What Foods Did the Aztecs Eat?

Corn was the main staple food in Aztec culture, and it was combined with fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, fish, gophers, iguanas, salamanders, crayfish, insects, insect eggs, larvae and various fowl and wild game. Turkeys, ducks and dogs were occasionally raised for eating.

Corn was essential because it provided the Aztecs with adequate protein and calories. Corn was often ground into dough and made into tortillas. The Aztecs used whole corn kernels in a soup called pozole. It was common to make tamales by wrapping beans and vegetables in corn husks, then steaming them. The Aztecs used the beans from the cacao tree to make a drink similar to chocolate. They also used algae to make desserts that were similar to cheesecake.

Like corn, beans were a crucial protein source and were served with every meal. They were often combined with vegetables or meats in stews. Fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, chili peppers, sweet potatoes, onions, squash, zucchini, pumpkins and prickly pear cactus, were grown and eaten. Crop diversity was important because Aztecs were very active and required plenty of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Although meat was eaten on occasion, there was not usually an abundance of meat sources in the areas where Aztecs lived.