16 Popular Puerto Rican Recipes – Crispy fried plantains, tender slow-roasted pork, tangy sauces, and refreshing cocktails. From savory side dishes to tasty treats and everything in between, Puerto Rican cuisine is a celebration of flavors and textures. The colorful, seasoned dishes bring a spicy touch to any meal!
Often called the Heart and Soul of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is renowned for its rich history and culture, pristine beaches… and exceptional cuisine! Its culture reflects a distinctive blend of Taino, Arawak, Spanish, and African influences. And the vibrancy of Puerto Rico truly comes alive in its traditional dishes!
From tropical fruit to seafood to olive oil, the fusion of flavors passed from generation to generation resulted in the exotic blend of Puerto Rican recipes. So fill your kitchen with the aroma of herbs and spices that make this beautiful island nation unique!
Puerto Rican cuisine is a unique mix of African, Taino, Spanish, and Latin American cuisines. This unique blend of indigenous and foreign influences makes up what Puerto Ricans refer to as Creole.
Coconut, ground beef, chicken, plantains, avocados, tomato sauce, mangoes, pineapples, gandules, and yuca are staples in Puerto Rico. Also, olive oil, garlic, oregano, lime juice, and crushed peppers are used to flavor everything from sauces to side dishes.
Bananas and plantains are considered cousins. In fact, bananas and plantains look very similar. Plantains are the larger of the two and have harder skin. And while bananas are usually eaten raw, plantains are typically boiled, baked, or fried before eating.
The Puerto Rican Recipe Roundup
Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside – this delectable pork dish is alive with flavors! It’s marinated in herbs and spices and slow-roasted in the oven, so it’s perfectly tender and fall-off-the-bone delicious. And it’s elegant enough to take center stage at a festive meal but easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner at home.
2. One-Pot Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice
Take your typical chicken dinner to the next level with this tasty dish! The flavors of the chicken and rice meld together, giving your taste buds a world of excitement. Sofrito sauce, spices, peas, and olives combine in a burst of flavors to make this an unforgettable addition to any weeknight meal.
3. Jibarito Plantain and Steak Sandwich
Simple doesn’t have to be boring! Juicy, flavorful meat seasoned with a unique Sazon seasoning and spicy mayo, surrounded by crispy, savory, and sweet plantains—this sandwich is all kinds of delicious. You can also serve it with homemade pineapple juice for a tropical delight!
Weeknights can be kind of crazy at times, wouldn’t you agree? I’m always on the lookout for quick but nutritious weeknight options, and this meal has saved me countless times. It’s similar to beef stew but elevated by the addition of olives and raisins. It works equally well as stuffing for bell peppers, tacos, or other dishes.
This recipe for Puerto Rican lasagna boasts a taste of the islands! Cheesy, sweet, savory, and with just a little kick, this dish is perfect for a cozy family dinner at home or for impressing guests. The layers of spiced beef and plantains create a dish as unique as it is flavorful.
Nothing beats a hearty stew on a cold winter day! Different kinds of meat, vegetables, and starches come together to make the perfect comfort food. Puerto Ricans traditionally make this recipe for holidays and special occasions, but I like to make it when fall is in full swing.
7. Arroz con Gandules
Sometimes coming up with side dish ideas is the most challenging part of meal planning. This rice dish will save the day! Exotic ingredients such as gandules (aka pigeon peas) and homemade sofrito turn this rice dish into an elegant and original side dish for a holiday meal or other special occasions.
8. Puerto Rican Style Beans
You may not think of big, bold flavors when you think of bean dishes. But the fusion of flavors in these Puerto Rican Beans will make you think again! Not your typical bean dish, this hearty stew is infused with flavors of garlic, onion, bell pepper spice, and tomatoes. Serve it with Pernil or Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice for a meal that is anything but boring.
Who can resist fried plantains, garlic, and chicharrones? Impressive enough on their own, the result is monumental when stuffed with a succulent garlic shrimp sauce. Simple ingredients blend perfectly for some incredibly noteworthy flavors in this dish.
Sauces and Snacks
I’ve been making my own seasonings for years, and I’m proud to share my perfected sofrito sauce with you. This unique ingredient is the base for many recipes, taking dishes from good to out of this world. Feel free to adjust the recipe to create your personalized sofrito puree!
Some of my favorite memories are the whole family gathering in the kitchen during the holidays, cooking, and eating the fruits of our labors. Dishes similar to this tender, flavorful meat stew encased in a traditional masa. The perfect fusion of flavors makes them so worth the quality family time to make them.
Crispy outside and tender inside – the perfect texture combination! The versatile plantain becomes the star of the show thanks to a unique method of flattening the plantains and frying them twice. Pineapple guacamole adds a burst of flavor and helps create a dish that’s both visually appealing and remarkably tasty.
Bring the tropics home with this celebrated dish! The sweet and savory combination of plantain and beef transports me to a beach in the Caribbean every time I make it. Perfect for lunch, dinner, or snack time, this versatile dish is a staple in my home.
Street food has taken the cooking world by storm, and alcapurrias are one of my favorites. You can find them in beach kiosks or on the street; they’re a popular on-the-go snack with the locals. They’re made with yuca, green bananas, or taro and stuffed with a delectable beef filling, making a tasty snack or appetizer. Yum!
Creamy and thick, this cozy drink is comfort in a glass! It’s like eggnog, but the coconut milk and spices give it a tropical kick. It’s the perfect drink for entertaining guests. Be warned, though, because one pitcher won’t be enough!
16. Pina Colada
When I think of pina coladas, I think of peaceful evenings on the beach, the sound of the waves, and the warm breeze on my face. But if you can’t jump on the next plane to Puerto Rico, this classic summer drink recipe will make you feel like you’re already there. Frothy, refreshing, and sweet, this is the perfect way to relax during your next staycation. If you’re in the mood for more tropical cocktails, why not try a Mango Margarita or a Strawberry Daiquiri?
Which of these Puerto Rican recipes do you want to experience firsthand? Will it be a savory main dish such as pernil or a cool, refreshing pina colada? Please let me know in the comments which one you tried this week!