Venezuela: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Venezuela Couple Image

Venezuelans enjoy a cuisine with a rich regional diversity and influences ranging from Spanish and Italian to African and indigenous. The people of Venezuela are meat lovers. Beef is especially popular, although fish and seafood are common along the long Caribbean coast. Arepas, small cornmeal patties, are a common snack and are grilled or baked and stuffed with all kinds of tasty fillings.

Venezuelan Recipes


Breads | Arepas

(Venezuelan corncakes)

Arepas were originally made by the indigenous inhabitants of Venezuela and Colombia. These small corncakes are sold in Venezuelan restaurants called areperías and are stuffed with all manner of fillings like a sandwich. In Colombia, arepas are made a little smaller and are spread with butter or topped with cheese. Read more »

Bienmesabe de Coco

Desserts | Bienmesabe

(Venezuelan coconut cream cake)

Around the Spanish-speaking world, you can find several versions of a dessert called bienmesabe — Spanish for "tastes good to me." The original version, from Spain's Canary Islands, is an almond custard. This recipe is for bienmesabe as it's made in Venezuela. Cake or ladyfingers are layered with coconut cream and topped with meringue for a decadently rich and sweet treat. Also spelled bien-me-sabe. Read more »


Breads | Cachapas

(Venezuelan fresh corn pancakes)

Cachapas are rib-sticking pancakes made with fresh corn. They are sold as road-side snacks in Venezuela, wrapped around queso fresco, mozzarella, chopped ham, chorizo or spread with butter, cream cheese or sour cream. Cachapas are a great, gluten-free option for people who can't tolerate pancakes made with wheat flour. Read more »

Caraotas Negras

(Venezuelan black beans in broth; see Frijoles de la Olla recipe variations)


Meats | Empanadas Image

(Latin savory stuffed pastries)

Empanadas are meat pies popular throughout the Latin world. They probably originated in Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain. Spanish settlers introduced empanadas to the New World, and they are a special favorite in Chile and Argentina. The variety of fillings for empanadas is endless and includes stewlike mixtures chicken, beef, ham and cheese, fish and seafood. Other fillings include spinach, peas, potatoes, pumpkin and beans. Read more »


Sauces | Guasacaca

(Venezuelan spicy avocado salsa)

Guasacaca is a popular condiment in Venezuela made from mashed and seasoned avocados. It is very similar to Mexican guacamole. Serve guasacaca as an accompaniment to grilled meats, poultry, salads, empanadas or arepas. Read more »

Pabellón Criollo

Meats | Pabellon Criollo

(Venezuelan shredded beef with beans, rice and plantains)

Pabellón criollo is the quintessential Venezuelan meal. The various components of the dish are a balance of flavors and colors that make a Venezuelan's heart sing: shredded beef, simmered black beans, fried rice plantains and hot rice. Sometimes a fried egg is thrown on the top for good measure. Read more »

Pan de Jamón

Breads | Pan de Jamon

(Venezuelan ham, raisin and olive bread)

Pan de jamón is a traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread, but you can enjoy it any time of the year. A sweet, soft dough is rolled up around savory ham, sweet raisins and pimento-stuffed olives. The result is like a gift from heaven. Read more »


(South American fried plantains; see Tostones recipe)

Perico Venezolano

 Breakfast | Perico  Venezolano

(Venezuelan scrambled eggs)

A popular breakfast dish in Venezuela is perico, eggs scrambled with onions, tomatoes and peppers. It's colorful name means "parakeet" in Spanish, and it can be eaten with bread or stuffed into arepas. Read more »

Ponche Crema

(Venezuelan creamy rum beverage; see Coquito recipe variations)

Tajadas de Plátano

(Venezuelan fried plantains; see Plátanos Fritos recipe)

Yuca Frita

Vegetables | Yuca Frita Image

(Latin American cassava fries)

Yuca is a starchy staple vegetable in Latin America and the Caribbean that is used in much the same way as potatoes. In this tasty recipe it is deep fried like French fries. Read more »