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25 Puerto Rican Recipes: Traditional and Modern

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Puerto Rican food is delicious, and it’s also quite diverse. The cuisine of Puerto Rico combines the cooking techniques of Taino Indians, African slaves, Spanish settlers, and other cultures to create a unique blend that has been passed down from generation to generation.

As a Puerto Rican from Yabucoa, I will share with you some traditional Puerto Rican recipes as well as some modern ones too.

Arroz con Pollo

Puerto Rican cuisine has plenty of chicken recipes. One example is Arroz con Pollo, which combines chicken thighs or legs seasoned with sazon, sofrito, and other spices.

Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo is a traditional dish that combines two of the island’s favorite ingredients: rice and chicken. The dish consists of white rice, chicken pieces cooked in sofrito (a sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, onions, cilantro, olives, and achiote), green olives, capers, and sazon seasoning.

Arroz con pollo is served as a side dish with potato salad or salad. It has become one of the island’s most popular dishes due to its delicious flavor and versatility.

Arroz con Gandules

Another popular Puerto Rican recipe is Arroz con Gandules which combines rice and pigeon peas seasoned with tomato sauce, sofrito, and bay leaves (or laurel).

Arroz con gandules is often served alongside meats like chicken, pork, or beef and is a popular dish at family gatherings, holidays, and special occasions in Puerto Rico. It is a delicious comfort food and has become an essential part of our cuisine.

Try Arroz con Gandules Instant Pot!

Mofongo

Mofongo is a prevalent Puerto Rican dish. It is usually made with green plantains, but you can mix ripe plantain to give it a sweeter taste. Once the plantain has been peeled and cut into slices, it needs to go through boiling in water mixed with salt; this will help soften them up, making them easier to mash.

The Mofongo is mashed together with garlic cloves, pork rinds, and other ingredients. It is usually served with a sauce made of sofrito, vinegar, garlic, or mayoketchup.

Mofongo can be an appetizer or a meal, depending on what you put in it and how much meat you want to add. It’s best served when hot.

There are many different ways of making Mofongo, with some adding shrimp, garlic, steak meat, chicken, and even crab.

Alcapurrias

Alcapurrias de Puerto Rico are traditional fritters made with mashed green plantains, stuffed with beef or pork, and then deep-fried until golden and crispy.

The plantain mixture is usually seasoned with garlic, onions, spices, herbs, and red peppers before being filled with savory stuffing.

The result is a unique combination of creamy plantains on the inside and a crunchy coating on the outside.

Alcapurrias can be served as an appetizer or side dish and can also be enjoyed as a main course when paired with other dishes like rice, beans, salads, and more.

Arroz con Leche

Arroz con leche is a classic Puerto Rican dessert made of rice, milk, cinnamon, and raisins. The dish is often enriched with butter for extra creaminess and sweetness.

It is one of the most popular desserts in Puerto Rico thanks to its simple ingredients, delicious flavor, and comforting texture.

Arroz con leche is typically served warm or cold and can be enjoyed as a sweet treat any time of day. It can be topped with ground cinnamon.

Tembleque

Tembleque is a popular sweet coconut pudding from Puerto Rico. It’s usually made with simple ingredients like coconut milk, cornstarch, and sugar. The pudding is cooked until it thickens and then chilled before being served.

The name tembleque comes from the Spanish phrase tremblecar or “to tremble” as the pudding wobbles when served in a bowl. The dish has been part of Puerto Rican cuisine for centuries and is a staple dessert today.

Tembleque can also be prepped ahead of time for easier serving.

Pollo Frito

Pollo Frito, or fried chicken, is a popular dish in Puerto Rico. It’s made with seasoned or marinated chicken that is then deep-fried until it’s crispy and golden brown. The marinade typically consists of garlic, oregano, spices like cumin and paprika, and vinegar and citrus juice to give it a tangy flavor.

The dish is popular around the island due to its unique flavor and ease of preparation. Pollo frito can be served as a main course or as an appetizer with fries or other side dishes like plantains, rice, and beans.

Asopao de Pollo

Asopao de Pollo is a popular Puerto Rican soup dish made with chicken, rice, and various herbs and spices. It’s traditionally prepared in a soup pot with chicken broth, tomato sauce, garlic, onions, peppers, and cilantro for flavor. Rice is added to the mix for bulk and potatoes or plantains for an additional layer of texture.

Asopao de pollo has become popular around Puerto Rico due to its unique blend of flavors and ability to be prepared quickly.

It can serve as a meal on its own or be served alongside other dishes, such as fried plantains. The dish is also incredibly versatile, so it can easily be modified based on what ingredients are available.

Besitos de Coco    

Besito de coco, or coconut kisses, is a popular Puerto Rican dessert made with sweet shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk.

It’s traditionally prepared by mixing these ingredients together before shaping them into balls. The final product has a chewy yet slightly crunchy texture.

Besitos de Coco is popular around the holiday season due to its unique flavor and because of how easy it is to prepare.

Habichuelas Guisadas

Puerto Rican famous beans, or Habichuelas guisadas, are stewed Spanish beans made with red beans and vegetables.

It’s traditionally prepared by sautéing onions, bell peppers, garlic, and spices before adding the beans and simmering it all together until the vegetables are tender. The final product has a creamy texture and robust flavor.

This dish is often served with white rice or yellow rice and meat, such as chuletas fritas.

Relleno de Papa        

Rellenos de papa from Puerto Rico is a traditional dish comprised of fried potato balls stuffed with meat. The potato balls are usually made with mashed potatoes that have been seasoned with garlic, onion, and herbs before being filled with a savory filling and then deep-fried until golden brown.

The result is a delicious combination of creamy potato on the inside and a crunchy coating on the outside.

Rellenos de papa can be served as an appetizer or side dish and can also be enjoyed as a main course when paired with other dishes like rice, beans, salads, and more.

Puerto Rican Coquito

Puerto Rican Coquito is a creamy and delicious traditional holiday beverage made with coconut milk, sweet condensed milk, spices, and rum. It is often served during the holidays as a festive treat and can be enjoyed on its own or with other desserts.

Coquito is typically served cold and takes little time to prepare. The main ingredients are blended together to create a rich, creamy base before combining with rum and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. The resulting mixture is then chilled before serving.

Puerto Rican coquito is an indulgent yet refreshing holiday beverage that will surely make any gathering more enjoyable!

Mofongo con Chicharron

An iconic dish of Puerto Rican cuisine, Mofongo con chicharrón is a traditional Puerto Rican dish made with mashed green plantain, garlic, and pork cracklings or pork rind.

The mofongo itself is made from green plantains that have been boiled and mashed with garlic, olive oil, and salt. The pork cracklings are then added to the mixture and fried until crispy.

The traditional way of serving mofongo with chicharrón is as an entrée accompanied by a side dish or in a soup or stew. It can also be served as an appetizer or side dish on its own.

Mofongo with chicharrón has become a popular dish among locals and tourists alike due to its unique flavor and texture.

   

Bistec Encebollado

Bistec Encebollado is a traditional dish originating from Puerto Rico. It is made with steak marinated in spices, fried onions, and garlic. The steak is then served over white rice. A side of beans or plantain, or Amarillo usually accompanies this dish.

Bistec encebollado is an easy-to-make dish that all can enjoy. It typically takes only 30 minutes from start to finish and packs a lot of flavor in every bite. The marinade for the steak gives it a nice sweetness, while the fried onions add a savory, crunchy texture.

Overall, bistec encebollado is a delicious and satisfying dish that will leave you wanting more! Give it a try the next time you want to spice up your dinner routine!

Pasteles

Pasteles are traditional Latin dishes made from grated green unripe plantain, yautia (taro root), and calabazas (West Indian pumpkin). The dough is mixed with herbs, spices, peppers, olives, capers, and achiote oil. Then the mixture is wrapped in a banana leaf for steaming and served as an appetizer or entrée.

Pasteles are popular throughout Latin America, especially in Puerto Rico, and are usually served during the holidays.

The most common methods of cooking pasteles include boiling them wrapped in banana leaves, which give them a unique flavor.

Tostones

Tostones are a traditional Puerto Rican dish made with green plantains. They’re traditionally prepared by slicing the plantains into thin discs, frying them, and smashing them flat before refrying them until golden brown. The final product has a crispy and crunchy texture.

Tostones are served with just about any dish in Puerto Rico, or you can dip them in Mayo Ketchup sauce, ketchup, or other sauces.

Puerto Rican Empanadillas

Puerto Rican Empanadillas are traditional Puerto Rican pastries made with flaky dough and stuffed with savory ingredients. They’re traditionally prepared by forming a thin sheet of dough and adding savory fillings such as beef, pork, potatoes, chicken, or cheese. The final product has a delicious flavor as well as a unique texture.

Empanadillas are popular due to their savory yet flavorful taste as well as their ease of preparation. This dish can be served on its own or combined with other dishes.

Carne Guisada

Puerto Rican Carne Guisada is a traditional Puerto Rican dish made with beef simmered in a tomato-based sauce. It’s traditionally prepared by browning the beef in a skillet along with aromatics such as garlic, onions, and bell peppers before adding tomatoes and simmering until cooked through. This dish has a delicious flavor as well as an irresistible texture.

Puerto Rican Carne Guisada is different from other Latin American countries because it uses local ingredients that give the dish its unique flavor.

For example, Spanish sofrito, a mix of vegetables and herbs, is often used to add extra flavor to the dish.

This dish is served with white rice, tostones, and amarillos.

Pasteles de Yuca

Puerto Rican Pasteles de Yucas are made from grated yuca root mashed with boiled green banana, seasoned meat (shredded pork or chicken), and wrapped in a banana leaf.

Pasteles de Yuca are packed with flavor and provide an amazing culinary experience. The filling is usually made with ground beef, pork, and chicken combined with spices and herbs like oregano and cilantro.

Chuletas fritas

Chuletas fritas are pork chops that are seasoned and then fried. Generally served with rice and beans.

Chuletas Fritas, or fried pork chops, is a popular dish among Puerto Ricans and can be enjoyed any time of the year. The pork chop is usually seasoned with adobo or marinated and deep-fried until golden brown.

Puerto Ricans love Chuletas Fritas because they are tender, juicy, and flavorful. Not only is it a great meal, but it’s also affordable, making it great for large families or groups. This dish can easily be customized with different ingredients and seasonings to suit individual tastes.

Guineitos en Escabeche

Guineitos en escabeche (Pickled green bananas) is a traditional dish from Puerto Rico that has been around for centuries. It consists of small green plantains, or guineos, which are boiled and then cooked in an escabeche sauce made of vinegar, onions, garlic, olives, capers, peppers, and other herbs and spices.

We love Guineitos en Escabeche because it has a unique flavor that can’t be found anywhere else. The tangy and savory combination of flavors comes from the escabeche sauce and the sweetness of the guineos.

This recipe takes little time to make and can easily feed a large family. Its popularity continues to remain strong throughout Puerto Rico, even today.

Sorullitos de Maiz

Sorullitos de Maiz are small, finger-shaped cornmeal fritters that are typically served as an appetizer or side dish in Puerto Rico. The sorullitos are made with a mixture of cornmeal, cheese, butter, and seasonings and then deep-fried until golden brown.

Sorullitos de Maiz are incredibly popular in Puerto Rico because they’re delicious and can be eaten alone or combined with other dishes like soup or rice.

They’re also fairly easy to make, making them great for busy days. Furthermore, the cornmeal’s sweet flavor and the cheese’s salty taste make it a favorite among all ages.

Pernil Al Horno – Roast Pork Shoulder

Pernil Al Horno (Roast Pork Shoulder) or Puerto Rican Pernil is a classic dish consisting of pork shoulder that is marinated and then slow roasted. The history of this signature dish dates back to Taíno Indians, who sourced the traditional ingredients from their native land.

Puerto Rican Pernil differs from other Latin American countries because it has a unique flavor combination due to its native ingredients and spices, such as garlic, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and sour orange juice.

Additionally, Puerto Rican Pernil is distinct in that it’s cooked low and slow for several hours until it’s tender and juicy.

Bacalaitos

Bacalaitos are a classic dish from Puerto Rico. They are made with codfish, flour, garlic, and onions and are usually served as an appetizer or side dish. The history of this traditional recipe dates back to the colonial era when salted cod was brought over from Europe and became a staple food for Caribbean people.

By adding ingredients such as flour and island spices like cumin, this popular snack has evolved over centuries to become a favorite among our people. Today bacalaitos reflect the unique combination of native and European flavors that can only be found in Puerto Rico.

Arañitas

Arañitas, also known as ‘little spiders,’ are a beloved Puerto Rican dish that consists of shredded plantains fried in oil. Typically served as an appetizer or side dish, they can also make a delicious snack when eaten with ketchup or garlic dip.

I love Arañitas for the same reasons I love bacalaitos: the unique flavor combination of native and European ingredients, and they are so easy to make.

To begin, peel plantains and grate them on a box grater or food processor. Heat up some oil in a large skillet and add the grated plantains. Fry for about 5 minutes until the Arañitas become golden and crispy around the edges. Remove from heat, season with salt if desired, and enjoy with ketchup, garlic dip, or another favorite condiment!

Ensalada de Pulpo

Ensalada de Pulpo is a popular dish from Puerto Rico that consists of boiled octopus, tomatoes, onions, and herbs in a homemade vinaigrette. This salad is unique in that it blends traditional Caribbean flavors, like pimento and cilantro, and touches, like garlic and lemon.

It’s also incredibly versatile, as the cooked octopus can be replaced with shrimp or crab meat for different variations. The ease of preparation, combination of flavors, and ability to customize your ingredients make this dish a hit among locals and visitors alike.

You can print the recipe below!

Ensalada de Pulpo Plus The Best Puerto Rican Recipes

Ensalada de Pulpo Plus The Best Puerto Rican Recipes

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

During the hot summer months, it’s nice to have refreshing meals waiting in the fridge.

One such recipe is ensalada de pulpo. Octopus salad is packed with flavor and so refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

Served with plantain chips or crusty bread, this is a salad that you’ll love having on hand.

Best of all, it’s low in calories. A 1-cup serving of Ensalada de Pulpo has 300 calories, 11 grams of carbs, and 17 grams of protein. It’s also a good source of iron and monounsaturated fat.

Plus, below, you will find links to the best Puerto Rican recipes from around the web!

To learn more about the recipe, click the title of the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 pound octopus, cleaned
  • Salt
  • Large bunch of fresh oregano
  • Large bunch of fresh parsley
  • Large bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped and seeded

Instructions

  1. 1. Bring a large pot of water that has been lightly salted to a boil. Boil the octopus whole for 2 minutes. Remove the octopus from the boiling water and allow it to cool.
  2. Place the large bunches of herbs in the bottom of a Dutch oven and then add your octopus that you have roughly chopped into larger pieces. Bake covered at 250 degrees for an hour and 45 minutes.
  3. Once the octopus has baked, remove from the Dutch oven and allow to cool. You want it to cool enough that you are able to handle it easily. Remove the outer bits that are a bit slimy and then chop the octopus into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
  4. Toss the chopped octopus with the cucumber, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, dried oregano, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Make sure everything is well combined.
  5. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 266Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 599mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 35g

These nutritional calculations might not be accurate. Please speak with a licensed nutritionist to assist you.

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