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What do they eat for breakfast in Spain?

One of the biggest food-related cultural shocks Americans experience when they live with a host family in Spain is breakfast. As a Spaniard currently living in the US, I have learned to appreciate American breakfasts, especially a good brunch. Although I have to admit that at first I wasn’t too into them.

I remember one of my first days staying with a host family in Maryland, I woke up to bacon, scrambled eggs, pancakes with syrup, and roasted potatoes. That definitely sounds good right now, but at the time I remember thinking: “Wow, hold on. I just woke up”.

And that’s the thing, the main difference between American breakfasts and Spanish breakfasts is the amount of food. Spanish breakfasts are way simpler and lighter.

There is also no concept of ‘brunch’ since Spanish families have their biggest meal of the day (la comida) around 2pm.

So what do they eat for breakfast then? What should you


Well, a typical breakfast in Granada might include café con leche (espresso with hot, frothy milk), and a piece of toasted bread with olive oil. Some sweeter options are cookies dunked in hot milk, sweet rolls, or other kind of small pastries. For the big eaters, a toasted baguette with olive oil, tomato spread, mild manchego cheese and serrano ham, often accompanied by a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.

But the most common breakfast is just a coffee and a couple of cookies. Some locals will eat a sandwich mid-morning to hold them over until ‘la comida’. So if you have a big appetite in the morning, that would be a good option for you while still embracing the Spanish lifestyle.

By Darío Lizancos Robles

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