Haitian Cooking Guide
Learn how to prepare Haitian dishes, pair exotic and vibrant flavors, and explore everything Haitian cuisine and culture offers!
New to Haitian cuisine?
Welcome! We are happy you are here. You will find everything you need to know and learn about Haitian cuisine on the website.
As you might already know, Haiti is an island in the Caribbean. In general, our cuisine is Creole. It combines different cooking styles influenced by African, French, Spanish, Indigenous Taino, and Arab cuisines. Like many other islands and countries, the cuisine differs from its provinces.
Here you will find what you need to know about and learn about Haitian cuisine. The basic how-to’s and information on ingredients, authentic Haitiand dishes with detailed instructions, pictures, tips, and video tutorials. The goal is to help you understand the basics of Haitian cuisine and Caribbean flavors. Caribbean cuisine techniques may differ from island to island, but many similarities exist. Many of the ingredients may be the same in Caribbean dishes; you will notice that the technique, taste, and aroma either some similarities or differences. We love using fresh ingredients!
Haitian Food Explained
Haitian food is uniquely delicious. A well-balanced dinner menu includes meat/poultry/seafood, grains, and vegetables. You will also find an array of fritters, legumes (stews), sos pois (beans or peas puree), and rice dishes. Haitians enjoy their Fritaille (a plate of different fritters and fried foods) on Friday Nigth; Bouillon (seasoned broth with vegetables, meat, or seafood) on Saturdays, and sos pois blanc, white rice and poule en sauce/din en sauce on Sundays. Diri ak pois France, Salad russe, salad letu ak tomat.
Haitian cuisine is largely based on fresh seasonings and dried spices – how every dish, including sweet dishes, is seasoned. Haitians enjoy pork, goat, chicken, beef, and a variety of seafood, including conch (lambi).
Here are a few facts and things to expect:
- We make our own seasoning blend called Epis or Green Seasoning – we cook with the seasoning blend almost daily.
- Don’t expect to find a fancy salad at the dinner table. We are very simple! We enjoy the staple salad ingredients, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. It is also common to find a simple vinaigrette dressing of oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and fresh garlic.
- It is not uncommon to find a starchy salad as a second or third side dish. Our favorite is salad de Russe or Russian salad.
- Each town and province has its own way of preparing the same dish. For example, hot chocolate is made with cashews on the island’s Northside. In the capital, the center, hot chocolate is very basic. It is prepared with water, milk, sugar, vanilla, and spices.
- Rice is huge with Haitians. Don’t be surprised if guests at a party start saying that a dinner party is not successful without rice.
- Not all Caribbean people are the same or cook the same way.
- Adding pineapple or mango to a dish does not make it Caribbean. We love fruits, fruit salad, fruit juices, and fruity jams.
- We enjoy eating our version of Haitian bread.
- A good pate is all we want as a snack or breakfast.
- We want Soup Joumou every January 1st!
- Haitian food is not jerk food.
- Caribbean food is not about hot and spicy food all the time. We do love hot pepper but not in everything.
- We are not big on processed food. It is for convenience.
- What is legim (legumes)? Legim or legumes (French translation) is a stew. The stew can be prepared with meat, seafood, smoked meat, or poultry. The stew can also be prepared with any protein for vegans and vegetarians. You can add whatever vegetables you prefer, but a Haitian legim typically contains eggplant, cabbage, carrot, and chayote.
We have our own specialties. Take a look at the recipes.
Browse the 500+ Haitian recipes using our condiments and Epis!
Get Started With Ingredients & Flavors
Haitian cooking uses a lot of herbs and spices that are familiar in most cuisine. Dried spice mixture or all-purpose seasoning and rubs are also used to make incredible and delicious dishes. We are here to answer your questions about our seasonings and spices.
One important thing to remember is that several all-purpose seasonings contain a lot of sodium. Here on our website, we do not use seasoning blends with tons of sodium. We try our best not to use MSG in our food. Although Maggi Djon Djon contains MSG, many Haitian prefer using the real dried djon djon mushroom for cooking. Check out the following posts for more information about the seasonings and spices we use in our cooking.
Insert photo of seasoning and spices used in cooking
Basic Pantry Ingredients for Haitian Cuisine
Check out these posts to Learn about the ingredients that make up the basic Haitian pantry
- Essential Pantry Items you must have
- Best Place To Buy Haitian Pantry Staple Foods
- 7 staple foods you need to keep in your Caribbean pantry
- How to Create Easy Pantry Recipes
Haitian Sauces (Dipping and Seasoning)
We use NouBess hot and spicy sauces to flavor our food. You can get the products at noubess.com
For dipping sauces or other type of sauces, we either make our own with ingredients from our pantry or use store-bought for convenience.
How to Choose Store-bought Condiments and Seasonings to cook with.
Choosing the right all-purpose seasoning is very important and can be confusing. There are many popular brands available online and at your local grocery store. Choose the right one for you and your family. Choose low sodium and no MSG.
Well, let’s dive in and discover the diverse flavors of Haitian cuisine!!
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