Food is everywhere in Skyrim. Salmon hang to dry on racks in hunting camps, trays full of sweet pastries sit in the homes of nobles, hungry bandits roast mangy skewers over fires inside caves. You will see evidence of the Norse diet wherever you travel.
It can also be useful to a budding adventurer. Food can heal and grant buffs that can rival much more expensive potions. If you like suffering and like to play in survival mode, this is definitely necessary. With so many offers and your limited carrying capacity, it’s important to know what lunch to take to the dungeon and how much dead weight will be.
A favorite of Sheogorath, it’s hard to imagine what might go through the minds of Skyrim’s villains as they watch the Dragonborn slash an entire wheel of goat’s cheese in the middle of a fight. But with a full wheel yielding fifteen restored health, it can be a viable strategy.
The only thing that often makes it harder than its value is the weight. A wheel of cheese has two weights, which makes transporting it in large quantities a literal burden.
9 Mammoth Cheese Bowl
Tundra giants often rub shoulders with herds of mammoths. The combination has led to the untimely deaths of many Dragonborn, but it also highlights the breeding relationship between the two species. A unique creation of the Giants is Mammoth Cheese, which can restore ten hit points and 15 stamina when consumed. It is much lighter than its man-made cousin at 0.5 weight per serving.
The downside is that you have to steal it from a giant camp. The cost of picking up this forbidden snack could be watching your hero’s corpse soar above the mountains after a club strike. Be warned.
8 salmon steak
An extremely abundant food item, these can be found strewn across dining tables all over Skyrim. They can also be cooked by combining a pile of salt with any of the abundant whole fish found in camps, kitchens, or scavenged out of water.
Although individually they only heal a fairly modest five points of health, their weight makes them easy to carry in large quantities. At just 0.1 per steak, it’s considerably more efficient than hauling cheese wheels. As long as you can keep a stash of salt on hand, it’s easy to cook up plenty to take on the road.
seven Horker’s Stew
Horkers. They’re big, wrinkly and hilarious – until five start trying to murder you at once. They are also apparently delicious. Horker’s Stew is made in a cooking pot and requires Horker’s Meat, Tomato, Garlic, and Lavender. This fat stew, when consumed, immediately restores 15 health and stamina, and will continue to restore one health per second for 12 minutes thereafter.
Horkers can be a bit dangerous, though they are slow enough that anyone with a ranged option can easily avoid being surrounded by a group.
6 Venom Stew
Deer stew is a hearty and useful dish that can be cooked in most pots. He needs deer meat, a heap of salt, potatoes, and a leek, all acquired fairly easily and inexpensively. When consumed, the cheap meal confers very useful and long-lasting benefits. It immediately grants 15 stamina points and will continue to regenerate one health point and one stamina point for 12 minutes after eating.
The only challenge with reliably acquiring this foodstuff is that it usually involves going hunting, though any accomplished archer should have no trouble packing moose for supplies.
5 Elsweyr Hot Pot
It seems only fitting that a land populated by cats known as Khajiit export dairy recipes. Elsweyr Fondue is made by melting goat cheese with beer and moon sugar. It’s a must for the average mage. Not only does this cheesy snack increase magicka regeneration by 25%, it also adds an impressive 100 magicka to your total.
The only downside is that it’s technically an illegal hot pot. One of the ingredients, moon sugar, isn’t legitimately allowed in Skyrim, and is therefore often a little hard to reliably find.
Only crafted using an oven, dumplings were a new addition with the Hearthfire DLC and grant a few bonuses that make cooking worthwhile. These little pastries weigh next to nothing at 0.1 weight each and pack a healthy punch.
A chicken patty will immediately restore 15 health, and one every second for the next two minutes, healing a very respectable total of 135. Apple dumplings will restore five health points and give a five percent increase in bow damage. Lavender gives the same small heal as the apple, but instead of arc damage, gives ten extra magic points and adds ten percent magic resistance.
A dish made with flour, butter, and several types of berries, you’ll need a home kitchen with an oven to make these fruit pies. They come in three varieties, all of which come with their own bonuses.
Snowberry Crostatas heal ten health and increase fire resistance by four percent for one minute. The one made from jazbay grapes will heal similarly, but give you four extra magic points for one minute. Juniper berry crostata has the strongest healing power, restoring four points of health on contact and two points per second for the next minute, twice as fast as most restorative foods.
2 Garlic bread
Beloved in the real world, there are compelling reasons to enjoy this delicious treat in the land of Skyrim, too. Made with bread, butter, and garlic in your farm’s oven, the recipe will yield two pieces of the dish. Consuming it is enough to cure any disease you are suffering from.
With the ingredient to make it available for purchase at most Taverns, this bread is a much cheaper and more convenient alternative to Potions of Cure Disease. It’s worth stocking up if you’re dealing with anything that might bite you, from skeevers to vampires.
1 home cooked meals
This could be considered an extremely easy or extremely difficult food to acquire, depending on the state of your Dragonborn’s love life. Homemade meal is a food that you cannot cook yourself. It can only be given to you once a day by the Dovahkiin’s wife, asking her to cook a meal for her beloved.
There’s apparently a big benefit to doing something with love, as eating it will increase health, stamina, and magick regeneration by 25% for ten whole minutes. Remember you can only get one a day, your spouse has other things to do than cook extra meals all day.
Next: Skyrim: The Most Useful Alchemy Recipes