Vegetable side dishes in a Ghanaian restaurant including diced pineapple with sliced garlic and taro leaf salad.
Location of Ghana

Ghanaian cuisines refer to the meals of the Ghanaian people. The main dishes of Ghana are organized around starchy staple foods, which goes with either sauce or soup accompanied with a source of protein. The main ingredients for the vast majority of soups and stews are; tomatoes, hot peppers and onions. Most Ghanaian soups and stews are red or orange in appearance as a result of the main ingredients used.

Main staple foods

Ghanaian-style banku

The typical staple foods in the southern part of Ghana include cassava and plantain. In the northern part, the main staple foods include millet and sorghum. Yam, maize and beans are used across Ghana as staple foods. Sweet potatoes and cocoyam are also important in the Ghanaian diet and cuisine. With the advent of globalization, cereals such as rice and wheat have been increasingly incorporated into Ghanaian cuisine. The foods below represent Ghanaian dishes made out of these staple foods.

Foods made with maize

A variety of akple known as dzekple is cooked with oil and meat, crab or fish.

Foods made with rice

Foods made with cassava

Foods made with beans

A deviation to the starch and stew combination are Red red and tubaani, primarily based on vegetable protein (beans). Red red is a popular Ghanaian bean and fish stew served with fried ripe plantain and often accompanied with gari, fish and pulses. It earns its name from the palm oil that tints the bean stew and the bright orange color of the fried ripe plantain. Tubaani is a boiled bean cake, called moin moin in Nigeria.

Foods made with yam

Locally made ampesie (plantain and garden eggs stew)

Soups and stews

Most Ghanaian side dishes are served with a stew, soup or mako (a spicy condiment made from raw red and green chilies, onions and tomatoes (pepper sauce)). Ghanaian stews and soups are quite sophisticated, with liberal and delicate use of exotic ingredients, a wide variety of flavours, spices and textures.

Vegetables such as palm nuts, peanuts, cocoyam leaves, ayoyo, spinach, wild mushroom, okra, garden eggs (eggplant), tomatoes and various types of pulses are the main ingredients in Ghanaian soups and stews and in the case of pulses, may double as the main protein ingredient.

Beef, pork, goat, lamb, chicken, smoked turkey, tripe, dried snails, and fried fish are common sources of protein in Ghanaian soups and stews, sometimes mixing different types of meat and occasionally fish into one soup. Soups are served as a main course rather than a starter. It is also common to find smoked meat, fish and seafood in Ghanaian soups and stews.

Koobi is dried tilapia that has been salted

They include crab, shrimp, periwinkles, octopus, snails, grubs, duck, offal, and pig's trotters. Also oysters.

Meat, mushrooms and seafood may be smoked, salted or dried for flavour enhancement and preservation. Salt fish is widely used to flavour fish based stews. Spices such as thyme, garlic, onions, ginger, peppers, curry, basil, nutmeg, sumbala, Tetrapleura tetraptera (prekese) and bay leaf are delicately used to achieve the exotic and spicy flavours that characterize Ghanaian cuisine.

Palm oil, coconut oil, shea butter, palm kernel oil and peanut oil are important Ghanaian oils used for cooking or frying and may sometimes not be substituted for in certain Ghanaian dishes. For example, using palm oil in okro stew, eto, fante fante,[9] red red or Gabeans, egusi stew and mpihu/mpotompoto (similar to poi).[10] Coconut oil, palm kernel oil and shea butter have lost their popularity for cooking in Ghana due to the introduction of refined oils and negative Ghanaian media adverts targeted at those oils. They are now mostly used in few traditional homes, for soap making and by commercial (street food) food vendors as a cheaper substitute to refined cooking oils.

Common Ghanaian soups are groundnut soup,[11] light (tomato) soup,[11] kontomire (taro leaves) soup, palm nut soup,[12] ayoyo soup and okra soup.

Ghanaian tomato stew or gravy is a stew that is often served with rice or waakye. Other vegetable stews are made with kontomire, garden eggs, egusi (pumpkin seeds), spinach, okra, etc.

Among the Ewes, some soups are prepared with gboma (solanum macrocarpa) and also yevugboma (European gboma. Water leaf) or ademe (jute mallow). These are eaten with the various varieties of akple or abolo (steamed corn dough) or yakayake (steamed cassava dough).


A bowl of tombrown with sausages, croissant pancakes, potatoes and an egg.
Making of koko (local porridge)

Most of the dishes mentioned above are served during lunch and supper in modern Ghana. However, those engaged in manual labour and a large number of urban dwellers still eat these foods for breakfast and will usually buy them from the streets. Another popular breakfast is called hausa koko (northern porridge). It is usually prepared in Northern Ghana, sweet, and often eaten with koose or bread with groundnuts.

In large Ghanaian cities, working-class people would often take fruit, tea, chocolate drink, oats, rice porridge/cereal (locally called rice water) or kooko (fermented maize porridge) and koose/akara or maasa (beans, ripe plantain and maize meal fritters).[13] Other breakfast foods include grits, tombrown (roasted maize porridge), and millet porridge.[13]

Bread is an important feature in Ghanaian breakfast and baked foods. Ghanaian bread, which is known for its good quality, is baked with wheat flour and sometimes cassava flour is added for an improved texture. There are four major types of bread in Ghana. They are tea bread (similar to the baguette), sugar bread (which is a sweet bread), brown (whole wheat) bread, and butter bread. Rye bread, oat bread and malt bread are also quite common.[14]

Sweet foods

Etor is a popular dish in south Ghana, prepared with plantain or with yam boiled and mashed, and mixed with palm oil. Groundnuts (peanuts) and eggs are used to garnish the dish.

There are many sweet local foods which have been marginalized due to their low demand and long preparation process. Ghanaian sweet foods (or confectionery) may be fried, barbecued, boiled, roasted, baked or steamed.

Fried sweet foods include cubed and spiced ripe plantain (kelewele) sometimes served with peanuts. Koose made from peeled beans (and its close twin acarajé or akara made from beans which are not peeled), maasa,[15][16] pinkaaso,[17] and bofrot/Puff-puff[18] (made from wheat flour); waakye[19] dzowey and nkate cake (made from peanuts);[20] kaklo and tatale[21] (ripe plantain fritters); kube cake and kube toffee (made from coconut); bankye krakro, gari biscuit,[22][23] and krakye ayuosu (made from cassava); condensed milk, toffee, plantain chips (or fried plantain)[24] and wagashi[25] (fried farmer's cheese) are fried Ghanaian savory foods (confectionery).

Kebabs are popular barbecues and can be made from beef, goat, pork, soy flour, sausages and guinea fowl. Other roasted savoury foods include roasted plantain, maize, yam and cocoyam.

Steamed fresh maize, yakeyake, kafa, akyeke, tubani, moimoi (bean cake), emo dokonu (rice cake) and esikyire dokonu (sweetened kenkey) are all examples of steamed and boiled foods whilst sweet bread, (plantain cake), and meat pie similar to Jamaican patties and empanadas are baked savoury foods. Aprapransa, eto (mashed yam) and atadwe milk (tiger nut juice) are other savory foods. Gari soakings is a modern favorite. It is a blend of gari (dried, roasted cassava), sugar, groundnut (peanut) and milk.


Ghanaian beverages at a convenience store in Ghana

In southern Ghana, Ghanaian drinks such as asaana (made from fermented maize) are common. Along Lake Volta and in southern Ghana, palm wine extracted from the palm tree can be found, but it ferments quickly and then it is used to distill akpeteshie (a local gin). Akpeteshie can be distilled from molasses too. In addition, a beverage can be made from kenkey and refrigerated into what is in Ghana known as ice kenkey. In northern Ghana, bisaab/sorrel, toose and lamujee (a spicy sweetened drink) are common non-alcoholic beverages whereas pitoo (a local beer made of fermented millet) is an alcoholic beverage.

In urban areas of Ghana drinks may include fruit juice, cocoa drinks, fresh coconut water, yogurt, ice cream, carbonated drinks, malt drinks and soy milk.[26][27] In addition, Ghanaian distilleries produce alcoholic beverages from cocoa, malt, sugar cane, local medicinal herbs and tree barks. They include bitters, liqueur, dry gins, beer, and aperitifs.[28][29]

Street foods in Ghana

Street food is very popular in both rural and urban areas of Ghana. Most Ghanaian families eat at least three times a week from street food vendors, from whom all kinds of foods can be bought, including staple foods such as kenkey, red red and waakye. Other savoury foods such as raw steak, boiled corn cob, boflot (ball-float) and roasted plantain are sold mainly by street food vendors.

Ice kenkey is a popular chilled dessert sold by street vendors in open-air markets.[30]

Kosua ne meko (eggs with pepper) is a street food sold mostly by street vendors.[31]

Common Ghanaian dishes

See also


  1. ^ online reference, by J Dzeagu-Kudjodji and others; online publication : Banku, National of Ghana - EpersianFood ( Mar. 17, 2020 ) ; A grammatical sketch of Akra - or Ga-language ; etc.
  2. ^ "Ghanaian Foods made with maize - Ghfinder". 4 April 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  3. ^ "How To Prepare Banku And Okro Stew In Ghana. » My Recipe Joint". My Recipe Joint. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Ghanaian Foods made with maize - Ghfinder". 4 April 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  5. ^ "Ghanaian Foods made with maize - Ghfinder". 4 April 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  6. ^ "Bicolor Sorghum". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  7. ^ (8 December 2021). "Recipe Wednesday: 8 incredible dishes you can make with yam this Christmas". Prime News Ghana. Retrieved 17 August 2023. ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help); External link in |last= (help)
  8. ^ (8 December 2021). "Recipe Wednesday: 8 incredible dishes you can make with yam this Christmas". Prime News Ghana. Retrieved 17 August 2023. ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help); External link in |last= (help)
  9. ^ BetumiBlog: Search results for fante fante
  10. ^ BetumiBlog: Search results for mpihu
  11. ^ a b BetumiBlog: Search results for peanut butter soup
  12. ^ BetumiBlog: Ghanaian Gourmet-Recipe No. 49, continued: Palmnut Soup Archived 12 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (4 November 2010). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  13. ^ a b Kokoking: Food and nutrition Archived 5 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. "KOKO KING :: Purveyors of Fine Foods". Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  14. ^ BetumiBlog: Ghana's Tea Bread Secrets Archived 24 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (5 March 2007). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  15. ^ Breads, Cakes and Pastries Archived 23 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (9 September 2007). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  16. ^ Snacks Maasa (Sweet Millet Fritters) Archived 21 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (9 September 2007). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  17. ^ selling pinkaso and kose | Flickr – Photo Sharing!. Flickr (16 September 2009). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  18. ^ "Alternative Bofroat (Ghanaian Doughnuts)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  19. ^ BetumiBlog Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (11 November 2006). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  20. ^ How To Make Ghanaian Peanut Brittle | Guide (4 Steps) "Wonder How To Archived 12 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (9 June 2011). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  21. ^ Plantain Cakes (Tatale) Recipe from Ghana Archived 14 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (9 September 2007). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  22. ^ Gari Biscuits Recipe from Ghana Archived 3 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (9 September 2007). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  23. ^ Food in Ghana – Ghanaian Food, Ghanaian Cuisine Archived 27 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  24. ^ "How It's Made 02 Plantain Chips". YouTube. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  25. ^ Ghana foods Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ Fan Milk Limited | Archived 8 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (30 June 2011). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  27. ^ THE DIVESTITURE IMPLEMENTATION OF GHANA : The Divestiture Program Archived 2 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  28. ^ Kasapreko Company Limited produces alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages – an Accra, Ghana manufacturing company Archived 3 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  29. ^ Guinness Ghana Brewery Ltd. | Association of Alcohol Manufacturers and Importers[permanent dead link]. AAMI. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  30. ^ Atter, Amy; Ofori, Hayford; Anyebuno, George Anabila; Amoo-Gyasi, Michael; Amoa-Awua, Wisdom Kofi (2015). "Safety of a street vended traditional maize beverage, ice-kenkey, in Ghana". Food Control. 55: 200–205. doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2015.02.043.
  31. ^ "Kosua ne Meko (Eggs With Pepper Relish) Recipe". NYT Cooking. Retrieved 26 August 2023.

Further reading

There are a some cookbooks which concentrate on Ghanaian food, including the following: