25 Traditional Jordanian Food And Cuisine To Try

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Jordan is famous for spicy meat dishes and healthy vegetables. Muslim and Christian communities are the majority in this Middle Eastern country and the religious occasions and festivals wouldn’t be complete without delicious Jordanian food. 

During Muslim festivals, lamb and goat dishes are presented in abundance, whereas special Christmas cakes are enjoyed during Christmas. 

Due to its geographical location, Jordanian cuisine has a blend of varied cultures and civilizations from North Africa, the Middle East, and Persia. Jordanians are among the most friendly and hospitable people in the world, welcoming you to try traditional Jordanian foods. 

What Is Special About Jordanian Food?  

Jordanian food features fresh bread, fragrant rice, and tender meat. The most common types of meat used in Jordanian dishes are lamb, beef, chicken, goat, and camel. At the same time, there are sides of rice, fresh salads, creamy hummus, and refreshing beverages. 

Most Jordanian foods are flavored with olive oil, herbs, garlic, onion, salt, cumin, tomato sauce, and lemon. There is a blend of spices used for Jordanian dishes called za’atar. It contains local herbs like sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame, and sea salt. 

Most Famous Jordanian Food 

Mansaf (Lamb And Rice)


Mansaf is the favorite Jordanian food of many travelers. It is usually prepared for big gatherings and festivals. The dish is honored as the national dish of Jordan and an opportunity for families to get together for celebrations.

Rice, lamb, and jameed are the key ingredients of this Jordan food. Jameed is hard, ball-shaped dried, and fermented goat yogurt. For mansaf, it is rehydrated and poured onto rice and lamb and also served as a sauce. 

The first bite of Jordanian mansaf will open up the secret of its massive popularity among the locals. The sour and salty taste of jameed is what seals the signature taste of this Jordanian national dish. 

Mansaf is traditionally served on a big tray and everyone gathers around it. To eat it, you pick up some rice and lamb with your right hand, douse it in jameed, and make a small ball. Once the ball is ready, you drop it into your mouth, taking care not to touch your lips to make sure your fingers are not contaminated.  

Jordanian Street Food And Appetizers

Falafel (Fried Or Baked Fritters)


When someone asks about a typical Jordan street food and snack, Falafel is at the top of the list. It is a classic Middle Eastern treat and one of the most popular snacks in this country.

This savory Jordanian food features a mixture of ground chickpeas flavored with various local spices. It is rolled into mini balls and then deep-fried, giving a fluffy delicacy with a crispy texture from the outside. Cumin, garlic, and parsley give this Jordan food a herby flavor. 

You can enjoy it with hummus for a classic Jordanian breakfast. These mini balls are also a significant ingredient of falafel and pita bread sandwiches. It is a common midday meal for locals. 

Warak Enab And Kousa Mahshi (Stuffed Grape Leaves And Zucchini)


Warak enab is stuffed grape leaves and kousa mahshi is stuffed zucchini. These two Middle Eastern treats together make a heavenly delight.

Both of these Jordanian foods are filled with a mixture of rice, ground meat, onion, and seasoning. The ingredients are blended and wrapped up in grape leaves or zucchini.

This Jordanian food tastes best when cooked in a broth of lamb ribs and fats. They melt in your mouth and have a sour and meaty flavor. This Middle Eastern delight is mostly served as an appetizer or a snack. 

Kaek Sandwich (Sesame Bread Sandwich)

Sandwiches are a common Jordan street food widely available everywhere. Kaek sandwiches come with a mini bagel-shaped bread topped with sesame seeds. The crispy toasted sesame seeds give it a sweet fragrance. 

These traditional Jordanian sandwiches have a filling of cheese, hard-baked eggs, salt, and chili sauce sprinkled with za’atar. Among all, kaek sandwiches are the best variant of Jordan sandwiches. They are hot and fluffy on the inside and the perfect amount of crusty on the outside.

Salaheddin Bakery in Amman is a recommended place to try these sandwiches. They are served fresh and piping hot with a heavenly flavor. 

Tabbouleh (Parsley Salad)


Many Jordanian dishes are inspired by Arabian cuisine. Tabbouleh is an Arabic salad that has developed into a signature style of Middle Eastern salad. It is usually served as a mezze with lunch and dinner.

Although you can get this Levantine salad everywhere, the one in Jordan is the best. The Jordanian version features parsley, tomato, and bulgur. All of the ingredients are chopped well and seasoned with lemon and olive oil. 

This vegetable salad is light, refreshing, and very nutritious. You can order this Jordanian food with rice and meat-based dishes.

Manakish (Jordanian Pizza)


Manakish is another excellent food in Jordan originating from the Levant. It looks very similar to pizza and is therefore also known as Arabian pizza. It is a Jordanian herbed flatbread made with soft dough.

The flatbread is stuffed with flavourful ingredients. Traditionally, it contains meat, cheese, olive oil, chilies, and za’atar. It is usually served fresh for breakfast or supper. 

Ara’yes (Stuffed Pita)


Ara’yes is another delicious addition to Jordanian cuisine. This dish features a stuffed double layer of pita bread. The filling includes minced Jordanian lamb, onions, parsley, and seasoning. Finally, it is brushed with olive oil and grilled till golden brown.

The grilling blends the juicy and tender stuffing with the bread. Meanwhile, the outer surface of the bread turns perfectly crisp. This juicy filling further tantalizes your taste buds and gives you an outstanding dining experience.

Dips And Spread In Jordanian Food

Moutabel (Smoky Eggplant Dip)


Baba Ghanoush is rather well known as the common Middle Eastern roasted eggplant dip. While visiting Middle Eastern countries, most visitors expect to try this dish. However, there is another eggplant dip that you can enjoy with your main course called moutabel.

Moutabel is the roasted eggplant dip similar to baba ghanoush with some distinct differences. The main ingredient that makes this Jordanian food different from the former is yogurt. The roasted and peeled eggplant is mixed with yogurt and other spices, which gives it a creamy texture.

You can enjoy this traditional Jordanian food with a variety of meals. It can be consumed warm or cold with pita bread. 

Hummus (Traditional Spread)


Most travelers are aware of and have tried the world-famous hummus. This tempting spread is a Levantine and Middle Eastern treat. When this well-known dish meets the cultural touch of Jordanian cuisine, it delivers another level of taste.

Jordan hummus features almost the same ingredients as any Arabian hummus. It includes chickpeas with lemon juice and tahini (sesame paste). The ingredients together make a creamy and thick paste.

In Jordan, this versatile dip is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You will find several recipes of this staple Bedouin food with slightly different tastes. You can enjoy it with pita bread and crispy raw veggies. 

Fattet Hummus (Chickpea Dip)


In Jordan, you can get a few versions of hummus. All of the variants are delicious, but fattet hummus is one you must try.

This Jordanian food features layers of crispy pita bread soaked in broth. It also includes chickpeas, lemon juice, and yogurt tahini sauce. Compared to regular hummus, it is denser and thicker.

The dominant taste of garbanzo beans and a slight hint of lemon and olive oil in this spread give it a pine-nutty character. Overall it has a fluffy and airy texture. The dish is a common Jordanian breakfast and can also be eaten as an appetizer.

Labneh (Strained Yogurt)


Labneh, also known as strained yogurt, is another delicious addition to Jordanian dishes. It is a thick and creamy cheese yogurt. This culinary delight has its roots in the Levant region.

This cheese yogurt has a sour and creamy taste, like sour yogurt. It is served drizzled with olive oil and garnished with fresh herbs.

In Jordan, labneh is a part of almost every breakfast table. Spread it over Jordanian bread or enjoy it as a dip with anything you like. You can eat it in as many ways as you want.

Main Courses In Jordanian Food

Chicken Liver


Chicken liver is the traditional food in Jordan served as a mezze dish. The chicken liver is sautéed with olive oil and seasonings are added with a slight sprinkle of lemon juice on top.

This exotic Jordanian food has a light seasoning, but its creamy texture manages to give it a unique taste. You can eat it with bread and some hummus and enjoy its divine taste. 

Mujadara (Lentil And Rice Dish)


Mujadara is an everyday Jordanian food that can be made in a relatively short time. This classic food is a simple vegetarian dish with several ingredients and flavors. It is popular throughout the Levant and comes in various styles.

The Jordan variant of mujadara features a combination of lentils and rice with seasoning. The rice and lentils are cooked together to blend well. Mujadara is served topped with caramelized onions and fried fragrant pine nuts. 

The savory toppings of this Jordan food are what make it stand out. The fluffy rice with creamy and crunchy lentils makes it a fantastic dish. It is an ideal Jordanian dish for vegetarians. 

Makdous (Stuffed Eggplants)


Makdous is a Jordanian food of oil-cured eggplants; it is especially popular in various regions of Levantine. The dish is prepared in the early autumn when eggplant season is about to end. 

It features stuffed eggplants that are seasoned with salt and filled with a mixture of chopped nuts, garlic, and chili pepper. Finally, it is fermented with olive oil and pickled for months. 

In Jordan, makdous is usually served for breakfast or supper. You can also have it for dinner or enjoy it as an evening snack.  

Kofta Bi Tahini (Ground Meat And Potatoes In Tahini Sauce)

Kofta bi tahini is another hearty meal of Jordanian cuisine. It is a Middle Eastern dish made with several recipes throughout the world. Overall, it is similar to shish kebab but formed in a relatively different style.

This traditional Jordanian food features a bottom layer of minced kebab. The flat meat patty is topped with potato slices, doused in thick tahini sauce, and then left for baking. The white tahini sauce on top gives it a creamy and rich touch with a slightly nutty taste.

The bottom meat layer turns into a zesty sausage base with a hint of parsley flavor. Overall, the dish has a juicy, saucy, and meaty taste. It is traditionally served with pita bread, but also goes well with rice.

Maqluba (Upside-Down Chicken And Rice)


Maqluba is no less popular than the iconic Jordanian food mansaf. The dish is all about meat or chicken with rice and spices on top.

All the ingredients are cooked together in a pot to turn it into a mind-blowing dish. After cooking, the pot is flipped over a huge plate and garnished with parsley, pine nuts, and lemon slices, thus the name. The rice takes on a meaty broth flavor similar to chicken rice and the meat becomes tender after the long cooking process.

The dish tastes incredible with an Arabian salad on the side including freshly sliced tomatoes and cucumber. You can get this delicious Jordanian food from almost any restaurant. If you are staying in a local guest house that offers this dish, consider trying the home-cooked maqluba for a genuine Jordan taste.  

Jordanian Kebab Dishes

Shawarma (Donner Kebab)


Many people from around the world will be familiar with the iconic dish shawarma. It is a world-famous fast food item loved by almost every age group. The dish has its roots in the Ottoman Empire and is common globally.

Shawarma features spicy meat cubes wrapped in a soft flatbread with veggies and different flavors. Despite having different recipes, typical Jordanian shawarma has the unique touch of the local cuisine. In Jordan, many restaurants serve shawarma with rice or french fries, while some vendors sell it simply as a meat wrap. 

Jordanian Beef Kofta Kebab


Beef kofta kebab is an Arabian-style minced meat dish from Jordan. When this Arabian dish meets Jordanian spices, the result is something incredible.

This Middle Eastern street food looks like meatballs made of mutton, beef, or chicken. The ground meat is mixed with spices and green herbs and baked until it turns tender.

This traditional Jordanian food is served with spicy rice. Some people also recommend eating it with pita bread. A delicious tomato, tahini, or curry sauce also accompanies these kofta kebabs. 

Zarb (Jordanian Barbecue)

Zarb is a Bedouin and Jordanian food similar to Polynesian underground meat roast. In Jordan, the word zarb refers to the underground oven that this dish is cooked in. 

It features a combination of meat, rice, onions, and carrots. The ingredients are placed in a hole in the ground, filled with coals, and covered with blankets and sand to keep them hot. After a few hours of cooking, this smoky and steamy bedouin food is ready to enjoy.

The meat is super tender and succulent. It is traditionally served on huge communal trays and often accompanies rice and salads on the side.

Shish Kebabs


Shish kebabs are popular throughout the Middle East and Levantine. They are made from minced lamb mixed with parsley and salt. The mixture is molded onto a skewer and grilled over burning charcoal. 

Shish kebabs are tender, juicy, and soft meat kebabs with a smoky flavor from charcoal. You can enjoy them with flatbread or rice dishes. They are usually served with pita bread rice, or salad.  

Jordanian Sweets And Desserts

Hareeseh (Semolina Cake)


Now it’s time to discover the sweet delights of Jordanian cuisine. Jordanian sweets are greatly influenced by Arabic, Levantine, and Mediterranean cuisine. Among all, the most common and popular is the Arabic dessert hareeseh.

Hareeseh is a sweet treat made from semolina, coconut, cream, sugar, yogurt, and almonds. The concoction is shaped into brownie, baked until golden brown, and drizzled with sugar syrup on top. The resultant is a Jordanian sweet treat filled with floral notes and a grainy texture.

It is served topped with crushed coconuts. There are various shops throughout the country where you can get this incredible dessert. 

Warbat (Sweet Pastry)

Warbat is another traditional Jordanian food. This Middle Eastern sweet snack is also pronounced as shaabiyat, especially in the Levantine region. It is one of the most popular Jordanian sweets during the holy month of Ramadan. 

The triangular-shaped delicacy resembles the famous baklava. However, it is stuffed with thick cream or sweet custard instead of nuts. 

When you sink your teeth into it, the layers of phyllo dough feel like a flaky pastry packed with incredible filling. It is often served topped with pistachios, almonds, and walnuts and can be enjoyed as a dessert or a snack.

Muhallebi (Milk Pudding)


Muhallebi is a Jordanian milk pudding made for special feasts. The dessert has been popular throughout the Middle East for centuries and is pronounced differently everywhere. It delivers a fulfilling and satisfying sweet taste.

Muhallebi contains mixed ground rice, sugar, milk, and rose water. Chopped almonds and pistachios are also used for garnishing. Overall, it is rich and has a thick and creamy consistency.

It is a delicious dessert usually served chilled after dinner at gatherings and parties, especially during Ramadan and Eid. This classic Jordanian dish can also be bought from bakeries to enjoy as a dessert or tea-time snack. 

Umm Ali (Bread Pudding)


Umm ali is a Jordanian bread pudding that always remains part of Jordanian family meals. It is an Egyptian dessert similar to bread and butter pudding. However, this confectionary is made with puff pastry instead of bread.

This softened dessert features layers of puff pastry, milk, and cream. The top is sprinkled with nuts, cinnamon, raisins, and shredded coconut. It has an appealing golden crust from baking.

The palate is graced with the nutty flavors of pistachios, raisins, and coconut flakes. You can enjoy it as an evening snack with your tea. 

Coffee Or Mint Tea


A food adventure through traditional Jordanian food wouldn’t be complete without a hot cup of coffee or mint tea. These two signature beverages will relieve your stress and tiredness while visiting famous landmarks in Jordan. You can get them from any restaurant or street food stall.

In Jordan, both Turkish and Arabic coffee are available. The Turkish coffee is spiced with cardamom and is strong, thick, and muddy, while the Arabic coffee is slightly pungent with a touch of cardamom. Comparatively, Turkish coffee is more in demand and most travelers also recommend it.

Mint tea is simply black tea that features a few fresh mint leaves. It is usually an after-meal drink to comfort your stomach after heavy Jordanian food. 


Discovering Traditional Jordanian Food

It is a well-known fact about Jordan that food is a significant part of the culture and is used to express the generosity and hospitality of people. Jordanian food is very similar to food in Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria with some variations. It also has a great influence on Turkey, Armenia, and Iraq. 

Most Jordanian dishes contain lamb, chicken, beef, and camel. Seafood is not common in Jordan, but there are plenty of restaurants in Aqaba serving grilled or fried fish. When it comes to vegetarian dishes, Jordan has so many good options catering to different palates!



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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