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18 Latin American Side Dishes You Should Absolutely Try This Holiday Season

It's the most wonderful (and flavorful) time of the year.

It's officially the holiday season. 🎁

And whether you're menu-planning for Nochebuena, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, or something else — we wanted to share some of our favorite Latinx-inspired side dishes and recipes to round out your holiday table this year. Let's dig in!

1. Arroz Congri (Cuban Black Beans and Rice)

A plate of arroz congri

Also called moros y cristianos, this classic Cuban dish is a crowd-pleasing and comforting addition to any table. Congri adds sautéed bell peppers and bits of bacon to the traditional rice and beans combo for even more deliciousness.

Get the recipe: Arroz Congri (Cuban Black Bean and Rice)

2. Chiles Rellenos

A plate of chiles rellenos
Joe Lingeman /

This restaurant-style version of the Mexican classic is easy enough to make at home, and features broiled-then-fried poblano chiles that get stuffed with Oaxaca cheese. Serve them with plenty of salsa roja.

Get the recipe: Chiles Rellenos

3. Yucas Fritas

Yuca is also known as cassava or manioc. And here, it's boiled in water, sliced into sticks (or fries), then fried until perfectly crispy. Yucas fritas are best served with a dip — and this version includes instructions on how to make both spicy Peruvian-style ají amarillo hot sauce, or sweeter rocoto pepper sauce.

Get the recipe: Yucas Fritas

4. Elote

This delicious Mexican corn on the cob — which is also very popular in Central American countries — is more traditionally eaten as a street food. But that doesn't mean you can't have it as a side!

Get the recipe: Elote

5. Curtido

Bowl of curtido with pupusas
Alex Lau /

This cabbage relish is a popular Salvadoran side, often served with pupusas. The best part is that the longer it gets to ferment before you eat it, the better it tastes. Which means you can prep a few days ahead of your meal, set it aside, and not worry about it until it's time to feast.

Get the recipe: Curtido

6. Provoleta

A pan of provoleta

Popular in Argentina and Uruguay, this dish is made of provolone cheese that's (in this version) perfectly melted in a cast-iron skillet. Need I say more? You can top it with chimichurri for a pop of acidity.

Get the recipe: Provoleta

7. Plátanos Asados con Bocadillo y Queso (Baked Plantains With Guava and Cheese)

Baked Plantains with Guava and Cheese

All you need to do to make this incredible cheesy treat is cut a ripe plantain lengthwise, brush it with butter, bake it, place some cheese and guava paste inside, and bake it again. That's it! No fussy chopping and zero stovetop action.

Get the recipe: Plátanos Asados con Bocadillo y Queso (Baked Plantains With Guava and Cheese)

8. Chupe de Papa (Colombian-Style Potatoes)

Columbian-style potatoes

These potatoes are cooked in milk and topped with queso blanco or mozzarella. If you ask me, they beat regular mashed potatoes by a mile.

Get the recipe: Chupe de Papa (Colombian-Style Potatoes)

9. Plátanos Maduros Fritos (Fried Sweet Plantain Slices)

Fried sweet plantain

These are one of the best ways to add a sweet touch to your festive meal. Using ripe plantains, cut generous slices and fry them. The soft texture and delicate flavor will be a hit with everyone.

Get the recipe: Plátanos Maduros Fritos (Fried Sweet Plantain Slices)

10. Refried Beans

Bowl of refried beans

If you're short on time, this inexpensive crowd-favorite can be made in about 20 minutes on the stovetop. Or you can opt for a more hands-off, low and slow version in a Crock Pot.

Get the recipe: Refried Beans

11. Llapingachos (Ecuadorian Stuffed Potato Patties)


Tater lovers unite! These Ecuadorian potato pancakes are stuffed with cheese for an extra indulgent treat. You can eat them as a snack, for brunch, or as a side. (Or you can also do all three, I won't judge. 😋)

Get the recipe: Llapingachos (Ecuadorian Stuffed Potato Patties)

12. Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)

Mexican corn salad
Joe Lingeman /

This corn salad — with garlic, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, Cotija cheeese, Mexican crema, and lime juice — will bring a punch of brightness and flavor to your meal.

Get the recipe: Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)

13. Chilean Sopaipillas (Pumpkin Fritters)

Pumpkin fritters

These Chilean pumpkin fritters require only a handful of ingredients: pumpkin puree, butter, flour, baking soda, milk, and oil. They can be served sweet or savory, depending on the topping you pick. As a side, you can serve them on their own or topped with pebre sauce, a popular Chilean salsa.

Get the recipe: Chilean Sopaipillas (Pumpkin Fritters)

14. Smashed Potatoes With Chimichurri Sauce

Smashed potatoes with chimichurri

Sure, potatoes are great, but here they're really a vessel for chimichurri, AKA one of the greatest condiments out there. This Argentinian and Uruguayan specialty is often made with parsley — but if you're not a fan, you can also use cilantro, like this recipe does.

Get the recipe: Smashed Potatoes With Chimichurri Sauce

15. Patacones (or Tostones)


This specialty is popular all over Latin America and the Caribbean. All you need are green plantains, oil, and salt. You'll slice the plantains, flatten them so they're shaped like a disc (traditionally, this step is done with a tool called a tostonera, but you can also use the flat side of a dish to press down), and fry them. The result? Plantain chips so good they'll make you forget everything else in your plate.

Get the recipe: Patacones (Tostones)

16. Frijoles Negros

Cuban black beans

Creamy black beans are one of the most satisfying foods out there and this classic Cuban version delivers maximum flavor with minimal ingredients.

Get the recipe: Frijoles Negros

17. Aborrajados de Plátano (Ripe Plantain Fritters)

Ripe plantain fritters

Fried food stuffed with cheese is something of a staple throughout Latin America, and rightfully so. These fritters are made with ripe plantains (another staple!) and will turn your holiday table into a proper feast.

Get the recipe: Aborrajados de Plátano (Ripe Plantain Fritters)

18. Sancocho

A bowl of sancocho

This hearty and comforting stew is one of the most popular Dominican dishes out there — and packs protein and plenty of root vegetables. It's perfect as a side as the weather gets colder this season.

Get the recipe: Sancocho