Ancient Egypt Online

Ancient Egyptian Food

The Nile River and her fertile river banks provided the basis for most ancient Egyptian food. In a land that is otherwise almost completely dry desert land; the people of Egypt are blessed to have soil that is so fertile it is almost completely black. This fertile soil has allowed the Egyptian people to maintain a bountiful agricultural system since the days when the first Egyptians settled along the Nile River, in spite of the fact that Egypt sees very little annual rainfall.

The Nile River produced an abundance of fish, which could be incorporated into a number of ancient Egyptian food recipes. Due to the desert geography of the Egyptian nation, it was extremely difficult for the ancient Egyptian peoples to raise livestock, therefore meats such as pork and beef were not often seen in ancient Egyptian food preparations. Fish likely provided the bulk of meat to the Egyptian diet.

Besides fish, bread and beer contributed to the majority of the ancient Egyptian food and drink diet. The fertile soil deposited by the Nile River allowed the ancient Egyptians to grow wheat in abundance. The wheat could be fermented into beer or prepared in a variety of manners such as bread and cakes. Typical ancient Egyptian foods included recipes made from the wheat and often sweetened with honey. The Egyptian food recipe and preparation of bread seems to have been quite labor intensive, as the wheat would have had to be ground by hand and then baked in archaic ovens.

Ancient Egyptian Food
Egyptian harvest


Vegetables were also common ancient Egyptian foods and a number of recipes featured the use of peas and beans. Onions were also a widespread ancient Egyptian food. In addition, garlic was very well liked. Records indicate that leeks, lettuce, cabbages and turnips were also staples in the typical ancient Egyptian diet.

Figs and dates have always been extremely popular and sensible food crops in the arid Egyptian climate. Grapes were a well liked ancient Egyptian food, both as a fruit and in the form of wine; for those who could afford it.

The menus served by the wealthy and the common families in ancient Egypt, seems to have varied greatly. Some types of ancient Egyptian food could only be afforded by the very wealthy, such as coconuts and olives. As it was difficult to raise livestock on the Egyptian deserts, meat was a luxury ancient Egyptian food and fairly unknown by the commoner. The poorer ancient Egyptian families seemed to have existed solely on whatever vegetables they could grow in a garden, supplemented mainly by wheat dishes; at best.