Traditional Guatemalan Food

Featured, 10 Traditional Guatemalan Foods, Survive Travel

Traditional Guatemalan food is a mix of its Mayan and Spanish heritage with a complex mix of American, African, Caribbean, and Chinese influence.

This is why popular Guatemalan food is full of traditional flavors that stand out amongst its neighbors.

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Traditional Guatemalan Food

1. Tamales

Tamales are a common food in many Latin American countries, and Guatemala is no different.

This Mesoamericana dish is a corn-based dough (masa) with a savory filling.

The Guatemalan version is larger to the Mexican one and they steam it in a banana leaf instead of corn husk.

Meat and vegetables with a tomato salsa is a common filling in Guatamala.

2. Pepián

Pepian is a hot sauce that is a national food of Guatemala.

You will often find it accompanying tortillas or rice, but they also add it to meat stews and other dishes.

3. Rellenitos de Plátano

Rellenitos de plátano is a popular dessert in Guatemala.

They make these by mashing sweet plantains and stuffing them with chocolate, cinnamon, and refried beans. After rolling them into shape they deep-fry them and dust sugar or honey on top.

4. Pupusas

Pupusas are a Salvadorian dish but are popular in other parts of Latin America, including Guatemala.

They are a thick corn tortilla with a savory filling such as cheese, pork, or refried beans.

5. Atol de Elote

Atol de Elote is a drink made from sweet corn. It is sweet corn liquified with either a blender or by hand on a grinding stone. It often comes extra sweet with cinnamon or vanilla.

6. Empanadas

Empanadas are a common stuffed pastry in Latin America.

In Guatemalan food culture they prefer the vegetarian version. Fillings of potato and/or spinach are popular, but other fillings like meat, cheese, or corn are around too.

Empanadas, Traditional Guatemalan Food, Survive Travel

By stu_spivack (empanadas) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Chile Relleno

Chile relleno is a Mexican dish that is also popular in Guatemala.

It is a stuffed pimiento pepper.

In Guatemala they use vegetables and shredded pork. They then fry the pepper with an egg batter and serve it inside a bun or alone with tomato sauce.

Chile Rellenos, Traditional Guatemalan Food, Survive Travel

By Skyler Lewis (w:en:User:Double.reed) (w:en:File:Chile Rellenos.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons


Guacamole is a popular condiment all over the world.

Mash up avocados with lime juice, chili, onion, and other spices.

Use it as a dip or side with almost every rice dish in Guatemala.


This traditional Mayan dish is chicken simmered in a cilantro and tomatillos sauce, along with a bunch of other flavorsome ingredients.


Hilachas is a shredded beef dish cooked in a spicy tomatillo-tomato sauce.

This famous Guatemalan food comes with rice and tortillas which makes a delicious and filling dish.

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Like most countries, the traditional food of Guatemala has some influence from its neighbors, but it also has delights of its own. Get out there and try some typical food of Guatemala for yourself!

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