Karnataka has one of the mildest cuisines in India. It has many different and diverse regions, each with its own unique Karnataka foods to try. Regions in Karnataka like North Karnataka, South Karnataka, Kodagu, Udupi, and Mangalore have their own staples and specialties, from vegetarian popular dishes to seafood and meat curries. Cuisine of Karnataka is also influenced by its neighbors, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu to the south and Maharashtra to the north. It is also said to be one of the oldest cuisines in the country, dating back to the Iron Age.

The staple food items of Karnataka include rice, raagi, and jower (millet). A traditional meal in Karnataka is made up of huli (thick broth cooked with vegetables, lentils and ground paste of coconut, chili, tamarind, and spices), palya (vegetables), tovve (cooked lentils with minimal seasoning), kootu, kosambari (lentil and vegetable salad), saaru (clear pepper broth), obattu (sweet flatbread also called holige), payasa, papad, puri (rolled from wheat flour), pickles, and curd. This is served on banana leaves or muttuga leaves (these leaves are sewn together). Local ingredients are used while cooking most of the delicacies with ghee being used on special occasions and festivals.

Famous dishes in Karnataka include: bisi bele bhath, Davanagere benne dosa, uppittu, ragi rotti, akki rotti, saaru, kesari bath, bangi bath, khara bath, and ragi mudde. Popular sweet dishes of Karnataka include Mysore pak, chiroti (a light flaky pastry that is sprinkled with granulated sugar and is later soaked in almond milk), obbattu or holige (a flat, thin chapati/crepe filled with a mixture of jaggery, coconut or copra and sugar and toasted gently on a skillet), gokak, Dharwad peda, kardantu, sakkare acchuhaala-puri, ladoo and shavige payasa (made from milk, vermicelli, sugar and cardamom).

1. Bisi Bele Bhath – An All-In-One Dish

Bisi bele bath is a rice dish, a popular dish from Karnataka

Bisi Bele Bhath is one of the most popular traditional food of Karnataka. Essentially a blend of rice, lentils, vegetables, and spices, all cooked together to create a flavorful all-in-one dish. It is often served with generous helpings of ghee and potato chips or boondi. Bisi means hot in Kannada and hence this dish is best eaten piping hot. This south-Indian version of ‘North Indian Khichdi’ is the staple food of Karnataka and is loved by all because it’s simple yet flavorful. The wholesome meal is believed to be invented in Mysore Palace, which was a typical lunch of the Royals. 

2. Dosas – The Perfect Comfort Food

Mysore Masala Dosa is famous and is served with sambar and chutney,

Dosas are a popular dish all across India, and Karnataka is no different. They are essentially pancakes made with fermented batter of rice and black gram and served with sambar (lentil stew) and chutney. The southern state is known for its many varieties of dosa. One of the most well-known is Davangere benne dosa, which is made with generous amounts of butter, while Mysore masala dosa is smeared with chutneys stuffed with spicy potato filling. Set dosas are thicker versions, while you can also get dosas made with ragi (millets) and rave (semolina). Another popular variation is the neer dosa that comes from Mangalore, where the rice is soaked in water overnight rather than being fermented.

Also Read: Do you know the origin story of the Mysore masala dosa? 

3. Mysore Pak – A Delicious Sweet Treat

Mysore pak is a delicious Indian sweet popular among Karnataka foods
The hard, porous variety of Mysore Pak

Mysore Pak is one of the well-known sweet food items in Karnataka. It was first created in the kitchens of the Mysore Palace and hence the name. Ingredients used to make the delectable sweet are chickpea flour, ghee (clarified butter), and sugar. The texture varies with the amount of ghee added to the dish from hard and porous (less ghee), to soft, dense, and fudge-y (more ghee). It’s distributed especially during festive occasions, weddings, celebrations or even as a snack during tea time. As Mysore Pak holds a special place in the hearts of locals it is considered the most famous food of Karnataka.

Read More: A complete guide to Mysore Pak, its origin and where to get the best ones!

4. Maddur Vada – The Ideal Snack

A popular snack, the Maddur Vada gets its name from Maddur town in Mandya which is just 80 kilometers away from Bangalore city. Unlike regular vadas which resemble doughnuts, Maddur Vadas are large and circular. They are made with flour, onions, semolina, and spices, and fried until crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. You can’t stop once you start munching these fritters. Maddur Vada is best served with coconut or peanut chutney. They are quite popular Karnataka foods to savor on your trip to Karnataka.

Read more: Maddur vada: The origin story and where to get the best ones!

Thatte idli, a Karnataka breakfast food item

Like dosas, idlis are favorite foods of Karnataka enjoyed across South India. These steamed rice cakes are made with a fermented batter of black lentils and rice and served with chutney and sambar. A popular variation in Karnataka cuisine is the thatte idli, a plate-sized flattened variant (thatte is the Kannada word for a plate). While the regular idli is smaller and thinner, tatte idli is a flat big idli which is super soft to eat. Other variations popular in Karnataka are the rava idli, made from rava (or semolina), and Muday idli found in Mangalore. 

Read More: Why everyone is obbsessed with Bidadi’s thatte idli (and you should be too)

6. Dharwad Peda – Wholesome Goodness

Famous dharwad peda

Named after the city of Dharwad in Karnataka, this sweet is made with milk which is heated and stirred continuously, along with sugar and condensed milk. It is said that the Dahrwad peda was first created by a 19th-century confectioner in Dharwad, and has been given a Geographical Indication tag making it a famous food in Karnataka among the various foods. The sweet which is the pride of Dharwad is a one-of-a-kind milk-rich dessert that is packed with proteins and can be enjoyed on every occasion.

7. Jolada Rotti – A North Karnataka Specialty

Jolada Rotti, an unleavened Indian bread is a Karnataka traditional food which is a symbol of the region’s rich agricultural heritage. This Indian rotti is made with jowar (or sorghum) flour and salt, which is cooked in an iron skillet. It is popular in North Karnataka, where it is eaten with enne gai (eggplants stuffed with spices) or chutney. Other common rottis include akki rotti (made with rice flour, chillies, and onions) and ragi rotti (which is made with ragi, chillies, and onions). Unlike the wheat rottis, Jolada rotti has a rougher texture. Make sure to try out this authentic Karnataka food on your next trip.

8. Pandi Curry – For The Pork Lovers

Pandi curry from coorg is popular among karnataka foods

Pork or pandi is a popular non-vegetarian delicacy hailing in Coorg (or Kodagu). This spicy curry is made with a unique spice blend, and ‘Coorg Vinegar’ is made from kachumpuli, a fruit that imparts a distinct sour flavor. The dark color to the gravy is because of the use of different masalas and spices like bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and coriander powder. This karnataka special food is best served with rice balls or akki roti (rice roti).

Read More: The best must-try dishes from Coorgi cuisine

9. Chiroti – A Flaky Pastry

Chiroti is a traditional Karnataka sweet that is prepared with a layered dough of maida (plain flour) fried until it resembles a flaky pastry and sprinkled with cardamom sugar. These flaky pastries are as a result of the dough being rolled out into multiple layers. It is a very popular dessert served in Karnataka during festivals and special occasions. A version of this is the shredded, flaky peni (also called pheni or sutarfeni) which resembles crispy vermicelli. Also similar is mandige, a crepe with a thin filling of sugar and ghee.

10. Mangalore Bajji – The Monsoon Snack

Mangalore bhajji, a fried snack from Karnataka

Also called goli baje, Mangalore bajjis are a popular snack from Karnataka. This crisp fried fritters is a favorite tea time snack among all. It is made with flour, yoghurt, gram flour, rice flour, onions, coconut, and green chillies which are shaped into small balls and deep-fried. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, it is often served with coconut chutneys. 

Read More: The top 12 Mangalorean dishes you simply must try

11. Kori Gassi – For Spice Lovers

Kori Ghassi or chicken curry is among the popular karnataka foods

Kori means chicken and Gassi means curry, so this delicious chicken curry is one of the top Karnataka foods among the Bunt community. It is a chicken curry that comes from the coastal region of Karnataka and is particularly popular in Mangalore. The chicken is cooked with spices, tamarind, and ground fresh coconut. It is often served with neer dosa, rice or roti.

Also Read: 12 best restaurants in Mangalore to get some amazing local food

12. Haalbai And Huggi – Just Like Fudge!

Haalbai And Huggi, a fudge-like sweet dish from Karnataka

Many desserts from Karnataka are made without dairy products and sweetened with jaggery. One of the most popular of these is haalbai, which is a fudge made from ground rice, coconut, and jaggery, as well as coconut milk. Similar to this is huggi which consists of cooked rice with hesaru (dried mung bean), with coconut, milk, elakki (cardamom), and jaggery.

Also Read: 16 mouth-watering Indian desserts to try

13. Saagu – Tastes Best With Dosa Or Puri

Saagu served with roti is popular among Karnataka foods

Eaten throughout Karnataka, saagu is a creamy vegetable curry made with coconut, spices, and poppy seeds. This coconut based veg curry has a creamy texture and is loaded with flavours. It is often served as an accompaniment with dosa, chapati, or poori and is quite popular as far as Karnataka foods go.

14. Ragi Mudde – A Staple In Karnataka

Ragi mudde is a very popular staple dish in the rural area of Karnataka, and can also be found in cities across the state. It has only two ingredients, ragi (millet) flour and water. The mixture is cooked until it creates a smooth dough which is then shaped into balls. These are eaten with types of saaru (thin stews made of greens with sprouted grams, meat, or vegetables) or curry. It is one of the extremely nutritious Karnataka foods that’s also easy to make and keeps you full and feeling fit.

15. Obbattu/Holige – Try This If You Like Puran Poli

Puran Poli / Holige/ Obbattu - Indian sweet flatbread

This sweet flatbread is found across India as puran poli. Known as obbattu or holige in Karnataka, it is made with wheat flour, ghee, cardamom, and nutmeg. These flatbreads are stuffed with coconut and jajjery and are a popular festive treat. One version is filled with chana dal (split yellow gram) or toor dal and jaggery, while another has a coconut and sugar-based filling.

16. Uppittu And Khara Bhath – Tasty And Wholesome

South Indian dish from Karnataka chow chow bath with coconut chutney.

Uppittu, or upma as it is also known, is a dish that is popular throughout South India and is usually made with dry roasted rava (semolina) cooked with water and vegetables. In Karnataka, a variation of this is mixed with a variety of spices creating khara bhath. A sweet version, kesari bhath, is often served with this (together called chow chow bhath) is also popular, made with rava, sugar, ghee, and milk, as well as saffron and pineapple or banana. When made with coarser rava and unflavored with saffron, it is called sajjige which is similar to sooji halwa from North India.

17. Churumuri – If You Love Chaat

Charmuri a popular snack in Mangalore, karnataka

While chaats might be a street food most associated with Northern India, Churumuri is one that comes from the Karnataka foods chat category. This snack is made with puffed rice mixed with carrot, onions, tomato, jaggery, spices, and ghee or oil. Unlike the similar bhel puri, it doesn’t have tamarind paste.

18. Puri Unde – Bite-Sized Goodness

Puri Unde is a crunchy, crispy, delicious ladoo which is made from puri or puffed rice or roasted poha.

Puri Unde is a crunchy, crispy, delicious ladoo which is made from puri or puffed rice or roasted poha. All ingredients used in this sweet dish are combined and coated with jaggery to make puffed rice balls (unde). There are also lots of different types of unde, such as rave unde (made with semolina), besan unde (made from besan, or chickpea flour), shenga unde (with peanuts), ellu unde (with sesame seeds, also called til laddu).

There are lots of other delicious Karnataka foods you must try, such as kane rava fry (crispy fried fish fried with semolina) or puli kodel (a Mangalorean light stew). But, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, be sure to share them in the comments below.

Also Read: A Travel Guide Of Amazing Places To See In Karnataka

Some FAQ’s About Karnataka And Its Food

What is the famous rice dish in Karnataka?

Bisi bele bath is a classic dish from Karnataka that is the most popular. The word “Bisi” translates to “Hot” in kannada, “Bele” translates to “Lentils” and “Bath” is a gooey dish cooked by mixing all the ingredients in water. It is basically a blend of rice, lentils, assorted vegetables, and spices.

What is Karnataka stable food?

Staple foods in Karnataka include dosa, idli, types of ‘Bath’, ragi balls, and jowar rotis.

What is Karnataka famous for?

The ruins of Hampi and other tourist destinations, exquisite cuisine, Mysore silk, and wooden toys from Channapatna are some of the popular things Karnataka is renowned for.

What is Bangalore famous food?

Idlis, vadas, chaats, kababs, rolls, and Mangalore buns are some of the few things that Bangalore is most famous for.

How to find places to stay in Karnataka?

Cozycozy is the place where you can look for options to stay in Karnataka.


  1. Wow! I’m a foodie, I loved your article… especially jolad rotti… belive me it’ll be amazing with yennegayi that tastes awesome. Thank you for sharing this article, Please keep posting more like this.

  2. An excellently written post. I’ve tried most of the foods on this list. I like trying cuisine from other Indian cities.

  3. Beautifully written post, thank you. Most of the food on this list that I have tried. I cherished trying foods from other cities.

  4. Wow, this post about Indian food is fantastic. It appears tasty. I particularly enjoy eating idle. I appreciate you providing these food lists.


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