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These 18 Traditional Dishes Prove That Puerto Rico Has The Best Food

You haven’t lived until you try all of these!

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Updated on

1. Mofongo

What is it: Deep-fried green plantains mashed together with sautéed onion, garlic, olive oil and other ingredients such pork or seafood.

Taste: Heavenly & delicious.

Conclusion: Why don’t we eat more mofongo?

Get a recipe here.

2. Pernil

What is it: Slow-roasted marinated pork shoulder, commonly made for holidays & special occasions.

Taste: Crunchy skin, tender meat, this dish is the Puerto Rican equivalent to a Thanksgiving turkey.


Get a recipe here.

3. Arroz con gandules

What is it: A combination of rice, pigeon peas, and pork, cooked in the same pot with sofrito. It is one of the signature rice dishes of Puerto Rican cuisine.

Taste: Like substance of the gods.

Conclusion: Pernil + arroz con gandules = #winning

Get a recipe here.


5. Alcapurrias

What is it: Deep-fried "fritters," made of grated taro root (yautia), green plantains, and filled with savory ground meat or fish.

Taste: Delectable.

Conclusion: Alcapurria food trucks on every corner.

Get a recipe here.

6. Chicharrones de pollo

What is it: Crispy, tender, deep-fried chicken pieces.

Taste: Much like traditional fried chicken but NOT.

Conclusion: Just book a trip to Puerto Rico and try everything on this list already.

Get a recipe here.

8. Trifongo

Sweets and Beyond / Via

What is it: Mofongo with sweet plantains thrown into the mix as well.

Taste: Sweet & deeply rich.

Conclusion: This is for the indecisive, if you want mofongo but you also want pastelón, go with trifongo!

Get a recipe here.


10. Serenata de Bacalao

What is it: Cod fish is the star of this traditional cuisine, it becomes extremely popular during spring and summer!

Taste: Savory.

Conclusion: If you like fish, this is not to be missed!

Get a recipe here.

11. Habichuelas Guisadas

What is it: Seasoned and stewed pinto beans, a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine.

Taste: Hearty, but not your average pot of beans.

Conclusion: Click the recipe to see how these beans get their extra boost of flavor!

Get a recipe here.


13. Coquito

What is it: Coconut-based alcoholic (rum) beverage, a holiday favorite.

Taste: Eggnog's Puerto Rican cousin, will bring all the feels of the Christmas season.

Conclusion: Please don't die yet, especially if you haven't tried this.

Get a recipe here.

14. Piononos

What is it: A miniature version of pastelón – lasagna-style sweet plantains and picadillo (sautéed ground beef).

Taste: Sweet & robust.

Conclusion: If you don't want to cook a whole pastelón try piononos. ;)

Get a recipe here.

16. Jibarito — Chicago

What is it: Pronounced hee-bah-ree-toe, it's a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread, garlic-flavored mayonnaise, and a filling that typically includes meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. (Please note: while jibaritos have their roots in Puerto Rico, this dish was originally created in Chicago by a Puerto Rican chef.)

Taste: Rich, substituting green plantains for bread? Genius!

Conclusion: Find a jibarito sandwich on the menu at many Latin American restaurants or try it at home! It's simple.

Get a recipe here.


17. Empanadillas

What is it: A fried meat pie, can be stuffed with ground beef, chicken. or cheese.

Taste: Finger-lickin' good

Conclusion: Easy & accessible DIY recipe! Yes, you too can make this at home!

Get a recipe here.

18. Pasteles

What is it: Think of a tamal, but not. The masa exterior is made from green plantains and malanga root, stuffed with ground beef, chicken, or pork.

Taste: Memorable.

Conclusion: Perhaps an acquired taste for the untrained tongue but also a MUST TRY, so please add this traditional dish to your bucket list as well.

Get a recipe here.

Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below.