The Colorful Cuisine of Guatemala: 24 Dishes You Can’t Miss

In today’s culinary exploration, we dive into the best 25 dishes from Guatemalan Vibrant Flavors, a country renowned for its beautiful nature and rich culinary heritage.

Cuisine of Guatemala

From the national treasure of Pepian de Pollo, featuring tender shredded chicken in a roasted chile-tomato sauce, to the comforting and flavorful Chiles Rellenos, a roasted poblano peppers stuffed with a savory mixture of meat, cheese, or vegetables each dish embodies the essence of Guatemalan cuisine.

Each recipe represents a culinary masterpiece highlighting vibrant Guatemalan flavors and cultural heritage.

Pepian de Pollo Guatemala

If you’re craving a hearty and flavorful dish, make Guatemalan chicken pepian recipe.

This traditional Guatemalan vibrant flavor is considered the country’s national treasure and is made with shredded and bone-in pollo in recado sauce, Guatemala’s traditional roasted chile-tomato sauce.

The Mayans even had a pre-Hispanic vegetarian version for religious and ceremonial occasions.

This meal is typically accompanied by white rice and hot tortillas. It’s suitable for occasions like Christmas or national feasts.

Still, it can also be served for Sunday dinner or any time when you want to enjoy delicious traditional dishes of Guatemalan cuisine.

Enchiladas Guatemala

Indulge in the mouth-watering flavors of traditional Guatemalan enchiladas layered with crispy tostadas, savory beef, and a unique beet-based escabeche. These delicious enchiladas are a staple in Guatemalan cuisine and are loved by many.

To make them, you start by toasting a corn tortilla and layering fresh lettuce. Then comes the ground or shredded beef, followed by the vegetable escabeche made with beets, carrots, peas, and green beans.

Then, top the enchilada with tomato sauce, hard-boiled egg slice, fresh cilantro, and crumble over some Queso fresco or Feta cheese.

The combination of ingredients creates an explosion of flavors that will leave your taste buds wanting more. These enchiladas are delicious and healthy, made with fresh vegetables and lean meat.

They are perfect for sharing at family gatherings or enjoying on a warm day while reminiscing about traditional Guatemalan vibrant flavors.

Guatemalan Chicken in Coconut Milk

You’ll love this creamy, spicy, and flavorful Guatemalan chicken stew, a staple in traditional Guatemalan cuisine.

The dish features tender chicken breasts cooked in coconut milk with jalapenos and habanero for heat. This recipe from Frugal Hausfrau is perfect for those who want to try authentic Guatemalan foods without breaking the bank.

Serve this dish with Guatemalan rice, beans, and pickled veggies for a complete meal.

And don’t worry if you have leftovers, they’re said to be even better the next day!

Guatemalan Rice Pilaf

Get ready for a mouthwatering experience with this easy-to-make traditional Guatemalan rice pilaf. It pairs perfectly with any main course and is commonly used in a larger meal with other Guatemalan dishes such as Pepian de Pollo.

The recipe is simple – just white rice, mixed vegetables, chicken stock, salt, and pepper cooked together.

This dish is versatile enough to be served alongside anything from grilled chicken to refried black beans.

Be sure to leave some space for dessert, and don’t miss out on exploring the delightful world of Mexican desserts. Consider trying a classic Guatemalan rice pudding for a taste of tradition!


This traditional food is considered the national dish of Guatemala and is an important part of cultural rituals, festivals, and celebrations.

The shredded beef stew is cooked with ground tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, garlic, bell peppers, rice, epazote, cilantro, chayote, green beans, potatoes, annatto, and masa harina. Corn dough is added to thicken the stew before it’s covered and boiled over low heat for 10 minutes.

The use of fresh market vegetables and herbs gives this dish its rich flavor profile while remaining healthy due to its incorporation of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Pulique remains popular among the Mayan people in the Midwestern highlands in Guatemala but is also enjoyed throughout the country on special occasions.

It represents a perfect example of Guatemalan foods hearty, flavorful dishes!

Jocón de Pollo (Green Chicken Stew)

Experience the mouthwatering flavors of this healthy and gluten-free Guatemalan Green Chicken Stew, also known as pollo en jocon. This traditional dish is packed with fresh tomatillos, cilantro, and aromatic spices that will transport you straight to Guatemala City.

The green sauce of this chicken stew is made by blending garlic, jalapeño, green pepper, onion, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and the poached chicken broth with boiled tomatillos and cilantro. These ingredients combine perfectly to create a rich, flavorful sauce that coats the tender shredded chicken.

Served over rice with corn tortillas on the side, this dish will impress any guest at your dinner table.

As an avid fan of Guatemalan foods, I can attest to the authenticity and deliciousness of this recipe.


After learning about the unique flavors and ingredients in Guatemalan Fiambre Salad, I’m excited to dive into another popular Guatemalan street food: Tostadas.

These crispy corn tortillas are filled with refried black beans, guacamole, recado salsa, onion slices, and cheese, making for a delicious and satisfying appetizer or snack.

I love adding extra toppings like avocado slices and hot sauce for an added kick of flavor. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try topping your tostadas with pickled cabbage for a tangy twist on this classic dish.

With these tips and tricks for making perfect tostadas at home, you can enjoy this tasty treat any time you want!

Caldo de Res

Next on our culinary adventure, we’re taking a hearty dip into one of Guatemala’s comforting classics Caldo de Res. This traditional beef soup is a go-to dish, especially on cool days.

Caldo de Res is a nutritious yet flavorful delight, loaded with chunks of tender beef and nutritious vegetables like carrots, chayote, corn, and potatoes. Its robust broth, simmered with aromatic herbs and spices, envelopes each ingredient, infusing every bite with a quintessentially Guatemalan warmth.

One aspect I absolutely enjoy is the flexibility of this dish. You have the option to personalize it with your preferred vegetables or inject some spice with a splash of hot sauce. Be sure to accompany it with hot corn tortillas or rice to ensure you enjoy every bit of the tasty broth.

As a connoisseur of Guatemalan cuisine, I assure you that this dish encapsulates the heart and soul of this beautiful country’s culinary tradition.

Guatemalan Fiambre Salad

Indulge in the elaborate and diverse flavors of Fiambre, a traditional salad served on All Saints Day, with each family having their unique recipe passed down through generations.

This salad is undeniably the epitome of all salads, boasting an impressive range of up to one hundred ingredients, if not more. Even in its more pared-down version, this dish remains a smorgasbord of meats, vegetables, cheeses, and pickled delights.

Designed to be extravagant for festive occasions, the preparation of this salad extends over several days. Its composition bears the influence of a rich cultural tapestry, with elements like longaniza sausage, Spanish olives, and pacaya palm flowers.

Mole de Platano

Get ready to savor the rich and unique flavors of Platanos en mole, a childhood favorite dessert that will transport you to Guatemala’s vibrant and colorful streets.

This authentic Guatemalan cuisine is sautéed with plantains until they achieve a golden brown and crunchy texture. Then topped with a thick mole sauce made from sweet chiles, pepitoria, cinnamon, cloves, and Mayan chocolate.

The champurradas used to thicken the sauce add an extra layer of flavor to this already delicious dessert.

Best served with ripe plantains, Platanos en mole perfectly represents the blend of Mayan and Spanish culinary traditions found in Guatemalan cuisine.

Whether enjoyed at home or in a restaurant throughout Guatemala, this dish will leave your taste buds craving more.

 Atol de Elote

Indulge in the comforting and sweet flavors of a traditional Guatemalan vibrant flavors drink with Atol de Elote.

This hot corn-based beverage is perfect for cold weather, especially during the holiday season.

Made from freshly ground yellow corn cobs, whole milk, cinnamon stick, sugar, salt, and ground cinnamon. This creamy and sweet drink is often served warm with a touch of cinnamon and a spoon.

The recipe yields 8 cups and can be garnished with cooked corn kernels or additional ground cinnamon.

To make the best Atol de Elote Guatemalteco, stirring constantly is important to avoid the mixture sticking to the bottom.

If it’s too watery, mix three tablespoons of corn starch with approximately ½ cup of chilled water and gradually incorporate it to the pot.

This delicious and heartwarming drink is perfect for any time on a rainy or cold day or any day of the week.


Imagine savoring a hearty and fragrant stew made with tender pieces of pig’s head, liver, and heart, seasoned with annatto seeds, cumin, garlic, and bell pepper.

Revolcado, a popular street food in Guatemala and one of the country’s national dishes. Dating back to the sixteenth century when Spanish colonizers introduced the use of pig’s head to indigenous cooking. This meal represents a blend of native and Spanish cultures.

Revolcado remains one of the most traditional dishes that showcase unique Guatemalan vibrant flavors. It can also be found in other Latin American countries where offal is still widely consumed.

Rellenitos de Plátano

For a quick and easy dessert with a unique twist, try making rellenitos de platano. This flavorful dish is a staple in Guatemalan cuisine and is commonly eaten during holidays or as an appetizer or snack anytime.

The recipe involves boiling ripe plantains with cinnamon and sugar, and mashing them into a smooth paste. Fill them with sweet black beans mixed with cocoa powder and sugar, then fry them until golden brown.

Dusted with extra sugar and accompanied by sour cream or an additional serving of bean/chocolate sauce. Rellenitos de platano are a delicious treat that will leave your taste buds wanting more. Don’t be afraid to add your twist by incorporating sweet peppers for an added kick of flavor.

Gallo en Chicha

Moving on to another beloved Guatemalan dish, Gallo en Chicha is one of the most traditional dishes in Latin America.

Made with fermented corn drink and panela, this chicken stew perfectly represents the fusion between old and new-world ingredients and culinary traditions. To create the unique flavor that’s hard to resist, the chicha used in the dish incorporates fruits such as peaches, pineapples, quince, and nance.

What sets Gallo en Chicha apart from other chicken stews is its use of corn masa as a thickener instead of flour or potatoes. It’s time-consuming to prepare but well worth it once you taste the sweet and savory flavors. Mixed with laurel leaves and green olives that make this dish special.


Indulge in the mouthwatering goodness of Torrejas, a delightful dessert similar to French toast that will transport your taste buds to Guatemala.

Prepare this traditional Guatemalan dish by dunking sweet bread into an egg-and-flour mixture, then frying it in hot oil or butter. The bread’s crispy outside and soft inside make for a perfect texture.

The sweetness of the syrup, made from water, sugar, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon with variations, including rum or orange zest, adds a burst of flavor. Add extra crunchiness to Torrejas by decorating them with sesame and pumpkin seeds, or serve them with rice milk as a dairy-free option.

For chocolate lovers out there, try it drizzled with chocolate sauce. Make this dish easily using leftover bread and savor its flavors by enjoying it immediately after preparation.

So why not try and experience this delicious dessert straight from Guatemala?

Frijoles Volteados

You can’t go wrong with Frijoles Volteados, a delicious black bean dish perfect for Lent and packed with protein. This traditional Guatemalan food is a staple in my household and it’s no wonder why street food vendors often serve this hearty meal to hungry customers.

Made from refried beans cooked in oil until they’re creamy. To achieve its unique texture and flavor, Frijoles Volteados is mixed with mashed potato. It can function as an accompaniment or as the main course, accompanied by rice or tortillas.

All you need are black beans, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oil, and mashed potatoes.

Whether looking for an easy and affordable meal option. Or trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, Frijoles Volteados is an excellent choice.

Guatemalan Chiles Rellenos

If you’re in the mood for a comforting dish that’s easy to make. Try stuffing sweet peppers with seasoned beef and veggies for a delicious twist on traditional chile rellenos recipes.

Prepare this popular Guatemalan comfort food by stuffing bell peppers with a mixture of an eye of round beef, potatoes, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, and onions. Unlike the Mexican version, which uses poblano chilies, Guatemalan Chiles Rellenos use sweet or bell peppers.

Season the filling with traditional Guatemalan spices and condiments. Then, mold it onto pepper strips and dip them in an egg batter made with egg whites, yolks, and flour.

Sauté the peppers until they achieve a golden brown color. Finally, top them off with tomato sauce and garnish with parsley, queso fresco, onion slices, and Mexican crema.

Although variations may vary depending on region or family, it’s no wonder it’s considered one of many traditional Guatemalan Vibrant Flavors worth trying out!

Hilachas (Shredded Beef Stew)

To make hilachas, you must simmer shredded beef brisket or flank steak in a tomato-based recado sauce with potatoes for a delicious and hearty stew. This Guatemalan version of the traditional dish is easy to prepare using an Instapot or slow cooker.

The recado sauce introduces a slightly spicy flavor and a creamy consistency to this delectable shredded beef preparation. Unlike its Mexican counterpart, Guatemalan hilachas use sweet red bell peppers instead of jalapeños for a milder taste.

Adding potatoes adds depth and grainy texture, making it a filling meal that pairs perfectly with white rice and fresh corn tortillas. It’s also possible to prepare hilachas in advance and store them in the freezer for as long as three months. However, keep in mind that the texture will become denser when frozen, so you’ll need to add some water during the reheating process.

Hilachas is just one example of the many delicious traditional foods from Guatemala worth trying.

Caldo de Gallina (Hen Soup)

This traditional Guatemalan chicken stew is packed with big chunks of vegetables like chayote, cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, potatoes, and tender yucca.

The preparation involves boiling frozen yucca until tender before adding it to the soup. And mashing and discarding the tomato, peppers, and cilantro after simmering.

Lime and avocado are key for flavor in this dish. It’s a healthy and Paleo-friendly lunch option if you omit the potatoes and yucca too!

With six to seven servings per recipe batch, you can pack it into containers for lunch throughout the week.

Don’t skimp on lime and avocado for maximum flavor. If you’re interested in other delicious Guatemalan vibrant flavors besides chicken stewed dishes like Caldo de Gallina or Hilachas (shredded beef stew). Be sure to try out some of Mexico’s best street food like tamales. Or even indulge in a traditional Guatemalan dessert as a sweet treat while immersing yourself in Guatemalan culture.

Tamales Colorados (Red Tamales)

Indulge in the rich and flavorful tradition of making tamales colorados, the national dish of Guatemala, with your loved ones.

Create this beloved Guatemalan street food by mixing corn flour with water to form a dough, which is then boiled until it reaches the desired consistency.

The filling consists of pork or chicken meat mixed with a savory tomato salsa known as recado, which adds a delicious depth of flavor to each bite.

Assemble these tamales using corn husks, then steam them until fully cooked.

While similar to Mexican tamales, the differences in wrapping materials, size, ingredients, and cooking methods make it unique and worth trying.

Gather your family together and experience this time-honored Guatemalan Vibrant Flavors culinary tradition firsthand.


Kak’ik is a traditional Mayan soup that is a must-try for Guatemalan street food. Create this flavorful dish by cooking tender turkey in a broth infused with dried chili peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, and mint.

‘Kak’ik’ means ‘red’ and ‘hot,’ perfectly describing the intense heat this soup delivers.

The recipe involves making a recado sauce by blending charred Pepitoria seeds, sesame seeds, black pepper, and roasted vegetables. Like tomatoes and onions, along with various chili peppers, before adding it into the pot with the turkey.

Serving options include rice or corn tortillas on the side and cooling ingredients like sour cream or avocado to balance out the heat.

Not only is Kak’ik delicious, but it also represents an essential aspect of Mayan culture. So why not give this hearty Turkey stew a try?

Buñuelos (Deep Fried Dough)

Immerse yourself in the sweet and comforting world of Buñuelos, a traditional Guatemalan dessert that’s popular comfort food. Craft these deep-fried dough balls by blending wheat flour-based dough with either lard or shortening, eggs, and anise.

They are then coated in white sugar and presented drenched in a light syrup that carries a subtle note of anise. They’re different from Mexican buñuelos but equally delicious. Buñuelos can be made beforehand, but they’re best served fresh.

Wrapping them with a cloth can prolong their freshness on your kitchen counter for 2-3 days. Savor them in conjunction with other classic Guatemalan dishes like tamales colorados, chiles rellenos, and pepian de pollo.

Paches (Potato Tamale)

You can savor the ultimate comfort food experience with Paches, a delicious potato tamale filled with juicy chicken and savory sauce. Encased in aromatic banana leaves and steamed until flawlessly cooked.

Originating from Central America, this Guatemalan street food is a unique twist on traditional tamales, using mashed potatoes instead of corn masa.

The combination of roasted tomato sauce with guajillo chiles, sesame seeds, and allspice. Creates a flavor that complements the tender chicken and soft potato dough.

Best served alongside green beans and bread with a squeeze of lime juice. Paches make for an unforgettable meal that will transport you straight to Guatemala.

Shucos Guatemalan Hot Dog

Are you ready to experience the messy and delicious flavors of a Shuco. The traditional Guatemalan hot dog that will leave your taste buds begging for more?

This street food has become a staple in Guatemala, made with unique ingredients like chorizo and sauerkraut-style cabbage.

Additionally, to make the best Shucos, I recommend cooking the repollo (sauerkraut cabbage) and making guacamole from scratch.

You can also get creative with different toppings like chimichurri sauce or cheese.

And don’t forget to pair it with Guatemala’s famous drink, the Michelada.


In conclusion, writing about my favorite Guatemalan foods has been a nostalgic experience. I feel grateful for the opportunity to share them with others. Each dish holds a special place in my heart and represents a unique aspect of my culture.

From Pepian de Pollo to Shucos Guatemalan Hot Dog, these 25 Guatemalan Vibrant Flavors remind me of preserving our culinary traditions. These dishes not only bring joy and comfort to our lives but also serve as a way to connect with our roots and honor our ancestors.

Finally, Whether you’re familiar with Guatemalan cuisine or trying it for the first time. I encourage you to explore these delicious offerings and discover all they offer.

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