Explore the Top 25 Best Traditional Ghanaian Food

Traditional Ghanaian food is an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else, from the spices used to the cooking methods employed.

I have always been fascinated by Ghana’s rich and diverse food culture. It’s amazing how much history and tradition are infused into each dish.

The Top 25 Best Traditional Ghanaian Food

Each region in Ghana has its unique cuisine, but some dishes are widely popular throughout the country. These dishes often use local ingredients such as cassava, plantains, yams, peppers, and palm oil.

Waakye served on a plate with garnish and decor.

In this article, I will take you on a journey through some of my favorite traditional Ghanaian foods. If you like African food, check out my guides on North African, Central African, East African, and South African food!

1. Palm Nut Soup

If you’re looking for a delicious and nutrient-rich West African soup, try making some Palm Nut Soup. It’s made by pounding palm nut fruit to extract the pulp. Then, it’s simmered with assorted meat, spices, and leafy greens.

This traditional Ghanaian dish is typically served with rice or any starchy side. It pairs perfectly with fermented corn or cassava dough.

For those who prefer something creamier, adding peanut butter to the soup can give it a rich and satisfying flavor. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. It can be frozen for three months, making it a convenient meal option.

While palm oil is a controversial ingredient due to its impact on human health and the environment, canned palm nut concentrate is readily available in African and Caribbean stores as an alternative. Try this hearty and flavorful Ghanaian food for your next dinner party or a cozy night!

2. Garden Egg Stew

You can elevate your plant-based cooking game by incorporating Garden Eggs into a flavorful stew perfect for any occasion. Originating from Sub-Saharan Africa, Garden Eggs are a unique teardrop fruit similar in nature to purple eggplant/aubergine.

In Ghanaian cuisine, they are a staple vegetable used in various dishes such as soups and stews due to their high water content and their ability to absorb flavor.

This vegan-friendly recipe for Garden Egg Stew is delicious and easy to make with simple ingredients such as ginger, red palm oil, and tomato paste. The dish is adaptable to personal preferences and dietary restrictions. You can opt for tofu or beans for added plant-based protein.

Served with boiled yam and plantains, this vegetable soup perfectly represents traditional Ghanaian foods with cultural significance beyond its borders.

3. Kokonte

Get ready to savor the unique taste of Kokonte, a traditional West African dish made from dried cassava flour. This dish has a distinct brown color and is typically served with pounded palm nut soup, groundnut soup, or other West African stews.

Cassava flour and water are mixed and stirred with a wooden spatula until it forms a consistent paste. The mixture is kneaded with a wooden ladle to remove lumps. Then, it is molded into desired sizes using a small bowl.

Leftovers can be stored for later consumption in the refrigerator or food container. This yam flour meal is perfect for lunch or dinner and can be customized to fit individual preferences.

4. Red Red

Indulge in the rich and hearty flavor of Red Red, a mouth-watering vegetarian black-eyed peas stewed beans dish. As a lover of traditional Ghanaian food, I can attest to the deliciousness of this simple yet flavorful dish.

The combination of tender black-eyed peas simmered in a thick tomato sauce with spices such as paprika, ginger, and garlic creates an explosion of flavors in every bite. One great thing about Red Red is its versatility.

It can be enjoyed for breakfast with puff puff or fried plantains for lunch. Smoked meat or fish can also be added for extra flavor. However, the dish remains just as tasty even without it.

5. Kelewele

Experience the mouth-watering flavors of African Spicy Fried Ripe Plantains. It’s a popular street food in Ghana that can be easily made with just a few basic ingredients and spices.

Kelewele, a classic Ghanaian delicacy, consists of sliced plantains diagonally cut and combined with ginger, spicy pepper, salt, onions, African pepper, and a substitute for Maggie cube (chicken bouillon).

The perfectly ripe plantains are preferred to avoid excess oil absorption when fried in red or any oil until crispy.

This tender, flavorful, and pleasantly sweet treat complements nicely with crispy peanuts or any source of protein.

With its simple recipe and easy-to-follow video tutorial created by Imma, Kelewele is one of the most loved traditional dishes in Ghanaian cuisine.

6. Funje

You’ll love this delicious and unique Angolan side dish, Funje. It’s made with cassava flour and boiling water, a staple in the Angolan diet. As I explored traditional Ghanaian food, I couldn’t help but think of how funje would pair perfectly with fried fish and tomato stew made with palm oil.

It’s no wonder that funje is one of the principal staple dishes in Angola. Its simplicity allows it to be paired with various flavors and textures. Whether you use the modern oven or the traditional wooden oar method, remember to whisk until smooth to avoid lumps.

7. Fufu

Fufu is a delectable starchy dough that is popular in West African countries, especially Ghana. It is considered one of the staple foods in traditional Ghanaian dishes. Fufu is made by pounding cassava and unripe plantains into a paste and molding it into a ball shape.

Fufu is typically served with a special sauce or soup, which gives each dish its unique identity. Although it can be quite a workout to pound the Fufu traditionally, processed/powdered versions are available for easy preparation. However, they don’t taste as good or fresh as the real thing.

Fufu takes on different forms and names across many West African countries. It remains an integral part of the culinary culture of Ghanaian food.

8. Jollof Rice

If you’re a fan of West African cuisine, then there’s no doubt that you’ll want to try Jollof Rice. This popular dish originated from the Wolof ethnic group in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania. It’s cooked in tomato sauce with spices and stock.

Nigerian jollof rice uses long-grain parboiled rice with curry powder, thyme, white pepper, and bay leaves. Ghanaian jollof rice uses aromatic Thai jasmine rice with more spices like ginger and garlic blended into the pepper mix. Both variations are delicious and often served at festivals, parties, and get-togethers.

I personally prefer the Ghanaian style. It has a richer flavor profile due to adding hot black pepper sauce. Regardless of personal preference, Jollof Rice remains an important part of West African cuisine. It should definitely be on your list of must-try Ghanaian dishes!

9. Waakye

Get ready to indulge in the rich and flavorful Waakye dish. It’s cooked with red sorghum leaf sheath and served with an array of delicious sides!

Waakye combines rice and beans as a traditional Ghanaian food for a hearty meal. The use of waakye leaves adds depth of color and provides antioxidants and nutrients.

Served by street vendors, this dish can be accompanied by boiled eggs, fried plantains, shito, kelewele, light soup, or gari fotor. The ratio of rice to beans varies based on preference.

Using a pressure cooker speeds up the cooking process but is not necessary. African and Asian stores in the UK and US offer Waakye leaves for purchase.

10. Banku and Tilapia

Indulge in the mouth-watering combination of banku and tilapia. This staple dish is one of the most popular among Ghanaian foods. Banku has a unique fermented flavor and is soft and elastic. Meanwhile, tilapia can be prepared in various ways but should be thoroughly cooked and flavored.

This recipe for banku with tilapia fish is straightforward and takes less than an hour to prepare. The dish can be served alongside other authentic Ghanaian dishes, making it perfect for those trying traditional Ghanaian food.

11. Tuo Zaafi

Exploring traditional Ghanaian food, I can’t help but think about the delicious meal I had last night – Banku and Tilapia.

However, today’s subtopic is all about Tuo Zaafi. It’s a popular Northern Ghanaian dish that’s made with fermented corn flour. Tuo Zaafi is served with a meat stew alongside special vegetable leaves such as ayoyo, Aleefi, Kuukar, Okra, and Shuray leaves.

Combining the soft Tuo Zaafi and the spicy scotch bonnet peppers in the meat stew is divine.
And let’s not forget about the added flavor from broken pieces of salted fish!

Plus, with its growing popularity nationwide. The popularity has reached beyond Ghana’s borders to countries like Nigeria and Burkina Faso. It’s clear that Tuo Zaafi is here to stay as one of our most beloved traditional dishes.

12. Omo Tuo

Omo tuo, a sticky rice dish popular in Ghana, originates from the Hausa people in the Northern region. It is often served with groundnut or palm nut soup.

This dish is made by boiling long or short grain varieties of rice until it’s soft and mashed with a wooden spoon. The cooked rice is then formed into round balls by swirling it in a moistened round bowl. A drop of oil can be added to prevent sticking to the bowl’s surface.

Omo tuo can be paired with any soup. Although, is traditionally served on Sundays with peanut soup stew or palm nut soup. Other Ghanaian dishes complement omo tuo includes kontomire stew, boiled yam, okra, and light soup.

13. Kenkey and Fried Fish

Prepare to savor the delicious combination of Kenkey with sauce and fried fish. It’s a popular dish in West Africa that will surely satisfy your taste buds.

Kenkey is made from fermented white corn and takes several days to prepare. The dough’s sourness perfectly complements fried seafood, making it a favorite among locals and street vendors.

The fermented dough is kneaded until slightly stiffened before being cooked for about ten minutes to make ‘aflata.’ Then, it is divided into serving-sized pieces and wrapped tightly in corn husks or foil before being steamed for 30-60 minutes.

The sauce is made by grinding onions, tomatoes, and green chilies and seasoning them with salt. Meanwhile, the fish is seasoned with garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper before being fried.

14. Yam and Palaver Sauce

You’ll love the mouth-watering combination of yam and palaver sauce. It’s a popular West African dish that will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

The palaver sauce, or plasas, is a delicious vegetable stew made with various leafy greens, like spinach or collard greens. It’s mixed with other vegetables like onions, tomatoes, ginger, and Scotch Bonnet pepper. It can be prepared with different meats or fish to add extra flavor.

The boiled yam serves as the perfect accompaniment to this hearty dish. Boil the yam until it’s soft enough to eat, and serve hot alongside the palaver sauce.

Heat some vegetable oil in a pot and sauté onions until translucent to prepare the sauce. Then add your choice of meat or fish with some spices for flavor before finally adding your leafy greens mixture. Let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes until all flavors have blended perfectly.

15. Boiled Yam or Plantain with Kontomire Stew

If you’re looking for a hearty and satisfying traditional Ghanaian meal, boil some yam or plantain to serve with the nutrient-packed Kontomire Stew. The stew is traditionally made with cocoyam leaves but can be prepared using frozen or fresh spinach.

The recipe calls for vegetable or palm oil, salt, boiled yam or plantain, boiled egg, and sliced avocado.

To prepare the stew, blend ginger, garlic, and habanero before sauteing onions and adding parsley, bouillon cube, and smoked paprika to the oil.

Then add diced tomatoes and egusi before simmering until thickened. Finally, add canned mackerel broken up into pieces and cook for 5-10 more minutes.

This delicious dish takes about 30-40 minutes to prepare. It is perfect for anyone exploring new flavors while staying true to their African roots.

16. Yam Pottage

Elevate your culinary skills with the delicious flavors of West Africa. Make Yam Porridge (MPOTO-MPOTO) using sustainably produced palm oil and Zomi for a nutty taste.

A popular dish in northern Ghana, Yam Pottage is made by boiling yam, cocoyam, plantain, or sweet potatoes until tender. Then mash them with water to create a thick consistency. The smoky flavor from smoked fish adds depth to the dish. Whereas the mustard-colored Palm oil or Zomi gives it a nutty aroma.

Garnished with green chilies and onions, this traditional Ghanaian food is easy to make and perfect for any occasion. Add this dish to your repertoire of delicious dishes and impress your friends and family with your newfound culinary skills.

17. Wasawasa (Yam Flour Meal)

Experience the rich and nutritious flavors of Wasawasa, a popular meal in Northern Ghana and Burkina Faso. The dish is created by grinding dried yam peelings into flour and then steaming them.

The recipe for Wasawasa includes yam flour mixed with water and steamed for 20 minutes. Fish is fried in oil while garlic, onions, pepper, ginger, and crayfish are blended and simmered in the oil to create a flavorful sauce. The steamed Yam flour is washed and drained for 10 minutes, then steamed on low heat for 15 minutes.

It can be served with spicy pepper sauce or okra soup. Side dishes like fried plantain or rice balls add texture to this already delectable yam flour meal.

18. Shito

Get ready to spice up your meals with Ghana Shito! This versatile hot pepper sauce is a staple in Ghanaian cuisine. It can be used in many ways, similar to chili sauce or ketchup.

Packed with intense flavors from dried fish and prawns, onions, chili, garlic, and spices, shito adds boldness to any dish. Traditionally eaten with kenkey, waakye, banku, and many other Ghanaian dishes, it can also be used as a condiment for meats or vegetables.

Simmer the blended mixture of spices, fish, shrimp, and salt in oil without water allows it to last weeks in the fridge. It has been known to look black rather than red. This is due to its ingredients, such as red palm oil, which gives it a dark color.

Dried fish and ground shrimp are usually found in Asian and African shops. Meanwhile red palm oil is available in most grocery stores. The heat level can be adjusted by varying the amount of chili you use. So, feel free to make it as spicy or mild as you like!

Try adding shito alongside traditional soups like groundnut soup, okra stew, or tomato soup for an extra kick of flavor!

19. Groundnut Soup

You’ll love the rich and nutty flavor of this creamy Groundnut Soup recipe. It’s a popular dish that originated in West African cuisine.

The combination of peanut butter, meat or fish, onion, garlic, ginger, chili pepper, bay leaves, and fresh tomatoes creates a flavorful and hearty soup. It’s perfect for pairing with your favorite rice or fufu dish.

Hot-smoked fish adds a savory dimension to the soup. Whereas, the roasted peanuts in the peanut butter paste provide a crunchy texture. This soup can be enjoyed with pepper sauce for an extra kick of heat.

Overall, groundnut soup is a deliciously satisfying meal highlighting the versatility and complexity of traditional Ghanaian food.

20. Sobolo

After indulging in groundnut soup’s rich and creamy texture, my taste buds were ready for something refreshing and tangy.

That’s when I discovered Sobolo, a traditional Ghanaian drink made from dried hibiscus leaves, ginger, and cinnamon sticks. Known as Sorrel Drink in other countries, Sobolo is a beloved beverage that can be enjoyed year-round.

In Ghana, it’s often paired with okra stew or tomato soup and served with pepper sauce. It can also be enjoyed alone or alongside black-eyed peas for a light yet satisfying meal.

21. Chichinga

Chicken chichinga is a popular option that will transport your taste buds to West Africa. Made with suya spice, this Ghanaian kebab is typically made with beef. However, it can also be made with chicken or vegetables.

The marinated chicken is a mixture of tomato paste, suya spice, canola oil, garlic, and ginger. Then, it’s threaded onto skewers and grilled until cooked and browned on each side.

Chichinga is usually served with sliced onions and tomatoes for added freshness.

22. Akple and Fetri Detsi

Indulge in the mouth-watering combination of akple and Fetri Detsi. It is made with corn flour, cassava dough, salt, water, okra soup, and hot pepper sauce. I have enjoyed this traditional Ghanaian dish since childhood as a person of Ewe descent.

Akple is a whitish-grey spherical ball that provides energy due to its high corn content. It’s kneaded with cassava dough and boiled until evenly cooked. While traditionally eaten with hands, it also goes well with Fetri Detsi, an Okro soup made from chili peppers and bean stew. The combination of the two is a perfect balance between textures and flavors.

23. Ampesi

Ampesi embodies the heart of Ghanaian cuisine, offering a simple yet profoundly satisfying experience. This traditional dish highlights indigenous ingredients like yams, cassava, or plantains, boiled to perfection and often served with a flavorful accompaniment of garden eggs, palaver sauce, or any protein-rich stew.

The essence of Ampesi lies in its versatility and the way it captures the essence of Ghana’s culinary diversity. Each bite is a testament to the rich agricultural heritage of Ghana, celebrating the straightforward, earthy flavors of its land. Ampesi is not just food it’s a cultural journey.

24. Nkatenkwan

Get ready to taste the rich and savory flavors of Nkatenkwan. It’s a popular dish in Ghana known as peanut butter soup or groundnut soup.

This delicious stew is made with peanuts, palm oil, tomatoes, mixed chilies, onions, garlic, and meat or fish. I like adding some cayenne pepper for an extra kick to make it even more flavorful.

Nkatenkwan can be served with cooked rice or grilled fish for a complete meal. The peanut sauce used in this dish is made separately by mixing peanut butter with water until smooth. Then, it’s added to the broth with processed vegetables.

Adjusting the thickness of the soup to your liking is easy by using less water for a thicker stew-like consistency. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed after trying this mouth-watering Ghanaian delicacy!

25. Bofrot (Puff Puff)

Here is another beloved Ghanaian snack: bofrot (puff puff).

This sweet treat is a staple on the streets of Accra, and it’s no surprise why. Made from a mixture of flour, milk, sugar, yeast, nutmeg, and water. This dough is fried until golden brown and has a light, crunchy crust with just the right amount of sweetness.

It reminds me of sugary bread or even corn and cassava dough. Bofrots are perfect for an afternoon snack or paired with fried eggs in the morning.

The recipe also includes tips for measuring flour and substituting margarine for butter if necessary. I can’t wait to try it out myself!


In conclusion, traditional Ghana food is a delicious and diverse cuisine that offers a unique blend of flavors and ingredients. From the rich and hearty Palm Nut Soup to the spicy Kelewele, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Using natural ingredients and local produce makes Ghanaian food tasty and healthy. One thing I love about traditional Ghanaian food is its ability to bring people together.

Whether sharing a bowl of Red Red with friends or enjoying a plate of Akple and Fetri Detsi with family, these dishes create a sense of community and connection. Overall, I highly recommend trying some traditional Ghanaian dishes if you ever have the chance – your taste buds will thank you!

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