What is Almuerzo in English?

Nadia Podrabinek Nadia Podrabinek

Written by Nadia Podrabinek

Typical Almuerzo in Spain

During the day, we have many hours between the three main meals. In Spain, eating something mid-morning (second breakfast) or mid-afternoon (snack) is very traditional, and the Spanish people take it seriously.

So, almuerzo is a mid-morning light meal in Spain or the second breakfast. 

The word comes from Arabic “al” and Latin “morsus” (bite) and is widely used in all Spanish-speaking countries.

Interestingly, almuerzo is more substantial than the first breakfast as many Spanish people prefer not to eat much early in the morning (and they do that because of late dinner). It is also an important social ritual for Spanish people as they eat their mid-morning meal in groups.

Almuerzo is typical at Spanish schools when children of all grades are given the time to have this mid-morning meal, usually after the second lesson. 

Working adults also have an almuerzo. They go for a coffee with snacks at around 11 am, which might sometimes be very surprising for foreigners. For example, you have an appointment with your bank manager in the morning. You arrive on time, but you must wait while they return to their workplace from almuerzo. It is a very common situation. Take it easy. 

second meaning for the “almuerzo” is a midday meal or lunch. But it’s less common in Spain and more prevalent in Latin America. 

What people say on Reddit

It can also be used like ‘a meal’ and sometimes replaces a term like ‘almuerzo’ or ‘cena’. Like here in Colombia, you usually call dinner ‘la comida’ where as calling it ‘cena’ would make it sound like something more formal like maybe eating out.


I live in the US and my gf’s family from Mexico doesn’t even use desayuno. They refer to breakfast and lunch both as almuerzo. ???? I don’t get it


Here in Argentina, el almuerzo is lunch. Desayuno is breakfast… We also have la merienda, which is between lunch and dinner. It’s like a coffee/tea time.


In Spain, almuerzo is a meal between breakfast and lunch. It is SOMETIMES heavier than breakfast and lighter than lunch.


Typical almuerzo in Spain

  • Students eat tortillas (Spanish potato omelet), other popular Spanish snacks, juice, fruits, nuts, and bocadillos (Spanish sandwiches) at school.
  • Working people enjoy “cafe cortado” (espresso mixed with a roughly equal amount of warm milk), fresh orange juice, a slice of tortilla, a toasted pan with olive oil and crushed tomatoes, some olives and jamón (dry-cured ham).

How do you pronounce almuerzo in English?

The pronunciation is [ahl-mwehr-soh].

Here is a short breakdown of Spanish meals:

  • Desayuno (First breakfast), before 11 am
  • Almuerzo (Second breakfast / Mid-morning meal), between 11 am–2 pm
  • Comida (Lunch), between 2–3:30 pm
  • Merienda (The light food that is eaten in the afternoon-evening), between 4–7 pm
  • Cena (Dinner), after 8 pm and until midnight.

Some useful expressions:

  • almorzar — to have mid-morning lunch
  • almuerzo de negocios — business lunch
  • almuerzo de trabajo — working lunch

So, now you know what almuerzo means in Spanish and won’t be lost in their eating customs. Bon appetite!

Useful Video

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