When I was a little girl, my kindergarten class always had special days for the letters of the alphabet and I had to bring in…foods that start with Z. Of all of the available letters in the alphabet, I had to get Z.

Of course, being an overachiever even at a young age, I had to find a few different foods to bring in, and this was before so many restrictions on what you could bring to school!

15 Foods That Start With The Letter Z

There are more foods that start with Z than you may realize, at least once you start thinking about it. Some are simple ingredients in recipes or foods that you can bring in by yourself. Others are a bit more difficult to get because they come from other cultures.

Do you need to find some foods that start with the letter Z? I have a few different options for you:

  • Zander

If you are ever looking for a food that starts with a certain letter, you should probably check fish first. There are just so many different types of fish out there. Zander is one of those fish types. It is a delicate, light fish that works well when you are making either fish sauce or a sauce that includes fish because it doesn’t have many bones.

If you want to eat it by itself, you can use tartar sauce, ketchup, or a lemon-garlic sauce to spice up your meal. I prefer to grill it until it is golden brown in the middle. It should get a bit crispy at the edges. You can also fry this fish.

  • Zarzuela

Zarzuela is a Spanish stew that you will absolutely love. It is made with pretty much any seafood you can find. Most will make it traditionally with mussels and scallops. You combine them with red bell peppers, spices, and some white wine. It takes a long time to simmer, but the end result is quite good. Of course, you can just go to your local Spanish restaurant and find the best choice.

  • Zeppole

This list is going to be filled with Italian food, as that is where many of the foods that start with Z come from. This one is a dessert that is a deep-fried ball of dough that is covered with powdered sugar. You can also top them with chocolate, custard, jelly, or honey. If you go to any local fair, you will likely find someone selling these.

However, you probably will have to go to an Italian bakery to find the authentic Zeppole that people could write poems about.

  • Zigzag Vine Fruit

If you want to try a new type of fruit, consider the zigzag vine fruit. It may be a bit difficult to find, but you can actually get it at many international markets. Found in eastern Australia originally, it grows in clusters on a vine. It is used to get a sherbet flavor to foods and sauces. While you will struggle to find it, it is well worth it.

If you ever go to Australia and go on a tour of the rainforest, you will be able to see the zigzag vine fruit growing against the lush greenery. You may even get a chance to pick some!

  • Zima

Zima is a beer that people who are a bit older may remember. It was popular in the mid-90s, but it did make a brief resurgence in 2024. However, it didn’t fit in well with all of the IPAs of today’s world. It is a carbonated beverage that is a combination of a beer and a soda.

  • Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne is a German cookie that my grandmother actually made for my kindergarten class. It is known colloquially as a “cinnamon star” and they are really good. They aren’t too sweet, and you can’t really eat all that many of them. Unless you know someone from Germany, they can be a bit difficult to find outside of Germany.

  • Zinfandel Grapes

You’ve probably heard of Zinfandel wines, but have you heard of Zinfandel grapes? They are what goes into that wine! The grape has a punchier feel to it because it has a tart taste. While you probably won’t put this out as a treat or mix it into fruit salad, it is a great option for fancier meals. Make sure that the grapes are chilled so that you get the full breadth of their flavors.

The grape is black-skinned and goes nicely with Mediterranean style meals, including fish.

  • Zingers

Zingers are the brand of snackcake as well as the name of the cakes, so they fit onto this list as well. This is an older snack that isn’t easy to find everywhere, your best bet is the gas station. It has a rich, creamy center that is surrounded by a ball of chocolate. It has icing on the top. They are really great and perfect to give kids when they want something sweet while on the go.

  • Zerde

If you want to try a Middle Eastern dessert, Zerde is a great sweet pudding from Turkey. It is used primarily for weddings, but you can make it for any celebration. It is a light yellow rice pudding type dessert that is easy to make for a large group of people.

It can be difficult to find a recipe for Zerde as it tends to be passed down from family to family or from region to region. The best thing to do is to sample a few different options and pick your favorite. No matter what, it is never going to be bad.

  • Zest

While this one may be stretching it a bit, zest is an ingredient in many recipes that starts with the letter Z. If you’ve ever made a cheesecake or a lemon tart, you’ve probably zested a lemon. However, you can also zest a few other citrus fruits, like limes, oranges, and even grapefruits. You won’t use those zests as commonly, depending on the types of cuisine you eat.

When you zest a fruit’s rind, make sure that you don’t rub too hard. Even though it may seem like you are getting more, you may get some of the deeper flavors that are far too bitter for your cooking.

  • Ziti

Probably one of the first foods that start with the letter Z that you thought of was Ziti. This is an incredibly popular dish to make in Italian cuisine because it is simple and everyone loves it. All you need to do is take your ziti noodles and bake them into a casserole with cheese, sauce, and maybe some vegetables of your choice. It is quite easy to make and doesn’t cost a lot of money. You can use ziti as a substitute for rigatoni as well or pair it with Alfredo sauce.

  • Zoni

Zoni is a dish you will have trouble finding most places outside of Japan, but it is a great option if you are there. It is a rich soup that you will get with rice cakes. Zoni is as common in Japan as chicken noodle soup is in the United States, so you won’t see many people praising it, but it’s absolutely worth the trip. The good thing is that most restaurants serve it, so you won’t have to go looking.

  • Zopf

Are you like Oprah and love bread? Then you’ll love Zopf. This is a bread from Switzerland that reminds me of Challah from appearances, but it has a completely different taste. It is made with yeast, butter, flour, eggs, and milk. You actually brush the dough with egg yolks on the top to give it that characteristic brown top.

This isn’t the type of bread that you will slice and eat with a sandwich. No, it is a hearty bread that you will use for soups and stews. It will take a few attempts to get it right, but when you do, it is quite simple.

  • Zucchini

Zucchini is a fantastic vegetable that grows quite well almost everywhere. It is picked from the vine and then you can use it in so many ways. I love to roast it or use it in stirfries. I also absolutely love to make zucchini bread. You can also use zucchini as a substitute for mushrooms and eggplants in some recipes.

Growing eggplants is easy and it is always a huge part of my summer garden.

  • Zucotto

Zucotto is a wonderful dessert that comes from Italy, but you probably haven’t had it. It is gorgeous and takes quite some time to make, but it will be well worth it. This dessert uses both ice cream and cake, and it is usually eaten in the autumn months because it looks like a pumpkin.

It is a hard one to make because it needs to be served at least somewhat frozen so that it holds its form. If it gets too warm, it all falls apart.

Which of these foods that start with Z will you try first?


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

Write A Comment