Have you ever dreamed of traveling to South America and exploring its diverse and vibrant cultures? If so, you might want to start with your taste buds. South America breads are delicious, unique, and go WAY beyond Arepas (but don’t get me wrong – I certainly love me some arepas!)
Mouthwatering journey time through 17 of the best types of bread to try in South America. You will discover how South American bread is made (ingredients!), what they are eaten with (more food!), and where they are most popular (we’ll probably name cities like Santiago and Buenos Aires!) Plus we’ll help you enjoy them.
Whether you prefer your SEO introductory paragraph sweet or savory, soft or crispy, flat or puffy, there are types of SEO I mean South American Breads for every palate and occasion. So get ready to munch, crunch, slurp, and gobble your way through this delectable list of South American breads.
Arepa is a highly versatile cornbread made from ground corn dough or precooked corn flour. It is commonly consumed in Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. In Venezuela, an arepa is eaten at any time of the day, throughout the year. It can be filled with various ingredients, such as cheese, ham, eggs, beans, meat, chicken, avocado, or fish. Some of the most popular varieties are reina pepiada (chicken salad and avocado), pelúa (shredded beef and cheese), and domino (black beans and cheese).
Marraqueta (also known as pan batido and pan francés) is the most popular bread in Chile, a staple food that is often consumed three times a day. It is made with flour, water, salt, and yeast. Two balls of dough are typically joined together before baking, forming a four-part loaf that can be easily broken apart by hand. Marraqueta has a thin crust and a soft crumb, and it is usually eaten with butter, jam, cheese, ham, or avocado. It can also be used to make sandwiches or toast.
3. Pan de queso
Pan de queso is a cheese bread from Colombia, namely the Paisa region where it is extremely popular. The main ingredients are tapioca flour and grated cheese, but it is the fermented cassava starch that gives these rolls their lightness and volume. Pan de queso is typically baked in a wood-fired oven until golden and crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. It can be eaten as a snack or for breakfast, accompanied by hot chocolate or coffee.
Chipa is a simple bun that is the most common food staple in Paraguay. The famous bread is made with cassava flour, lard, and anise. It originates from the Native American people Guarani, indigenous to the Amazon area of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Chipa has a dense texture and a mild flavor that can be enhanced by adding cheese or eggs to the dough. It can be eaten hot or cold, plain or with butter or jam.
5. Pan de bono
Pan de bono is another traditional Colombian bread consisting of yuca flour, cheese, and eggs. The bread is shaped into bagels or balls that are slightly larger than golf balls. Pan de bono has a chewy texture and a cheesy flavor that makes it irresistible. It can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack throughout the day. It goes well with coffee or fruit juice.
Fainá is a unique flatbread made with chickpea flour, black pepper, and lots of fresh herbs. It is extremely popular throughout Argentina and Uruguay. The most prevalent theory about its origin says that Genovese immigrants brought it to Buenos Aires in the early 20th century. Fainá is typically served as an accompaniment to pizza, in a way that pizza slices are topped with a piece of fainá. When paired this way, the dish is then known as pizza a caballo or horseback pizza.
Bollo is a traditional Colombian bun that can be made with corn, yuca, or potatoes. The bun is also very popular in Panama in Spain. Typically, it is served for breakfast when it is accompanied by cheese on the side. All along the Colombian coast, bollo can be bought from numerous street vendors who are selling it freshly prepared from corn leaves in which the buns were wrapped before cooking.
8. Pan de yuca
Pan de yuca is another traditional bread consisting of yuca flour, eggs, and cheese. The bread is also popular in Ecuador, where it is sometimes called pan de queso. Pan de yuca has a chewy texture and a cheesy flavor that makes it irresistible. It can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack throughout the day. It goes well with coffee or fruit juice.
Casabe is a traditional Venezuelan thin flatbread. It is made with flour gained from cassava, an ancient plant native to northern parts of South America. No leavening agent or fat is used in the preparation, and as a result, the bread has an unusually crispy texture. This traditional delicacy has a distinctive taste, it is rarely eaten on its own and usually, like other bread varieties, it is eaten as an accompaniment to other dishes, most commonly stews and soups. Plain casabe is highly versatile and can be improved by either sweet or savory additions.
10. Pan amasado
Pan amasado is a small, round, flat loaf of white bread from Chile, traditionally prepared in rural areas in wood-fired clay ovens. It is a staple of most Chilean meals due to its low price. Pan amasado is made with flour, water, salt, yeast, and sometimes lard or butter. It has a thick crust and a dense crumb, and it is usually eaten with butter, jam, cheese, ham, or avocado. It can also be used to make sandwiches or toast.
Cachapa is a thick corn pancake from Venezuela that resembles a crepe. It is made with fresh corn kernels that are ground into a batter and cooked on a griddle until golden and bubbly. Cachapa can be sweet or savory depending on the toppings. The most common filling is queso de mano, a soft white cheese similar to mozzarella. Other options include ham, cheese, shredded beef, chicken, pork, or beans. Cachapa can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
12. Pan de huevo
Pan de huevo is a Chilean egg bread roll that is typically consumed as a snack at local beaches, where it’s traditionally sold by women wearing all-white uniforms. The bread roll is made with a combination of flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and butter. It is recommended to consume pan de huevo with butter. Interestingly, pan de huevo hardens quickly, so it should be eaten as soon as possible after it has been baked.
Cuñape is a Bolivian cheese bread that is similar to pan de yuca but has a different shape and texture. It is made with cassava flour, cheese, eggs, milk, and salt. Cuñape is shaped into small balls that are flattened slightly before baking. The result is a bread that is crispy on the outside and soft and cheesy on the inside. Cuñape can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack, with coffee or tea.
14. Pao de queijo
Pao de queijo is a Brazilian cheese bread that is also made with cassava flour, cheese, eggs, milk, and oil. Pao de queijo is shaped into small balls that are baked until golden and puffy. The bread has a chewy texture and a mild cheese flavor. Pao de queijo can be eaten plain or with butter, jam, cream cheese, or dulce de leche. It can also be stuffed with various fillings, such as ham, cheese, chicken, or sausage.
15. Pan de coco
Pan de coco is a Honduran coconut bread that is popular along the Caribbean coast of Central America. It is made with flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, milk, and grated coconut. Pan de coco is shaped into round loaves that are baked until golden and fragrant. The bread has a soft crumb and a sweet coconut flavor. Pan de coco can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack, with coffee or hot chocolate.
16. Tortilla de rescoldo
Tortilla de rescoldo is a Chilean flatbread that is cooked directly on hot coals or ashes. It is made with flour, water, salt, and sometimes lard or butter. Tortilla de rescoldo has a rustic appearance and a smoky flavor. It can be eaten plain or with butter, cheese, jam, honey, or pebre (a Chilean salsa). Tortilla de rescoldo can be found in rural areas of Chile or during traditional celebrations.
Chapalele is another Chilean bread that is made with boiled potatoes and flour. It is shaped into flat discs that are cooked in boiling water until they float to the surface. Chapalele can be eaten as a side dish with meat stews or soups. It can also be fried in oil or butter and sprinkled with sugar for a sweet treat.
I hope you enjoyed this culinary adventure through South America and its amazing breads, and felt inspired to go somewhere and try something you might have otherwise skipped.
South America is a continent rich in culinary diversity, and bread is one of the most common and versatile foods that can be found across its countries. From corn-based flatbreads to cheese-filled rolls, there is a type of bread for every taste and occasion.
Learn about the must-try flat breads from around the world here.