Ethiopian food is a fun, flavorful mix of just about every taste and texture you can imagine.
Spicy, sweet, salty, tangy, aromatic – your tastebuds will love these diverse and delicious recipes that showcase the best of Ethiopian cuisine.
20 Ethiopian Foods & Traditional Dishes
You may be unfamiliar with dishes like wat (stew) and injera (flatbread), but these 20 easy recipes will help you master Ethiopia’s favorite foods like a local.
Dense soups, spicy meats, and flavorful sides. There’s a little bit of everything in these drool-worthy recipes.
And don’t forget dessert! Try a bright blend of pureed fruits in an Ethiopian spris or himbasha, a sweet and spicy cake-like bread.
For the true Ethiopian eating experience, make these for a crowd.
After all, there’s nothing like bonding over a good meal, so get cooking and enjoy these Ethiopian dishes together!
Injera is a sourdough flatbread made from white or red flour. It’s part food, part eating utensil.
Served at home and in any Ethiopian restaurant with almost any main, injera is traditionally used as a spoon to scoop up meat and veggies.
Its soft, spongy texture makes it the perfect pairing for broth, stews, and raw meat called tere siga.
It’s also a great addition to breakfast dishes, such as enkulal firfir (scrambled eggs).
Eat like you’re from Ethiopia by tearing off a strip of injera and eating it with any of these Ethiopian dishes.
2. Awaze Beef Tibs
You’ll need a well-stocked spice cabinet for this dish.
Diced beef sirloin is pan-fried in oil, garlic, & an aromatic awaze sauce, which is a spicy blend of berbere, pepper, cumin, & ginger.
Beef sizzles in the sauce until your kitchen smells amazing and your stomach is growling.
This hearty main definitely has a kick to it! It’s so flavorful, it tastes like it came straight out of an authentic Ethiopian restaurant.
You can also try this recipe with fish instead of beef, and make asa tibs.
3. Ethiopian Shiro Wat
Wat is the Ethiopian term for any kind of stew or soup traditionally cooked in a clay pot.
Wats come in all different varieties, from meat to fish (asa wat), and can be enjoyed any time of day.
Shiro wat or shiro wot is a vegetarian stew made with chickpeas and a whole bunch of spices.
This one-pot dish is made with tomatoes, onions, and spiced butter (niter kibe) from Ethiopia.
It’s also thickened with chickpea flour, making it a deliciously dense puree that’s chunky enough to spread on bread.
The complex flavors mingle beautifully for a bright bowl of yummy goodness.
4. Messer Wot (Ethiopian Spiced Red Lentils)
Nobody does lentils like Ethiopians. An inexpensive staple, they’re widely used in African cuisine where they’re cooked with vibrant spices and fresh veggies.
Messer wot is a vegetarian stew that combines healthy red lentils with caramelized onions, spiced butter (niter kibe), flavorful broth, and a punchy spicy mix.
Unlike meat stews that require flour to thicken the broth, messer wot is naturally thickened by the lentils.
5. Kik Alicha (Split Pea Stew)
Made with just six ingredients, this recipe is a great addition to your weekly menu.
This popular Ethiopian food is best enjoyed on a frosty night when you need something quick, healthy, and comforting.
Split yellow and green peas are simmered in a garlicky, spicy broth until perfectly tender.
This is the kind of stew that thickens as it cooks – no flour needed – giving you a rich, filling soup.
Serve it with injera so you don’t miss a drop of this gorgeously satisfying stew.
If you’re eating Ethiopian food regularly, you’ll need a lot of berbere spice.
This traditional spice mix is one of the all-time classics of Ethiopia.
Used to marinate meat, add a kick to stews, and punch up the flavor of veggie platters, Ethiopians use berbere in everything!
Happily, berbere is easy to make. Especially with this straightforward recipe.
Every cook and chef has their own version, so don’t be afraid to adjust this classic seasoning to your taste.
Too fiery? Cut back on the chili peppers. Want more sweetness? Add extra cumin or cardamon.
7. Gomen (Ethiopian Collard Greens)
Quick and tasty, gomen is a side dish from Ethiopia that’s sure to become a family favorite.
Even the kids will enjoy this vibrant blend of lightly spiced, leafy greens.
Braised collard greens and kale are seasoned with aromatic spices like paprika and cardamom for a healthy and tangy veggie dish.
Ethiopians traditionally enjoy gomen with wat and injera for dinner.
You can also turn it into a light lunch by tossing in some protein such as shredded beef or chicken.
8. Atakilt Wat
Atakilt wat is a popular Ethiopian food you have to add to your vegetarian brunch or dinner menu.
It’s a filling mix of potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, slow-cooked in butter and spices.
This dish is packed with healthy veggies and fragrant flavors, but it’s also amazing for what it doesn’t include.
There are no dairy, egg, corn, soy, yeast, nuts, gluten, or grains in this superfood recipe.
Add this to your menu if you have dietary issues, or if you simply want to eat healthier without losing out on delicious dishes.
Hard to pronounce but easy to eat, chechebsa is a classic breakfast dish in Ethiopia.
Also known as kita fir fir, it starts with a basic batter that’s then pan-fried until crispy.
That crispy bread is torn into chunks and tossed with spiced butter until soft and almost pudding-like.
Kita fir fir may not be your usual bacon and scrambled eggs, but this creamy, spicy breakfast contains all you need to power your day.
Ethiopians serve it with a mug of steaming coffee or milky chai tea.
They also like to serve it warm on winter days with enkulal firfir (scrambled eggs) for a hearty snack.
10. Doro Wat
Doro wat or doro wat is a must-try if you love eating Ethiopian food.
This spicy chicken stew from Ethiopia isn’t just ridiculously tasty, but also Paleo – meaning it’s gluten and grain-free.
This recipe proves that comfort food doesn’t have to involve carbs.
Juicy chicken pieces are slowly simmered in ginger, garlic, and fiery spices until they’re fall-off-the-fork tender.
Traditionally, Ethiopians cook doro wot in a clay pot, but a Dutch Oven will do, too.
Slice in boiled egg before serving to give your doro wot extra protein. You can also add a dash of lime to balance out the rich spices.
11. Ethiopian Spris
There’s no better way to beat the heat than with a refreshing, fruity spris.
This smoothie from Ethiopia is a delicious blend of pureed warm-weather fruits.
Made with mango, papaya, and lime juice, it’s amazingly tangy and intensely tropical.
It’s also really healthy. Fresh avocado ups the superfood content and gives it a rich, creamy texture that makes it a meal in a glass.
If you’re having one of those days, add a splash of booze to your spris. Rum or cognac would work well in this bright and breezy smoothie.
One sip, and you’ll be transported to sunny beach days and poolside vacations.
12. Azifa (Lentil Salad)
This popular Ethiopian food is the perfect light lunch or brunch platter side.
Soft lentils are tossed with zesty lime, ginger, red onions, tomatoes, and mild red peppers.
It’s a colorful vegetarian dish that’s typically served during Lent with a side of injera.
If you’re feeding spice fans, you can always up the spice by using fiery chili peppers.
And if you’re out of lentils, try it with fava beans instead. Have fun experimenting with this versatile dish!
13. Inguday Tibs (Ethiopian Sautéed Mushrooms)
This recipe is one of those magical sides that’s simple to make but boasts a lot of complex flavors.
Earthy mushrooms are chopped and sauteed in butter with peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
There’s a generous serving of berbere in there too, giving the silky mushrooms their signature Ethiopian taste.
Inguday tibs is traditionally served in Ethiopia with injera, rice, or bread.
14. Yataklete Kilkil (vegetable stew)
This healthy stew of potatoes, carrots, and green beans is the perfect antidote to cold nights and dreary days.
Banish the blues with a comforting bowl of chunky root veg, spicy broth, and sweet tomatoes.
A word of warning – this dish has a kick. Punch it up with more pepper or cool it down with a side of sour cream. You do you.
15. Timatim (Tomato Salad)
If you’re looking for a fun, fresh summer salad, this recipe is the answer to your prayers.
This bright tomato salad is made with diced tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno peppers.
It’s dressed with a spicy lemon and garlic vinaigrette and served chilled.
If you want more bulk to your salad, add some torn injera pieces. Known as fir fir, this is a heartier version of timatim.
Awaze literally translates to spicy simmer sauce, and that’s a perfect description of this flavorful paste.
As with any traditional dish, it varies wildly from region to region, from restaurant to restaurant, and from cook to cook.
This simple recipe covers the basics, with a 3-ingredient blend that hits all the signature flavor notes.
Stir it together and store it in the fridge for a quick and convenient sauce that adds a kick to almost any dish.
Stir your homemade awaze into stews, and/or use it as a marinade for meat, poultry, or fish.
17. Niter Kibbeh (Clarified Spiced Butter)
Niter kibbeh (sometimes spelled kibe) is a staple ingredient in Ethiopian cuisine, and every cook’s go-to cooking oil.
A simple blend of clarified butter and spices, niter kibe is the foundation of many traditional meals – giving them a nutty, fragrant flavor that adds depth to any dish.
Clarifying butter can sound intimidating to beginner cooks, but it’s surprisingly easy.
Once you master the technique, you’ll use it for everything.
Simply simmer the butter until the milk fat separates. Strain and stir in your spices, then store in the fridge until needed.
Tej is an African honeyed wine that pairs well with long, lazy summer days.
White wine is mixed with honey and water, then chilled.
Simple but surprisingly refreshing, this is a boozy treat perfect for using up leftover wine (if leftover wine is a thing in your house).
The secret to this Ethiopian cocktail is in the ingredients.
To enjoy it at its best, choose a good quality white wine, preferably pinot grigio or a riesling.
Himbasha is an Ethiopian flatbread, similar to injera.
But while injera is a plain bread, himbasha is bursting with mild sweet and nutty flavors.
It’s made with cardamom, raisin, and black sesame seeds. A party bread, Ethiopians usually bake himbasha for celebrations and special events.
It’s often made for a child’s first birthday and is symbolically broken in two to grant the birthday baby strength and prosperity.
20. Ethiopian Coffee
Add a dash of cardamon to your next cup of tea, and you’ll enjoy traditional Ethiopian coffee for breakfast.
Lightly spiced, this dark brew is made by boiling cardamom pods along with your coffee of choice.
Add ginger for an aromatic twist, or try a spoonful of honey to make your morning coffee delightfully spicy-sweet. Pair with any breakfast dish and enjoy!
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?