Popular Foods From Nigeria

Nigeria, situated in West Africa, boasts a population exceeding 200 million, earning the title of the continent’s continent’s most populous nation.

With over 250 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own language and cultural practices, Nigeria is one of the world world’s most culturally diverse countries. 

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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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Nigerian cuisine

This rich diversity of culture profoundly influences the foods from Nigeria, where traditional dishes draw inspiration from many ethnic groups.

Regarding food in Nigeria, meals frequently revolve around hearty soups and stews, perfect for communal gatherings. 

Root vegetables, peppers, tomatoes and leafy greens are staple ingredients, adding depth and flavour to dishes. 

Nigerian food consists of several staple foods that form the foundation of many dishes and foods from Nigeria.

soups and stews are popular foods from Nigeria

Staple Foods From Nigeria

  1. Rice: Rice is a universal staple in Nigerian cuisine and often served as the base for many dishes, including the famous Nigerian jollof rice, fried rice, and rice and stew.
  2. Yams: Yams are a major staple crop in Nigeria for making dishes like pounded yam and yam porridge.
  3. Cassava: Cassava is another essential root vegetable in Nigerian cuisine. It makes dishes like garri (cassava flakes), fufu (a starchy dough), and cassava-based snacks like tapioca.
  4. Plantains: Plantains are a versatile ingredient in Nigerian cooking. They can be fried, boiled, or roasted and served as a side dish or snack. 
  5. Beans: Beans are a valuable source of protein in Nigerian cuisine and are used to make dishes like moi moi (steamed bean pudding), akara (bean cakes), and bean porridge. Paired with rice, yams, or plantains, they make for a satisfying meal.

These staple foods are nutritious and versatile, forming the basis of countless tasty dishes in Nigerian cuisine.

20 Most Popular Foods from Nigeria

1) Boli

Boli is popular food in Nigeria

Boli is a popular street food in Nigeria, particularly in the southern regions. 

It consists of roasted plantains, typically ripe but still firm, cooked over an open flame or hot coals until caramelized and slightly charred on the outside.

The roasted plantains are usually served whole or sliced and can be eaten on their own as a snack or paired with groundnut (peanut) sauce, spicy pepper sauce, or a combination of both. 

2) Suya

suya African foods

Suya is the ultimate street food from Nigeria. Pieces of marinated meat, typically beef or chicken, are grilled to perfection on skewers, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer.

“Suya” is the name of the seasoning mix used to coat the meat.

This irresistible Nigerian food showcases this fiery blend of spices, including ground peanuts, ginger, and cayenne pepper; it promises a flavour explosion that will surely leave you craving more.  

3) Efo Riro

Efo Riro foods from Nigeria

Efo Riro is a traditional Nigerian dish prevalent among the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria.

It is a rich and tasty stew made with a base of green leaf vegetables, such as spinach, pumpkin, or amaranth leaves.

The stew is commonly cooked with meats, such as chicken, beef, or assorted offal, and sometimes includes seafood like smoked fish or prawns for added flavour. 

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4) Pounded Yam

pounded yam with soups - Popular foods from Nigeria

Pounded yam, one of Nigeria’s most cherished dishes, is commonly paired with diverse soups, including Egusi, Ogbono, Vegetable, and Okro soup. 

Yam, a starchy tuber readily accessible in Nigeria, undergoes boiling and pounding until it achieves a smooth mash. 

It’s typical to see people enjoying pounded yam alongside Egusi, Banga, Ogbono, or another flavourful meal.

5) Jollof Rice

jollof rice foods in Africa

Jollof rice is undoubtedly one of the most popular foods in Nigeria. 

It is a popular and beloved dish with rice cooked in a tasty tomato-based sauce. It’s typically prepared with a blend of spices, including onions, peppers, and various seasonings, giving it a rich and aromatic flavour. 

Jollof rice is a staple Nigerian food. It is typically served at celebrations, parties, and gatherings and enjoyed on its own or accompanied by sides such as fried plantains, stew, or grilled meat. 

6) Garri

Garri - Traditional Nigerian cuisine

Garri is a staple in Nigerian food, also known as eba.

Garri is made from cassava tubers, peeled, washed, and grated or ground into coarse or fine flour. This flour is then fried or roasted to produce garri.

Cassava is a popular wheat replacement for gluten intolerant people.

Garri can be consumed in various ways. It can be soaked in water to make a porridge-like dish known as “garri soakings,” often flavoured with sugar, milk, or groundnuts. It can also be eaten dry as a snack, sometimes with groundnuts or coconut. 

Additionally, garri is used as a base for meals, such as eba, where it is mixed with hot water to form a dough-like consistency and served alongside soups and stews.

7) Akara

Akara - Nigerian cuisine and snack food
Akara – The perfect snack when it comes to Nigerian food

Akara is a popular Nigerian street food made from deep-fried bean cakes. It’s a beloved breakfast or snack item enjoyed across Nigeria. 

The main ingredient is peeled black-eyed peas blended with onions, peppers, and spices to form a thick batter. 

The batter is deep-fried until golden brown, producing a crispy outer and soft-on-the-inside bean cake.

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8) Egusi Soup

egusi soup Nigerian cuisine

Egusi soup, a creamy and nutty delight, is a staple found in homes and bukas, or street food stalls, throughout Nigeria and many parts of West Africa. 

The soup derives its name from egusi or agushi, the seeds that thicken and flavour it.

Typically, egusi soup includes a variety of meats, such as beef, smoked poultry, goat, cow skin, and offal, along with seafood, such as smoked or dried fish.

Additionally, it features Awara (Nigerian tofu), mushrooms, and greens, creating a rich and hearty dish often served alongside pounded yam, garri, and fufu.

9) Moi Moi

Moi Moi - Beancake pudding in Nigerian cuisine

Moi moi is a popular Nigerian dish made from steamed bean pudding. It is a staple in Nigerian cuisine and is enjoyed across the country.

To prepare moi moi, peeled black-eyed peas or a mixture of beans are soaked, blended into a smooth paste, and mixed with onions, peppers, crayfish, and bouillon cubes. The mixture is seasoned with salt and optionally enriched with boiled eggs, fish, or meat.

Traditionally, moi moi is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed until cooked.

10) Nkwobi

Nkwobi - foods from Nigeria

Nkwobi is a popular Ibo delicacy prepared from spiced cow leg marinated in a richly flavoured sauce of palm oil, and Utazi leaves.

The dish can be garnished with chopped onions, fresh herbs, and sometimes boiled eggs.

It’s typically eaten using fingers to pick up the pieces of meat and sauce and enjoyed best with chilled drinks like beer or palm wine.

11) Tuwo Shinkafa

Tuwo Shinkafa - Popular foods from Nigeria

Tuwo shinkafa is a traditional Nigerian dish prevalent among the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria. It is a type of thick pudding or porridge made from rice flour.

Tuwo shinkafa is usually served as an accompaniment to various soups and stews.

It is commonly eaten with hands, forming a soft and doughy base for scooping up the flavourful soups.

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12) Ewa Aganyin

Ewa Aganyin - Food in Nigeria

Ewa Aganyin is a popular Nigerian street food from the Yoruba ethnic group, particularly from Lagos and other parts of southwestern Nigeria.

It consists of cooked beans mashed into a thick paste, seasoned with spices and served alongside a spicy stew known as Aganyin sauce.

Ewa Aganyin is served with fried plantains, bread, or rice and enjoyed as breakfast or a snack. It is commonly sold by street vendors and in small local eateries throughout Nigeria.

13) Adalu

Adalu - beans anc corn porridge Nigeria

Adalu is a nutrient-rich, savoury combination of beans and corn, often prepared as porridge or stew.

To make adalu, beans ( black-eyed peas) and corn cook together until soft, then mashed to create a thick consistency. The dish is seasoned with onions, peppers, palm oil, and spices.

Adalu can be served as a standalone meal or as a side dish alongside other food in Nigeria.

14) Afang Soup

Afang Soup - Best Nigerian cuisine

Originating from Southern Nigeria, Afang soup has surpassed regional boundaries and become a popular dish nationwide. 

Afang leaves, and water leaves are the key ingredients used to prepare Afang soup. The leaves are finely chopped and cooked with various proteins such as dried fish, meat, snails, seafood, seasonings and spices to improve the flavour. 

The addition of palm oil gives the soup a rich taste.

Afang soup is known for its rich, vibrant green colour and hearty texture.

It’s often served with traditional Nigerian staples like pounded yam, fufu, or Garri. 

15) Ogbono Soup

Ogbono Soup foods from Nigeria

Ogbono soup is a traditional Nigerian soup made from ground ogbono seeds, also known as African mango seeds. 

The seeds are ground into a powder and used as a thickening agent for the soup.

The ground ogbono seeds combine with palm oil, meat or fish, vegetables, and traditional Nigerian spices. 

Enjoy ogbono soup as you would with many foods from Nigeria, with starchy accompaniments such as fufu, pounded yam, eba or amala.

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16) Fufu

Fufu- Foods from Nigeria

Fufu is a staple food in many countries in West Africa, particularly Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon. 

It’s made from starchy root vegetables like cassava, yams, or plantains. The process involves boiling the root vegetables until soft and then pounding or mashing them into a smooth, dough-like consistency. 

Fufu can be served as an accompaniment to soups, stews, and sauces. It’s commonly eaten with fingers by pinching off small balls and dipping them into the accompanying sauce. 

Fufu is appreciated for its versatility, texture, and ability to complement various dishes. It’s a true staple and a must-eat when exploring West African dishes.

17) Pepper Soup

Fish Pepper Soup - Nigerian Cuisine
Fish Pepper Soup – Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The rich and aromatic Nigerian pepper soup ranks among the nation’s favourite dishes.

It is celebrated for its intensely spicy flavour and versatility when prepared with a wide range of meats, fish, or chicken. 

Infused with a blend of aromatic spices, pepper, ginger, garlic, and onions, the broth boasts a unique flavour.

18) Dodo

Dodo or fried plantains - Nigerian cuisine
Fried Plantain – Essential Nigerian food

Fried plantains are a beloved dish known as “dodo.” 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. 

19) Amala and Ewedu soup

Amala and Ewedu Soup - Food in Nigeria

Amala is a Nigerian dish made from yam flour, while Ewedu soup is a traditional Nigerian soup made from jute leaves. 

Amala is served with Ewedu soup, creating a popular and culturally significant meal in Nigerian cuisine, particularly among the Yoruba people.

Together, Amala and Ewedu soup form a popular and culturally significant dish in Nigerian food. Amala serves as the carbohydrate component of the meal, while Ewedu soup provides a savoury and nutritious element. 

20) Kilishi

Kilishi - foods from Nigeria

A spicy Nigerian dried meat snack, similar to beef jerky but typically made from thinly sliced beef or goat meat marinated in spices.

After marination, the meat strips are dried in the sun or smoked to preserve.

Once dried, kilishi has a chewy texture and a rich, smoky flavour with some heat from the pepper and other seasonings. 

Kilishi is the perfect snack and pairs best with beer or palm wine.

We’ve reached the end of our summary of popular foods from Nigeria. As you can tell, Nigerian food is packed with flavour, nutrients and loads of colour!

If you’d like to cook Nigerian cuisine at home, 100+ recipes from Serious Eats have you covered!

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!

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