Moroccan cuisine, another reason to travel

Moroccan cuisine, in itself, is an excellent reason to visit the country. If you enjoy trying new flavors and different dishes, the culinary offerings you will find in Morocco will not disappoint you. Additionally, Moroccan cuisine is highly diverse, with each region offering its own unique recipes worth exploring. Renowned for its distinctive flavors, often derived from spices and condiments unfamiliar to Western palates, as well as its sweet undertones that leave you craving more, Moroccan cuisine offers a rich cultural experience. Therefore, if you wish to delve into the culinary traditions of Morocco, pay close attention to all the insights we provide here.

Tradition and history of Moroccan cuisine

history of Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan cuisine is vibrant and diverse because its influences are too. One of the most present traditions in Arabic, which is why it shares many dishes with other countries in North Africa and the Middle East, although with its own local version. 

However, Moroccan cuisine is much more than that. Because the Ottoman Empire never ruled over this region, unlike other Maghrebi cuisines, it has little or no Turkish influence. 

In addition, another characteristic feature is the powerful Amazigh influence, which occurs in practically all cultural aspects of the country. A good part of Moroccan cuisine was conceived in the 14th century, in the times of the Marinid dynasty, and more specifically in its rich palatial kitchens, with recipes and ingredients that reached domestic kitchens.

Andalusian, Sephardic, French, and even Spanish influences can be seen in Moroccan cuisine according to the country’s long history of cultural exchange. All this, together with this Islamic country’s lifestyle, makes breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and even a tea break) an authentic experience that will surprise any traveler for good.

Products and typical dishes of Moroccan gastronomy

typical dishes of Moroccan gastronomy

There are many dishes and typical products of Moroccan cuisine. And in our blog, by the way, we dedicate many posts to describing each of them in-depth. What’s more, they’re readily available throughout the country, whether in restaurants, popular markets, antique shops, or even in the homes of your hosts. Here we show you some ingredients, dishes, and sweets that make Moroccan cuisine one of the most special in Africa and the world.

Moroccan cuisine ingredients

The dishes included in the following section are actually the result of the combination of many elements. On the one hand, the ingredients and products, and on the other hand, the utensils and presentation equipment that you can practically only find here.


As for the ingredients, spices and seasonings deserve special mention. Ras el hanout is a blend of several distinctive spices, each with its own composition (store, brand, restaurant, etc.)… and it always remains a secret. However, we can mention the following, whether in the ras el hanout or used as an independent ingredient: paprika (hot and sweet), ginger, turmeric, cumin, saffron, nutmeg… and many more that you can find in this post.

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits also play a vital role in Moroccan cuisine: eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and olives are classics of Mediterranean cuisine, which have left their mark on the country’s cuisine. But we can also mention other, more “exotic” suggestions, such as dried fruits, dates, argan, etc.


As for meats, everything is primarily determined according to the specific Islamic rules regarding halal food. In other words, pigs and birds of prey are prohibited. All animals used for food must adhere to specific sacrifice rituals, highlighting all the obligations related to this in the face of Mecca. This means that the main meats are lamb and poultry, such as chicken and turkey. Beef is allowed although it is less common than those mentioned. Similarly, eggs are widely used in Moroccan cuisine.


Thanks to the vast expanse of Moroccan coasts, it is easy to find fish and shellfish in traditional Moroccan cuisine. However, they are mainly limited to coastal areas because it is very hot inland. It was difficult to keep them alive and transport them in the past. Among the emblematic species of Moroccan fishing are sardines, royal dorado, and sole.


Grains also have a strong presence in Moroccan cuisine, bread is sacred, and its main version can be compared to pita bread. But there are many others: m’kella, batbout… and of course, we cannot forget couscous, which is wheat semolina in the form of small balls, and which is actually the basis for many dishes with different ingredients.

Famous Moroccan cuisine

Famous Moroccan cuisine

With the ingredients mentioned in the previous section, and with many more that populate its markets, Moroccan food will surprise you with dishes as iconic as the following:

  • Tagíne: a kind of stew that, in fact, admits practically any ingredient… as long as it is cooked and served in its characteristic clay pot with a conical lid. Chicken, beef, lamb, fish, dates, raisins, apples, olives, almonds, eggs…
  • Couscous: as we said, it is wheat semolina in the form of small balls, but numerous dishes with that name are made on that basis. They can have meat, for example, lamb, but what they provide the most richness are vegetables and legumes (pumpkin, courgettes, carrots, cabbage, turnips, chickpeas, etc.), fruits and honey for a sweet touch, and spices to achieve many other nuances
  • Amazigh pizza: this is a ubiquitous dish in the south of the country, in the Sahara desert, as it is a traditional preparation among nomads and inhabitants of the far south
  • Pigeon pastilla or bastela: this is one of the most popular dishes, and its name refers to the way it is prepared (a pastry pastille), stuffed with chicken (or other birds, such as pigeons, hence its name) ), almonds and onion, where the sweet touch is provided by cinnamon and sprinkled icing sugar
  • Bissara: it is a puree of broad beans, simple and humble but deeply rooted in Moroccan gastronomy
  • Harira: it is a traditional soup that, in addition to adding noodles, offers rich chunks, mainly of meat, tomatoes, and different legumes such as lentils or chickpeas

Popular sweets in Morocco

Popular sweets in Morocco

Popular sweets are not as varied as the savory dishes of Moroccan cuisine. But in reality, there are sweet pastry proposals in every corner of the country that you should take advantage of during your trip. Some of them are ‘national’ and, in fact, are taken at very representative times, such as iftar (the time when the daily fast during Ramadan is ended).

This is the case with chebakia , a sweet made from flour, egg, butter, toasted almonds, sesame, honey, and other flavored ingredients. The sfenzh is also used to break the fast, but this time it means “breakfast” as the day’s first meal. Briwat is triangle-shaped pastries filled with empanadas, usually served as a ‘snack’ on special occasions, such as banquets. Also, couscous has its own sweet version, known as seffa .

Unique utensils of the Moroccan cuisine

utensils of the Moroccan cuisine

Another exciting aspect linked to Moroccan cuisine is the utensils used to prepare the dishes and sweets indicated above. Some are made for a specific word, like the couscous pot used to steam couscous or the clay pots with conical lids used for tagines. These are used to keep the heat and moisture in food that has already been cooked and served.

In fact, clay is a material widely used in Moroccan kitchen trousseau, as is also shown by the tangia for the preparation of slow-cooked stews and soups. You can walk around a kitchen or a shop where utensils are sold. In that case, you will discover other elements, often made of copper, that are very suggestive.

Typical drinks of Moroccan gastronomy

drinks of Moroccan gastronomy

Drinks represent a fundamental element of Moroccan cuisine. Some describe a valid symbol of Moroccan culture, such as tea, which can even be drunk five or six times a day. The so-called Moorish tea, a green tea with mint, is the most widespread. It can be taken at any time and helps combat dehydration in a hot climate. However, it also represents a social and hospitality act.

A particularity of the typical drinks of Morocco is the absence of alcohol, as the Koran clearly specifies. However, small wine productions in places like Meknes or fig liqueurs originate in the Sephardic culture. On the other hand, fruit juices are trendy, especially orange juice. And milk-based beverages have achieved great variety and popularity in recent times. In this sense, one can cite sour milk (scented with honey and thyme).

This is a typical food in Morocco

food in Morocco

Usually, the most important meal of the day in Morocco is at noon. In the holy month of Ramadan, when fasting is mandated, this meal is moved to the evening, known as iftar, where it is served at sunset. During a trip, the daily rhythm differs, affecting what you eat. For example, to make the most of the day, your main meals may be breakfast and dinner, and lunch may be a snack to give you energy for the rest of the day’s activities. In our circuits, it is typical for breakfast and dinner to be included in the package, except in large cities where the traveler is left with more choices.

The typical Moroccan lunch usually starts with a salad, a healthy way to open your mouth. Then comes the main course, which is generally one of the many tagines typical of Moroccan cuisine. And to conclude, a dessert is usually offered as seasonal fruit or a sweet, with popular ingredients such as almond paste and white sugar. In addition, tea is provided to all diners at some time throughout the meal, especially in the middle. 

This is a typical banquet in Morocco

typical banquet in Morocco

The culinary proposals listed on this page about Moroccan cuisine are tasted daily and on special occasions. In fact, a characteristic feature of this country is the usual celebration of banquets. They can be organized for exceptional events, such as wedding receptions, and to strengthen family ties. During Eid al-Fitr, the final day of Ramadan, the iftar, the meal with which the daily fast of Ramadan is broken, is another notable occasion to have a banquet.

And what is usually eaten at a typical Moroccan banquet? Well, everything, and in generous portions, on plates arranged all over the table, which in this case usually has a lower height than usual. The first great dish to arrive is the typical Moroccan bastela or empanada, which is not generally missing on these occasions. Tajines of different types and other versions of couscous are also served. And to give more solemnity to the banquet, the dishes can be flavored with various herbs and spices and sprinkled with sesame seeds and toasted almonds. Fruit is also very present, especially on ice and in large bowls. This is done with a formal tea ceremony to show how important the meeting is.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is traditional Moroccan food?

The traditional Moroccan cuisine is famous for its combinations of spices and complex, flavorful ingredients.

Among the most famous dishes of Morocco is the tagine, a stew of meat or vegetables cooked in a clay pot with spices such as cinnamon and cumin. Couscous, an essential dish, is typically served with meat or vegetables in a flavorful broth.

Harira, a hearty soup, consists of legumes, lentils, tomatoes, and meat, often accompanied by sweet dates.

Pastilla, a savory pie, layers pastry with poultry meat, almonds, and eggs, sometimes dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Keftas, spicy meatballs, are often grilled and served with a tomato sauce.

Finally, mint tea, a popular drink, is prepared with fresh mint leaves and sugar.

Moroccan cuisine is renowned for its robust flavors and the use of fresh, local ingredients.

What is the most traditional food in Morocco?

Perhaps the most traditional cuisine in Morocco is couscous. It has been a staple of Moroccan cuisine for centuries and is still extensively consumed today. Numerous Moroccans regard it as their national dish.

Couscous is typically prepared by steaming semolina wheat to produce small, fluffy granules. Typically, it is served with a meat or vegetable stew seasoned with cumin, coriander, and turmeric. The stew is spread over the couscous to create a satisfying and hearty meal.

Friday, the Muslim sacred day and the most important day of the week in Morocco is a common day for eating couscous. It is also commonly served at weddings and other special events.

Why is Moroccan food so good?

Moroccan cuisine is renowned for its use of spices that add layers of flavor to dishes.

Cumin, paprika, ginger, and saffron are commonly used ingredients that lend distinct flavor profiles. Local and fresh ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, and proteins contribute natural flavors, while fresh herbs and spices further enrich the dishes.

This cuisine reflects a fusion of Arab, Amazigh, African, and European flavors, offering a wide variety of ingredients and tastes.

Slow cooking techniques like braising and stewing allow flavors to develop over time, creating savory and hearty dishes.

Traditional recipes, passed down through generations, preserve the authenticity of Moroccan cuisine, utilizing techniques refined over centuries.

By combining spices, fresh ingredients, diverse influences, and traditional cooking methods, Moroccan cuisine offers a delicious and flavorful experience.

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