Top 10 Panamanian Cookbooks to Spice Up Your Dinner

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Hi, I am Chef Zara. In this post, I will guide you through the best Panamanian Cookbooks. Join me on this journey of taste and discovery.

I love discovering new food and cooking with friends and family. One of the most common questions that I often get is for cookbook recommendations. I have created this guide for friends, family, and new friends alike. I hope that you enjoy our site.

Panamanian Cuisine

Ever since the building of the Panama Canal began in 1904, immigrants from different parts of the world began flocking to the isthmus. With their migration came their cuisines, which merged with the traditional food of the natives. That is why Panamanian cuisine has Spanish, African, European, Chinese, and even Indian influences. Main ingredients consist of local ingredients abundant in the tropical area (check out our guide on the Best Puerto Rican Cookbooks) such as corn, rice, and plantains, as well as fish, chicken, and beef. Panamanian foods may not be as widely known as other cuisines, but if you want to try your hand at its varied and delicious recipes — meals like Carne Frita and Chicharrones — these 10 cookbooks are a great place to start! These cookbooks are a great resource when making food for a party, special occasion, or even just dinner with family.

The 10 Best Panamanian Cookbooks

1. Taste of Panama: Recipes From My Family to Yours

What better way to make Panamanian food than to grab it straight from a family recipe, right? This cookbook includes 25 easy-to-follow and delicious recipes that your guests are sure to love. From famous dishes like Hojaldras, Carne Frita, and Chicharrones, this book features Panamanian essentials that are sure to excite your tastebuds.

“I absolutely recommend this book to all cooks as an excellent reference to Panamanian style and cuisine!” – Sara

“Overall all, I am really pleased with the “Taste of Panama” book. The recipes that I have made so far are really tasty.” – Roxitheatre

About the Author

Anelia Sutton is a native of Panama and writes non-fiction books. A photo book on the Taste of Panama: Recipes From My Family to Yours, is also available on Amazon.

This cookbook is available on Kindle and paperback.

2. Perfect Panama Recipes: A Go-To Cookbook of Latin American Dish Ideas!

Panamanian foods are especially unique, as it is influenced by African, Spanish, Afro-Antillean, and Amerindian cultures. This cookbook provides recipes that reflect that rich influence. Featuring savory dishes like Panamanian Sancocho, wich is also eaten in Guatemala (check out our guide on the Best Guatemalan Cookbooks), you can’t go wrong with this book in your kitchen.

“Here it is. And only tried a couple so far and brings back a lot of great memories of the delicious food from Panama.” – Joe

“Nicely written and organized. The recipes were tasty with easy-to-understand and follow directions.” – NM

About the Author

Julia Chiles, a culinarian, has also authored various other cookbooks.

This Panamanian cookbook is available on both Kindle and paperback.

3. The Panama Canal Zone Cookbook: Back To The Zone; The Multicultural Foods Of My Childhood In The Panama Canal Zone.

Ever since the Panama Canal’s construction, immigrants from all over the world have flocked to the area, bringing with them their food culture. This Panamanian cookbook has a huge collection of traditional Panamanian food, featuring instructions on creating tortillas, sauces and dips, hummus, soups, and salads. With such a wide selection, you can surprise guests with a new meal time and time again. Another huge plus is the included substitutes for ingredients that you might find hard to source from your local market.

“Having grown up in the Canal Zone, I absolutely love the recipes in the book.” – S. Alvez

“Being a Zonie, I loved the introduction!! The cookbook is well thought out. Not only are the recipes great, but it breaks it down for everybody to enjoy and understand (with some humor, which is great)! A lot of thought and time went into every recipe! And the list of substitutes is great. That itself had to take a lot of time and research!”

About the Author

The author of this cookbook, Matthew D. Armistead, is a US Air Force retiree who grew up in the Panama Canal Zone. His cooking experience extends from his mother’s kitchen to the present day. He has catered to numerous large groups over the years.

This cookbook is available as a hardcover and paperback.

4. Taste of Panamanian Cuisine (Latin American Cuisine Book 16)

Panama may not be world famous for its cuisine, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an ample number of dishes to savor. This collection in particular has 160 Panamanian recipes which is a testament to the country’s Spanish, Indigenous and Afro-Caribbean cultures. With simple and easy-to-follow directions and cooking measurement conversions, trying out these traditional Panamanian food recipes will be an easy and fun experience.

About the Author

Goce Nikolovski has written a lot of cookbooks about Latin American, Caribbean, and Balkan cuisine.

This cookbook is only available on Kindle.

5. Ultimate Cookbook of Panama: Secrets of the Tropical Kitchen

As the author is a native of Panama, this cookbook is as authentic as they come. Other than the food though, this cookbook includes the culinary history of Panama and its roots, as well as cooking tips and tricks to help you successfully create the recipe you want. It even has two pages of condiments and seasonings that go perfect with the food you choose to make. With 39 recipes from starters to beverages, this cookbook is an absolute go-to.

“I found this book by accident, it provides an excellent explanation of each recipe. Even I can cook (a newbie in the kitchen) following the well-written instructions supported by color pictures of each phase while cooking.” – Artur

About the Author

The author of this book, Margoth Hampton, is the star/creator of “Panama Tropic” on YouTube. She has also translated this book into several languages. She has also written several children’s books.

6. Cocina Panameña / Panamanian Cusine (English and Spanish Edition)

This is the fourth edition of a widely popular and well-received cookbook of Panamanian dishes. Included in this edition is a considerable number of meals guaranteed to bring you closer to capturing the taste of “Panama”. With recipes originally selected by Professor Bertha de Peláez, you will find not only the most popular of culinary delicacies but also some of the easiest! This cookbook includes some simple, sometimes forgotten sweets, delicious fried food, and various products abundant in Panama’s geographical location. Since different methods and ingredients are used for Panamanian food depending on the region, the team who made this cookbook tried out each one before making their final selections. The authors even persuade the reader to give their own personal touch to each food once they’ve tried it out.

7. Delectable Dishes of Panamanian Cuisine

Chef Roland Petrov, the author of this cookbook, documented the foods he ate in Panama during his numerous trips to the Canal Zone. He recreated and took stunning photographs of these Panamanian foods, which he includes in the book. The Chef also includes snippets of how he came into contact with these foods, making this particular cookbook a great read. This cookbook has a total of 40 dishes to choose from, including stews, soups, barbeques and fruit salads. Couple that with simple-to-follow instructions and a guide on sourcing these various recipes, Delectable Dishes of Panamanian Cuisine is certain to make a great addition to your cookbook collection.

“This makes for a refreshing change. As someone who collects and tries to use cookbooks, I am a little fed up of over- elaborate recipes that require sourcing ingredients from inaccessible specialist shops. This book leaves me room to improvise and try some new dishes. A welcome addition to my cookbook collection.”

“This is a cook book I can use. Written obviously by a chef who has passion for his food and for his writing.” – Nick

About the Author

Chef Roland Petrov specializes in international cuisine. He also wrote another cookbook entitled Coachella Desert Cuisine.

This cookbook is available both as a paperback and on Kindle.

8. Flavors of Panama

Panamanian cuisine is a unique assortment of different foods from a wide variety of cultures, which is exactly what this guidebook/cookbook is offering its buyers. Not just a recipe book, Flavors of Panama also includes culture, folklore, history, and tradition. You are getting more than just a cookbook if you choose to buy this one!

This book is like walking on the streets of Panama itself. And after reading everything about Panama, you can relax and enjoy its exotic and spicy dishes – anything you choose to try out from its huge assortment of recipes is sure to be a treat.

Most of the recipes in this cookbook are provided by various people from different regions in Panama, thus giving more insight into the different techniques and methods, and even varying ingredients used by the natives of this country. The cookbook also includes some cultural notes after the recipes, and what better way to eat Panamanian food than the authentic way, right? This book also includes menu ideas, holidays, celebrations, and eating patterns of the Panamanian people.

“Had a Panamanian look over these recipes, was very impressed and nostalgic….just like back home!” – guns & roses

“It contains all the recipes that I remember from my years growing up in Panama, and the recipes that my mother and grandmother made at home.” – Cynthia Lewis

About the Authors

Its authors are Nilsa Lasso-von Lang and Jiwanda Gale Rogers.

This book is available on Kindle, paperback, and hardcover.

9. T’Ach: Authentic Panamanian Cuisine

This Panamanian cookbook boasts beautiful food imagery alongside easy-to-follow instructions for cooking traditional Panamanian cuisine. The recipes are easy enough for a newbie in a kitchen and delicious enough for a local Panamanian. this book has it all!

“I didn’t know a lot about Panamanian food. But this book has amazing recipes with beautiful pictures that has really opened my eyes to this part of the world!” – n/a

About the Authors

Its authors Monica Kupfer, Charlie Collins, Olga Sanmartin, Sergio Ochoa, and Alfredo Castillero Calvo, have written various subjects with regards to different things relating to Panama.

10. Cocina Panameña (English and Spanish Edition)

A compilation of traditional and everyday Panamanian recipes, this cookbook has full-color images with delicious recipes you can easily try at home. Divided into different sections, Cocina Panameña makes it easy to decide what kind of food you want to try. The authenticity and overall wonderfulness you will get from creating the recipes in this cookbook will surely bring Panamanian cuisine right to your home!

Customer review: “I’m from Panama and I have been looking for a book like this for long time, I love the originality of the recipes! I often cook for friends and they really enjoy Panamanian food.” – Yaneth

“I purchased this for myself and my husband who is Panamanian. I wanted to be able to cook him some traditional recipes from home. For the longest time, I was unable to find any Panamanian cookbooks, and the few that I did find were not authentic recipes. Finally, I found this book! Not only are the recipes from his homeland… But they taste wonderful too.” – Lkuzmano

About the Authors

Its authors are Berta de Peláez; Joel Chang Jiménez; Jennifer Goldner; Julie Arias; Distribuidora Lewis.

This cookbook is only available in hardcover.


Panamanian cuisine’s wide range of influences provides a uniquely pleasurable and exotic culinary experience, and though its food may not be as well-known as another culture’s food — think Italian or Chinese — the delights offered by the Isthmus of Panama are sure to become a staple in your kitchen.

Best Panamanian Cookbooks Summary

09/29/2022 08:41 am GMT
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Chef Zara is the founder and chief editor for Bakeaholic. He loves bringing smiles to people with the delicious visuals, smells, and tastes of food. Chef Zara's passion for baking started at a very young age, and he has never looked back since. He enjoys experimenting with different flavors and combinations, and takes great pride in creating unique recipes that will tantalize your taste buds. When he’s not whipping up something delectable in the kitchen, Chef Zara can be found exploring new culinary delights around the world.

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