30 Popular Puerto Rican Foods You Need To Try 2023 (2023)

30 Popular Puerto Rican Foods You Need To Try. Cocina criolla, as it is referred to by Puerto Ricans (who are called Boricuas), is a hybrid cuisine that is just as complicated as the history of the island.

It was first practiced by the Tanos, who were the original inhabitants of Puerto Rico who were known to cultivate the land and catch fish from the island’s abundant shoreline (via Welcome to Puerto Rico).

Wheat, domesticated livestock, rice, and olive oil were some of the imported ingredients that the Spanish brought with them when they invaded the country.

The Spanish colonizers established expansive sugarcane plantations and relied on Africans held in slavery to tend the land and harvest the crop.

The cuisine of Puerto Rico became increasingly complex as a result of the contributions of African laborers, who brought new products and cooking skills with them. Because Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States for the past century, many American culinary traditions have made their way into the island’s cuisine.

The cuisine of Puerto Rico has been shaped by a wide range of distinct influences, which have combined to create a cuisine that is both fascinating and profoundly rooted.

The use of methods and knowledge from all over the world, along with a tropical climate that is ideal for the growth of a wide variety of ingredients, has resulted in the creation of a wide variety of delectable dishes that you should surely taste at some point.

This list includes some of the most well-known dishes from Puerto Rico, but there are so many more delicacies to sample there that you could live there for the rest of your life and never run out of options.

30 Popular Puerto Rican Foods You Need To Try 2023

1. Arroz con Gandules’

Arroz con Gandules is common in Puerto Rican meals, especially during Christmas. The rice gets cooked together with pigeon peas, tomato sauce, red pepper, olive, sazón, and sofrito.

Many Puerto Ricans also add cooking ham to the rice for some protein and give it more flavor.

2. Mofongo

Mofongo is one of the top Puerto Rican dishes and one you can’t miss on the island.

Mofongo is a mashed and fried plantain dish with garlic and salt usually served in the form of half a sphere. Sometimes it’s stuffed with chicken, seafood, or any other type of meat. To make mofongo, Puerto Ricans use a pilón, a tool for cooking similar to a mortar and pestle.

3. Arroz con Pollo

Puerto Ricans love to mix their rice with pink beans and pigeon peas, but another way they cook it is with chicken, making it a complete meal. Arroz con Pollo is also commonly cooked with sofrito, tomato sauce, olives, and peppers.

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4. Pollo Guisado

If you’d rather enjoy your chicken and rice separately, you can ask for Pollo Guisado, a chicken stew cooked with tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, and sometimes pumpkin. Of course, the main flavor comes from the sofrito. The best way to enjoy pollo guisado is with a side of rice.

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5. Amarillos

While many Puerto Rican dishes use green plantains, ripe plantains are also present in local cuisine. Amarillos are a common side dish that consists of cutting ripe plantain into pieces and frying them until the outside is golden/black and the interior is soft.

6. Pastelón

Pastelón is the Puerto Rican version of traditional Italian lasagna. They’re similar in preparation and cooking methods, but the big difference is that instead of using pasta, pastelón gets made with thin layers of ripe plantains that give the dish a sweet taste.

7. Bacalaitos

Bacalaitos are one of the best Puerto Rican dishes you can’t miss on the island. They’re a mix of breaded and salted codfish, deep fried until crunchy, and then eaten with your hands. You’ll usually eat them before or after an alcapurria on any of the chinchorros on the island. Some restaurants serve them as appetizers.

8. Carne Frita

Besides fried plantains, Puerto Rican food also includes many pork-based dishes. After pernil, the most popular is Carne Frita, fried pork chops that usually accompany mofongo, tostones, or rice and beans.

9. Chicharron

Chicharron is a salted pork skin that is usually a snack you take on the go. Bayamón is known as the city of chicharron and you can enjoy this local treat in a few spots. You can also find pre-packed Chicharron Pacheco in the supermarkets.

9. Mallorcas

Mallorcas are one of the many types of bread Puerto Ricans regularly enjoy. Sometimes a dessert and sometimes a meal, this Puerto Rican sweet roll is usually powdered with sugar and eaten alone, but some people like to heat it or make it into a sandwich.

10. Alcapurrias

Alcapurrias are made with green bananas, yautía, green plantain, and potato, then filled with ground beef or stewed crab meat. Then, the cook serves the dough and ground beef in wax paper, shapes the alcapurria, and drops it in hot oil.

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11. Coquito

Coquito is atraditional Puerto Rican drinkyou’ll find during Christmas in Puerto Rico. This drink gets prepared with coconut milk, evaporated milk, coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. More often than not, coquito will also have Puerto Rican rum included in its recipe.

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12. Pionono

Pionono is another one of the popular Puerto Rican dishes that include ripe plantain. In this case, the plantain is thin-sliced, shaped into a type of cup, filled with meat, bathed with egg, topped with cheese, and cooked in the oven.

13. Guineitos en Escabeche

Guineitos en escabeche is a side dish of green bananas boiled, drained, chopped, and finally marinated. The seasoning includes olive oil, olives, vinegar, onion, bay leaves, and pepper. Some people mix guineitos with gizzards too.

14. Arroz Mamposteao

Often you’ll see Puerto Ricans eating white rice and beans separately, but arroz mamposteao combines both things in a single dish along with ham, sausage, tomato sauce, and sofrito.

15. Brazo Gitano

Brazo gitano is a dessert inherited from Europe and adapted to local Puerto Rican cuisine. Also known as swiss cake, Brazo Gitano is a roll cake filled with guava and powdered with sugar. Carrot flavor with cream filling is also a popular rendition

16. Morcilla

Morcilla is a common side dish to arroz con gandules during Christmas. This blood sausage that originated in Europe consists of a casing, usually the pork stomach sac or the larger intestines, stuffed with a mixture of cooked rice, pig blood, garlic, and other spices.

17. Quesitos

Puerto Rican food is full of sweets that originate from the legacy of Europeans, and Quesitos is one of them. This puff pastry is filled with cream cheese, topped with honey, and it’s perfect for a coffee break.

18. Pastelillos de Guayaba

Known as guava turnovers, these small pastries are filled with guava jelly and powdered with sugar. They’re a very typical snack at parties and get-togethers.

19. Empanadillas

Known in English as turnovers, empanadillas are fried pastries stuffed with ground beef, chicken, or seafood. Some locals also call them pastelillos.

20. Tres Leches

Another sponge cake popular in Latin America, Tres Leches is a sponge cake prepared with sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, common cow milk, and heavy cream. Often served as a dessert or coffee companion, the cake is first baked and then and then soaked in the tres leches mixture.

21. Arroz con Dulce

Arroz con dulce is another sweet traditional dessert. It’s made by cooking rice in both coconut milk and tea water prepared with cinnamon, sugar, ginger, and anise – resulting in a sweet rice pudding.

22. Flan

Originally from Europe, Flan is a dessert made with condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Although the original recipe is widely used in Puerto Rican cooking, flan de queso is another variant that includes cream cheese in the recipe.

23. Arroz y Habichuelas

Arroz con habichuelas is Puerto Rico’s staple food. It’s eaten almost daily in local households, and it’s simply white rice with a side of red or pink beans. The dish is made complete with meat, often chicken. Puerto Rican Foods

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24. Limbers

Besides piraguas, limbers are another treat Puerto Ricans enjoy on a hot summer day. Limbers are frozen juices of different flavors like strawberry, coconut, cookies and cream, passionfruit, cream cheese, and peanut.

You can find them in small markets or gas stations, but the best ones are homemade. If you stumble upon a house with a sign that reads limber, make sure to stop and buy one.

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25. Tripleta

For those that enjoy sandwiches, Puerto Rican cuisine offers its own sandwich called Tripleta. The name of the sandwich comes from its three types of meat: grilled steak, roasted pork, and ham. The sandwich also comes with sides of fries, mayonnaise, ketchup, and vegetables.

26. Piña Colada

Known as the national drink of Puerto Rico, a Piña Colada is the ideal drink to accompany your fritters. Made with ice, coconut cream, pineapple juice, rum, whipped cream, and topped with a cherry, you can find it in bars and restaurants all over the island.

27. Asopao de Camarones

Another soup you’ll find in Puerto Rican cuisine is the Asopao de Camarones. Similar to traditional sopón with pigeon peas, the asopao con camarones consist of rice, potatoes, tomato sauce, and shrimp.

28. Sancocho

Sancocho is one of the best Puerto Rican dishes for rainy days or colder winter weather. This type of soup gets prepared with root vegetables such as yautía, taro, sweet potato, potato, corncob, carrots, and beef. The soup is a darker color and thicker than normal soup.

29. Tembleque

Tembleque is a delicious dessert you can enjoy mostly during the holidays. Tembleque is a coconut milk-based pudding prepared with sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. It has a consistency similar to gelatin.

30. Café con Leche

Contrary to other countries in the world, if you ask for coffee in a bakery or restaurant in Puerto Rico, you’ll get a coffee with milk. Puerto Rico’s coffee is famous for its strong flavor and most Puerto Rican families start their morning with the warm beverage.

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FAQs

What's the most popular Puerto Rican food? ›

The most popular Puerto Rican dishes include arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), pasteles (plantain cakes), tostones (twice fried plantain slices), cuchifritos (fried appetizers), and flan de queso (cream cheese dessert). Criollo foods are traditionally paired with beer or rum with cola or fruit juice.

What are some famous Puerto Rican appetizers? ›

Lunch and dinner generally begin with sizzling-hot appetizers such as bacalaitos, crunchy cod fritters; surullitos, sweet plump cornmeal fingers; and empanadillas, crescent-shaped turnovers filled with lobster, crab, conch, or beef. Soups are a popular beginning for meals on Puerto Rico.

What is a typical Puerto Rican meal? ›

Typically a Puerto Rican dinner consists of rice, beans, meats, and stews. Mainly cooked in a heavy kettle or caldero. One of the most popular dinners includes beefsteaks, or in other words “bistec”. The beef is marinated in adobo, a mix of salt, garlic, black pepper, and oregano.

What is Puerto Rican street food? ›

One of the most popular Puerto Rican street foods is the alcapurria. These tasty handheld fritters consist of a delicious filling, the masa, and are encased in a crispy, fried dough. The masa filling consists of yautia and green plantain and is mixed with sofrito and beef.

What are 3 things Puerto Rico is known for? ›

Puerto Rico is the world's leading rum producer; 80% of the rum consumed in the United States hails from the island. There is a counted number bioluminescent bays in the entire world. Puerto Rico is home three bioluminescent bays.

What are popular breakfast foods in Puerto Rico? ›

The best Puerto Rican breakfast foods include Mallorca, quesito, café con Leche, tostada, pan de agua, Revuelto, and many native fruits. These breakfast foods help to show some of the culture and flavoring of Puerto Rico and are sure to delight your senses while visiting the country.

What are 3 popular foods in Puerto Rico? ›

The vibrancy of Puerto Rican culture comes alive in its dishes, a celebration of flavors that visitors have the opportunity to indulge in. Some of the favorites are mofongo, tostones, pasteles, arroz con gandules, tembleque, and coquito.

What are the 8 appetizers? ›

Because food is always the real MVP.
...
8 Appetizers You Should Make For Game Day
  • Mozzarella Stick Onion Rings. ...
  • Pigs in a Pretzel Blanket. ...
  • Pull-Apart Garlic Rolls. ...
  • Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges. ...
  • Cheeseburger Onion Rings.
Sep 23, 2016

What is a famous dish in Puerto Rico Would you like to try it? ›

Must-try Puerto Rican Dishes
  • Bacalaitos: Codfish fritters. ...
  • Arroz con dulce: A sort of rice pudding, soaked with coconut cream or milk. ...
  • Aguacate Relleno: Avocado filled with creamy garlic shrimp. ...
  • Pinchos: Grilled meat on a stick with garlic sauce, or similar.
Nov 18, 2021

What is a typical snack in Puerto Rico? ›

What is a popular treat in Puerto Rico? Popular sweet treats in Puerto Rico include tembleque, flan, arroz con dulce, quesitos, besitos de coco and mallorcas.

What is a Puerto Rican breakfast? ›

People in Puerto Rico typically eat pastries, porridge, and egg dishes for breakfast. Popular breakfast pastries in Puerto Rico are called pan de mallorca, a sweet bread sprinkled with powdered sugar, and quesito, which is filled with cream cheese.

What is Puerto Rican comfort food? ›

1. Mofongo. Mofongo is a staple for me when it comes to Puerto Rican dishes. It's the meal of meals as its pairing with any protein is amazing — and even if you enjoy it on its own, it is something that will satisfy the hungriest person.

What food did Puerto Rico invent? ›

Taínos invented the barbacoa and used a pilón to mash their ingredients and paints. The Spaniards brought a variety of new ingredients including, olives, garlic, bacalao, and cilantro.

What meat is Puerto Rico known for? ›

And no meal celebrates this love quite like lechon. A suckling pig is adoringly rubbed with herbs and spices and roasted on a spit for six to eight hours for tender meat and crackly skin. Lechon is Puerto Rico's national dish and lechoneras or lechon restaurants, dot the streets all over the island.

What is the favorite meat in Puerto Rico? ›

Pavochon is the star of almost every Puerto Rican Thanksgiving table. The name of the dish is a combination of two words – pavo, meaning turkey, and lechon, referring to roasted suckling pig. To conclude, pavochon is essentially a turkey that is seasoned and cooked like roasted pork.

What were the 4 main products of Puerto Rico? ›

The economy of Puerto Rico is mainly driven by manufacturing, primarily pharmaceuticals, textiles, petrochemicals, and electronics; followed by the service industry, primarily finance, insurance, real estate, and tourism.

What are 5 products of Puerto Rico? ›

Puerto Rico main exports products are pharmaceuticals, accounting for over 50 percent of all exports. Others include medical equipment, computers, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage and concentrates. Puerto Rico's main exports partner is the United States, accounting for around 70 percent of total exports.

What is Puerto Rico's nickname? ›

Its nickname is "Isla del Encanto," or "Island of Enchantment," and on the surface, Puerto Rico seems to fulfill every paradisiacal promise made about it by glossy travel magazines.

What is the must drink in Puerto Rico? ›

If you like piña colada, you should know the famous tropical drink was invented in Puerto Rico! The sweet mix of coconut cream, pineapple juice, white rum, and ice was born in San Juan, but the identity of its creator is still an unresolved controversy on the island.

What common food in Puerto Rico is often eaten with rice? ›

Puerto Ricans love to mix their rice with pink beans and pigeon peas, but another way they cook it is with chicken, making it a complete meal. Arroz con Pollo is also commonly cooked with sofrito, tomato sauce, olives, and peppers.

What are 3 finger foods? ›

Foods that squish easily between your fingers are a safe bet for babies and younger toddlers. Think cooked peas, raspberries, chunks of banana, diced avocado, and soft cheese.

What are the 7 sequence of menu? ›

7 course meal: A 7 course dinner menu includes an hors d'oeuvre, soup, appetizer, salad, main course, dessert, and mignardise.

What dessert is Puerto Rico known for? ›

Two of the most famous desserts from Puerto Rico are Tembleque and Arroz con Dulce. These two come from the European Culture that abounded in the Island during the times of colonization due to the great traffic that existed between Puerto Rico and what at one time was called the Motherland Spain.

What do Puerto Ricans call cake? ›

Puerto Rico (U.S.)

Any type of cake, unless otherwise having a specific name (example: tres leches), is termed a bizcocho.

What is the most popular dessert in Puerto Rico? ›

Tres leches is popular in Puerto Rico (and several other world cuisines, including Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Guatemala, and generally most of Latin America). It is a heavily moist sponge cake made with evaporated milk, full-fat milk, and sweetened condensed milk, hence the name tres leches (three kinds of milk).

What is the most popular vegetable in Puerto Rico? ›

Yuca (cassava), tropical sweet potato (batata), taro (malanga or yautia), and yams (ñame) are popular here and it's fairly easy to find some that are locally grown for sale at one of the many roadside stands.

What are Puerto Rican vegetables? ›

Some common root vegetables in Puerto Rico are yuca (cassava), batata (white or yellow sweet potato), ñame (yam), yautia, malanga, taro, and apio. Pana (breadfruit) and chayote squash is quite common, as are many types of potatoes and plantains.

Is mofongo a lunch or dinner? ›

In Puerto Rico, mofongo is typically an entrée for dinner or lunch, but it can be also served as a side. At La Placita, my restaurant in Miami, we make it with green plantain, yuca or sweet plantain. For the fat and seasoning, we use pork belly confit, garlic, butter and olive oil.

What can you not bring back from Puerto Rico? ›

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) prohibits or restricts the entry of many agricultural products from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands into the U.S. mainland, including most fresh fruits and vegetables, certain types of plants and flowers, and certain pork and pork products.

What is a popular cold treat in Puerto Rico? ›

What is a popular cold treat in Puerto Rico? La Piragua, which is a kind of shaved ice with fruit syrup.

What are the 6 types of appetizers? ›

They work perfectly to tide you over until your dinner is ready, but they also ensure you're not full when your meal comes.
  • Cocktails. Cocktails are some of the most popular appetizers. ...
  • Hors D'oeuvres. ...
  • Canape. ...
  • Relishes & Crudite. ...
  • Salad. ...
  • Soup. ...
  • Chips & Dips.
Aug 1, 2022

What are Spanish appetizers called? ›

In the Spanish cuisine, an appetizer, called an aperitivo, is a supplement to a full meal, while the tapas are something completely different, another way of having your whole lunch or dinner. Although the aperitivos can be the same little amount of food that a tapa is, tapas are served radically differently.

What is the simplest appetizer? ›

Easy Appetizers People Love!
  • Buffalo Tater Tot Bites || Family Fresh Meals. ...
  • Pizza Sliders || Family Fresh Meals. ...
  • Crockpot Pizza Dip || Family Fresh Meals. ...
  • Bacon Double Cheese Dip || Recipes That Crock. ...
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip || Family Fresh Meals. ...
  • Italian Stuffed Mushrooms || Betty Crocker.

How many appetizers do I need for 25 guests? ›

Here's a quick guide to how many appetizers you should serve at your party: 10-12 guests = 5 appetizer selections. 25 guests = 9 appetizer selections. 50 guests = 13 appetizer selections.

What do you call the simplest appetizer? ›

Start the party right with easy hors d'oeuvres. These bite-sized treats can be made in a flash and look oh-so-fancy.

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