21 Nigerian Foodstuffs and Ingredients

November 6, 2020
Chy Anegbu
Nigerian foodstuffs

Nigerian foodstuffs and ingredients include spices and major constituents in any Nigerian recipe.

There are lots of foods in Nigeria and similarly, there are myriad of foodstuffs and ingredients used in making these foods.

I will attempt to create a comprehensive list of Nigerian foodstuff and ingredients. You probably know and may have used a couple of them.

I have made thousands of foods in the last few years and I have had to use all of this over and over again.

Nigerian foodstuffs

So I will be making a list of the top 21 ingredients and Nigerian foodstuffs that are popular among Nigerians.

Since there are many tribes and ethnicities in Nigeria, there are unique recipes and foods that are acceptable by every Nigerian, there are a couple of others, however, that are known only to smaller ethnic groups.

Top 21 Nigerian Food Stuff

1. Palm Oil

Palm oil is the major coloring agent for most Nigerian foods. There is no home without a bottle of palm oil. All of Nigerian soups require palm oil as a major ingredient.

That makes it the number one locally made Nigerian foodstuff.

2. Food Sweeteners/ Seasoning Cubes

There are hundreds of different brands for seasoning/stock cubes in Nigeria. They are food sweeteners because they are used to sweetening foods. There is hardly any recipe without a seasoning cube. There are lots of different brands and flavors. Choose wisely.

3. Crayfish

Crayfish are major ingredients for making Nigerian foods. There is hardly any soup without crayfish. It adds a savory taste and aroma to Nigerian soups and stews.

4. Dried Fish

I call this dried fish, but this is dried catfish, it is a popular Nigerian foodstuff that is used for most Nigerian soups, stews, and sauces. Any fish can be dried aside from catfish.

5. Egusi (Melon) Seeds

Egusi seeds - Nigerian ingredients

Since egusi soup is the most popular Nigerian soup, it is only common that the major ingredient is quite popular among Nigerians too.

Egusi seeds are ground and used as soup thickeners.

6. Ogbono Seeds

Ogbono soup is made with ogbono seeds. They have a permanent space in my pantry. There is hardly any Nigerian that doesn’t eat ogbono soup.

7. Yams – Nigerian Foodstuffs

Sliced raw yams

Yams are quite popular in Nigeria. It is a major staple food in Nigeria. Billions of yams tubers are cultivated yearly in Nigeria and sold between August and December of every year.

Different recipes for yams abound in Nigeria as you move from one ethnic group to another. Hence, it deserves a permanent place in this list of Nigerian foodstuffs and ingredients.

8. Goat Meat – Nigerian foodstuffs

This is goat meat, one of the many kinds of meat consumed in Nigeria. Meat is a major ingredient for making Nigerian foods.

Meat is the basic ingredient for Nigerian soups, stews, and sauces. In Nigeria, we have goat meat, cow meat, chicken, etc.

9. Tomatoes & Peppers

Fresh Tomatoes for jollof

Tomatoes and peppers are popular foodstuffs in Nigeria. Peppers are used for literally everything. Soups, stews, and even snack recipes have peppers (chilies) as a vital ingredient.

Tomatoes are used for soups, stews, and others. It is a vital ingredient for the Jollof Rice recipe

10. Garri – Nigerian Foodstuffs

Garri - Nigerian food stuff

Garri (granulated cassava) has a permanent position at my pantry. It is a popular Nigerian foodstuff and the only ingredient required for making eba.

When you pour boiled water over garri, you get eba. Nigerian soups are served with eba, a popular Nigerian swallow.

11. Nigerian ingredients & Spices

There are lots of local spices that are used for Nigerian cooking. The plate above contains some bay leaves, dried onions, thyme, curry powder, and shallots. I use it all as a food seasoning in Nigeria. Foods like tomato stew, pepper soup, and jollof rice require these seasonings.

12. Stockfish Head

Stockfish is a regular ingredient for Nigerian cooking, soups especially. I use stockfish head for most of the soup recipes on this blog. I also use them for ofe akwa and porridge beans.

13. Assorted Meats

Assorted cow beef - Nigerian

Meat is an integral part of Nigerian cooking. Virtually every food in Nigeria is made with either meat or fish. We eat meats from different animals in Nigeria, cow meat is the most popular. There is chicken, goat meat, and a plethora of other.

14. Cocoyam

cocoyam - Nigerian foodstuffs

Cocoyam is an important ingredient (foodstuff) in Nigeria. While there are other ingredients that serve the same purpose as cocoyam, it is still the most popular soup thickener in Nigeria.

15. Salt as Nigerian food ingredient

Salt is never missing in a Nigerian kitchen, heck it is a vital ingredient for making foods around the world.

16. Palm fruit (Banga seeds)

Banga (palm fruits) are generally used as coloring agents. Palm oil is made from banga and used in Nigerian cooking. Hence, banga is a major Nigerian foodstuff.

17. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil - foodstuffs

Vegetable oil is used for cooking and frying foods. Soups, stews, and sauces are made using vegetable oil. In Nigeria, we have a plethora of choices – including olive oil, canola oil, etc.

18. Vegetables

vegetable foodstuff

Nigerian foodstuffs include a plethora of healthy vegetables that are used regularly for Nigerian cooking. Quite a number of them are grown locally while a handful of them are imported. In Nigeria, we have leaves like fluted pumpkin, water leaves, spinach, scent leave, and many others.

19. Onions

onions - Nigerian foodstuff

Onion is used as a major food spice in Nigeria, there are lots of health benefits attached to eating onions. We use them for soups, stews and porridges.

20. Potatoes

Nigerian ingredients

Potatoes are well-known foods in Nigeria, and we have a handful of species. We have red and white potatoes; sweet potatoes and a couple of others.

21. Dried prawn


Dried prawns, just like crayfish are used for making Nigerian foods. They improve the taste and aroma of foods.

Nigerian foodstuffs and ingredients are unique to Nigerian people, although quite several of them exist in different species in other countries, we have dissimilar recipes. A great number of people struggle to identify Nigerian foodstuffs and ingredients, I expect this article will ease that stress.

If you have a question, please use the comment form below.


Georgia A Cole

Chy hello, I am from Liberia and familiar with some of the ingredients used in Nigerian foods but others I am not. Do you have an online store that sell African food ingredients? Thank you. Sincerely Georgia.

August 26, 2021
Chy Anegbu

Thanks for your feedback, I currently don’t have a foodstuff shop. Maybe somewhere in the future.

August 27, 2021
Nkiruka Eluwah

Thank you for this. Very informative and helpful. Excited to try some of the recipes.

July 31, 2021

Thanks, saved me a lot of time

June 23, 2021

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