Puerto Rican Traditional Christmas Food (2023)

Christmas | Puerto Rican Recipes | Recipes

ByJoyce ZahariadisPublished:Updated:

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Christmas is a time for celebration and spending with family and friends, but it's also a time for delicious food! Puerto Rican tradition calls for various dishes to be enjoyed during the holidays.

As a Puerto Rican tradition, the classic Lechon Asado is a must-have item on any Puerto Rican Christmas menu. This roasted pig dish is typically served with freshly-made Puerto Rican side dishes, such as white rice, pigeon peas (arroz con gandules), and green plantains.

Roasting a pig is a Puerto Rican tradition at Christmas and is an absolute must-have for Puerto Ricans. But if you live outside of Puerto Rico, roasting a pig in your home might not be an option.

Puerto Rican Traditional Christmas Food (1)

Not to worry, Puerto Ricans also enjoy a variety of classic Puerto Rican dishes such as pasteles, arroz con dulce ( Puerto Rican sweet rice pudding), and tembleque (coconut flan).

Of course, if you want to learn more about Puerto Rican Christmas traditions, head to this post.

What is a traditional Christmas meal in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Ricans enjoy a variety of Puerto Rican dishes, including Lechon Asado, pasteles (traditional Puerto Rican tamales), arroz con dulce ( Puerto Rican sweet rice pudding), and tembleque (coconut flan).

Puerto Ricans also indulge in Puerto Rican specialties such as coquito (a Puerto Rican eggnog-like beverage) and sweet Puerto Rican bread. Others dishes enjoyed at Christmas include mofongo, bacalaitos, and alcapurrias. Puerto Ricans also enjoy Puerto Rican desserts such as flan, tres leches, and arroz con leche.

What do Puerto Ricans eat on Christmas Eve?

Puerto Ricans traditionally celebrate Christmas Eve with a festive feast compared to no other! The main Puerto Rican Christmas dinner includes an array of traditional dishes such as roasted pork, arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), pasteles, Ensalada de Coditos (macaroni salad), and tembleque (coconut custard).

Try this recipe:Sandwich de Mezcla Recipe

Why do Puerto Rican celebrate big on Christmas eve instead of Christmas?

Well, it goes back to Puerto Rican culture when Puerto Ricans would celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve, leaving Christmas Day to attend mass at midnight.

If you're looking for a taste of Puerto Rican culture, look no further than the traditional Christmas food. From pernil to pasteles, there's sure to be something that will tantalize your taste buds. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to feast on some delicious Puerto Rican cuisine!

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Pasteles Puertorriquenos (Root Vegetable Meat Patties)

Photo Credit:senseandedibility.com

If you're looking for a tasty and unique dish to add to your rotation, look no further than pasteles puertorriqueños.

These root vegetable meat patties are flavorful and will leave you wanting more.

Best of all, they're easy to make and can be tailored to fit your taste preferences. So what are you waiting for? Try out this recipe today!


Arroz con Gandules Instant Pot Recipe

If you're looking for a delicious and easy Puerto Rican dish to make in your Instant Pot, look no further than Arroz con Gandules! This dish is made with rice, pigeon peas, and pork, perfect for the holidays. Plus, it only takes about 20 minutes to cook.

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Arroz Con Leche Recipe

Creamy and delicious Puerto Rican Arroz con Leche made with rice and milk you are going to love.

Arroz con leche is a traditional Puerto Rican dessert that is traditionally served during the holidays.

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How to Make Flancocho

This recipe for Puerto Rican flancocho de queso is a traditional dessert made with two types of cake and flan. It's easy to make but tastes indulgent! Find out how to make this delicious, rich dish that'll impress your friends and family in minutes flat.

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Simple Besitos de Coco / Coconut Macaroons

Looking for a light and tasty dessert? These simple besitos de coco, or coconut macaroons, are perfect! Made with just a few simple ingredients, they're easy to make and delicious. Give them a try today!

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Coquito Recipe With No Eggs [Video]

Move over, eggnog! Coquito—a smooth and creamy Puerto Rican holiday drink made with coconut milk, rum, and spices—is the perfect festive sipper. And bonus: it's egg-free for those with allergies or who are just avoiding them this season.

Coquito is a must-try whether you're celebrating Christmas or New Year's. Here's our easy recipe so you can make your batch. Salud!

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Puerto Rican Traditional Christmas Food (8)

Puerto Rican Style Coconut Pudding (Tembleque)

Move over, eggnog! Coquito—a smooth and creamy Puerto Rican holiday drink made with coconut milk, rum, and spices—is the perfect festive sipper. And bonus: it's egg-free for those with allergies or who are just avoiding them this season.

Coquito is a must-try whether you're celebrating Christmas or New Year's. Here's our easy recipe so you can make your batch. Salud!

Puerto Rican Traditional Christmas Food (9)

Coconut Rum (Coquito) Cream Pie

There is nothing quite like the taste of coconut and rum together. This delicious Coconut Rum (Coquito) Cream Pie Recipe combines those flavors in a sweet, creamy pie that is perfect for any occasion. So whether you are celebrating a special day or want something delicious to enjoy, this pie is sure to please!

Puerto Rican Traditional Christmas Food (10)

Puerto Rican Pan Sobao

Photo Credit:www.thespruceeats.com

Puerto Rican Sobao is a delicious sweet bread famous throughout the island. This simple yet tasty treat can be either a snack or a dessert. Here is a recipe to make your own Puerto Rican Sobao at home!

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Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork)

Photo Credit:www.kitchengidget.com

Puerto Rican Pernil is a traditional roast pork dish from Puerto Rico. The succulent pork is marinated in a blend of herbs and spices, then slowly roasted until tender and juicy.

This dish is perfect for a special occasion or any time you're craving something comforting and delicious.

Serve it with rice and beans, plantains, and empanadas for an authentic Puerto Rican feast!

(Video) Discover Puerto Rico's Holiday Flavors

Puerto Rican Traditional Christmas Food (12)

Instant Pot Yuca en Escabeche (Pickled Yuca Salad)

Looking for a new, tasty way to enjoy yuca? This Puerto Rican-inspired Instant Pot yuca en escabeche (pickled yuca salad) is sure to please! With a savory and slightly sweet dressing, this dish is perfect for any occasion. Plus, it's easy to make in your Instant Pot! So give it a try this Christmas season!

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Instant Pot Puerto Rican Potato Salad

Puerto Rican Potato Salad is another Christmas food you can add as a dish with your pernil and Arroz con Gandules.

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Instant Pot Puerto Rican Flan Recipe

Looking for a delicious, crowd-pleasing dessert? Look no further than this Instant Pot Puerto Rican Flan recipe!

This sweet and creamy treat is perfect for any occasion. Plus, it's easy to make in your Instant Pot.

So get ready to wow your friends and family with this amazing flan!

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Jamon Glaseado (Glazed Ham)

Photo Credit:mexicanappetizersandmore.com

(Video) Puerto Rican Christmas Plate Challenge!

Looking for a delicious and festive ham recipe to celebrate the holidays? This Puerto Rican Jamon Glaseado (Glazed Ham) is easy to make and sure to please!

The ham is glazed with a flavorful brown sugar and pineapple sauce, then baked until crispy and golden brown. Serve with rice and beans for a hearty and tasty meal that the whole family will love!

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Mantecaditos Recipe (Puerto Rican Cookies)

Mantecaditos are a traditional Puerto Rican cookie made with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. This recipe is easy to follow, and the cookies turn out delicious!

They are perfect for any occasion and make a great gift too. Be sure to give them a try!








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What is traditional food for Puerto Rico for Christmas? ›

If you spend the Holiday Season in Puerto Rico, you'll notice that the menu is pretty similar across the Island: arroz con gandules and pernil with a variety of side dishes and desserts. It is such a staple during Christmas that even songs have become popular with the lyrics belting out the menú de Navidad.

What is traditional Puerto Rican food? ›

Some of the favorites are mofongo, tostones, pasteles, arroz con gandules, tembleque, and coquito.

What are some Christmas food traditions? ›

20 Best Traditional Christmas Dishes
  • 01 of 20. Chef John's Honey-Glazed Ham. ...
  • 02 of 20. Mom's Scalloped Potatoes. ...
  • 03 of 20. Best Green Bean Casserole. ...
  • 04 of 20. Chef John's Roast Turkey and Gravy. ...
  • 05 of 20. Holiday ONLY Mashed Potatoes. ...
  • 06 of 20. Christmas Prime Rib. ...
  • 07 of 20. Traditional Yorkshire Pudding. ...
  • 08 of 20. Beef Wellington.
Nov 18, 2022

What is Puerto Rican for Merry Christmas? ›

Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo! – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Another popular expression that you can use during these holidays is Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo which means 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

How do Puerto Ricans prepare for Christmas? ›

The Christmas meal in Puerto Rico is typically served on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) before families attend midnight mass. Traditional Christmas dishes include lechón (roast suckling pig) and pasteles, which are made of plantains or cassava and stuffed with meat, capers and potatoes.

What is the most traditional Puerto Rican dish? ›

1. MOFONGO. Mofongo is one of those staples that you can find just about anywhere in Puerto Rico. It's made with mashed fried plantains, lots of garlicky goodness, and chicharrones, which is fried pork skin.

What is 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 makes Puerto Rican food special? ›

Food in Puerto Rico is distinguished by its abundance of flavorful salty, meaty and crunchy dishes, as well as a regular repertoire of herbs and spices. Many Puerto Rican dishes start with sofrito, a thick, herbed and peppery vegetable sauce used as the base for a variety of recipes, from soups to chicken and rice.

What is the most famous Christmas food? ›

Travelers spending the holiday in the United States, Canada, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom can expect turkey on the table this Christmas, according to the map. Those headed to parts of South America can too — the map shows turkey is a top Christmas food in Brazil, Chile and Peru.

What is a traditional Christmas dinner menu? ›

A traditional Christmas dinner is very similar to Thanksgiving and consists of roast turkey, turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and pies such as apple or pumpkin. Other non-traditional main dish favorites are ham, roast beef or lasagna.

What is a traditional Christmas Eve meal? ›

Turkey is classic, of course, as is ham, but you could also serve a roast chicken, roast beef, or pork tenderloin. Fill out your meal with some Christmas-y side dishes, and you'll be all set for the perfect holiday dinner.

What do Puerto Ricans call Santa? ›

It may sound strange for some that in Puerto Rico, like so many other countries in Latin America and Europe, it is not Santa Claus, but the Three Kings –a.k.a. the Magi, or the Wise Men– who bear the gifts in Christmas, but the explanation for that is rooted in these countries' deeply Catholic history.

What do Puerto Ricans say before eating? ›

When I was in Puerto Rico people would say "buen brovecho" before every meal. It roughly translates to "enjoy your meal", and it became one of my favorite parts of the trip.

What are the 2 biggest celebrations holidays in Puerto Rico? ›

The two most famous festivals are Fiesta de Reyes Juanadina, in the town of Juana Díaz, and Fiesta de Reyes Isabelinos, in Isabela.

What are 5 Christmas traditions? ›

Crackers, mince pies, a kiss under the mistletoe, Father Christmas, how and where did they all begin?

What do Puerto Ricans listen to during Christmas? ›

A Puerto Rican Christmas Tradition

Parrandas are the Puerto Rican version of caroling. It is marked by singing traditional Puerto Rican music called aguinaldos (Christmas Songs) and using traditional instruments, including guitars and cuatros, tambourines, maracas, palitos, and guiros.

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 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 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 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 the Puerto Rican pork dish called? ›

What is Pernil? Pernil is a slow cooked pork roast, usually a shoulder, butt or leg, that is very typically enjoyed during the holidays. It is a classic Puerto Rican dish, and also a classic dish in the Dominican Republic, though unsurprisingly there are small differences that mean a lot.

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 are 3 influences on Puerto Rican food? ›

Puerto Rico's rich and unique culinary heritage links back to three main influences: Spanish, native tribes to the island and Western Africans.

What is the tamale like dish eaten around Christmas in Puerto Rico? ›

Pasteles are a traditional dish popular in several Latin American countries like Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Panama and in Trinidad and Tobago. It closely resembles to that of Central American's tamale. A Christmas favorite, this wrapped dish is most often served with Pernil and Arroz con Gandules.

What is the most popular food at Christmas? ›

10 popular Christmas dishes in America
  • Stuffing. ...
  • Cranberry sauce. ...
  • Mashed potatoes. ...
  • Christmas Cornbread. ...
  • Biscuits. ...
  • Sweet potato casserole. ...
  • Gingerbread Christmas cookies. ...
  • Apple pie. Whereas pumpkin pie is the star dessert of Thanksgiving, in my family, our favourite Christmas dessert has always been apple pie.
Nov 7, 2022


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