Foods (or Foodstuffs as considered by the Creative inventory) are consumable items that when eaten restore hunger points and sometimes cause status effects. They are essential to the player's survival, as going without it will eventually starve the player to death.

Most foods are eaten by holding the food item and holding anywhere on the screen. Cake must instead be placed on a surface before being eaten. The Player must eat food items regularly, or they will begin losing health and die soon after.

With the exception of Golden Apples and Milk, food may not be eaten when the hunger bar is completely full. Except for milk, cake, rabbit stew, and mushroom stew, food items and ingredients can be stacked in inventory slots.

Hunger vs. Saturation

Main article: Hunger#Mechanics

Players have two different food statistics, only one of which is visible: The hunger level (visible), and the saturation level (invisible).

Saturation is the first statistic to decrease when a player performs energy-intensive actions, and it must be completely depleted before the visible hunger meter begins decreasing. Although the current saturation level is generally hidden, you can tell that your saturation level is completely depleted if the visible hunger meter begins displaying a jittering effect.

Eating a food item replenishes a fixed number of hunger points and saturation points, based on the item. Some foods have a better ratio of saturation to hunger points replenished than others.

A player's current saturation level can never exceed their current hunger level. A player at a hunger level of 5, for example, can only be at a maximum of 5 saturation. This is important to remember when choosing which foods to eat for the most efficient use of food: Highly saturating foods/low hunger-restoring foods should be eaten when the hunger bar is more full, especially when the bar has begun jittering. If you eat highly saturating foods when the bar is low, saturation points are likely wasted, since saturation level can never exceed hunger level.