Hearty and delicious, you will love waking up to these Colombian breakfast foods.
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day – and it’s no different in Colombia.
As opposed to dainty pastries and other baked goods, Colombian breakfast is comprised of foods such as arepas, bandeja paisa, and tamales.
Traditional Colombian food is so underrated that I wanted to specifically share the best way to start the day.
And you might want to check out my video about food in Colombia that mentions some of these breakfast foods!
Colombian Breakfast Food
1. Arepa de Huevo
Arepas de huevo are one of the most popular Colombian breakfast foods that are sold at street food vendors mainly in the Caribbean territories in the northwest of the country like Santa Marta, Baranquilla and Cartagena.
The corn flour pockets are filled with eggs and then fried until cooked through and golden brown.
2. Arepa Boyacense
While they are a common Colombian breakfast food item, they also make for a great snack in the afternoon.
They are perfect with a delicious cup of coffee – a match made in heaven.
Arepa Boyacense originate from the Andean region of Colombia known as El Boyacá. They are more like a thick corn cake than other arepas, nearly as big as an English muffin.
Arepa Boyacense are traditionally made using a pre-cooked yellow corn meal called masarepa combined with flour and sugar.
They are then filled with fresh cheese – an amazing combination of sweet and salty.
3. Aguapanela con Queso
Directly translated, aquapanela con queso means “sugarcane water with cheese.”
It’s simple combination of sugarcane cubes dissolved in boiling water served alongside with a piece of soft, fresh Colombian cheese.
While the dish seems incredibly simple, it packs a punch and again, the combination of sweet and salty is to die for.
4. Bandeja Paisa
Bandeja paisa is Colombia’s national dish. And locals would agree that this Colombian breakfast is the most representative dish of Colombian cuisine.
Most Colombians grow up eating bandeja paisa their entire lives. The dish in engrained in their blood, especially if they move abroad.
Paisa refers to a person from the Andean Paisa region of Colombia, while bandeja is a platter in Spanish.
If you thought the standard English breakfast was enormous, you haven’t yet eaten breakfast in Colombia. The platter is generally made up of arepa, beans, rice, avocado, beef, chorizo, chicharrón, and a fried egg.
It requires at least one or two friends to share and perhaps a nap afterwards!
Bollo is a traditional bread or bun from the coast of Colombia. It can be made using either corn, yuca, or potatoes, and are almost always served with cheese on the side.
There are a number of variations of bollo:
- bollo limpio are corn hominy rolls
- bollo de yuca are made with cassava, also known as yuca
- bollo de mazorca are fresh, steamed corn rolls
Colombian cayeye, also known as mote de guineo, is a traditional Colombian breakfast dish made from mashed green bananas.
The mashed green bananas are then mixed with refrito – a combination of onions, garlic, red bell pepper, achiote, and tomato.
Cayeye is served at breakfast time and the mashed green banana mix is topped with either fried fish, beef, shrimp, or crab and of course, Colombian cheese.
Modern adaptions are often made with avocado and a fried egg, although this is not the traditional serving per se.
Carimañolas are small, delicious yuca fritters that are usually filled with either meat or cheese.
So delicious, they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – the perfect balance of textures.
While they are a great appetizer, they are often eaten at breakfast time too. There are many regional variations of these fritters, but they are popular throughout the country, especially in the Caribbean territories.
They are also a popular Ecuadorian food known as munchines.
Changua is the perfect breakfast in Colombia, especially on a rainy chilly morning.
It is a light and comforting egg and milk soup that is enjoyed by Colombians in the capital city of Bogota.
This traditional Colombian breakfast is served with day old bread on the side or crushed on top. While this Colombian soup is considered a breakfast dish, many eat it throughout the day.
It is a simple dish to prepare – milk and water are boiled with onion, salt, and pepper. The eggs are added in a cooked and the dish is finished off with cilantro and scallions. Buen provecho!
9. Caldo de Costilla
Prevent a hangover with Colombian soup.
Caldo de costilla is a traditional Colombian breakfast dish that hails from the region of Cundinamarca.
It is a hearty rib and potato soup that is the perfect breakfast to warm you up on a cold morning.
Caldo de costilla is all about the broth. Ribs are slow cooked with potato and cilantro and it’s so so good.
If you’re lucky you’ll have a generous portion of the beef short ribs, along with the hearty potatoes. And of course, cilantro to finish it all off.
If you’re out partying in Bogotá it’s common to eat this potato and rib soup before you go home to prevent guayabo or a hangover.
A delicious accompaniment for this great hangover cure is a side of arepa, white rice, avocado, and aji.
10. Huevos Pericos
Huevos pericos is one of the most popular Colombian breakfast foods that is very popular along the coast.
It is also common to find huevos pericos in Venezuela – one of Colombia’s neighboring countries.
This simple Colombian breakfast consists of scrambled eggs that are combined with tomatoes and scallions.
The scrambled egg mix is traditionally served with either bread or arepa with fresh cheese on top.
The dish is then served with a delicious cup of coffee or hot chocolate on the side to complete the meal.
Even if you have never traveled to Colombia, it is highly likely that you have heard of tamales.
While there are many different variations of tamales that can be found throughout Colombia. Each region has its own filling and are wrapped in either corn husks or banana leaves.
Do not make the mistake of eating the wrapped! The banana leaf / corn husk exterior is simply a way to cook them by boiling, steaming, grilling.
Tamales are essentially little corn flour pockets that are filled with two main components – meat (beef, chicken, or pork) and a corn mash called “la masa”.
Colombian Street Food
As there are many different regional variations of tamales other ingredients might get added to the mix. It is common to find ingredients such as carrots, rice, chickpeas, potatoes, boiled eggs and more.
Colombian tamales can be eaten all year and all day long, they are a great breakfast food and best served with arepa and aji (hot sauce).
Tamales are also synonymous with Christmas in Colombia – they are one of the most popular Colombian food items to eat around the holiday period.
12. Migas de Arepa
Migas de arepa, directly translated to “crumbs of arepa.” It is a popular Colombian breakfast that consists of scrambled eggs mixed with pieces of arepa.
It is traditionally served with an onion and tomato sauce and along with it, you’ll usually find beans, avocado and chorizo.
There are many variations of the migas de arepa dish. It is a classic way to use leftovers, as it combines old arepas with other ingredients.
Calentado is another one of the traditional Colombian breakfast foods that originates from the Andean region of the country.
Translating to “heated,” calentado is a combination of beans, rice, chorizo, and eggs that is traditionally served with avocado and arepas.
Calentado was created as a clever way to use the leftover rice and beans from the previous night’s dinner, which are reheated the next day and served with the other items.
You will find this traditional dish throughout Colombia as well as in Colombian restaurants around the world. It is commonly accompanied by a hot chocolate.
Drinks in Colombia
14. Patacón con Queso
Patacones are found throughout Colombia as well as most of Latin America, they are a popular Cuban food called tostones.
They are pieces of green plantain that are lightly oiled and fried until golden and crispy.
Patacones can be found throughout the country and are one of the most versatile Colombian food items.
They can be served as an appetizer and topped with fried fish, braised beef, or even a simple sauce Creole.
Along the Caribbean coast it is very common to have them with suero, a fermented milk sauce that tastes somewhat like cream cheese mixed with sour cream or the common Nicaraguan food called quesillo.
And at breakfast in Colombia they can also be topped off with fresh cheese and enjoyed with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
15. Tortilla Paisana
Tortilla paisana is a traditional breakfast food of the Paisa people from the Antioquia region of Colombia.
It is not the same as the food in Mexico known as tortilla, but closer to the version of tortilla in Spain.
It is essentially an omelet that is made with fried ripe plantains and chorizo.
The eggs are beaten and mixed with the plantain, fried chorizo, and corn and cooked.
While the tortilla paisana can be served for lunch along with an avocado salad, it makes for a delicious Colombian breakfast.
It can be enjoyed along with arepa and of course, a delicious cup of Colombian coffee or a hot chocolate, depending on what you prefer.
16. Colombian Bread – Pan de Bono
If you want a simple breakfast in Colombia there is coffee, hot chocolate and always bread.
Traditional Colombian bread includes pan de yuca, which is a soft cassava or yuca bread. But the most famous is pandebono which has yuca flour, cheese and egg.
It is most famous in Cali Colombia. But you’ll find pan de bono throughout Colombia in various shapes. Some prefer the bagel style and others the balls which are chewy and soft in the middle.
If you’re eating breakfast in Colombia and it’s delicious, post it on Instagram and tag me @Ayngelina so I can share it!