Unless you're playing on Creative or Spectator mode, you'll have to deal with hunger in Minecraft. This is represented by a bar near your health bar that looks like a collection of (presumably) chicken drumsticks. Managing this is a big part of the survival experience, so it's important to know how it works.
How Hunger Works in Minecraft
Hunger is a mechanic in Minecraft that exists in survival mode, and provides you with positive or negative status effects depending on how much it has diminished.
- When your hunger bar is at its maximum, you'll see 10 full drumsticks. There are 20 hunger points, each of which is represented as half a drumstick.
- If you reach at least 18 Hunger (nine drumsticks), you'll gain the ability to heal naturally, at a rate of one health (half a heart) every four seconds.
- If your hunger bar is full, your natural healing ability will heal you at a rate of one health every half a second.
- If your hunger bar drops to six Hunger (three drumsticks) or lower, you lose your ability to sprint.
- If your hunger bar is completely depleted, you will take damage from starvation. This causes you to lose one health every four seconds. If you are on Easy mode, your stop taking starvation damage at 10 Health or lower. On Normal mode, you stop taking starvation damage at one health or lower. On Hard mode, you continue to take starvation damage until you die or eat something.
Related: How to make a Raid Farm in Minecraft
How Saturation Works in Minecraft
Alongside hunger is a separate bar known as "saturation". This bar isn't visible, and controls the rate at which your hunger bar decreases.
- You gain saturation by eating particular foods that reward you with saturation points.
- Saturation will be drained before your hunger bar stops dropping, and you'll know that your saturation is empty if your hunger bar begins to shake.
- It's important to note that your saturation level cannot exceed your current hunger level. So, for example, if your hunger bar is currently at 10, your maximum saturation cannot exceed 10.
- Each food in Minecraft restores a certain number of hunger points, but overeating doesn't simply apply those excess hunger points into saturation.
- Instead, you need to eat food that restores higher amounts of saturation. We'll go into that in more detail in our recipes list below.
How Exhaustion Works in Minecraft
Exhaustion is a statistic in Minecraft that measures how much food or saturation you lose when performing a specific action. Many actions in Minecraft grant you exhaustion, from swimming to jumping or contracting food poisoning. You lose a point of hunger or saturation whenever you perform enough actions to reach an exhaustion level of four. After this, your exhaustion level resets to zero, and won't take away any more hunger/saturation until it reaches four again.
Here's a list of all actions in Minecraft that lead to exhaustion and how much exhaustion they cause:
- Attacking an enemy: 0.1 per attack hit
- Breaking Blocks: 0.005 exhaustion per block
- Hunger (Status Effect): 0.1 per second, per effect level
- Hunger (Status Effect from Raw Chicken, Rotten Flesh, or damage from Husks: 3.0 over 30 seconds.
- Hunger (Status Effect from Pufferfish): 4.5 over 15 seconds.
- Jumping: 0.05 exhaustion per jump
- Jumping While Sprinting: 0.2 per jump
- Regenerating health from having 18 Hunger or higher: Increase of six for every one health healed.
- Sprinting: 0.1 per meter
- Swimming: 0.01 per meter
- Taking Damage that is normally protected by armor: 0.1 per instance of damage received
Best Minecraft Food
The best food in Minecraft depends on the current state of your hunger bar. If it's low, you'll want food that restores the highest number of hunger points. However, it's probably a better idea to ensure that your hunger bar never diminishes in the first place, and that's where we come back to saturation. As well as restoring a certain number of hunger points, food restores a certain amount of saturation.
Given that your saturation cannot exceed your current hunger level, it makes sense to keep your saturation topped up as often as possible. There are several ways to do this, but we recommend waiting until your hunger bar shakes (which signals that your saturation level is low), then eating food that restores a high amount of saturation.
The table below outlines the best to worst foods to each, sorted by Saturation Ratio. Any item with an asterisk next to it has potential to be poisonous if ingested. You can see the Saturation Ratio of each poisonous food at the bottom of the list.
|Food||Food Points||Saturation Restored||Saturation Ratio|
|Enchanted Golden Apple||4||9.6||2.4|
|Sweet Berries||2||JE: 0.4|
|Dried Kelp||1||JE: 0.6|
|(Poison) Poisonous Potato||2||1.2||0.6|
|(Poison) Rotten Flesh||4||0.8||-1.8|
|(Poison) Spider Eye||2||3.2||-2.2|
|(Poison) Raw Chicken||2||1.2||-2.075|
That's everything you need to know about the best foods in Minecraft!
Want more help with Minecraft? Check out our guide for the best Enchantments for each piece of equipment in the game!