21 Best Belizean Dishes and Foods

Belizean cuisine blends Creole, Mayan, and Caribbean flavors, featuring staples like rice, beans, seafood, and tropical fruits.

Lastest Updated April 19, 2024
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Basic Information

Belizean Food: Basic Overview

Common Ingredients

Seafood (e.g., fish, conch, shrimp), rice, beans, meat (e.g., chicken, pork), coconut, coconut milk, vegetables, peppers, spices

Common Cooking Methods

Grilling, stewing, boiling, deep-frying, baking


Appetize, main course, dessert, soup


Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Key Taste

Savory, sweet

Eating Etiquette

Meals are typically served family-style with dishes in the center of the table for everyone to share.||Utensils are used, but eating with hands is also acceptable in more casual settings.

Meal Presentation

Focusing on the hearty aspect of the meal rather than intricate plating.||Fresh herbs and side dishes add color and texture to the main dish

Culinary Festivals

Christmas and other festivals

Influence and Fusion

Influenced by Maya, Mestizo (a mix of Spanish and Indigenous heritage), Creole (African and European descent), Garifuna (Afro-Indigenous), and East Indian cultures.||Contemporary influences include American fast foods.
Origin and Region

Belizean Food: Origin and Region



Cuisine’s Geographical Territory

Central America

Country’s Region

Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo Districts
Belizean Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Popular Types of Belizean Food

  • Stews

    Stews are a staple in Belizean cuisine, often made with a base of coconut milk or a rich, savory sauce.

    Common ingredients include chicken, beef, pork, or seafood like fish and conch. Stews are often served over rice or with a side of beans.

  • Soups

    Belizean soups often incorporate fresh and local ingredients.

    Locals’ favorite is cow foot soup, among others.

  • Fried Dishes

    Fried dishes are popular in Belize. They range from seafood to snacks.

    Fried food can also be morning delights or main courses.

  • Bread and Doughs

    Bread and dough-based foods are often the cornerstone of breakfasts and snacks.

Belizean foods are authentic inspirations and well-preserved traditions of the indigenous Creole, Mayan, Mestizo, Garifuna, and Indian delights. However, Belize does not follow the same pattern. The country is a culinary melting pot, both literally and figuratively.

One of the staples of Belizean cuisine is cassava, used in many ways. Coconut is another essential ingredient, used in everything from drinks to desserts like coconut tarts.

Breakfast in Belize often consists of fry jacks or Johnny cakes, which are made from flour and are either fried or baked. Beans, sausage, or eggs usually accompany them.

A typical Belizean dinner might include rice and beans served with meat and salad. Common ingredients for these delights are fish, conch, lobster, and ground foods like cassava and plantains.

Rice and beans is considered the national dish in Belize. Soup and stew are also a favorite food in the country, offering hearty and comforting meals.

Overall, eating in Belize means enjoying the rich cultural heritage and the abundant, fresh produce the land offers. So if you are interested in this cuisine, I have 21 best options here for you to explore.

To help you immerse yourself better in this genuine cuisine, I also introduce insights about their traditional foods, popularity, and healthy aspects.

However, it’s wise to be cautious about certain foods to ensure your culinary journey is perfect. Also, for those eager to dive into Belize’s beverages, I’ll guide you through the perfect drink and dish pairings the country has to offer.

First, let’s have a quick look at these key characteristics of traditional food in Belize.

  • Diverse Influences: Belizean cuisine integrates Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo, Creole, British, and East Indian influences, reflecting the country’s complex cultural history.
  • Seafood and Meat: Abundant use of fresh seafood and meats, with dishes often featuring fish, shrimp, conch, chicken, and pork.
  • Staple Ingredients: Core ingredients include rice, beans, coconut, and plantains, emphasizing the tropical agricultural products of the region.
  • Cooking Techniques: Traditional methods like stewing, grilling, and baking in underground pits are common, preserving authentic flavors and techniques passed down through generations.
  • Meal Structure: Meals are typically hearty, focusing on communal/social dining and family gatherings.

With diverse impacts from other cuisines, various food sources, and cooking methods, are these Belizean specialties well-known in the world? You can find the answer in the following section.

The global popularity of Belizean food is on the rise, largely due to the growing Belizean diaspora and increased interest in Caribbean cuisine worldwide.

Belizean staples like rice and beans, stew chicken, conch fritters, etc., are gaining recognition. International appreciation also extends to Belizean rum and hot sauces, which are exported and enjoyed globally.

The healthy value of their food is also a part that contributes to their popularity, which will be discussed next.

Here are four healthy highlights of Belizean food to discover:

  • Fresh Produce: Uses many kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, ensuring nutrient-dense meals.
  • Lean Proteins: Incorporates fish and seafood, including healthy omega-3 fatty.
  • Balanced Staples: Relies on beans, rice, and corn, providing a good mix of fiber, carbohydrates, and proteins.
  • Coconut Usage: Cooks with coconut milk and oil, which contain medium-chain triglycerides, beneficial for energy.

That’s all about the overview of this cuisine. Let’s move to the most important part, which is about 21 top Belizean delicacies and their insights.

21 Popular Belizean Dishes with Filters

Before getting to know these specialties in Belize, I’ll shortly introduce some characteristics of their most common dishes, national and traditional delights, street-style food, and exotic and fusion delicacies.

For better searching, you can use the filter option based on their ingredients, taste, popularity, etc.

  • These dishes are savored from the bustling streets of Belize City to the serene beaches of the Cayes.
  • They are wide in dish types, such as stews, grilled seafood, and rice and beans, showcasing the blend of Mayan, Creole, and Garifuna influences.
  • Rice and Beans cooked with coconut milk is considered a national dish in the country.
  • It’s typically served with stewed chicken.
  • Belize’s traditional cuisine features a humble combination of rice, beans, cassava, plantains, and local fruits and vegetables.
  • These ingredients are the backbone of Belizean cooking practices, nurtured in this Central American country’s rich soils and warm climate.

The street food in Belize mirrors the locals’ preference for freshly prepared meals.
Overall, they emphasize simplicity and authenticity.

  • Exotic specialties have distinctive flavors and use ingredients indigenous to the region.
  • They are ideal for adventurous eaters.

In this country, fusion dishes serve as a culinary bridge between diverse cultures, blending flavors and ingredients of Central America with Caribbean zest and other international influences.

Belize Rice And Beans

Rice and Beans

  • National
  • Traditional

Appreciated by all Belizeans, rice and beans are a truly hearty dish comprising kidney beans, rice, and a generous amount of spicy sauce. In fact, this is Belize’s national dish.

Belizean rice and beans is served with meat (e.g., chicken, beef) or seafood and potato salad. If locals use recado (a local plant with an appealing deep red color) and garlic to cook the meat, they choose coconut milk to boil the rice and beans.

They often prepare this dish on Mondays by utilizing leftovers from Sunday lunch. It’s also a favorite treat for Christmas.

Stew Chicken Belize

Stewed Chicken

  • Traditional

Stewed chicken is a beloved dish, often served alongside rice and beans in Belize.

This delicacy is carefully prepared with indigenous spices and herbs like cilantro and thyme, creating tender chicken in flavorful gravy.

All components are slow-cooked until tender.



  • Traditional

In Belize, ceviche is a famous seafood dish rooted in the cuisines of Central America, including Peru and Mexico.

It includes a delightful blend of raw fish cured in lemon juice and often includes local favorites like shrimp, lobster, or queen conch. Ceviche also comes with variations, including white fish, octopus, and even chicken feet,

Belizeans savor this cool, refreshing meal alongside a Belikin beer, particularly enjoying it on the beach.

Conch Fritters

Conch Fritter

  • Exotic
  • Street Food

Conch Fritters are a beloved snack in Belize. It’s made from diced conch meat mixed with a seasoned batter and deep-fried until golden and crisp.

These fritters are tender inside and crispy exterior. Locals often enjoy them with a tangy dipping sauce of lime juice, mayonnaise, and ketchup that perfectly complements the sea-flavored snack.



  • Traditional

Hudut is a traditional Garifuna dish from Belize.

This recipe combines fish cooked in a creamy coconut milk sauce with mashed plantains, offering a taste of savory and slightly sweet.

Hudut exemplifies the coastal and indigenous heritage of Belize.

Sere Mashed Plantains And Fish Stew


  • Traditional

Sere features ripe plantains cooked and mashed into a smooth paste-like texture called Fu-Fu and a fish coconut stew. It’s a Belizean adaptation of Hudut.

This Belizean fish dish is a true symbol of the locals’ love of water and the ocean. That explains why many nations having a coastal line always have foods comparable to sere, including Brazil and Thailand.

It is customary to offer sere on Garifuna Settlement Day, which takes place on November 19th, to commemorate the arrival of the Garinagu in Belize.

Boil Ups


  • Traditional

Boil-ups is a must-try dish during your Belize trip. Its main ingredients include vegetables, eggs, bread dumplings, fish, and tubers like cassava, yams, etc, creating a hearty meal.

Vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, and okra are also added, along with dough dumplings known as “boil cake.”

Boil-up is often accompanied by a flavorful sauce made from tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Fry Jacks

Fry Jack

  • Street Food

Fry jacks are essential in Belizean breakfasts, featuring deep-fried dough commonly served with refried beans and eggs.

They come in a few different shapes and liquid ingredients. Certain people love their fry jacks in triangular shapes, while others prefer a circle dough sliced in quarters. Some individuals adore coconut milk, whereas others like to use full milk as their liquid contents.

Besides, you also get cheese and beans in these pillowy soft tortillas. Fry jacks is also popular in other nations, including Mexico (sopaipillas), New Orleans (beignets), and other Latin American nations (simply fried dough).

Garnaches Belizean Food


  • Street Food

Garnache is a fried corn tortilla stuffed with refried beans, lettuce, and cheese. This delicacy is a popular Mestizo meal in Belize, where locals and tourists enjoy it as a quick meal or street food.

You can find garnaches in even extremely tiny eateries, where there is only a counter for food ordering and a few tables.

In general, this tortilla-based treat is vegetarian-friendly.

Amales Mexicanos Mexican


  • Traditional

Belizean tamales are creamy and silky, wrapped in plantain leaves, and packed with various fillings, such as meat, cheese, or fruit. They are prehistoric meals that are favored by the Aztec and Mayan cultures.

The dish’s flavor may range from salty to sweet depending on the components used. The dish is inexpensive and widely accessible across Belize, particularly in public markets

If you venture to Corozol or Orange Walk districts, there is a high chance of encountering collado and tortaedo – two common tamale variations in the region.

Other versions include bollos (incredibly popular in Western Belize) and tamalitos (remarkably similar to Mexican Tamales).

Tamalitos Dukunu


  • Traditional

Let’s picture a version of no-meat tamales, you have tamalitos, another gem in Belizean cuisine. Also known as dukunu or duckanoo, this renowned dish comprises cornmeal, coconut, batata, and brown sugar wrapped in a plantain leaf and cooked in boiling water.

It is the invention of African slaves sent to Barbuda, Antigua, and a few other Caribbean islands years ago. Yet, its true origin lies in West Africa.

Not only popular in Belize, but this gem is also a massive hit in Trinidad (as payme or paime), Barbados (conkies), Barbuda, Antigua, and many other Caribbean nations.



  • Traditional

Pibil from Belize is a flavorful dish that involves marinating and slow-cooking meat, traditionally pork, in a mixture of achiote paste, citrus juices, and spices.

The resulting dish is tender, richly seasoned meat often wrapped in banana leaves.

Pibil features the Mayan influence on Belizean cuisine, showcasing the complexity of Central American cooking techniques.



  • Traditional

In Belize, Johnnycake is a beloved bread made with coconut milk and flour, traditionally baked over an open fire.

Belizeans commonly enjoy them sliced and filled with butter, refried beans, and cheese. Yet, some people prefer stuffing them with chicken or beef. With the addition of stewed beef or chicken, the dish serves as a healthful and filling meal, especially as a breakfast.

Historically, Johnny Cakes are traditional cuisine in early America and are prepared throughout the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to Jamaica. They are also endemic to North America’s indigenous people.

Escabeche Onion Soup


  • Fusion
  • Traditional

Escabeche is how local Belizeans adapt their own onion soup, often made with chicken. The chicken is marinated in coriander leaves and spices, then cooked with onion strips and lime juice.

The addition of white wine vinegar to the soup imparts extra tangy flavor. Additionally, you can use lime juice as a marinade for the chicken as well.

Interestingly, escabeche falls into the “Oriental dish” of Belize and Yucatan cuisines. The reason is that the dish originates from Valladolid, the eastern part of Yucatan. Local people often serve the meal immediately with freshly cooked corn tortillas.

Meat Pies

Meat Pies

  • Street Food

“Start your morning right with some meat pies!” is a common saying among Belizeans, meaning meat pies as a popular breakfast.

These savory pies are filled with chicken or beef and a seasoned sauce. They have a crispy golden exterior and a juicy interior that you can’t resist.

While debates on the best meat pie provider continue, Dario’s, Ladyville, and Pou’s Meat Pies are top spots. Freshly baked pies are especially irresistible, with their aroma drawing in customers early in the morning.

Cow Foot Soup

Cow Foot Soup

  • Exotic
  • Traditional

Although cow foot soup is not for everyone, it’s a favorite delicacy in Belize. Locals love to delve into this nutrient-dense and satisfying soup during the winter months.

It comprises a cleared and shaved cow foot, including the hoof, that has been slow-cooked with spices and vegetables.

Since cow feet contain gelatin, which will transform into collagen in the body, this robust soup brings a gel-like consistency.

Serving the hearty soup with corn tortillas, white rice, or some delectable dumplings to complete the meal!

Black Stuffing Soup


  • Traditional

Chimole, also known as “Black Dinner,” is a traditional Belizean dish. This black soup is a tasty chunky stew inspired by Mexican and Maya heritage.

This aromatic soup is distinguished by its dark broth, made with a blend of spices, black recado, and charred chili peppers. It typically includes tender chicken pieces, hard-boiled eggs, and vegetables.

Overall, chimole has spicy, smokey, and robust flavors. Locals normally enjoy the soup alongside or over white rice.

Salbutes Puffed Deep Fried Tortillas


  • Street Food

Salbutes are beloved Belizean fried tortillas topped with lettuce, chicken, or turkey, and spicy sauce. Typically accessible in the evenings.

This finger food has a slightly crunchy texture and is best when served hot in the oven. You can easily catch the dish available on menus across the nation. You should check out some fast food eateries called Panucherias to enjoy salbutes.



  • Traditional

Panades are Belize’s take on the global tradition of filled pastries, like gyoza or empanadas. It’s popular for its tasty fillings of fish, pork, chicken, cheese, or beans encased in maize flour dough.

This dish stands out for its versatility as it is easily customizable to various tastes. They are deep-fried treats, so they are best enjoyed hot. Panades are often served with tangy cabbage or onion sauce.

Cassava Bread

Cassava Bread

  • Traditional

Cassava bread in Belize is crafted from the cassava root. The preparation involves harvesting, peeling, washing, grating, and then drying the cassava root to produce fine flour.

The flour is then baked on a hot comal (a type of flat griddle) until it forms into a large, crispy bread, similar to a large tortilla cut into pieces. The bread can be enjoyed in various ways, commonly toasted with butter or local jam as a breakfast.

Making this bread requires a process that’s both time-intensive and laborious, typically involving collective efforts among women.

This practice has been passed down through generations, embodying the Garifuna’s connection with their roots and the land. It’s an important food during festivities like the Garifuna Settlement Day.

Coconut Tarts

Coconut Tarts

  • Traditional

Belizean coconut tart is a delightful dessert made from grated coconut, condensed milk, nutmeg, sugar, and lemon extract, filled into a shortening-based dough crust. They are typically baked until golden brown.

Due to its popularity, this dessert is often sold at gas stations, fundraisers, or as a side business. It’s not just the taste but the process of making these tarts, from cracking and grating the coconut to combining the flavorful ingredients.

What Not to Eat in Belize?

Besides knowing what to eat in Belize, it’s also essential to take caution about experiencing the cuisine here. Below are three notes that you should know.

  • Avoid undercooked/raw seafood and meats to prevent foodborne illnesses.
  • Exercise caution with street food; choose vendors that prepare food freshly and serve it hot.
  • Drink bottled or purified water instead of tap water outside major cities and tourist areas.

So, make sure you follow these things, and you’ll have a nice culinary experience in this country. What’s better? I also give you some suggestions about pairing dishes and drinks in Belizean style.

Which Beverages Can Pair Well With Dishes in Belize?

There are four iconic beverages in Belize that you can enjoy with dishes to enhance the overall meal’s quality.

  • Belikin Beer: The national beer of Belize, pairs well with spicy dishes and seafood.
  • Rum Punch: A fruity and refreshing choice that complements many recipes, especially grilled meats and tropical desserts.
  • Coconut Water: Ideal for balancing the heat in spicy foods and enhancing the taste of lighter dishes.
  • Horchata: A sweet rice milk beverage that soothes the palate when enjoying rich or spicy foods.

My list of Belizean dishes and drinks ends here. If the compilation entices you to visit this lovely country to try out the meals, do not hesitate!

Besides being the best place for scuba diving, you can also enjoy wonderful dishes that give your taste buds a well-deserved treat! So if there is anything you want to share about this cuisine, just leave a comment below. Thank you!

Jamie Scott

Jamie Scott

Editor in Chief, Senior Content Writer


Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Western Food Evaluation Expert


Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

  • Program: Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Gained foundational knowledge in French and European culinary techniques. Participated in workshops and hands-on training sessions under the guidance of seasoned chefs.

Local Community College, New York, NY

  • Program: Associate’s Degree in Nutrition
  • Focus: Acquired basic understanding of nutrition principles, dietary needs, and the importance of balanced diets in daily life.

Jamie Scott is a skilled culinary expert and content creator specializing in Western cuisine. With over 15 years in the culinary field and formal training from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, Jamie deeply understands how to blend nutrition with delicious flavors. His passion for cooking matches his commitment to making healthy eating accessible and enjoyable.

On Fifteen.net, Jamie brings a fresh perspective to classic dishes and beverages, offering readers insightful recipes, cooking tips, and a fresh view on meal planning that emphasizes taste, health, and simplicity.

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