If you’re on a hunt for a list of foods that start with N, you’ve come to the right place.
See if you are familiar with these foods you might (or might not!) find in your grocery stores and check out all the fun tidbits about all the foods that start with n.
- Naan bread
- Nacho cheese
- Nance fruit
- Nantua sauce
- Napa cabbage
- Naranjilla fruit
- Nashi pear
- Natal plum
- Navel oranges
- Navy beans
- Necco wafers
- Neufchatel cheese
- New potatoes
- Newburg sauce
- Nigella seeds
- Nilla wafers
- Nonda plum
- Nopal cactus
- Nun’s Puffs
- Nutmeg melon
- Nutritional yeast
- Nutter Butter
Naan bread is a soft leavened bread that is baked in a hot clay tandoor oven until it is lightly charred. It is often made with milk or yogurt, which creates its unique flavor and pillowy texture.
There are many varieties of naan found across cuisines of Western Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, and Northern India.
Naan can be served with curries or dips, used as a sandwich bread, or as the base of a pizza.
Nacho cheese refers to a blend of melted cheeses and spices that’s served with tortilla chips. Which may seem vague, but that’s because nacho cheese isn’t any specific kind of cheese. In fact, the FDA has no definition or standard for nacho cheese.
Even a spokesperson for General Mills, which owns Old El Paso, when asked what nacho cheese is said, “[It] really is based on what consumers are used to and what they believe nacho cheese flavor is.”
Nachos are a delicious dish consisting of tortilla chips topped with any number of yummy things like: melted cheddar cheese, ground beef or chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, salsa, and sour cream.
They’re a staple at sporting events and any restaurant serving Mexican cuisine and can be anything from an appetizer to a main course, depending on how high they’re piled.
Wondering where the name “nacho” came from? Why, none other than Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, the cook who first created the dish in Mexico in 1940.
Nance fruit is a sweet, round tropical fruit that looks like a yellow cherry. It grows throughout Central and Latin American and across the Caribbean. It has a strong odor and a unique, sweet taste that can resemble banana, lychee, and pear.
Nance fruit can be eaten peeled or unpeeled, raw in smoothies and salads, or cooked into syrups and vinegars and added to savory dishes.
Nantua sauce is a classic French creamy seafood sauce that is traditionally made with Bechamel, crayfish butter, and cream. The color of the sauce can vary from yellowish-orange to vivid red. It is typically garnished with crayfish tails and served with seafood dishes.
Nantua sauce is named for the city of Nantua, which is known for its crayfish.
Napa cabbage, a type of Chinese cabbage, is related to broccoli, bok choy, and cauliflower and has a crunchy texture and sweet, mild flavor. It has a large head and firmly-packed pale green leaves that can be eaten raw or cooked.
Commonly used in East Asian cuisine, napa cabbage is a main ingredient in kimchi as well as stir fries, soups, and salads.
Naranjilla fruits are small, round fruits native to South America that look like little oranges. In fact, the name translates to “little orange” in Spanish.
It has a green pulp with a jelly-like consistency with an intensely tangy citrus flavor that tastes like a combination of pineapple and lemon. It is usually consumed as a fresh juice by blending the pulp with sugar and water.
You might know nashi pear by another name: Asian pear. It is a round fruit that resembles an apple, but with a brown or yellow skin.
Not only does it look like an apple, but it also has the same crisp texture as an apple, but the sweet flavor of a pear — earning its other name, apple pear.
Nashi pears can be eaten and prepared like other pears, fresh out of hand or in salads, or cooked in compotes, baked goods, and other sweet or savory dishes.
Nasturtium is an annual plant with bright, colorful flowers that you might know from your garden. But did you know you can also eat them?
The entire plant is edible including leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds. The leaves and flowers have a peppery, spicy flavor, making them popular in salads, vinaigrettes, sauces, and dips. They can also be used in cooked dishes — usually added at the last minute.
Natal plum is a popular tropical landscaping shrub that bears small 1-2 inch red-colored fruits that taste like cranberries. Though the natal plum is unrelated to the plum, they are so named because of their shape and color.
Natal plums can be eaten fresh out of hand or chopped and tossed in salads, or cooked down into jams, jellies, chutneys, and pie fillings.
Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans that have been fermented with a certain type of bacteria. The fermentation process creates an enzyme that has powerful health effects.
Natto has a strong flavor and sticky, slimy texture that can be a bit off putting for some, though it is a much beloved dish for others.
To appease those who find the smell and texture unappealing, but still want to cash in on the health benefits of consuming natto, dried natto and fried natto may be more palatable alternatives.
Natto is typically served at breakfast with rice, soy sauce, and karashi mustard.
Navel oranges are a juicy, sweet orange citrus fruit best suited for eating out of hand and in salads, sauces, and desserts. The fruit is made up of 10-12 juicys sections of seedless flesh that has a sweet, tart flavor.
The juice of navel oranges can get bitter when exposed to oxygen, so it is not ideally suited for making orange juice.
Navel oranges get their name from the indentation in the rind that resembles a human belly button.
Navy beans are a small, dry white bean with an oval shape, commonly used for making baked beans and bean soups. They have a mild flavor with a dense, smooth texture and can be purchased dry or canned.
Navy beans are named as such because they were a staple food in the US Navy.
Neapolitan is a type of ice cream comprising three flavors molded together: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. This delicious flavor combo has inspired other dessert recipes including cakes, cookies, fudge, mousse, and more.
Necco Wafers are a brand of disk-shaped pastel-colored candy sold in rolls, created by the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) in 1847.
Each roll includes 8 flavors, including lemon, lime, orange, clove, cinnamon, licorice, chocolate, and wintergreen — which people either love or love to hate (some likening it to chalk or antacids).
Whether you love them or don’t love them, I think we can all agree they make the BEST gingerbread house shingles!
Nectar refers to the juice from fruits like apricots, peaches, and pears, for example. It is typically thicker than fruit juices and made drinkable with the addition of water, additives, sweeteners, and preservatives.
Nectar can be consumed on its own, as a fruit drink, or added to other drinks and dishes to add fruity flavor.
Did you know that nectarines are actually peaches with smooth skin? They were developed as a result of a genetic mutation and can be found growing on the same trees as peaches (!).
Nectarines are round with smooth yellow-red skin and soft light yellow flesh — that are both edible — and a hard stone center that is inedible. They have a sweet, aromatic flavor making them perfect for snacking or using in jams, jellies, baked goods, as well as savory dishes.
Neep is the Scottish name for a turnip, also known as a swede or rutabaga. They may also be called “nips,” short for turnips.
Neeps are a hard winter root vegetable that is globe-shaped with a purple exterior and yellowish interior. They can be notoriously difficult to peel and chop, but once the job is done, they are delicious boiled and mashed, roasted, even as a low-carb potato alternative.
In Scotland, neeps are traditionally served with potatoes, or “tatties,” and haggis.
Nerds are a brand of mini pebble-shaped candy (basically, clusters of sugar) that comes in a variety of colors and flavors. They come in double-flavored boxes with two individual sides, each with its own flavor and spout.
The original flavor combo was strawberry and grape, but today, flavors range the gamut from sweet to sour.
Did you know? Spin-offs of Nerds have included gum balls, cereal, jelly beans, slushies, and DQ Blizzards!
If you’re thinking … nettle as in stinging nettle? Yes, that’s the one, that leafy green plant with stingers. Once you carefully remove the stingers, with gloves, then soak or cook them, you can eat them. Apparently, they have an earthy flavor similar to spinach, but with a bit of tang.
Nettles can be consumed raw or cooked as a tea, sauteed, or in pesto, sauces, casseroles, and smoothies.
Neufchatel cheese is a soft, unripened cow’s milk cheese that is made in the Neufchatel-en-Bray region of Normandy, France. It has a dry, white rind, a smooth, creamy texture, and mild flavor.
You may know Neufchatel as that lower-fat substitute for cream cheese we see in grocery stores, but that’s American Neufchatel, which is different from French Neufchatel. Though the two are very similar, American Neufchatel contains cream.
Neufchatel can be used in the same ways cream cheese can: in cheesecakes, dips, cheeseballs, pasta, or simply slathered on a bagel.
New potatoes aren’t any particular variety of potatoes. The term simply refers to any type of young potato.
Prized for its thin skin, low starch content, and a waxy texture, new potatoes are popular in potato salads because they retain their shape when cooked. New potatoes become deliciously creamy when boiled and the delicate skins become perfectly crispy when roasted.
Newburg sauce is a rich, cream sauce made with butter, flour, cream, egg yolks, dry sherry, and spices like paprika, nutmeg, and cayenne.
This decadent sauce is commonly associated with lobster Newburg or seafood Newburg because it is commonly served with lobster or shrimp — there is no seafood in the sauce itself.
It can also be served over noodles, rice, toast, or puff pastry.
Nigella seeds are black tear-drop shaped seeds with a strong aroma and bitter flavor, described as a mix of onions and oregano. They are commonly used as a spice in South Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines.
Nigella seeds can be sprinkled on salads and cooked vegetables, added to rice or potato dishes, or baked into breads like naan or focaccia.
Nilla Wafers is a beloved brand of Nabisco vanilla wafer-style cookies that got its name as a shortened version of its original moniker: Nabisco Vanilla Wafers.
These round, thin wafer cookies are a staple ingredient in Southern banana pudding (before that, it was made with lady fingers or sponge cake!). They also make awesome pie crusts, icebox cakes, and a simple snack with milk.
Noisette is a French word for “hazelnut,” that can refer to any one of many types of food, including:
- A small round piece of meat, usually lamb, veal, or pork
- Browned butter sauce, aka beurre noisette, which can be used to add a nutty, toasted flavor to any recipe
- Chocolate with hazelnuts, as in the Milka Noisette Chocolate Bar or any number of recipe containing this rich and flavorful combination
- A shot of espresso with a couple drops of steamed milk, with “noisette” referring to its color, not taste
Nonda plum is the edible fruit of a small tree or shrub that grows in northern Australia and New Guinea. These orange-brown egg-shaped fruits have a dry, yellowish flesh that some say tastes similar to a baked potato.
Nonda plum was eaten as survival food by the aboriginals and early explorers of Australia.
Nonpareils are decorative confectionery balls made from sugar and starch. They were traditionally opaque white, but are now available in many colors. They are used as a decoration on candies, cakes, cookies, ice cream, and all types of sweet treats — like animal crackers!
Nonpareils are best used as a decoration, not in baking, because the color can bleed during baking.
Nonpareils are also the name for discs of chocolate coated with … you guessed it .. nonpareils!
We all know what noodles are, right? Narrow strips of unleavened dough that has been rolled thin, dried, boiled, delicious served alone, with sauce, or in soups or casserole dishes.
I mean, it’s a staple food in China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Italy … many, many (many!) cultures around the world.
But did you know that noodles are at least 4000 years old? And while their origins are most associated with China or Italy, the name most likely came from the German word “nudel” which means dumpling?
AND that instant ramen noodles were invented in 1958 and, in a Japanese poll, named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century?
Now you do.
Nopal cactus is also known as prickly pear cactus. It’s a cactus with oval flat pads and sweet, egg-shaped fruits — both of which are edible. The paddles are called nopales and the bright pink fruits are called prickly pear.
Prickly pear has a sweet flavor with a bubble gum, raspberry flavor. The juice is used for making jam, candy, vinaigrettes, and cocktails.
You can read more about nopales, coming up next!
Nopales are the paddles of a prickly pear cactus. They have a thick, meaty texture and mild flavor similar to asparagus and okra.
They are a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine, and commonly served cooked in a variety of dishes including salads and tacos
Nori is probably best known as those thin, green dried sheets used to wrap sushi. Those sheets are called nori, which is edible seaweed made from a type of red algae in pretty much the same way that paper is made.
So we know nori does a great job holding sushi together, but it also adds its unique grassy, briny flavor to lots of other things.
Nori is commonly used in Japanese cuisine to wrap sushi and rice balls, and it can also be used in rice dishes, to add crunch to soups or salads, and also as a snack.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “nougat,” I immediately think of the center of a candy bar. But nougat doesn’t need to be enrobed in chocolate and layered with caramel to be a delicious sweet treat. Though, it certainly doesn’t hurt!
On its own, nougat is a fluffy confection made from sugar or honey and egg whites, and sometimes nuts or fruit. Traditional nougat is sticky and chewy with a marshmallow flavor, and resembles fudge. It’s commonly served as a treat around Christmas time in Europe.
Ah, nuggets, the classic all-American fast-food staple and don’t-know-what-to-make-for-dinner fall back. These little battered and fried (or baked) pieces of chicken or fish can be consumed for lunch or dinner, or as an appetizer or snack — and with at least one dipping sauce.
Probably the most well-known nuggets of them all are McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, which have endured their fair share of controversy, being accused of being made of “pink slime.” While no one will be claiming their health food, Mickey Ds has assured us their chicken nuggets are made from boneless white-meat chicken.
Nun’s Puffs are a dessert pastry from France made from choux dough. They’re either fried or baked in muffin cups, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and served with honey or piped with a creamy filling.
Not unlike a beignet, nun’s puffs have been described as something like a cream puff with the texture of a popover.
Most of us call any edible, hard seed or legume inside a hard shell a nut. Like peanuts, almonds, walnuts — we call them all nuts.
Botanically speaking, however, a nut is actually a shell that contains both the seed and the dry fruit, such as acorns, chestnuts, and hazelnuts.
Turns out, cashews, almonds, and pistachios are technically drupes, which is a fruit with an outer flesh that surrounds a shell with a seed inside. (Peaches, plums, and cherries are also drupes).
Nutella is everyone’s favorite hazelnut cocoa spread that we love to slather on toast, waffles, and French toast, spoon over ice cream, or dip pretty much anything in — like a spoon.
Nutella was introduced in 1964, but versions of it were around before that. In 1946, a baker from Piedmont, Italy (a town famous for its hazelnut production) used a clever combination of hazelnuts and sugar to stretch cocoa when it was scarce after World War II. It was originally sold as a block, but by 1951 it had become a creamy spread, more like what we know today. Then in 1964, perfection was improved upon yet again and Nutella was created.
The very first recipe contained about 70% hazelnuts and 30% chocolate. Today, depending on which country you buy it in, it’s closer to 13% hazelnuts and 7% cocoa.
Nutmeg is the seed of a tropical evergreen tree that, when ground, produces a warm spice that may make you think of cozy fall beverages and desserts.
Nutmeg has a sweet and nutty flavor and distinct aroma — both of which can overpower a recipe if applied to liberally. You can purchase nutmeg pre-ground in canisters or as a whole seed, which can be grated directly into dishes.
Nutmeg is well-known in pumpkin pie, apple pie, and to add a bit of mystery to Alfredo, bechamel, and other cream and cheese sauces.
Fun fact: nutmeg and mace both come from the same tree! Nutmeg comes from the inner seed, while mace comes from a red lacey substance that covers the seed.
Nutmeg melon is also known as Montreal melon, a type of muskmelon with a thin rind and sweet, green flesh with a spicy flavor similar to nutmeg. Its shape, netting, and aroma are also reminiscent of nutmeg.
This particular variety of melon was highly sought after in Montreal in the first half of the 1900s. But it disappeared due to labor issues, urban development, and vanishing farms.
The melon reappeared again in the late 1990s when a Montreal farmer got his hands on some heirloom seeds, figured out how to grow them, and gave away as many seeds as possible to make sure they never disappeared again. They aren’t nearly as popular as their original heyday because they can be difficult to grow, but they’re back!
Nutritional yeast, aka “nooch” is deactivated yeast that is used, not for baking, but as a nutrition-packed savory seasoning that adds nutty, cheesy flavor to pasta, salads, popcorn, vegetables, and more. It can also be used to thicken sauces.
Nutritional yeast is a light yellow color, comes in flakes, powder, or granules, and you can find it in the spice section of the grocery store.
Nutter Butter is an iconic brand of peanut butter sandwich cookies featuring a peanut shape, waffle pattern, and creamy peanut butter filling. Nabisco first introduced the cookies in 1969, but even the company itself can’t quite say who came up with the recipe or the clever design.
Nutter Butters are delicious with a cold glass of milk, but they’re also fun to use in recipes like pie, ice box cakes, truffles — and their minis are adorable on the top of a cupcake — and dunked into my chocolate dip!