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What foods did the ancient Egyptians eat?


Sennofer worked for Amenhotep II as a supervisor of the gardens of the Temple of Amun.

Sennofer worked for Amenhotep II as a supervisor of the gardens of the Temple of Amun. Vines and grapes on the ceiling.

CC Flickr User kudumomo.
Question: What foods did the ancient Egyptians eat?

The diet of the ancient Egyptians depended on social position and wealth. Tomb paintings, medical treatises, and archaeology reveal a variety of foods. Peasants might eat a limited diet, including the staples of bread and beer, complemented by dates, vegetables, and pickled and salted fish, but the wealthy had a large range to choose from.


Barley, spelt, or emmer wheat provided the basic material for bread, which would be leavened by sour dough or yeast, and beer.


Grapes were grown for wine.

Fruit and Vegetables

Vegetables included onions, leeks, garlic, and lettuce. Legumes included lupines, chickpeas, broad beans, and lentils. Fruit included melon, fig, date, palm coconut, apple, and pomegranate. The carob was used medicinally and, perhaps, for food.

Animals and By-Products

Domesticated animals, oxen, sheep, goats, and swine, provided dairy products, meat, and by-products, with sacrificial-animal blood used for blood sausages, and beef and pork fat used for cooking. Geese, ducks, quail, pigeons, and pelicans were available as fowl. Eggs were eaten. Goose fat was also used for cooking.

Other Dietary Items

Oil was derived from ben-nuts. There were also sesame, linseed, and castor oils. Honey was available as a sweetener, and vinegar may have been known. Seasonings included salt, juniper, aniseed, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, and poppyseed.


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