Cuisine of Algeria
Couscous (Algérie, lieu exact non précisé).jpg
Couscous, often considered the national dish of Algeria
Standard Arabic
Abjadالمطبخ الجزائري
RomanizationAl-Maṭbakh al-Jazā’irī
Algerian Arabic
Abjadالكوزينة تاع دزاير
LatinEl Couzina ta3 Dzaïr
Tifinaghⵜⴰⴽⵓⵣⵉⵏⵜ ⵏ ⴷⵣⴰⵢⴻⵔ
LatinTakuzint n Dzayer
Abjadثاكوزينت ن زّاير
FrenchCuisine algérienne
IPA[kɥizin alʒeʁjɛn]

The cuisine of Algeria is influenced by Algeria's interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. It is characterized by a wealth derived from both land and sea products. Conquests or demographic movement towards the Algerian territory were two of the main factors of exchanges between the different peoples and cultures (Berbers, Arabs, Turks, Andalusians, French and Spaniards). This cuisine is a Mediterranean and North African cuisine with Berber roots.

Algerian cuisine offers a variety of dishes depending on the region and the season, but vegetables and cereals remain at its core. Most of the Algerian dishes are centered around bread, meats (lamb, beef or poultry), olive oil, vegetables and fresh herbs. Vegetables are often used for salads, soups, tajines, couscous and sauce-based dishes. Of all the Algerian traditional dishes available, the most famous one is couscous, recognized as a national dish.


Algeria, like other Maghreb countries, produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and even some tropical ones.[1] Lamb is commonly consumed. Mediterranean seafood and fish are also eaten and produced by the little inshore fishing.

Spices used in Algerian cuisine include dried red chilli of different kinds, caraway, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, paprika, coriander, saffron, mace, cloves, fennel, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, fenugreek, and black pepper. Up to twenty-seven spices are combined for the famous Algerian spice mixture ras el hanout.


Algerians consume a high amount of meat, as it is found in almost every dish. Mutton is the most eaten meat in the country.[citation needed]

Poultry and beef are also used—other, more uncommon types of meat such as game, birds and venison are considered a delicacy. In the south, dromedary (camel meat) is also eaten.


Vegetables that are commonly used include potatoes (batata/betetè), carrots (zrodiya/sennariya), Turnip (left), onions (bsel/besla), tomatoes (tomatish/tømètish/t'matem), zucchini (corget/qar'a /khyar), garlic (ethoum), cabbages (cromb), eggplant (bidenjan), olives (zéton), pennyroyal (fliou), cardoon (korchef), broad bean (fool), chickpea (homoss), and chili pepper (felfel).

Vegetables are often used in stews (tagine/jwaz/djwizza) and soups (chorba/harira/jari) or simply fried or boiled.


Algerian bourek pastry
Algerian bourek pastry
Algerian garantita ready to be served with harissa paste and bread
Algerian garantita ready to be served with harissa paste and bread

A common and one of the most favorite dishes of Algerian cuisine is couscous,[2] with other favorites such as rechta, shakshouka, karantita, chakhchoukha, zviti, tajines, like tajine zitoune, and marqa bel a'assel, a speciality from Tlemcen. A popular Algerian meat is merguez, an originally Berber sausage.[3][4][5]

Algeria has four well-known traditional soups consumed throughout the country: chorba frik, harira, djari and tchicha. These traditional Algerian soups are served at the beginning of the meal as an entree and are mainly prepared from lamb, mutton or chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, vermicelli, wheat, spices and different vegetables and legumes. These varied soups are the most popular during the holy month of Ramadan.

There are many different types of Algerian salads, including both raw and cooked vegetables, served either hot or cold. Hot salads include zaalouka, an aubergine and tomato chakchouka, and egg chakchouka, a mixture of tomatoes, smoked green peppers, garlic, eggs and spices. Influenced by both the Algerian and Mediterranean cuisines, chakchouka may include beetroot or anchovies. There are also dishes of Spanish origin in Algeria, like the gaspacho oranais, an Algerian version of a Manchego dish.[6] Algerians commonly use tajines, an earthenware pot, to cook. Algerian chefs take much pride in cooking skills and methods and their many secrets lie in the variety of ways they mix special spices.

Traditional Algerian Rechta
Traditional Algerian Rechta

Additional dishes


Desserts and drinks

Algerian Baklawa
Algerian Baklawa
Old advertising poster of Selecto from Hamoud Boualem (1889).
Old advertising poster of Selecto from Hamoud Boualem (1889).

Seasonal fruits are typically served as a dessert at the end of meals.

Common pastries include dziriyat, garn ghzal, baqlawa, bradj, makroudh, kalb elouz, zlabiya, and griwech. Griwech is a deep-fried pretzel-shaped dough, soaked in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds, commonly eaten during the month of Ramadan. Many pastries are prepared for special occasions like for Eid-al-fitr and weddings.

Creponne a sorbet which originated in Oran is a specialty in Algeria.[7] Other desserts and cakes such as Sfenj, Kroki Mchawcha are also commonly eaten.

Green tea with mint is generally drunk in the afternoon and for ceremonies with pastries.[8] Algerians are heavy coffee consumers; thick espresso and black coffee are very popular, Algerian breakfast consists of a latte coffee with croissants or bread with butter or any Algerian sweets like Algerian baklawa, msemen or baghrir topped with honey or jam. Fruit juice and soft drinks, called gazouz, are common and often drunk daily, the most famous Algerian soda is Hamoud Boualem, an Algerian soft drink manufacturer that makes drinks popular in Algeria and exports them abroad, primarily for consumption by Algerian emigrants. It is one of the country's oldest companies, having been founded in 1878. Their products include sodas like "Selecto," "Hamoud," and "Slim", each in multiple flavors, as well as syrups in different flavors.[9]

Mazagran which is said to be the “original iced coffee” originated in Algeria, it is a cold sweetened coffee drink.[10][11]

Algeria previously produced a large quantity of Algerian wine during the French colonization but production has decreased since its independence; Alcohol consumption is frowned upon in Algeria but is not legally prohibited, which does not prevent the winegrower from producing a wide variety of wines mainly from the slopes of Mascara, Médéa and Tlemcen.[12]


Between 1976 and 1984, the average Algerian family spent around 56% of their income on food and drink, and more than 10% of that number was spent on bread and other cereal products. Bread is thought to contain God's blessing, baraka. It is traditionally seen as a symbol of life and functions in rituals symbolic of life, fertility and abundance.[13]

Classes of breads

Algerian bread
Algerian bread

Khubz as-dâr—wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. Traditionally flat and round, a few centimeters thick, made at home and commonly baked in a gas oven or communal oven.

Khubz at-tajîn or matlû—wheat semolina, yeast, water and salt. Flattened pan-bread (French: galette), baked in a previously heated earthenware or cast-iron plate on a fire. Variations are made by the quality of the leavening agent, by adding barley or sorghum, bran, or by making it corn-based.

Khubz-ftir, raqâq, rfîs or tarîd—well-kneaded, unleavened dough, baked for half a minute on a convex sheet of brass or iron, balanced on stones over a fire. This is a preferred method for those living nomadic lives due to easy transportation of pan and little amount of fuel necessary.

French baguettes—white, leavened wheat flour. Bought at bakery or street vendor, but never made at home due to access to mills powered by electricity. Power shortages prevent consumption of this bread, and often Algerians turn to home-made breads that are milled by women's hands.[13]

Algerian bread

French bread tends to be given more value in terms of taste and quality in that it was commonly associated to being more suitable to higher standards. However, the white inner parts of a baguette are thought to be unhealthy and will regularly be thrown away, and the bread is frequently associated with constipation.

Algerian breads, on the other hand, are considered more nutritive, rich and tasteful and seldom go to waste. Because French breads harden over night or become chewy when put away in plastic bags, it is hard to find usage for them, so they are thrown away with more frequency than Algerian breads that can be reheated or reutilized as edible food utensils or even bird feed.

In the context of rituals, only Algerian bread is thought suitable. Breads offered to guests should be homemade, as it signifies the essence, intimacy, and qualities of the family. In daily practices, it is also a sign of wealth and affluence if one has extra bread at the table, and making bread at home can be considered a sign of familial economic independence.[13]

Commonly eaten breads in Algeria consist of Kesra, Matlouh, Mtabga and Mouna.


See also


  1. ^ "Food in Algeria". Food in Every Country (website). Accessed May 2010.
  2. ^ "Luce Ben Aben, Moorish Women Preparing Couscous, Algiers, Algeria". World Digital Library. 1899. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  3. ^ French words: Past, Present, and Future. M.H. Offerd. 2001. Page 89.
  4. ^ Research in African Literatures. Volume 34. 2003. Page 34.
  5. ^ Merquez and Qadid, North-African preserved meats.
  6. ^ "Gaspacho oranais ou manchego". Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  8. ^ Collectif; Auzias, Dominique; Labourdette, Jean-Paul (2012-07-12). Alger 2012-2013 (avec cartes, photos + avis des lecteurs) (in French). Petit Futé. ISBN 978-2-7469-5576-9.
  9. ^ "Accueil". Retrieved 2022-06-12.
  10. ^ Ukers, William Harrison (1922). All About Coffee. Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company. pp. 655–656.
  11. ^ Doctor, Vikram (April 20, 2012). "Coffee Song: A rethink on Coffee". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  12. ^ Larnaude, Marcel (1948). "LA VIGNE EN ALGÉRIE D'APRÈS H. ISNARD". Annales de Géographie. 57 (308): 356–359. doi:10.3406/geo.1948.12436. ISSN 0003-4010. JSTOR 23441368.
  13. ^ a b c Jansen, Willy. “French Bread and Algerian Wine: Conflicting Identities in French Algeria.” In Food, Drink and Identity: Cooking, Eating and Drinking in Europe Since the Middle Ages, edited by Peter Scholliers, 195-218. Oxford: Berg, 2001