Guatemalan Food and Recipes

Guatemalan food and drink is primarily influenced by the country's Mayan and Spanish cultures. Corn, beans, rice, cheese and tortillas form the backbone of most Guatemalan meals. Meat stews (caldos) and soups (sopas) are also popular dishes.

Extremely poor Guatemalans sometimes eat little more than corn, beans, and fruit.

Here are some recipes for foods that are popular in Guatemala:


Kaq ik

Kaq Ik (kakik) is a traditional Guatemalan dish, considered by some to be the unofficial national dish of Guatemala






A small turkey (cut into pieces)
8 cups chicken stock
2 heads of garlic
1 pound of tomatoes
2 onions (approx. 10 ounces)
2 large tomatillos
2 onions (approx. 10 ounces)
2 fresh sweet red peppers
1 dried chile guajilla
1 dried chile pasilla
1-2 tbs chopped chipotle peppers in adobo
½ cup water
1 tbs achiote
6 corn tortillas
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh mint

Place the turkey and the whole garlic heads, in the chicken stock; salt to taste.

In a separate pan, cook tomato, onion, sweet red pepper, chile guajillo, and chile pasilla, chipotle pepper until soft. Once fully cooked, puree in blender. (You may leave partial vegetable chunks)

Once the turkey is cooked, add the vegetable mix to the stew. Add chopped cilantro and mint. Place achiote in a small bowl and add some of the “soup” to it and stir until it is a smooth paste; stir into soup pot. Tear up corn tortillas into small pieces and add to soup pot; stir well.

Bring to boil for about ten minutes, or until tortillas have dissolved and soup has thickened.

Add cilantro and mint and season with salt to taste.

Makes about 12 servings.

Traditionally it is served with rice on the side to be added to the bowl. We also like to serve it with lime wedges and avocado on the side.
Although not traditional we like to add cut up ears of corn to the soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking.


Guatemalan Tacos

Corn tortillas are a staple of the Guatemalan diet.







  1. Place potatoes into a large saucepan and fill with enough water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil,cover, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, crumble the ground beef into a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the onion.
  5. Cook until meat is no longer pink, and the onion is tender.
  6. Drain excess grease, and gently stir in the potatoes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Place the tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro into a blender.
  9. Squeeze avocados out of their skins into the blender.
  10. Process until smooth.
  11. Heat tortillas in a skillet until warm and flexible.
  12. Spoon on some of the meat mixture and top with the sauce.

Roll up, and enjoy.



Served with warm corn tortilla chips.

4 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced (optional)
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
hot pepper sauce (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut avocado into large chunks and mash coarsely in a bowl with a fork.

Add remaining ingredients and blend gently. The guacamole does not have to be absolutely smooth. Leaving a few small chunks is fine and some people prefer it that way.

Tips and Variations:

Add ½ cup finely chopped sweet white onion for extra bite and crunch.

If you are not a cilantro lover don't let it stop you from making guacamole. I don't like cilantro so I leave it out and find it is just as delicious without it.

Do not cut the avocado until you are ready to make the guacamole. It needs the acid in the lime juice to keep it from turning brown.

Although lime juice is the traditional citrus used in guacamole, I often use lemon juice and love it.

Make sure the avocados are nice and ripe or they are too hard to mash easily. Best tip? Buy your avocado a few days before you need it and let it sit out on the counter



Elotes are roasted or boiled ears of corn, smeared with mayonnaise, topped with cheese, salt, lime juice and chili powder. Elotes are usually sold on a stick, steaming hot, by Central American street vendors


Prepare grill. Combine mayonnaise and juice in a small bowl. Combine cheese and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in another small bowl.

Place corn on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill corn 12 minutes or until tender, turning frequently. Remove corn from grill; brush with mayonnaise mixture, and sprinkle with cheese mixture. Serve immediately.


Arroz Guatemalteco

A flavoured rice with the addition of vegetables.


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and add rice.
  2. Sauté lightly until the rice has absorbed the oil, being careful not to let it change color.
  3. Add the mixed vegetables, salt, pepper, and chicken stock.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low.
  5. Cool for about 20 minutes until rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.

Serves 6 to 8.



Flan, a simple caramel custard, is a popular dessert in Guatemala.



Limonada con soda

Limon is Spanish for Lime, and this simple recipe for limonada with soda water, makes a refreshing thirst quencher on a hot day.

1/2 cup granulated sugar or more, to taste
1 1/2 cups freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 quart sparkling water or soda water