pesto in mortar

15 Best Sicilian foods to try in Sicily

The Sicilian food is among the richest and most complex in the Mediterranean due to the influx of different civilizations that have left their mark not just in the buildings and monuments but also in the food. From traditional sicilian recipes to street food there are plenty of delicious delicacies for you to try.

Here is my list of the 15 best Sicilian dishes:

Cassata Siciliana

Cassata siciliana cake
Photo Source: Cappello Patisserie

Prepared with ricotta, chocolate, candied fruit, marzipan and many other ingredients laid on a delicious sponge cake. It is a “baroque” style cake with rich decorations, able to amaze anyone with its particular taste. If you are staying in Palermo I definitely recommend you buy it from Cappello Pasticceria. In my opinion the best patisserie in Palermo! I promise I am not affiliated with them.

Granita con Brioche

Image source: Sicily on web

The Sicilian breakfast does not include the typical cappuccino, but a very good granita served with a brioche bun.

The Sicilian granita is a semi frozen dessert made from fresh lemon juice, water and sugar. The lemon one is the original one, today there are other flavours too.

Arancine (Sicilian rice balls)

Sicilian arancini

The Arancine are a must in Sicily. There are 2 main types: “con carne” or “al burro”. The first one is a ball of breaded and fried rice, filled with the typical ragù (bolognese), the second is still a ball of breaded and fried rice but is filled with ham and mozzarella (this is my favourite flavour). The Arancine are an ancient “finger food” of Arab origin, loved throughout Sicily and envied by the rest of the world. This is a firm favourite in our house – yum yum! 

Pasta Pesto Trapanese

pesto in mortar

Trapani pesto: the Trapani summer dish for excellence. The seasoning is based on fresh tomatoes cut into chunks, basil, garlic, almonds and extra virgin olive oil. It is prepared by pounding the ingredients in the mortar.

See also: Best ways to travel around Sicily

Cous Cous di Pesce

Many believe that couscous is a typically North African dish, but it is not quite like this: in Sicily it is used as a base for many excellent dishes, especially in the Trapani area. This variant includes the use of a characteristic pot called “couscoussiera” and the dressing of a delicious fish broth. 

If you love Cous-Cous, in the Province of Trapani in the town of San Vito Lo Capo, don’t miss the International Cous-Cous Festival in September.

Caponata Siciliana 

The caponata (capunata in Sicilian) is a typical product of the Sicilian cuisine. It is a set of fried aubergines, seasoned with tomato sauce, celery, onion, olives and capers, in sweet and sour sauce. It can be enjoyed hot or cold. 

Pane e Panelle (chickpea fritters in a bun)

The typical Palermo sandwich is with the “panelle”, that is the chickpea flour fritters flanked by some tasty pepper and parsley croquettes called “cazzilli”. Taste it during a walk through the streets of this wonderful city!

Martorana Fruit (Almond Paste)

The typical Sicilian almonds are used in the recipe of many sweets and biscuits prepared by the pastry shops of each city, based on “royal pasta” or “martorana fruit”. These are quite sweet so a piece is more than enough unless you love sweet stuff.

Pasta con le sarde (sardines)

The pasta with sardines is a Typical sicilian dish, the main ingredients are sardines, wild fennel, sultana, saffron and a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumb that was used in the old days instead of cheese. The pasta shape has to be bucatini which is a thicker version of spaghetti. This is a typical example of “cucina povera”.

Cannoli with Ricotta

image source: Cappello Patisserie

The famous Sicilian cannoli are one of the best known Sicilian pastries, consisting of a crunchy wafer shell filled with sheep ricotta, chocolate drops and candied fruit peel.

This is my favourite dessert! And are becoming very popular all over the world.

Pane cunzatu

One of the pillars of the Sicilian country kitchen. It consists of homemade bread, cooked in a wood-fired oven, cut lengthwise in half, seasoned (in sicilian dialect, cunzatu) with fresh tomatoes, caciocavallo (strong cheese), anchovies, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. It marries up well with a nice glass of red wine. 🙂


This typical sicilian dish consists of fried aubergines, tomato passata, fresh basil and plenty of Parmesan. It is arranged in layers of aubergine, tomato sauce, basil and parmesan.

It is served hot or cold, I prefer it cold.

Sarde a Beccafico

Another typical dish of the traditional sicilian cuisine. It consists mainly of sardines that wrap around a fragrant chopped onion, parsley, breadcrumbs and “passolina and pinoli”(raisins and pine nuts). Very tasty. 

Sfincione Palermitano

The Palermo sfincione the excellent street food that we find in the streets of Palermo but you will also find it in bakeries, pizzerias and rotisseries and you will be attracted by its delicious smell of tomato and anchovies.

Pasta alla norma

This speciality typical from Catania was made as a culinary homage to the most beautiful work of the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini: The Norma. 

A tasty pasta dish with fresh tomato sauce and fried aubergines. But it would not be pasta alla Norma without the addition of fresh basil leaves and a generous grated salted ricotta cheese added before serving.

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