How to cook puerto rican food: The 35 BEST Puerto Rican Recipes

Puerto Rican Food: 24 of the Best Puerto Rican Dishes

Puerto Rico is a beautiful territory of the United States, which is a hugely popular travel destination. It is often referred to as “La Isla del Encanto”, which translates to The Island of Enchantment, and Puerto Rico is indeed enchanting in many aspects, one of them being its food.

Puerto Rico has a rich mixture that combines its American influence with the native culture and history, resulting in some delicious food dishes that all tourists fall in love with. If you want to learn about the 24 top Puerto Rican dishes, stick around and keep reading! 

Food in Puerto Rico

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Before we dive right into the 24 top Puerto Rican dishes, it’s worth mentioning a few more facts about the food there in general.

As an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico is known for its rich flavors and colorful dishes, thanks to the seasoning that makes the food extra savory. The food in Puerto Rico is also a mixture of three main different cultures: The African, the Spanish, and the Taíno.

African and Spanish you will probably know of, but as for the Taíno, they were the native people that Christopher Columbus first met on the island, when he arrived. Their diet consisted mainly of fruit, vegetables, and fish.

Top 24 Puerto Rican Dishes

Whether you’re planning on going to Puerto Rico, are going to have some food at a Puerto Rican restaurant, or you’re simply trying to find out more so you can experiment with some Puerto Rican cooking…you’re going to need a list of the most typical and common dishes from the island.

We’ve put together a list of the top 24 most popular and beloved dishes from Puerto Rico, but there are many more if you want to keep researching! And to make things a little easier, we’ve divided them up into groups depending on what kind of dishes they are.

Let’s get right into it!

Deep-fried Dishes:

It might be the American influence, as Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, but there are plenty of deep-fried dishes on this island, all of them delicious.

These deep-fried foods are most often cooked over an open wood fire, and they are most popularly served by the sea-side, in beach kiosks or restaurants. In fact, many tourists notice that upon arriving in Puerto Rico, it is not the sea you smell, but the frying of food!

Here are some of the most well-known deep-fried Puerto Rican dishes:


Alcapurrias are made from green plantains, and some added taro root, known as yautia. The dough is then filled with stewed crab meat, or alternatively with things such as chicken, beef, or seafood. Then, for the final touch, it is deep-fried in oil over an open wood fire, until it has the distinctive golden brown color.


Bacalaitos are basically just cod fritters, and they are most often found being served in cultural festivals, at roadside food establishments, and at beach kiosks during the summer months. They are deep-fried in oil, which gives them a delicious crispy coating and leaves the center soft and chewy.

Plantain Dishes:

Plantain is an ingredient used in many Puerto Rican dishes, and it is an ingredient we will mention in most of the dishes within this list of top 24.

But what is a plantain? Well, plantains are essentially a type of banana, also often referred to as a cooking banana. They are green bananas that would not be nice to eat raw as a fruit, so instead, they are completely used for cooking, and Puerto Rico uses them in many of their signature dishes!

Here are some of the most popular plantain dishes in Puerto Rico:


Amarillos are the sweet version of Tostones (which we will explain further on down). They are made out of ripe plantain that has turned yellow, hence the name “amarillos” which translates into yellows. The plantain used is peeled and sliced, then fried in oil to make it crispy and golden.

Guanimes con Bacalao

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Remember how we mentioned that Puerto Rican food is a mixture of three different major cultures? Well, Guanimes con Bacalao relies heavily on one of them: the Taíno. (The native people of the island).

This dish is made with cornflour and coconut milk, which are mixed to form a dough. The dough is then molded over a plantain leaf and boiled. Stewed cod is then added on top, and it’s a simple yet delicious result!

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Guineítos en Escabeche

This is a dish most often served on the side of other food, so it’s usually an addition to other bigger dishes. It is essentially green bananas that have been boiled and then marinated in a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, garlic, olives, and sautéed onions.


Mofongo is a hugely popular Puerto Rican dish, often served as the centerpiece of a table. It consists of green plantains that are fried in oil, and then mashed and seasoned, with some olive oil and garlic. It is then served with some sort of meat, usually chicken. Although it can also be served with seafood, such as shrimp! 

It sometimes also comes with a side dish of rice, and it can be found anywhere on the island as it is extremely well-loved and favored by many tourists.


Pastelón looks very similar to lasagna, and that’s because it is, in a way, the Puerto Rican version of what we would call lasagna. It is made from ripe plantain that has been fried, and layers of ground beef, making it a delicious dish that is both savory and sweet.


Pionono is made from ripe plantain, which is peeled and sliced, then fried. Then it is rolled and turned into a little bowl so that it can be filled with meat. Then it is covered with egg wash and cheese and is baked into the oven. So basically, it’s a meat pie, Puerto Rican style!


Tostones are a super easy dish to make, and all you need is some green plantain. This plantain should be peeled and sliced into small pieces, to then be fried in oil. (Sometimes, they leave them to soak in salt water before frying, for some extra flavor.)

Next, they are squashed with a tostonera, used to make tostones, and are fried again. The result is a golden and crispy dish, best eaten with sauce and topped with other foods.

Rice Dishes:

Rice is popular all over the world, but in Puerto Rico, it is used in many of their different dishes and has therefore become a signature ingredient within the island. Rice can be accompanied by many different ingredients and can be served in many different ways, and Puerto Ricans make the most of this!

Here are some of the best Puerto Rican rice dishes:

Arroz Blanco con Habichuelas y Carne Frita

This is one of the best-known dishes from Puerto Rico, as it is simple, not too exotic, and is perfect for any meal. It is essentially just white rice, served with beans and meat, all mixed together with some sauce. The meat can vary according to preference, but it is most commonly either fried pork chops or beef.

Arroz con Dulce

If you love rice, but you also love dessert, Puerto Rico has this delicious rice dessert dish that is ideal for those with a sweet tooth.

It is essentially a rice pudding with a coconut base, and it is often served with some cinnamon powder on top, or similar. It is served all year round but is especially popular during holiday seasons when more importance is given to dessert dishes.

Arroz con Gandules

Arroz con Gandules is a Puerto Rican dish most often served at family gatherings, as it makes for a great side addition to other types of foods, and acts as a sort of filler so that nobody leaves hungry. It is simply rice, served with pigeon peas and seasoned with Puerto Rican sofrito.

It is also traditionally eaten during Thanksgiving, and during Christmas, as they are two holidays in which family gatherings are traditional.

Arroz Mamposteao’

This dish is made out of white rice, and red kidney beans. Only a key ingredient is then added to the mixture: sofrito. The sofrito is a paste mixture that is hugely common in Puerto Rican cuisine, made out of peppers, onions, garlic, culantro, and cilantro. This gives the dish an extra savory taste, and is what makes it so good!

It is also very common to add some diced ham into the mixture, and it is often served alongside other foods.


Soups are often known as a dish for wintertime, or for when you’re feeling under the weather and need a pick me up. But in Puerto Rico, soups are also the perfect food medium for experimenting with flavor.

Here are some of the most popular Puerto Rican soups:

Asopao de Camarones

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Asopao de Camarones is a delicious seafood soup, and the main ingredient is shrimp.

To add to the flavor, the soup also includes the typical Puerto Rican sofrito, along with rice, tomato sauce, garlic, peppers, and any other small vegetables desired. It is often served with some avocado on the side, and although it looks light, it is incredibly filling!

Sopón de Gandules

This soup is mainly defined by having pigeon peas, but different types of plantain can be added, along with different vegetables and seasoning, to give it as much flavor as possible. It is basically a Puerto Rican stew, and it is often served with a side of sliced avocado.


Pastries and desserts are a must when you visit Puerto Rico. And here are some of the most popular and well-beloved:

Brazo Gitano

Brazo Gitano is a pastry or cake dish also highly popular in Spain, which is no surprise as both places have a linked history and cuisine. The name itself translates as “Gypsy Arm”, and it is essentially a sponge cake that has been rolled into a cylindrical shape.

The Puerto Rican version has a filling of guava jelly and is sprinkled with sugar before serving. It is a delicious dessert, which is commonly served during the holiday seasonings or during important festivities.


Mallorca is a beautiful island off the coast of Spain, known for being a sunny tourist destination, right next to Ibiza. But Mallorcas, on the other hand, are a type of Puerto Rican sweet roll that are often served for dessert, with a sprinkle of sugar on top. They can be found at almost every bakery, and there are many variations.

They are also often served as a sandwich, with the roll being cut in half and stuffed with ham, cheese, and scrambled eggs.

Pastelillos de Guayaba

Pastelillos de Guayaba are also commonly known and referred to as Guava Turnovers. They are made with filo pastry that is filled with guava paste and then served with sprinkled sugar on top. They are very sweet, and they make for a delicious dessert or snack.


Although Puerto Rico is an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, it also has some European influence within its cuisine, and the Quesitos are a great example of this.

 It’s a puff pastry dessert, filled with cream cheese and with a coating of sweet honey. It is often served with some coffee with milk, and it is ideal as a light dessert or as an afternoon coffee snack.

Christmas Food:

Puerto Rico has a strong history and culture known for valuing family and family gatherings. So it is no wonder that Christmas is so well-regarded, as it is the perfect holiday for having the family come together.

Here are some of the most popular Puerto Rican Christmas dishes:


A coquito is like a traditional Christmas eggnog, but with a kick of Puerto Rican flavor and cuisine to mix it up a little. It has a rum base and some coconut cream.

However, there are plenty of coquito variations in which it has Nutella, pistachio, or other things to play with the flavor. It should be served cold, and it is the perfect drink to put you into a Christmas mood.


Once again, this is a Puerto Rican dish closely linked to Spanish cuisine, and it is most commonly served during the Christmas holiday season, although it can also be eaten throughout the rest of the year if you’re feeling special. It is basically a pork casing, filled with pig’s blood, cooked rice, garlic, and many different species for flavoring.

It is usually served atop a piece of bread, although it can also be put into soups and stews.


Pasteles translates to “cakes”, which is confusing because this dish is not a cake in the slightest. Instead, Puerto Rican pasteles are made with green plantain and yuca, which are then filled with chicken or other meats, and served with a side dish of rice or similar.

So they are like little wrapped presents of green plantain and meat! They’re incredibly delicious and are almost always served during the Christmas holiday season.

Pernil Asado

Pernil Asado is a dish traditionally served during the Christmas meal, but it can also be served throughout the rest of the year, to mark any sort of special occasion.

It is a delicious dish of slow-cooked pork, seasoned to combine all of the Puerto Rican flavors, and left in the oven until it is completely crispy. It is then often served with a side dish of vegetables or can be paired with a sauce depending on preference.


Tembleque is also commonly referred to as the Tembleque de Coco, and it is essentially a coconut milk-based pudding, sprinkled with cinnamon.

It is rich in both texture and flavor and is most commonly served as a dessert during the Christmas holiday season. “Tembleque” translates into “jiggly”, which is pretty fitting because this pudding is very jiggly if you move the table!

Tres Leche

Tres Leche translates into “Three Milks”, which is pretty apt because this dessert is a sponge cake made out of three different types of milk, hence the name!

It uses evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and full-fat milk, resulting in a moist and light cake that is then served with a topping of whipped cream. Sometimes even a cherry on top, and a lot of sprinkled sugar.


Puerto Rican Food: 24 of the Best Puerto Rican Dishes (+Fried Ripened Plantains)

These recipes are sure to please. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!

5 from 6 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Total Time 44 mins

Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Main Course, Side Dish

Cuisine Puerto Rican

Servings 3

Calories 322 kcal

  • 2 fully ripened plantains
  • Frying oil
  • Sea salt
  • Peel the plantains and cut off the ends.

  • Remove the plantain from the peeling using a knife.

  • Cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick.

  • Fry for about 1/2 minutes on both sides until caramelized and crispy golden brown.

  • Sprinkle with sea salt.

Select your favorite recipe.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.

Calories: 322kcal

Keyword Fried ripened plantains, Puerto Rican cuisine, Puerto Rican Dishes, Puerto Rican Food

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Traditional Puerto Rican Pasteles Recipe


Hector Rodriguez

Hector Rodriguez

A Puerto Rico native and former food service professional, Hector Rodriguez develops recipes inspired by the Caribbean and Latin America.

Learn about The Spruce Eats’
Editorial Process

Updated on 12/29/22

The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Making and serving pasteles at Christmas time is a Puerto Rican tradition. Pasteles are made with pork and adobo stuffing encased in a green plantain masa and wrapped in banana leaves. Although time-consuming and labor-intensive, these pasteles are worth the effort. Traditionally made by the hundreds, then eaten during the holidays, and frozen to consume up to the start of Lent, these savory treats are the product of a team effort. Each person in the family, even the youngest, is assigned a job of grating, mixing, stuffing, or wrapping. Make the plantain or yuca version for a delicious and filling traditional pastel.

Pasteles are boiled and not steamed. They are made with green plantains—don’t mistake them for unripened bananas. Both plantain and banana leaves are available from Latin markets.

Serve with pique criollo (Puerto Rican hot sauce), arroz con gandules (rice and beans), escabeche (seared and marinated cold meats or fish), roasted pork, and other holiday foods.

For the Pork Filling:

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder, diced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 small sweet peppers, chopped

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons recaito, or Puerto Rican sofrito sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano

  • 1 bay leaf

For the Masa Dough:

  • 4 pounds yautía , or malanga, peeled

  • 6 green plantains

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons recaito

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon achiote oil, or more to desired consistency

For the Wrapping:

  • 1 tablespoon achiote oil

  • Kosher salt, for boiling water

Make the Pork Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  2. Brown the diced pork in olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  3. Add the sweet peppers, chopped onion, recaito, garlic, adobo, oregano, and bay leaf, stirring well. Cook until the pork is no longer pink inside. Remove the bay leaf from the mixture and set aside to cool.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Make the Masa Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  2. In a large bowl, grate the peeled yautía and the green plantains (or cleaned and peeled yuca). Use disposable gloves, as uncooked plantains will stain your hands and kitchen towels.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  3. Blend the grated roots in a food processor until creamy.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  4. Place the masa over a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve for at least three hours so the excess moisture drips out.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  5. Once the masa is ready, stir in the garlic, recaito, salt, and enough of the achiote oil to moisten the dough and add a little color. You are now ready to assemble and wrap the pasteles.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Wrap the Pasteles

  1. Prepare a work surface to assemble and wrap the pasteles. If you have friends helping you, set up an assembly line. Prepare 20 (10 x 5-inch) banana leaves, 20 (8 x 4-inch) rectangles of parchment paper, and 20 (18-inch) pieces of kitchen string.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  2. For each pastel, lay out a piece of parchment paper, topped with 1 piece of banana leaf. Brush achiote oil in a rectangular shape on the center of the banana leaf.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  3. Spread 1 1/2 to 2 spoonfuls of masa onto the center of the leaf.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  4. Add 1 spoonful of pork filling and top with another spoonful of masa.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  5. Bring the edges of the banana leaf over the top of the pork filling. Then repeat with the other side of the banana leaf so that the masa completely covers the top of the filling.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  6. Bring the edges of the banana leaf together and fold down over the top.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  7. Fold the edges of the banana leaf underneath the package.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  8. Bring the top and bottom edges of the parchment paper over the top and fold or roll down the edges to make a horizontal seam. Tuck the ends under.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  9. Tie with a string in both directions. At this point, you can freeze any pasteles you are not going to cook and eat right away. Place them in resealable bags, date, label, and freeze.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Cook the Pasteles

  1. Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. Place the pasteles in the water, making sure they are submerged. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  2. Using tongs, remove the pasteles from the boiling water and place them on a plate. Carefully cut the string of each with kitchen scissors and very carefully open the banana leaves and parchment paper. Place the pastel on a serving plate.

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore


  • How to Cook Frozen Pasteles: When ready to cook, place the frozen pasteles in a pot of boiling water directly from the freezer. Cook for an hour, until tender. Pasteles keep well in the freezer for up to four months, so always label the freezer bags with the date when they were made.

Recipe Variation

  • You can substitute both the yautía and plantains with yuca.

The Puerto Rican Pantry

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What to eat in Puerto Rico: traditional sauces|Latin America

known, the main ingredients of Puerto Rican cuisine are the multicultural origin of the dishes, ingenuity
and a combination of tastes, therefore, continuing the conversation about traditional gastronomy
country, touch on such a topic as sauces and once again see how
Puerto Rican food can be varied. nine0021

puerto rican sauces review best with adobo
adobo ) . In truth,
this is not really a sauce, but a mixture of seasonings and spices that are used to
marinating any poultry the day before before cooking, for red meat, fish
or tofu. Add adobo to omelettes, broths, mashed potatoes, stews, and
tortillas. In a word, this is a unique culinary invention that can be
buy it ready-made in stores or cook it yourself at home. There are two
types of adobo, dry and wet, the difference between which lies in the presence or
lack of olive oil and vinegar. The other ingredients are garlic,
coriander, oregano, paprika, ground black pepper, annatto powder, cumin. nine0021



from Mango


countries of the Caribbean is noticeably different from others in the combination of different exotic products, and this
contribute to their climate and geographic location. Any time of the year in
Puerto Rico is the season of some tropical fruit, so don’t
be surprised that sweet fruit sauces are added to savory side dishes. For example,
nine0011 mango sauce ( salsa de mango )
chops, fish, shrimp and tacos. It is prepared from ripe mangoes with red onions,
sweet pepper, orange, lemon, cumin and coriander. Sharpness adjustable
to taste with the addition of hot chili peppers and preferred spices, and for children
they don’t use food. At the same time, there is a cooking option in which fresh
the ingredients are cut into small cubes and mixed like a salad, but there is a recipe
hot sauce, offering mango to pair with pineapple. nine0021

guava sauce gives flavor to food In general, «guava» is the collective name
about a hundred types of fruits that trees of the genus Myrtle give, and most
guava is common. Juices, jams, jellies are made from this fruit,
alcoholic drinks, and based on guava puree — sweet and sour sauce. When it
when preparing, they mix fruit paste, guava juice, ready-made tomato ketchup,
red onion, spices and spices, from which nutmeg, mustard are usually taken
powder, anise, cinnamon, black ground pepper. Sometimes brown is added to the sauce.
cane sugar, and serve it with chicken dishes, pork ribs,
fried cheese, fish. nine0011 pique
to your favorite foods. There are several recipes for making pique, they can
offer to take either pineapple pulp or pineapple peel, or cook without
pineapple, but always put peppers called «caballeros» — the hottest variety in Puerto Rico.
If pique is prepared without pineapple, then vinegar is poured into a transparent bottle and
boiled water, add pepper pods, garlic, oregano, salt and ground
pepper. And if you want to give the peak a fruity flavor, then the ingredients are poured
water in which pieces of pineapple or pineapple peel have been fermented. nine0021

Pork Ribs with Sauce


CREOLOL MOHO ( Mojo Criollo ) — Best Sals
for serving with fish dishes and seafood. Its basic ingredients are
garlic, coriander, olive oil and spices. Interestingly, this is not the only one on the island
mojo variant, mojo islegno is also served here
(mojo isleño),
to which is added
onions and green olives, and mojo picón (mojo picón) — sauce for
those who cannot live without spicy. nine0021

Passion fruit sauce
salsa de parcha ) — one more
a unique fruit sauce added to both poultry and meat, fish and
seafood. It is based on puree or fresh passion fruit pulp, or
passionflower, which is called «brocade» in Puerto Rico. To make a puree
mix until smooth with chicken broth, lemon juice,
wheat flour, coriander, sugar, salt and ground pepper, and then boiled until
thickening. nine0021

Surf Coffee x Shine, Moscow, Novoyasenevsky prospect, 11

Food delivery → Moscow → Surf Coffee x Shine

Information about this establishment is outdated (updated more than a month ago). We recommend choosing another place to order. As of Thursday, January 26, 2023

This page contains 75 items from the menu of the Surf Coffee x Shine restaurant, which is located in Moscow at Novoyasenevsky Prospekt, 11. You can place an order from this place through the Yandex Food delivery service. You can see the location on the map on this page. nine0021

Contractor (seller): Individual entrepreneur Tkachev Yuri Petrovich, 117216, Moscow, Dmitry Donskoy Boulevard, 16-94, TIN 772705101372, Reg. Numer 310774605000202

Work mode: from 10:00 to 22:00

rating for this place:

Voters: 1 pers.
Average rating: 5 out of 5.

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