Pass your plate and fill your glass: From rich holiday foods like roasted pork shoulder (pernil) and the eggnog-like coquito cocktail, to lighter, summer-inspired dishes like Puerto Rican potato salad or asopao with shrimp and vegetables, to modern takes on dessert classics like mango vanilla cream piraguas and coquito cupcakes, we've found some of the best Puerto Rican recipes that you're sure to enjoy.
Here, irresistible dishes to celebrate all that Puero Rico has to offer, from coast to coast. And before you head into the kitchen, make sure to pick up some tools you'll need to make the dishes the authentic way: a pilon, to mash together garlic and spices and plenty of plantains, and a heavy bottom dutch oven to mix up arroz con gandules and roast up a perfect pork shoulder. Oh and of course, start with some sofrito. Buen provecho!
No two Puerto Rican sofrito recipes are same! This traditional green version is a mixture of fresh oregano, garlic, cilantro, onions, and peppers that is all blended up and used as a base for a variety of rustic dishes. Pro tip: freeze portion in ice cube trays and pop out whenever you want to start your recipes with a boost of flavor!
This dish, a classic in my grandmother's Puerto Rican kitchen, is a favorite in my family. You can turn up the heat by adding a few extra shakes of red pepper flakes, and enhance the smoky flavor by lacing with bacon. Either way, make extra, so you have leftovers for days to come!
"This dish puts me in touch with my roots," Rios said. "The aromas when they are in the oven fill my apartment with all of the fragrance of family. I love that.”
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1/2 cup sofrito
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can pigeon peas
- 1 tablespoon Manzanillo olives
- 1 teaspoon capers
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 pound white rice
- garlic powder, to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
A scrumptious Puerto Rican one-dish meal.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 2 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/3 teaspoon annatto powder (achiote) or paste
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or part beef and pork)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1/3 cup sliced green olives
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 2 tablespoons chopped pimientos
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup oil for frying
- 3 pounds ripe plantains (black skins) - (peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch-thin rounds)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 package frozen lengthwise-cut string beans - thawed and well drained
These alcapurrias, or yautia fritters, stuffed with picadillo, or spicy ground beef, are a Puerto Rican classic. Traditionally, alcapurrias are shaped on a wilted wild grape leaf (uva playera), and slid from the leaf into the hot oil one by one. I provide a nontraditional method that eases the process for home cooks, although; if you would like to prepare them ahead of time, arrange them in rows on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for a couple of hours before frying so they maintain their shape.
- 2 pounds yautía
- 1/4 cup achiote oil
- 2 tablespoons adobo
- 3/4 cup picadillo
- vegetable oil for frying
This traditional Puerto Rican roast pork shoulder recipe results in a tender and succulent, melt in your mouth entree for the dinner table.
- 8 pounds picnic pork shoulder
- 12 minced garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 8 teaspoons salt (or 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat)
This Puerto Rican soup is perfect for satisfying late-night revelers.
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon annato seeds (achiote)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 6 small red chiles (such as ajíes dulces or ripe jalapeños, seeded and minced)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 32 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
- 4 cups cooked white rice
- 36 medium shrimp
Rich in tropical flavor, mangoes pair naturally with creamy condensed milk and vanilla. Let the others scream for ice cream: we would rather yearn for a luscious Mango Piragua.
- 1 pound ripe mangoes, peeled, pits removed
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 cups shaved ice
Picadillo, or spiced ground beef, found its way to us via the Cuban community. Its versatility and uncomplicated nature makes it a favorite in the Puerto Rican culinary repertoire.
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- 1 red bell pepper (finely diced with seeds and inner white ribbing removed)
- 8 cloves garlic (pounded to a paste)
- 1/2 cup sofrito
- 1 3/4 cups spanish tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped culantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
- kosher salt
- 4 pounds ground beef sirloin
Similar to other Latin American milk based punches, coquito is enriched with eggs and flavored with cinnamon.
- 1 can coconut milk, not coconut water or coconut cream (13.5 ounces)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 stickscinnamon
- 4 egg yolks
- ground cinnamon, to taste
- 1 cup white rum (optional)
Smooth potatoes are mixed with crisp apples and fresh celery for a sweet and savory side.
- 3 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled
- 2 red apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 2 stalks celery, fronds removed, peeled and diced
- 1 small onion, cut to a fine dice
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 cup shelled green peas
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and coarsely chopped
- kosher salt
Chicharonnes are a popular dish in Latin America.
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup dark rum (or extra 1/2 cup lime juice)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 5 cloves garlic - (minced)
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts - (cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- canola or vegetable oil
"This recipe is inspired by my Grandmother Evelyn’s traditional baked jamón con piña," Benet says. "Yes, it is usually done in the oven, and a huge baking ham is used, stubbed with cloves and dressed with thinly sliced pineapple rounds. I chose to give a stovetop alternative to the original since the possibilities for a richer sauce are enhanced in a pot and, hey, it’s always fun to play around with different techniques."
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra-virgin)
- 1 canned baking ham, about 3 pounds
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 onion, cut into large dice
- 3 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
- 2 cups fortified white cooking wine “El Cocinero” (or substitute dry Spanish sherry)
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 6 cups pineapple juice (preferably Lotus brand)
- 1 pound packed brown sugar
- 1 cup Maraschino cherries, stems removed
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 pounds peeled pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
Pastelón, which is a layered casserole of platanos and picadillo, is a traditional casserole in Puerto Rican and Dominican cooking. In this modernized version by Kelis, a French-inspired sweet corn béchamel sauce is drizzled over the top for added richeness that ties the dish together.
Though popular in various Latin American countries, no slideshow of Puerto Rican comfort food would be complete without sancocho! In this recipe, beef, pork and chicken pair up with classic spices and corn,yucca, plantains and potatoes for a hearty and delicious combination.
A Puerto-Rican dish, Mofongo is mainly a green plantain fried once then mashed in a pilón or mortar and pestle. It is ground in the pilón with olive oil or butter, garlic and chicharrones or pork rinds, and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. This version by Chef Jose Mendin of Pubbelly in Miami, toes the line between traditional and playful. See how!