Home Recipe Roundup 25 Traditional Bahamian Foods

25 Traditional Bahamian Foods

Want to get a taste of what the locals eat in the Bahamas? Then you need to try some of these authentic Bahamian foods.

Bahamian food is heavily influenced by South American and Caribbean cuisine. You’ll find dishes full of seafood, spices, fruits, and veggies. 

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Delicious Johnny Cakes with Strawberry Jam

Bahamians incorporate a ton of fresh ingredients into their meals that range from sweet to savory.

Staples like conch, broiled fish, guava, and peas and rice are very common. 

And for dessert? Well, that would be none other than an irresistible rum cake!

Ready for a fresh taste of island life? Then whip up these incredible Bahamian recipes. 

1. Conch Salad

Bahamians are famous for their conch dishes. And what better way to showcase this delectable sea snail than with a fresh, raw conch salad?

Similar to ceviche, conch salad uses citrus to cook the meat and chopped veggies. This only takes about 15 minutes. 

While you could cook this salad longer, I would advise against letting it rest overnight. 

The longer the dish sits, the more the citrus breaks down the meat. Leave it too long, and it will take on an unpleasantly soggy texture.  

2. Bahamian Boiled Fish

One of the perks to island life is the easy access to a fresh catch of the day. 

Travel across the island, and you’ll find boiled fish is a popular menu item commonly eaten for breakfast. Yes, I said breakfast!

This vibrant dish calls for marinating white fish in lime juice and hot sauce.

That gets thrown in a large pot and boiled with onion, thyme, browned bacon, and a scotch bonnet pepper. 

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If you don’t like spicy food,  you can omit the hot pepper. 

3. Conch Fritters

You can’t talk Bahamian appetizers without talking conch fritters. Conch fritters are a delicacy in the Bahamas and a must for any visitor.

Succulent conch is added to a food processor with bell pepper, hot peppers, and onion.

The mixture is rolled into bite-sized balls, then beer-battered and fried. 

The result is crunchy, tender fritters that melt in your mouth. Pair them with a citrusy aioli for the ultimate experience. 

4. Traditional Johnny Cakes

On a trip to Nassau, I quickly came to the realization that Johnny cakes are served everywhere. And I couldn’t be more delighted.

All you’ll need for this recipe is cornmeal, sugar, salt, water, and butter. That’s it!

This traditional recipe serves up these corn cakes as a sweet treat with butter and syrup.

Once you sink your teeth in, you’ll be hooked!

5. Pigeon Peas and Rice

While the name may not sound the most appetizing, this side dish is a winner! It’s full of sweet, salty, and savory flavors.

Simmer pigeon peas with rice, onion, red bell pepper, corn, tomatoes, spices, and chicken stock. Once the rice gets fluffy, add bite-sized pieces of bacon.

For a hint of freshness, top this side with chopped cilantro and green onion. Then grab a fork and dig in.

6. Bahamian Mac and Cheese

I guarantee you’ve never had mac and cheese quite like this! The Bahamian take on mac and cheese is insanely delicious.

Elbow pasta is paired with a cheesy egg custard and baked to perfection. Onions, bell peppers, and a scotch bonnet pepper are also thrown in the mix for a pop of freshness.

While this dish is commonly served at gatherings, I won’t blame you if you whip it up all for yourself.

7. Conch Chowder

Conch chowder is a classic staple in Bahamian cuisine. This soup is rich, hearty, and bursting with flavor.

The recipe uses fresh conch, crispy bacon, clam juice, fish sauce, white wine, veggies, fresh herbs, and spices.

Finish the soup with a squeeze of lime and serve with oyster crackers.

Keep in mind, fresh conch can have a tough consistency, so you’ll need to tenderize the meat first.

8. Bahamian Curry Chicken

This crave-worthy comfort food is a common Bahamian dish for lunch or dinner.

It’s full of spice and other satiating ingredients that will satisfy a very hungry appetite. 

The key to getting the flavors just right is to set time aside to season your chicken. This builds upon the deep, complex flavors. 

Enhance the flavors further by searing the meat.

Then simmer it in chicken stock with onion, carrots, potatoes, tomato paste, curry powder, garlic, and herbs. 

Ladle a heaping into a bowl and grab a spoon. It’s curry time!

9. Bahamian Guava Duff

Want to try the national dessert of the Bahamas? Then whip up this guava duff.

It’s full of fresh native fruit and a rich, boozy sauce. 

You’ll need to simmer guava in sugar, cinnamon, and allspice until it reaches a consistency similar to jelly.

Then, smear the jelly onto a fresh homemade dough and boil. 

Once the duff sets, smother it in a rum butter sauce to seal the deal. 

10. Bahamian Stew Chicken

Are you famished? Try Bahamian stew chicken.

This stew pairs chicken soup with a tropical Caribbean flair in one gratifying bowl.

This recipe calls for an array of yummy ingredients. This includes Caribbean sweet potato, fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh corn cobs, chicken thighs, and red wine.

Grab a chunk of fresh Johnny cake and dig in!

11. Spicy Bahamian Chicken

This will be your new favorite way to cook chicken.

Quick and easy, spicy Bahamian chicken only takes 5 minutes to prep. Then it takes about 45 minutes for the oven to do the rest.

In one pot, layer chicken, bell peppers, potatoes, and squash. Don’t forget to add in garlic cloves, orange juice, herbs, and spices.

Then kick back and relax. Your healthy chicken dinner will be ready in just a bit.

12. Bahamian Baked Grouper

Grouper is a prominent fish in Bahamian cuisine. It has a slightly sweet and mild flavor that’s extremely versatile. 

If you want a good way to cook it like the Bahamians do, this recipe is for you. This foolproof recipe requires less than 10 ingredients.

To start, marinate your fish in lime, salt, and pepper overnight. Come dinner time, pop the fish in the oven with tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.

This dish would pair smashingly with some pigeon peas and rice.

13. Bahamian Boiled Fish

Looking for a flavorful 30-minute Bahamian meal? Try this Bahamian boiled fish.

Grouper is marinated in lemon then boiled with potatoes, garlic, onion, celery, and hot pepper.

If you can’t find grouper, tilapia or another firm white fish will do.

Also, be careful not to let this overcook. Otherwise, the potatoes and fish will take on a mushy texture.

14. Bahamian Rum Cake

The Caribbean has been a hotspot for rum production since the 17th century. So why not embrace tradition with this popular rum cake dessert?

A boozy, buttery rum sauce drenches a dense bundt cake with coconut flakes sprinkled on top. Did I mention there’s also rum in the cake itself?

Serve this cake on the holidays, and all your adult relatives will beg you for the recipe.

15. Souse

Souse is a very unique dish for the bold and daring. 

It’s often made with sheep’s tongue or pig’s feet. But you could also swap those out with chicken instead.

For this version, pig’s feet are boiled for hours then cooked with vinegar, garlic, cinnamon, pepper, and pickles.

It’s left to rest in the fridge and served like head cheese. 

While it may sound a bit unusual, Bahamians love this dish for a reason. It’s so good!

16. Corned Beef and Rice

When you’re in dire need of some comfort food, turn to corned beef and rice. 

This 30-minute meal tops white rice with sauteed canned corned beef, fresh tomatoes, yellow onions, garlic, and potatoes. 

Simple and easy, corned beef and rice is a pantry staple that’s great to have on hand for those busy weeknights. 

17. Grilled Bahamian Lobster Tails

Daydreaming about tropical sandy beaches and buttery lobster tails?

While I can’t help you with the beach, I can certainly help you with a scrumptious lobster recipe. 

Fire up your grill and slather some melted butter and lemon onto the meaty side of a few lobster tails. Then grill them to perfection. 

These rich and succulent lobsters are the perfect treats on a warm summer day. 

18. Lionfish

Do the tropics a favor and indulge in some freshly caught lionfish.

This invasive species has no natural predators and wreaks havoc on oceanic ecosystems. 

Still need another reason to eat lionfish? This recipe tastes phenomenal! 

Fry some up with tomatoes, garlic, capers, white wine, and lemon. Then serve with some parsley and a lemon wedge.

This refreshing recipe lets you feel good while you eat well, too.  

19. Bahamian Crab and Rice

If you thought beans and rice were great, wait until you try crab and rice. This is a Bahamian favorite that’s served as a savory side. 

Carefully wash some white land crabs to remove all the gritty sand. Then, you’ll need to separate the meat from the shell. 

Add that juicy meat to a pot with onions, bell peppers, fresh chili pepper, tomato paste, and of course, rice.

Cook until the rice is fluffy, then you’re ready to serve!

20. Chicken in Da Bag

This Bahamian classic is a must! It’s got BBQ chicken thighs, cheese sausage, fork-tender potatoes, an ear of corn, juicy prawns, and ripe cherry tomatoes. 

What makes this a bag recipe is all the ingredients are cooked in foil. This seals in all the yummy juices and flavors as the meat and veggies sizzle inside.  

Better yet, it’s minimal prep and easy cleanup. 

21. Bahama Breeze West Indies Patties

What makes this recipe so special is each savory hand pie is filled with a tasty beef filling and fried to perfection.

Similar to empanadas, these patties are excellent finger food to serve at gatherings.

You could even pair them with a side of crab and rice for a full entree. 

However you serve them, just don’t forget the fresh mango salsa! That’s what makes these patties truly shine.

22. Sweet Fried Plantains

Fried plantains are a guilty pleasure of mine. Their crunchy texture and sweet flavor are super addicting. 

You can whip up a batch in minutes with just two simple ingredients: plantains and butter.

Serve them up Bahamian style as a side with some conch fritters or fresh lobster tails. 

It’s important to note that plantains and bananas are not the same! Plantains are firmer, more starchy, and need to be cooked. 

If you try making this dish with ripe bananas, it won’t turn out the same. 

23. Bahamian Coconut Bread

Bahamians love sweet bread and after a taste of this recipe you will too.

This recipe uses fresh coconut, eggs, butter, and milk to build a soft, pillowy texture. 

And the flavor? It tastes like a tropical paradise!

This bread would taste great for breakfast or a dessert. Take your pick!

24. Bahamian Fruit Salad

You haven’t had a proper fruit salad until you’ve had it with a Bahamian twist. This is a perfectly plated masterpiece of spiked fresh fruit. 

In a bowl, pour in lime juice, sherry, and corn syrup. Add slices of oranges, bananas, and pineapple to the dressing and toss until coated. 

When ready to serve, sprinkle some gold raisins and fresh cilantro on top. 

If you’re not big on corn syrup, you could use agave nectar or honey instead. 

25. Benne Wafers

Benne wafers are thin cookies that feature sesame seeds. They have a sweet, nutty flavor and crunchy texture.

Before baking, you’ll want to toast your sesame seeds. Then toss them in your wafer batter with a dash of vanilla. 

I recommend using parchment paper when baking. These delicate wafers can be hard to free from an unlined baking pan. 

This recipe will make about 50 wafers, so be ready to serve a crowd! 

Or plop the leftovers in the freezer and savor each cookie yourself. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.

25 Traditional Bahamian Foods

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Bahamian Foods

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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