Iroquois food – What did Iroquois people eat?

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Corn, beans, and squash growing together: Iroquois food

Iroquois food: Corn, beans, and squash growing together

Corn and beans and squash

People who lived in the Iroquois nation in the northeast part of North America ate mainly corn and beans and squash that they farmed: the Three Sisters. They made the corn into flat bread like tacos or tortillas. Inside the tortillas, they rolled up mashed beans and squash, like a burrito today. That was the same way that Pueblo and Mexican people ate their corn.

Where did corn come from?
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Corn mush

But Iroquois people also cooked corn into polenta (grits) by boiling it in water like oatmeal. They kept a pot of corn mash soup simmering over the fire all day. That’s because it was much colder up north where the Iroquois lived. It was often cold enough to keep a fire going all day long anyway, for heat. People could just dip some corn mush out whenever they got hungry. Iroquois people didn’t generally have set meal times.

What was the climate like?

Meat and fish and seafood

Iroquois people also ate a lot of meat, especially turkey and other wild birds, deer and rabbits, and a lot of fish. They dug clams and oysters along the coast, and trapped lobster. They sometimes roasted their meat or baked it in the coals from their fire. Iroquois people might eat their meat or fish on its own, or mixed with corn mush, or rolled up in a tortilla.

History of fishing
Bows and arrows

Gathering wild foods

Iroquois people also gathered many wild foods. Those included blueberries, mushrooms, chestnuts, and wild roots that were not too different from carrots, onions, garlic, and potatoes.

All about chestnuts
More about gathering

Did you find out what you wanted to know about Iroquois food? Let us know in the comments!

Make corn pudding
More about the Iroquois

Bibliography and further reading about early Iroquois food:

American food after the Europeans invaded
More about Native American food
More about Native Americans home

By |2018-12-05T15:26:45+00:00August 8th, 2017|Food, Native American|9 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Iroquois food – What did Iroquois people eat?. Study Guides, August 8, 2017. Web. December 12, 2018.

About the Author:

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.


  1. Chernor S. jalloh December 5, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply


    • Karen Carr December 5, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      Sorry to hear it, Chernor. What were you trying to find out?

  2. kratts101 October 29, 2018 at 10:10 am - Reply

    good, answered my Q.

  3. isibelle December 11, 2017 at 5:53 am - Reply

    what do the tags mean??

    • Karen Carr December 11, 2017 at 9:21 am

      They will take you to other pages with the same tag, if you want more information.

  4. 711fidgetspinners November 16, 2017 at 7:55 am - Reply

    this is not helpful

    • Karen Carr November 20, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Sorry to hear it! What were you trying to find out? I’d be happy to answer your question if I can.

  5. Jason want November 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm - Reply


    • Karen Carr November 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm


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