There are so many positive words that start with H: happy, handsome, hilarious, heartfelt, hero, hope–and the list goes on! It only makes sense that there are plenty of foods that start with the letter H that are equally as awesome.
Today more than ever, we need all of the positivity we can get, so let’s dive right into a batch of foods that start with H. Some are healthy for the body (hazelnuts! honeydew! halibut!) while others are, let’s say, healthy for the soul (we’re looking at you, hollandaise).
Whether you’re seeking nourishment or feeling indulgent (or both!), choose your favorite of these foods that start with H and whip up a heavenly meal with it today!
30 Foods Beginning With the Letter H
1. Habanero Pepper
Kicking off our list of foods that start with H is one hot HOT pepper! At nearly ten times the heat of a typical jalapeño pepper, habanero peppers tend to be too hot to be eaten raw. However, these pungent capsicum fruits are especially delicious when cooked down into hot sauce, dried and dehydrated into chile powder, or sliced and cooked into braised dishes and stir fries. Habaneros are typically orange or red in color, but they may also be yellow, white, or even chocolate brown. Each color of pepper will taste slightly different and have a different heat level, so choose your color wisely.
Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is regarded as a delicacy. It is a type of British pudding (not to be confused with the sweet, creamy custard known by the same name in other parts of the world) that is made with the offal of a livestock animal, most often a sheep. The meat is finely diced or ground and then mixed with tallow, oats, and seasonings before being boiled or steamed. As this dish includes protein sources and a cooking style that many people are unfamiliar with, Haggis is not everyone’s cup of tea to say the least! However, it is an incredible example of the no-waste mentality, as it makes use of what are often considered to be offcuts of an animal.
3. Hakurei Turnip
Also known as salad turnips, Hakurei turnips are a type of root vegetable which can be either cooked or eaten raw. Unlike their larger counterparts who bear bright purple shoulders, these turnips are entirely white and harvested while still small. Hakurei turnips are mild with a sweet yet slightly spicy flavor that makes them perfect for raw applications such as salads, hence their secondary name. Just because they’re delicious when eaten raw doesn’t mean they’re not also great when cooked! Hakurei turnips are completely delicious when lightly sautéed, glazed in butter, or tossed into a pan of roasted root veggies.
The great halibut is the king of all flatfish. Growing up to 500 pounds in size, you wouldn't be blamed for mistaking one of these giant creatures to be a whale! Nevertheless, the halibut is a fish through and through and shares a spot on the family tree with its smaller and similarly squashed cousin, the flounder.
Halibut are divided into three categories: Pacific Halibut, Atlantic Halibut, and Greenland Halibut (also known as Black Halibut) which hail from the waters of each of their respective regions. The flesh of the halibut is firm, lean, and brilliant white in color with a mild flavor that makes it excellent for use in all types of recipes and cooking applications. Halibut is especially wonderful when grilled, steamed, roasted, or made into chowder!
Halo-halo translates to “mix-mix” and that is precisely how this potpourri of a dessert is made! Originating from the Philippines, the sweet treat consists of shaved ice with sweetened milk or ice cream (or sometimes both!) which is served with a variety of mix-ins. Sweetened red beans and coconut shavings are common choices, but halo-halo may also include: jackfruit, purple yam, sweet potato, mango, banana, lychee, and even caramel flan! Typically, the mix-ins are combined in the bottom of a tall glass before being topped with the shaved ice, drizzled with sweetened milk, and then topped with ice cream.
Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese that is traditionally made from sheep’s milk but may include goat’s or cow’s milk as well. The cheese is known for the characteristic “squeak” it produces when being cut or chewed, similar to the sound of fresh cheese curds! Halloumi has a very salty, savory flavor and thanks to its high heat tolerance, takes especially well to being fried or grilled. The heartiness of this cheese makes it immensely popular as a protein option for vegetarians, as well as for any other cheese lovers! Intrigued by halloumi but don’t know where to start? Try this recipe for Couscous with Tandoor Vegetables and Halloumi!
7. Haricot Beans
Not to be confused with haricots verts, which are a variety of green beans, haricot beans are actually dried white beans that go by several other names: navy beans, Boston beans, and white pea beans to name a few. Haricot beans are most commonly used for slow-cooked dishes such as baked beans, stews, and chili. Like other dried beans, haricot beans should be soaked before cooking in order to reduce the required cook time, as well as to minimize any stomach upset. This simple process of soaking the beans is able to release some of the complex starches within the beans, making them much more easily digested.
If you're checking out foods that start with H in the hopes of spicing up your life, look no further than harissa! Harissa is a spicy sauce that originated in regions of Morocco and Tunisia, from where it continued to spread in popularity. Harissa consists of a base of olive oil in which several other ingredients are blended: roasted red peppers, hot peppers, and garlic as well as spices such as cumin and coriander. The result is a paste-like condiment which is commonly used to flavor stews, meats, vegetables, and other dishes.
9. Havarti Cheese
Made from cow’s milk, Havarti is a semi-soft cheese which has a luxuriously buttery, ultra-creamy texture. The color is typically pale yellow, and the cheese has holes throughout, similar to those of Swiss! However, Havarti is not aged for quite as long, remaining softer in texture, less sharp in taste, and overall much creamier than Swiss. It’s mild flavor and pleasant mouthfeel make it an excellent choice for a cheese platter or charcuterie board, but Havarti is also superb when melted on top of hot sandwiches, burgers, omelettes, or even macaroni and cheese!
Hazelnuts, the edible fruits of the hazel tree, are an important source of plant based healthy fats and a delicious one to boot! Aside from being eaten in their whole form (either raw or roasted), hazelnuts are also made into a variety of products from hazelnut oil and hazelnut liqueur to nut flours and Nutella! Hazelnuts can be used in a wide range of both sweet and savory recipes. Try coating fish in crushed hazelnuts before pan searing or use them in any type of baked goods.
11. Heart of Palm
Coconut palm trees are the true heroes of desert island living. Not only do they provide those moisture-rich coconuts that grace nearly every picturesque postcard from the Caribbean, but they also have a secret nutritional stash buried deep within the core: heart of palm! Not all species of palm trees have this edible tender center, and to make matters worse, the harvesting process is incredibly labor intensive and greatly challenges the survival of the tree. Therefore, heart of palm is one hot commodity. It is most widely available canned, but even despite the high heat of the canning process, heart of palm maintains its satisfying crunch and buttery rich flavor all the way to your table!
12. Hen of the Woods Mushroom
Hen of the woods mushrooms can be found growing in much of the Northern United States, Europe, China, and Japan. Another name for this wonderful fungus is maitake, which means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese! Unlike most mushrooms, the caps of hen of the woods are not rounded but rather are flat with feather-like, wavy edges. These tender mushrooms might seem like they have a delicate texture, however they are actually quite hearty with a deeply savory flavor. Try roasting them in a hot oven with fresh herbs or sautéing them in butter with a dash of lemon juice and fresh thyme.
13. Herbes De Provence
This herb blend is one of the foods that start with H which may be new to you! Herbes de Provence is a specific blend of dried herbs that originated in the Provence region of France. The mixture typically includes the following: thyme, basil, oregano, tarragon, marjoram, bay leaf, rosemary, and summer savory. Some blends may also include chervil, lavender, or fennel! The range of herbs included in this mixture make it rather versatile, as it can be used to season any number of different proteins, vegetables, and sauces.
14. Hog Plum
The hog plum is a strange looking little tropical fruit which is indigenous to the Southern United States. Hog plums often have a splotchy, almost bruised-looking exterior with spines emanating from the pit. Don’t judge a book by its cover though! A hog plum is a succulent treat, with a sweet yet sour taste similar to a tart apple and a soft flesh that is similar to that of an avocado. Hog plums may be enjoyed fresh but are also often juiced into refreshing beverages or chopped, pickled, and preserved. The hog plum tree loves tropical climates and thus are widely used in South & Central American cuisines.
15. Holland Peppers
Holland peppers are a little tricky, as both sweet bell peppers and spicy hot chiles may be referred to by this name. The spicy version of these peppers, also called Holland chiles, come in red, green, and yellow varieties and have a flavor much like the Fresno chile or Indonesian cayenne pepper. Holland bell peppers on the other hand are sweet and refreshing, without any of the eye-watering capsaicin that their spicy counterparts are known for.
Spicy Holland chiles may be used in any number of cooked applications such as sauces, stir fries, and braises. Sweet Holland bell peppers may also be cooked but are especially delicious when eaten raw!
16. Hollandaise Sauce
Hollandaise is an egg-yolk thickened sauce, famous for topping extravagant eggs benedict and piles of crunchy steamed asparagus on holiday tables. The sauce starts out with a base of egg yolks and flavorings such as lemon juice and mustard, to which melted butter is slowly incorporated as the mixture is whipped. The raw egg yolks are able to be lightly cooked by the hot butter and the result is a thick, brilliantly yellow sauce which is a perfect topping for any type of meat, vegetables, or eggs.
Hollandaise is also the starting point for several other sauces as well. Béarnaise sauce is hollandaise with the addition of several types of fresh herbs such as chervil and tarragon. And, not to be outdone, Mousseline sauce is hollandaise which has had whipped cream folded into it. You heard it. Whipped cream, folded into hollandaise. Run, don't walk, to get yourself the ingredients for that one!
17. Holy Basil
Holy basil is next up on our list of foods that start with H. Closely related to the sweet basil that is a widely used ingredient in dishes such as pesto, holy basil is more commonly seen in the regions of India, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. While entirely edible, holy basil is most often used for medicinal purposes or is steeped and enjoyed as a tea. In Thailand however, holy basil is everywhere as a culinary ingredient, often tossed into soups and curries to add a peppery, clove-like flavor to various dishes.
One look at a bowl of hominy and you’ll think it must be some type of extra-large corn you’ve never heard of! Hominy is, in fact, your everyday corn which has been soaked in a special alkaline solution that serves to soften the outer hulls of the kernels. Thanks to this special bath, the kernels are able to expand up to about the size of a quarter! The hulls are removed and all that remains are the large yet tender insides of the corn kernels, known as hominy.
Hominy may be dried and ground, after which point it becomes the basis for hominy grits or masa dough, which can be used to make tortillas, tamales, and other Latin American staples. As a grain, hominy is most often thought of as a side dish, but actually it is hearty and filling enough to function as a main course as well.
19. Honeydew Melon
This melon is most recognizable in a tossed fruit salad thanks to its bright green colored flesh, but the flesh of honeydew melons can appear in a range of colors from green and white to golden-yellow and orange! The sweet taste of this fruit makes it an ideal candidate to be eaten raw, but it is also perfect for frozen desserts, custards, or even as a sweet and creamy soup! Honeydew melon is one sweet treat you can feel good about, as it has many health benefits. The rich flesh is an excellent source of B and C vitamins, as well as potassium, and its high water content makes honeydew a hydrating snack as well as a tasty one.
20. Honeynut Squash
This humble little squash is here to teach us that bigger is not always better! Honeynut squash resembles a mini butternut squash, but one taste of its richly colored flesh will make you realize there is something special contained within the adorably tiny packaging. Where butternut has a sweet flavor, honeynut is even sweeter, and contains more nutrients cup for cup than its larger cousin.
The specific flavor of honeynut squash makes it ideal for roasting, as this cooking method concentrates the nutty flavor. Don’t feel limited to the oven though, honeynut can also be boiled, steamed, grilled (yes!), and is perfect for making soups and purees. As a relative newcomer to the world of produce, honeynut may not yet be available in your standard local grocery store. Don’t let this deter you though! A visit to your local farmer’s market or specialty grocer in the autumn will most likely reward you with a well-deserved armload of honeynut squash.
Widely associated with beer brewing, hops belong to the small plant family of Cannabaceae, which also includes hemp and marijuana. Don’t worry though, there are no psychedelic effects lurking in your pint glass. As the flowers of the hop plant, hops pack a hefty punch of flavor and aroma. These tiny cone-like flowers are added to beer during the brewing process primarily to bring bitterness to the flavor profile. There is a seemingly endless list of hop varieties–Cascade, Amarillo, Simcoe, Golding– and just like wine, each variety has its own nuances of flavor.
Hops aren’t restricted to beer though! Hop flavored teas and other non-alcoholic beverages are common, and you can even use hops to flavor sauces and marinades.
22. Hot Dog
As the focal point of eating contests worldwide, it’s unlikely that the hot dog needs much introduction. As compared to other sausages, the hot dog is a mild one with minimal seasonings or spices. The wide range of available toppings makes up for this though! Ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish are common, but the list also includes: chopped onions, roasted peppers, sauerkraut, cheese sauce, and even–in the case of famous Chicago style dogs–whole pickle spears!
Hot dogs get a bad rap for being high in sodium, fat, and highly processed. These are all true facts, but there are plenty of healthier, minimally processed, dogs out there which can actually be a part of a healthy meal. If you’d rather stick to the original style hot dog though, we don’t blame you one but, it's a classic for a reason!
23. Hubbard Squash
Weighing in at up to 15 pounds, the hubbard squash is one hefty fruit! Due to its size, hubbard squash is rarely available in whole form, rather it is most often cut and packaged prior to sale. Hubbard squash has a firm flesh and a flavor very similar to that of other winter squashes such as butternut squash or pumpkin. Sweet yet nutty, this squash lends itself perfectly to both sweet and savory applications. Hubbard squash even serves as a perfect substitute for pumpkin in any recipe!
24. Husk Tomatoes
There are two main varieties of husk tomatoes, each of which has major culinary significance. First, we have tomatillos, which range from lime green to purple and are widely used in Latin American cuisine. Salsa verde and chile verde are two dishes which rely on tomatillos for their green hue and tangy bite. Secondly, we have ground cherries (also known as husk cherries), which are much smaller than tomatillos and range from pale yellow to orange in color. Ground cherries are bite sized and have an irresistible sweet-tart flavor.
What do these two fruits have in common? The husk of course! Both tomatillos and ground cherries are encased in a unique papery coating which must be peeled away prior to cooking or eating. Both types of husk tomatoes are quite seedy as compared to regular tomatoes, however the seeds are small and soft, and need not be removed nor avoided.
25. Hyacinth Beans
The hyacinth bean plant is arguably one of the most beautiful of the bean varieties, with the thin green stalks reaching up to 10 feet in height and crowning itself in dark purple flowers and clusters of brilliantly colored beans. When they are young, these beans resemble any other fresh green beans such as snap peas. However, as they mature, the beans shift and develop deep purple outer pods, although they maintain bright green inner beans.
Just like any beans, as the plant ages, the beans develop certain compounds which can be toxic to humans if not properly cooked before consumption. The young beans can be eaten, much like any other snap bean, and funnily enough the purple pods turn dark green when cooked! Mature beans, however, must be carefully soaked (sometimes twice) and boiled to remove the toxins, making them safe to eat.
Foods That Start With H: The Takeaway
We hope you have learned something about a new ingredient or two and feel extra inspired to check out which foods that start with H your local market has to offer. Then, get into the kitchen and let your curiosity and creativity fly!
Our humble list of foods that start with H doesn't even begin to cover all the foods that take their lead from this letter, so let us know about your favorites. We would love to hear about what you make with them!