137 Exotic and Common Foods That Start With C to Know

foods that start with c

Curious about culinary variety? Dive into the delicious and diverse world of foods that start with C. From comforting chicken and cheese to exotic chayote and cherimoya, the letter ‘C’ offers a plethora of options to enhance your meals and expand your cooking repertoire.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, exploring these foods can lead to delightful dining discoveries and new favorite dishes. Let’s embark on this tasty journey together, exploring the flavors and stories behind each unique ingredient.

Common and Popular Foods That Start With C


  1. Chicken: A versatile protein source that can be roasted, grilled, sautéed, or fried, and is used in cuisines worldwide. It’s high in protein and essential vitamins.
  2. Carrots: Known for their vibrant orange color, carrots are rich in beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamins. They can be eaten raw, steamed, or used in soups and stews.
  3. Corn: A staple grain in many diets, corn is eaten on the cob, popped as popcorn, or processed into various products like cornmeal and syrup. It’s a good source of fiber and vitamins.
  4. Cheese: With hundreds of varieties, cheese is a beloved dairy product worldwide, used in dishes from cheesecakes to pizzas. It provides calcium, protein, and fat.
  5. Cucumbers: Often used in salads or as garnishes, cucumbers are refreshing and hydrating due to their high water content. They provide vitamin K and are low in calories.
  6. Cabbage: A leafy vegetable available in several varieties such as red, green, and savoy. It’s commonly used in salads, coleslaw, and fermented to make sauerkraut.
  7. Celery: Known for its crunchy texture and low-calorie content, celery is often used in salads, as a flavoring in soups and stews, or as a healthy snack.
  8. Cauliflower: A member of the cruciferous family, cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, or eaten raw. It’s a low-carb alternative to grains and legumes and is rich in vitamins C and K.
  9. Cantaloupe: A sweet melon with a soft, orange flesh, cantaloupe is enjoyed fresh in fruit salads or as a dessert. It’s a good source of hydration and vitamins A and C.
  10. Cherries: These small, round fruits are either sweet or tart and are enjoyed fresh, in preserves, or baked goods. They offer antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
  11. Chili Peppers: Used to add heat and flavor in cooking, chili peppers come in many varieties and spice levels. They contain capsaicin, which is known to boost metabolism.
  12. Chickpeas: Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a legume used in dishes like hummus and salads. They are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron.
  13. Chives: A mild, onion-like herb used to enhance the flavor of dishes. Chives are used fresh and provide a subtle zest to soups, dips, and potato dishes.
  14. Cinnamon: A popular spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum, used in both sweet and savory dishes. It offers anti-inflammatory properties.
  15. Clams: A type of shellfish used in a variety of dishes from chowders to pasta. Clams are rich in protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  16. Coconut: Used in many forms (milk, oil, water, and meat), coconut adds flavor to dishes and provides a good source of healthy fats, particularly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
  17. Cod: A mild-flavored fish that is often baked, grilled, or fried. Cod is low in fat and high in vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Exotic and Lesser-Known Foods That Start with C


  1. Chayote: A green, squash-like vegetable native to Mexico, chayote is mild in flavor and can be cooked or eaten raw in salads.
  2. Cherimoya: Also known as the custard apple, this fruit is native to South America. It has a creamy texture and a sweet flavor that combines notes of banana, pineapple, and strawberry.
  3. Cassava: A root vegetable widely used in Africa, South America, and Asia. It’s the primary source of carbohydrates for many and is processed into various forms, including flour for bread and tapioca.
  4. Camu Camu: This small, sour berry from the Amazon rainforest is renowned for its extraordinarily high vitamin C content, often used in dietary supplements.
  5. Carambola: Commonly known as starfruit, this tropical fruit from Southeast Asia has a waxy skin and a tart, slightly sweet flavor. It is typically eaten fresh or used in cooking.
  6. Cardoon: Also known as the artichoke thistle, this vegetable is similar to celery but has a flavor akin to artichoke hearts. It’s commonly used in Mediterranean cooking.
  7. Cloudberries: A rare berry found in Arctic regions, cloudberries are golden, soft, and have a unique tart flavor. They are often made into jams and desserts.
  8. Cape Gooseberries: Encased in a papery husk, these small golden berries have a sweet-tart flavor and are used both fresh and in cooking, especially in desserts.
  9. Calamansi: A small citrus fruit native to the Philippines, used widely in Filipino cuisine for its sharp, tangy flavor.
  10. Chapulines: Grasshoppers that are toasted and seasoned with lime and chili, commonly eaten as a snack in parts of Mexico.
  11. Ceylon Spinach: A leafy green vegetable, also known as Malabar spinach, which is rich in vitamins and thrives in hot climates. It’s used similarly to spinach in many Asian cuisines.
  12. Canistel: Also known as egg fruit, this tropical fruit has a sweet, custard-like texture and is often eaten fresh or used in desserts and smoothies.
  13. Carob: An alternative to chocolate, derived from the pod of the carob tree, often used in powder form or as chips in baked goods.
  14. Chaga Mushroom: A type of fungus that grows on birch trees and is prized for its potential medicinal properties, often used to make a tea.
  15. Cupuaçu: A fruit related to cacao, native to the Amazon basin and known for its creamy, exotic pulp that is used to make juices, ice creams, and sweets.
  16. Cudweed: A type of edible plant used in Vietnamese cooking, known for its aromatic and slightly bitter flavor.
  17. Chempedak: A fruit related to jackfruit, native to Southeast Asia, with a sweet and strong aroma, often eaten fresh or used in desserts.
  18. Crowberry: A berry found in cooler climates across the northern hemisphere, often used in jams and traditional Scandinavian desserts.
  19. Caigua: Also known as “stuffing cucumber,” this hollow vegetable is used in Peruvian cuisine, often stuffed with meat and vegetables.
  20. Cockles: A type of small, edible saltwater clam, particularly popular in the United Kingdom, often steamed or used in seafood dishes.

Cheeses That Start with C


  1. Cheddar: Originating from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, this popular cheese ranges from mild to extra sharp, characterized by its firm texture and deep, tangy flavor.
  2. Camembert: A soft, creamy, surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese from France. It has a rich, buttery, fruity flavor, and a soft, runny interior when ripe.
  3. Colby: Similar to Cheddar but does not undergo the cheddaring process, making it softer and more elastic. It’s sweet and mild with a slightly tangy flavor.
  4. Cotija: Known as the ‘Mexican Parmesan’, this cheese is hard and crumbly, salty, and is used to enhance the flavor of many Mexican dishes.
  5. Comté: A French cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk in the Franche-Comté region. It has a complex, nutty flavor and is aged for 4 to 18 months.
  6. Caciocavallo: An Italian cheese made from cow’s milk and aged for up to a year. It’s shaped like a tear-drop and has a smooth, creamy texture with a mild, spicy flavor.
  7. Chevre: French for goat, this term refers to any cheese made from goat’s milk. Chevres are known for their tart, earthy flavor which can range from moist and creamy to dry and firm.
  8. Cheshire: One of the oldest recorded British cheeses, Cheshire is dense and crumbly, slightly salty, and comes in white, red, and blue varieties.
  9. Chaource: A French cheese from the Champagne-Ardenne region, made from cow’s milk. It has a creamy texture and a delicate fruity flavor.
  10. Canestrato: A hard Italian cheese made from a mix of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk, often used grated over dishes, similar to Parmesan.
  11. Cabrales: A blue cheese from the Asturias region in Spain. It is intense and strong-flavored, made from a mixture of cow, goat, and sheep’s milk.
  12. Caerphilly: A Welsh cheese traditionally made for coal miners. It’s a hard, crumbly cheese, which is moist and slightly salty.
  13. Cambozola: A German cheese that combines French soft-ripened triple cream cheese and Italian Gorgonzola, giving it a mild taste and a creamy texture.
  14. Casu Marzu: A traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese that contains live insect larvae. It is very strong in flavor and considered a delicacy.
  15. Crottin de Chavignol: Produced in the Loire Valley of France, this goat’s milk cheese is small and firm with a nutty flavor that intensifies as it ages.
  16. Clotted Cream: While not technically a cheese, this thick, rich, cow’s milk product is a specialty of Southwest England and is used like a cheese in many culinary applications.
  17. Crescenza: An Italian cheese made from cow’s milk, known for its soft, spreadable texture and mild, tangy flavor.
  18. Coolea: An artisanal cow’s milk cheese from Ireland, inspired by Dutch Gouda and known for its rich, sweet flavor which deepens as it ages.
  19. Cendrée: An ash-coated cheese from France, usually made with goat’s milk. It has a firm texture and a tangy, earthy taste.
  20. Charolais: Another French goat cheese, recognized by its tall, cylindrical shape and dense texture, offering a complex, sharp taste.

Condiments and Spices That Start with C


Image source: Pinterest

  1. Cumin: A popular spice used globally, especially in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mexican cuisines. It has a distinctive earthy, nutty flavor.
  2. Coriander: Available in both seed and leaf forms (cilantro), coriander is aromatic with a citrusy flavor. The seeds are used whole or ground in various dishes.
  3. Cayenne Pepper: A type of chili pepper used to produce a hot powder. It adds intense heat and a sharp flavor to recipes.
  4. Cinnamon: A sweet and aromatic spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Used in both sweet and savory dishes.
  5. Cardamom: Known for its intense, sweet flavor, it is used in Indian cooking and in making chai, as well as in Scandinavian baked goods.
  6. Capers: Often used as a condiment, capers are pickled flower buds adding a tangy, lemony flavor, ideal in Mediterranean dishes.
  7. Chili Powder: Made from ground dried chilies, this powder is used to add heat and flavor to dishes, particularly in Mexican and Indian cuisine.
  8. Curry Powder: A mixture of spices that includes turmeric, coriander, cumin, and more. It’s essential in creating the signature flavor of curry dishes.
  9. Chives: A mild herb related to onions and garlic, used as a finishing touch for its delicate oniony flavor.
  10. Celery Salt: Made from ground celery seeds mixed with salt, it’s often used in cocktails like Bloody Marys as well as savory dishes.
  11. Chervil: Part of the French fines herbes group, chervil is delicate and parsley-like, with hints of licorice or aniseed, often used in French cuisine.
  12. Chipotle Powder: Made from smoked, dried jalapeño peppers, this spice adds a mild heat and a distinctive smoky flavor to Southwestern and Mexican dishes.
  13. Caraway Seeds: These seeds have a strong, aromatic flavor with a hint of citrus and anise, commonly used in European breads, desserts, and cheeses.
  14. Chicory: Known for its earthy flavor, chicory root is often used as a coffee substitute or additive, particularly in New Orleans-style coffee.
  15. Chutney: A condiment that can be sweet or savory, made from fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar. It’s a staple in Indian meals.
  16. Clove: Known for its intense aroma and pungent taste, cloves are used in spice blends, marinades, and to season meats and desserts.
  17. Cocktail Sauce: A spicy condiment typically made with ketchup or chili sauce mixed with horseradish, lemon juice, and Tabasco sauce, often served with seafood.
  18. Cocoa Powder: Made from roasted, ground cacao beans, it is used primarily in baking and in making chocolate drinks.
  19. Coconut Milk: A liquid made from the grated meat of a coconut, often used in Asian cooking to add richness and flavor to dishes like curries.
  20. Cream of Tartar: A byproduct of wine production, used as a stabilizing agent in baking and for preventing sugar syrups from crystallizing.

Classic Dishes That Start with C

Chili Con Carne

Image source: Pinterest

  1. Chili Con Carne: A spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), tomatoes, and often beans. Other seasonings may include garlic, onions, and cumin.
  2. Chowder: A type of soup or stew often prepared with milk or cream and thickened with broken crackers, crushed ship biscuit, or a roux. Varieties of chowder can be seafood or vegetable.
  3. Curry: A dish originating from the Indian subcontinent, featuring a complex combination of spices or herbs, usually including ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fresh or dried chilies.
  4. Carbonara: A pasta dish from Rome made with egg, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper. The dish arrived at its modern form, with its current name, in the middle of the 20th century.
  5. Cassoulet: A rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin (couennes) and white beans.
  6. Ceviche: A seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is made from fresh raw fish cured in fresh citrus juices, most commonly lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers.
  7. Chicken Tikka Masala: A dish of chunks of roasted marinated chicken (chicken tikka) in a spiced curry sauce. The sauce is usually creamy and orange-colored.
  8. Croque Monsieur: A baked or fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich. The dish originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack.
  9. Calzone: An Italian oven-baked folded pizza that originated in Naples. A typical calzone is made from salted bread dough, baked in an oven and is stuffed with salami, ham or vegetables, mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan or pecorino cheese, as well as an egg.
  10. Cobb Salad: An American garden salad typically made with chopped salad greens (iceberg lettuce, watercress, endives and romaine lettuce), tomato, crisp bacon, boiled, grilled or roasted (but not fried) chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chives, Roquefort cheese, and red-wine vinaigrette.
  11. Coq au Vin: A French dish of chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and optionally garlic.
  12. Cioppino: A fish stew originating in San Francisco, California. It is considered an Italian-American dish and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine.
  13. Cottage Pie: Also known as “Shepherd’s Pie” when made with lamb, it’s a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato.
  14. Chicken Cacciatore: An Italian dish (“hunter” in Italian) made with chicken and tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and spices.
  15. Cannelloni: Tube-shaped pasta filled with meat, cheese or spinach and ricotta, baked covered in tomato and béchamel sauce.
  16. Cornbread: A popular dish in American cuisine, particularly associated with the South and Southwest, made from cornmeal.
  17. Clam Chowder: A type of chowder containing clams and broth. It’s often cream-based in New England or tomato-based in Manhattan.
  18. Chateaubriand: A French dish that consists of a large center cut filet of tenderloin grilled between two lesser pieces of meat that are discarded after cooking.
  19. Chicken Parmigiana: A dish that consists of breaded chicken breast covered in tomato sauce and mozzarella, Parmesan, or provolone cheese.
  20. Cotoletta: A famous Italian breaded cutlet dish, very similar to Wiener Schnitzel but being typically “bone-in,” it is variously made with chicken, veal, or pork and fried in butter.

Desserts and Sweets That Start with C


  1. Cheesecake: A smooth dessert featuring layers of cream cheese or soft cheese mixed with sugar and eggs, set atop a crumbly base, often a graham cracker crust.
  2. Chocolate Cake: A popular cake flavored with melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or both. It can be prepared in various forms, from moist and fudgy to light and fluffy.
  3. Cannoli: A Sicilian dessert consisting of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta.
  4. Cupcakes: Small cakes designed to serve one person, often baked in a muffin tin and decorated with frosting and other cake decorations such as sprinkles.
  5. Crème Brûlée: A rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel, traditionally flavored with vanilla.
  6. Caramel: A medium to dark-orange confectionery product made by heating a variety of sugars, used as a flavoring in puddings and desserts or as a filling in bonbons.
  7. Churros: A fried-dough pastry, often sprinkled with sugar, and commonly served with thick hot chocolate or dulce de leche for dipping in Spain and Latin America.
  8. Cobbler: A dessert consisting of fruit filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or dumpling before being baked.
  9. Carrot Cake: A cake that contains carrots mixed into the batter, often spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and sometimes topped with cream cheese frosting.
  10. Coconut Cake: A cake that uses coconut or coconut-derived ingredients such as coconut milk, coconut cream, or shredded coconut.
  11. Chocolate Mousse: A rich dessert made from whipped cream and beaten egg whites combined with chocolate, often garnished with grated chocolate or cocoa.
  12. Cookies: Small, sweet baked treats that come in various flavors and textures, ranging from chewy chocolate chip cookies to crunchy ginger snaps.
  13. Custard: A variety of culinary preparations based on a cooked mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk. It can be eaten alone or used as a filling.
  14. Cake Pops: Small balls of cake, styled as a lollipop, often coated with icing or chocolate and decorated with sprinkles or other toppings.
  15. Cherry Pie: A pie baked with a cherry filling, typically made from tart rather than sweet cherries.
  16. Creme Caramel: Also known as flan, a custard dessert topped with a layer of clear caramel sauce, inverted onto a plate so that the caramel is on top.
  17. Clafoutis: A French baked dessert of fruit, traditionally black cherries, arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter.
  18. Candy Canes: A cane-shaped stick candy often associated with Christmastime, as well as Saint Nicholas Day. It is traditionally flavored with peppermint.
  19. Chocolate Fondue: A Swiss dish of melted chocolate served in a communal pot (fondue pot) over a portable stove, into which pieces of fruit or pastry are dipped.
  20. Croissant: Although typically not considered a dessert, this buttery, flaky, Viennoiserie pastry can be made sweet with fillings like chocolate, almond, or fruit.

Beverages That Start with C


  1. Coffee: A brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. It is one of the most popular drinks in the world.
  2. Cappuccino: A coffee-based drink made with equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. Often sprinkled with cinnamon or cocoa powder.
  3. Chai: A type of tea brewed with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs.
  4. Champagne: A sparkling wine named after the Champagne region of France, known for its bubbles that come from natural fermentation.
  5. Cider: An alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples, although the legal definition varies around the world.
  6. Cocktails: A mixed drink typically made with a distilled liquor (such as rum, whiskey, vodka, or tequila) mixed with other ingredients.
  7. Coca-Cola: A carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. Known for its distinctive taste, it was originally intended as a patent medicine.
  8. Coconut Water: The clear liquid inside coconuts, consumed as a refreshing drink and rich in nutrients and electrolytes.
  9. Chardonnay: A green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine, originating from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France.
  10. Cabernet Sauvignon: One of the world’s most widely recognized red wine grape varieties, known for its depth of flavor and aging potential.
  11. Cranberry Juice: A tart but sweet juice made from cranberries, commonly consumed as a beverage and used in cocktails.
  12. Campari: An alcoholic liqueur, considered an apéritif, obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water.
  13. Chocolat chaud: French hot chocolate, made with dark or milk chocolate melted into warm milk, rich and thick.
  14. Cherry Cola: Cola flavored with cherry syrup or natural cherries. It is offered as a product by several beverage companies.
  15. Chai Latte: A spiced tea mixed with steamed milk, similar to a regular latte made with espresso.
  16. Carrot Juice: A drink made from the juice of carrots. It’s rich in beta-carotene, vitamins, and minerals.
  17. Cosmopolitan: A cocktail made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice.
  18. Chicha: A fermented beverage derived from grains, maize, or fruit. Different varieties of chicha are consumed across Central and South America.
  19. Cava: A Spanish sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status, most of which is produced in Catalonia.
  20. Caipirinha: Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça (sugar cane hard liquor), sugar, and lime. It is the drink most commonly associated with the country.

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