9 Most Delicious Recipes with Plantains

9 Most Delicious Recipes with Plantains

What are plantains?

Plantains belong to the banana family. They look like regular bananas, but are much larger. They are also less starchy and lower in sugar, as you can consume them while they are still green.

A ripe plantain will be yellow with brown spots, and overripe will be completely brown. The darker the plantain, the sweeter it will be.

In Spanish plantains are known as “Platanos or Platano Macho”. In Puerto Rico, they are known as “Platanos”. In other parts of Latin America, they are called “Platano Macho” as “Platano” is referred to as the regular bananas you find in grocery stores that are okay to be consumed raw. In Puerto Rico regular bananas are called “Guineos”. You’ll find that Spanish has different words in different countries.

Healthy Puerto Rican Food Recipes

Are plantains healthier than bananas?

Both plantains and bananas are healthy food sources. But, plantains, unlike regular bananas, must be cooked. They primarily grow in warm climates so they have become a big part of Latin cuisine as they grow naturally in Tropical/Latin America. You can also find plantains in other countries like Africa, India and Asia.

One great thing about plantains is that they are really versatile. You can create many different dishes and not get tired of them. They are also a great carbohydrate alternative for those on a Paleo or Vegan diet. Plantains are a potassium rich food, and are packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins like A, C and B6. Great for cardiovascular and immune support.

Plantains can be a great addition to any healthy diet. Especially if you are mindful of the way you cook them. For a healthy plantain dish, avoid deep frying in hydrogenated oils. Choose methods like baking, boiling, and even air frying. If you choose to fry them, choose healthy fats like refined coconut oil, or avocado oil.

Best Healthy Versions of Puerto Rican Recipes

What is the difference between a green plantain and a sweet plantain?

A green plantain is considered ripe enough to consume, however they are a bit harder and less sweet than regular bananas. These are used for tostones, mofongo, and various other recipes like in soups and stews. Sweet plantains are ripe/overripe plantains but are not consumed raw. These are yellow with brown spots and are typically mushy and sweet once cooked.

Traditional Puerto Rican Plantain Mofongo Recipe

What can i do with lots of plantains?

Here are 9 of the most popular foods made with plantains in Puerto Rico and Latin America:

1. Tostones or patacones

Tostones or patacones are made with green plantains. These are fried twice. First, the plantains are peeled and cut into 2” pieces. Then they are fried until completely cooked. After taken out of the oil, they are flattened and fried again until golden brown. 

2. Fried Sweet Plantains (“Amarillos ó Maduros”)

Fried sweet plantains are much simpler to make than green plantains. The plantain must be really ripe which is when the plantain is yellow with brown spots. The more brown spots the sweeter the plantain will be. For these you just peel, cut into thinner pieces, and fry. 

3. Mofongo

Mofongo is typically made with green plantains, however can be also combined with sweet plantains, and even yuca for what Puerto Ricans call a Trifongo. Even though it is a Puerto Rican dish, it was influenced by the African culture. To make mofongo, you peel and cut the plantain into 1 inch pieces. Fry until completely cooked and remove from heat. In a “Pilon” aka mortar and pestle, mash some garlic, add the plantains with butter. Add some “Chicharones” aka pork rinds if desired, and mash the plantains until soft enough to form a ball. Enjoy with a bowl of chicken broth, meats, seafood, and/or a nice salad. 

4. Pastelón (Puerto Rican Lasagna)

Pastelón is a Puerto Rican favorite. This is made with sweet plantains, cut into long thin strips and fried. It’s made similar to a lasagna but instead of pasta, you would add the fried sweet plantains instead. To prepare you would make ground beef “picadillo” to your liking and add layers of plantains, beef, and cheese of your choice. In order to help the plantain lasagna stick together, on the last layer (before topping with cheese), you would beat 2 eggs and add on top before baking. Then top with cheese and bake until all the cheese has melted. 

5. Arañitas

Arañitas are made with green plantains. These are peeled and shredded with a cheese grater into small thin strips. Then they are smashed together and fried until golden brown and crunchy. 

6. Canoas

Canoas are made with an entire peeled ripe plantain. These are smothered in oil with a  bit of salt, and wrapped in aluminum foil, then baked until cooked. After the plantains are cooked they are removed from the foil, and a slit is cut in the middle. Then they are stuffed with ground beef “picadillo” and cheese, and baked again until the cheese melts. 

7. Picadillo con maduros

Picadillo con maduros is made with ground beef. It follows the same recipe as “Picadillo” but with added fried ripe plantains. To make; the ground beef is cooked with onions, peppers, cilantro and garlic, tomato sauce, and seasoned with adobo and sazón. After the sweet plantains have been fried, they are added to the meat. This is best enjoyed with a side of white rice, a side salad and a slice of avocado. 

8. Empanada de Pastelón

An empanada de pastelón is made with empanada dough and filled with picadillo con maduros. The dough is made with all purpose flour, salt and warm water until dough forms. Then it is stuffed with meat and either baked or fried. Fried empanadas are also known as “empanadillas” or “pastelillos”. You can also find pre-made dough in the freezer section in the Latin area in a grocery store near you. 

9. Jibarito Sandwich or Patacones

A jibarito sandwich or patacones (the name depends on where you are from) is a sandwich made with large tostones (patacones). You would cut the plantain in half, fry twice just like the tostones, and prepare it like a sandwich. You can add various meats like steak or chicken,cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, and spread with the famous mayo-ketchup which is a blend of mayonnaise, ketchup, and a touch of garlic.


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Thanks for reading our blog. Please let us know what you think of our articles and recipes in the comments below. If you’d like to stay up to date, join our Nutrition Dork’s mailing list here: https://sendfox.com/nutritiondork

Want to find out more about our Healthy Rican Spice Brand? Visit our online store here. There you will find our Healthy Blends of Latin Adobo & Sazón made with all-natural ingredients. Our NO-JUNK seasonings are made with pure flavor “Puro Sabor” and are FREE of MSG, GMO’s, artificial ingredients and artificial colors. Check it out now at HealthyRican.com

How Do You Use a Sazón Seasoning?

How Do You Use a Sazón Seasoning?

What is Sazón?

Sazón is a seasoning used in Spanish and Latin cultures to add color and flavor to their foods. It is proven that foods with vibrant colors look more enticing and palatable. This is why the Latin culture has adapted using sazón in almost all of their recipes. 

What is Sazón made with?

Sazón is mainly made with Annatto which translates to Achiote in Spanish. Annatto is obtained from the pulp of a tropical fruit. Sometimes also called annatto seeds. The color is extracted by heating the seed in oil or water. In sazón, annatto is used in its powdered form, blended with other spices like cumin, coriander, oregano, and sometimes salt.

Homemade Sazon Seasoning Mix

What does the word sazón mean?

The word Sazón is the Spanish word for flavor. Many times it also refers to seasoning, or to season (e.g. To season the meat). As you can see the sazón seasoning got its name while referring to the seasoning of the food in order to give it flavor. 

How do you use a Sazón Seasoning? 

Sazón is used in rice, stews, to marinate meats and more. With sazón you can make a bland piece of chicken, delicious and appetizing. You can add it to your favorite recipe to bring out the color in your rice, soups, stews, and to enhance the flavor of your foods. To use, follow the directions on the packaging. Most times sazón is used 1-2 teaspoons per every 3-4 servings. 

What Can I Use Instead of Sazón Seasoning?

Sazón is typically used to add an orange/yellow color to foods. Instead of sazón seasoning you can use ground annatto, oil of annatto (recipe below), ground turmeric, and with it add various spices like coriander, garlic, and cumin to your foods. 

How To Make Homemade Sazón Seasoning Mix

To make homemade sazón seasoning you will need ground annatto which is the key ingredient. With that you can add turmeric for its health benefits and bright orange color. You can also add spices like cumin, coriander, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. I would recommend experimenting with the recipe until you get the right amount of color and flavor that pleases your tastebuds. Below I’ll share a DIY (do it yourself) recipe to get you started. 

Puerto Rican Sazon Recipe

DIY Puerto Rican Sazón Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons ground annatto (achiote molido)
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric (cúrcuma)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic (ajo)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (comino)

Optional ingredients:

  • Coriander
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


In a small bowl or container, blend all the ingredients together. Place in a labeled shaker to use as needed. 

How to Make “Aceite De Achiote” (Oil Of Annatto)

As I’m speaking of sazón I think it is important to also mention how achiote (annatto) initially was incorporated into our Latin cuisine. As I mentioned before, the primary use for annatto and sazón is for it’s color. The color is extracted by heating the annatto seeds in oil or water. I remember my mom making big batches of the oil of annatto, and kept it in glass jars to use as needed. 

Oil of annatto is used as a base when cooking “arroz junto” meaning our yellow rice which includes other ingredients like beans, meats, and vegetables. You’ve probably heard of “Arroz con Pollo” or Puerto Rican’s famous “Arroz con Gandules”. Both recipes include oil of annatto or sazón, or both! Now let’s move on to teach you how to make it, and how to use it. 

All-Natural Sazon Seasoning Recipe

DIY “Aceite de Achiote” (oil of annatto) Recipe


  • Annatto seeds 
  • Oil of choice 
    • In this case you can use any type of oil you cook with. Many times in Latin cuisine, lard is used as the fat of choice. 
    • Healthy oil options include, avocado oil, and refined coconut oil. 


Add 1 cup of annatto seeds per every 2 cups of oil in a pot. Bring the oil to a boil, and allow to boil for 1-2 minutes. Allow to cool and strain the oil into a glass jar. If desired, you can save the annatto seeds for another time as you can use the same seeds twice. 

How to use “Aceite de Achiote” (oil of annatto)

You can use oil of annatto in place of plain oil when cooking rice, beans, stews, and to marinate meats. In Puerto Rican cuisine, oil of annatto is used to stir fry the sofrito used in most recipes. Oil of annatto is also used in the “masa” dough used to make Puerto Rican fritters like “Alcapurrias and Empanadillas” to give the dough it’s orange/yellow color. Most of the time the oil of annatto is used 1-2 tablespoon at a time. It all depends on what you are cooking. 

Here’s a quick recipe in which you can use oil of annatto

“Arroz a la jardinera” (Rice with vegetables)

Puerto Rican Sazon Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons oil of annatto
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh sofrito
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sazón (DIY or our delicious Healthy Rican Sazón)
  • 1 bouillon cube (or 3 cups of chicken broth)
  • 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables (or 1 can of mixed vegetables) 
  • 3 cups of rice (preferably medium grain or jasmine rice) 
  • 3 cups of water, ONLY if using the bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot or “caldero”, add the oil of annatto to high heat. 
  2. Add the sofrito and stir fry until it releases its aroma. 
  3. Add the sazón and bouillon cube (if using) until it’s dissolved into the sofrito. 
  4. Immediately add a bit of the water (if using the bouillon cube), or a bit of the broth. This is to make sure the sofrito doesn’t burn or stick to the pot. 
  5. Add the mixed vegetables and rice, and stir well. 
  6. Add the water, or chicken broth if using. 
  7. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Try the liquid and make sure it’s to your liking. Please note that the liquid should be on the salty side, as the rice will absorb the majority of the flavor. 
  8. Stir and allow to boil until the water/broth slightly disappears. 
  9. Stir again, cover, and set to low heat. 
  10. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. The time will depend on what kind of rice you used. 
  11. Stir in between to make sure the rice doesn’t stick too much from the bottom. Unless you like “el pegao” which is the rice that burns to the bottom of the pot which will turn out golden, and nice and crunchy. 

Note: If you are using long grain or brown rice, you may need to add more water. Please read the package to make sure you have the correct amount of water per rice ratio. 


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Thanks for reading our blog. Please let us know what you think of our articles and recipes in the comments below. If you’d like to stay up to date, join our Nutrition Dork’s mailing list here: https://sendfox.com/nutritiondork

Want to find out more about our Healthy Rican Spice Brand? Visit our online store here. There you will find our Healthy Blends of Latin Adobo & Sazón made with all-natural ingredients. Our NO-JUNK seasonings are made with pure flavor “Puro Sabor” and are FREE of MSG, GMO’s, artificial ingredients and artificial colors. Check it out now at HealthyRican.com

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito from Scratch?

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito from Scratch?

First let’s talk about “What is sofrito?”

Sofrito is a blend of various vegetables and herbs used in Latin cuisine, especially in Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Recipes vary from place to place, but primarily consist of onions, garlic, peppers, cilantro, culantro, and tomatoes. 

The word sofrito comes from another spanish word “sofrier” which means to stir-fry. Typically the sofrito is stir fried in a bit of oil, before using in a recipe. According to Google’s dictionary sofrito means; a Caribbean and Latin American sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs.

Depending on which part of Latin America, sofrito is made with different ingredients, and used in various ways. Sofrito is added to rice, beans, meats, soups and stews to enhance the flavor of the food. 

As a Puerto Rican, I grew up enjoying the aroma and flavors of sofrito as it is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine. We just can’t cook without it. It is used to marinate meats, used in our famous rice and chicken “arroz con pollo” and rice with peas “arroz con gandules”. It is also used in our famous bean stew, and various soups like “asopao” and “sopa de gandules”. Sofrito is also used in meat stews like “fricase de pollo” and “carne guisada”. It is literally a staple used in almost every single meal. 

Below I will share a variety of sofrito recipes to satisfy your cravings.

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito from Scratch

Traditional Puerto Rican Sofrito contains various ingredients that are native to the Caribbean and may not be available in your area. I will explain each of these ingredients in detail, however no need to worry if you can’t find them. I will also share other ingredients that you can use as an alternative. 

Puerto Rican Sofrito From Scratch

Cubanelle peppers; according to Wikipedia “The Cubanelle, also known as "Cuban pepper" and "Italian frying pepper", is a variety of sweet pepper of the species Capsicum annuum. When unripe, it is light yellowish-green in color, but will turn bright red if allowed to ripen.”

Healthy Puerto Rican Recipes

Aji Dulce; according to Wikipedia “Ají dulce, ají cachucha, quechucha, ajicito, or ají gustoso is any of a variety of sweet perennial peppers found in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is most widely known in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela, where it refers to a specific native variety of Capsicum chinense that is related to the habanero but with a much milder, smoky flavor. In the English-speaking Caribbean, it is known as seasoning pepper and is essential to a variety of traditional dishes.”

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito

“Recao” also known as Culantro; according to Wikipedia “Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial herb in the family Apiaceae. Common names include culantro, recao, shadow beni, Mexican coriander, bhandhania, long coriander, sawtooth coriander, and ngò gai. It is native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, but is cultivated worldwide, sometimes being grown as an annual in temperate climates. In the United States, the common name culantro sometimes causes confusion with cilantro, a common name for the leaves of Coriandrum sativum (also in Apiaceae), of which culantro is said to taste like a stronger version.”

Traditional Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe


  • 1 large yellow onion (or 2-3 small onions)
  • 3-4 green cubanelle peppers 
  • 10 aji dulce
  • 1-2 bunch of culantro (recao)
  • 1 cup of garlic cloves


Peel and chop the onion in four parts. Rinse and remove seeds from the peppers and aji dulce. Rinse and chop the cilantro, and peel the garlic cloves. Add the ingredients to a blender or food processor a little at a time. Start with the onions and peppers as they will release liquid making the ingredients easier to blend. Then add the aji dulce, recao and garlic until everything is blended together. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. May be stored in the fridge for up to a month. You can also freeze in small containers, then defrost when needed and store the rest in the fridge. 

Puerto Rican Sofrito From Scratch

Alternative Ingredients: 
Cubanelle Peppers = Bell Peppers
Aji Dulce = Sweet Peppers
Culantro = Cilantro

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito

Sofrito with Tomatoes


  • 4 cored ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion (or 2-3 small onions)
  • 3-4 green cubanelle peppers or bell peppers
  • 10 aji dulce or small sweet peppers
  • 1 bunch of culantro (recao)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 cup of garlic cloves


Rinse, core the tomatoes, and chop into large chunks. Peel and chop the onion in four parts. Rinse and remove seeds from the peppers and aji dulce. Rinse and chop the cilantro, and peel the garlic cloves. Add the ingredients to a blender or food processor a little at a time. Start with the tomatoes, onions and peppers as they will release liquid making the ingredients easier to blend. Then add the aji dulce, recao, cilantro and garlic until everything is blended together. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. May be stored in the fridge for up to a month. You can also freeze in small containers, then defrost when needed and store the rest in the fridge.


Dominican Sofrito


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 green cubanelle pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground annatto (achiote)
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • Pinch of salt


In a skillet add the olive oil to low heat. Add all the ingredients, and saute for about 5 minutes until the ingredients release their aroma. Allow to cool, then blend until a paste forms. Save in small containers in the refrigerator and freezer to use as needed. Will last up to a month in the refrigerator, and about 3 months in the freezer. 

Spanish Sofrito


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small spanish (or yellow) onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5–6 diced plum tomatoes (or diced canned tomatoes)
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet add the olive oil to medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and garlic, stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure the tomatoes have softened, and the sauce looks thick. Remove the bay leaf and allow it to cool. Save in small containers in the refrigerator and freezer to use as needed. 

How to use Sofrito

Using sofrito in your food is pretty simple. Just add 1-2 tablespoons before cooking rice, beans, soups and stews. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of your pan, add the sofrito, and stir fry until it releases its aroma, then add your other ingredients like rice, beans, meats, etc. and cook as you normally would. 

Here’s a quick bean stew recipe to get you started:

Healthy Puerto Rican Recipes


  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sofrito
  • 1 tablespoon Sazón 
  • ½ cup of diced potatoes
  • 2 cups of cooked beans (or 1 can of beans) 
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a medium pot, add the olive oil to medium heat. Add the sofrito and stir fry until the sofrito releases it’s aroma. Add the sazón, diced potatoes, beans, and tomato sauce. Add 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Once the potatoes are cooked and the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy on the side of white rice.


Thanks for reading our blog. Please let us know what you think of our articles and recipes in the comments below. If you’d like to stay up to date, join our Nutrition Dork’s mailing list here: https://sendfox.com/nutritiondork

Want to find out more about our Healthy Rican Spice Brand? Visit our online store here. There you will find our Healthy Blends of Latin Adobo & Sazón made with all-natural ingredients. Our NO-JUNK seasonings are made with pure flavor “Puro Sabor” and are FREE of MSG, GMO’s, artificial ingredients and artificial colors. Check it out now at HealthyRican.com

What Is a Typical Dinner in Puerto Rico?

What Is a Typical Dinner in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico is known for it’s delicious and flavorful food. Typically a Puerto Rican dinner consists of rice, beans, meats, and stews. Mainly cooked in a heavy kettle or caldero. One of the most popular dinners includes beefsteaks, or in other words “bistec”. The beef is marinated in adobo, a mix of salt, garlic, black pepper, and oregano. Then it’s stir fried with onions, and peppers. It is mainly served with white rice, and bean stew, with a side of lettuce, tomatoes, and a slice of avocado. Puerto Rican dinners are super yummy, and the good news is, most dinners are Gluten-Free Puerto Rican Recipes.

Let’s have a look at the detailed cuisine of Puerto Rico and healthy Puerto Rican dinner recipes!

Appetizers and soups in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican meals usually begin with hot and sizzling appetizers. A few of them are sweet cornmeal aka sorullitos, empanadillas, alcapurrias, and fresh cod fritters. Among the favorites are the empanadillas which are demilune shaped turnovers filled with beef, chicken, cheese, and/or delicious seafood. 

For soups, asopao and sopa de platano are some of the most popular soups of Puerto Rican origin. A perfect way to start a savory dinner is to begin with healthy Puerto Rican soups. They are a powerhouse of nutrition with fiber, minerals, proteins, vitamins, and antioxidants. The asopao is made like a chicken soup with rice instead of noodles, and a sopa de platanos is made with plantains. Both are very hearty soups and work great when following a Gluten-Free diet

Asopao can also be called Sopón. You may find it called; Sopón de Pollo con Arroz. It is a rice-chicken recipe that tastes different in every restaurant you visit.

Sopón de garbanzos con patas de cerdo is among the most authentic variations. It’s a soup made with pork feet and chickpeas. It is definitely a unique recipe found in only some restaurants. 

What is the best food to eat in Puerto Rico?

The best Puerto Rican Foods are Tostones, Arroz Con Gandules and Mofongo.

a. Tostones:

Puerto Rico is famous for its tostones. This dish is a plantain appetizer or side dish, that is known for being fried twice. The fried plantains aka tostones are paired with mayo-ketchup, a sauce made with mayonnaise, ketchup, garlic, and hot sauce.

b. Arroz con gandules:

Considered a national dish of the island, Arroz con gandules is an authentic Puerto Rican recipe. The recipe starts with white rice with added pigeon peas, olives, tomato sauce, sazón, and sofrito. Sofrito is a kitchen foundation consisting of onions,  peppers, cilantro, and garlic. Some add plantain leaves on top of the caldero as it cooks to add extra flavor, and make the rice taste like a “pastel”, a Puerto Rican tamale made during the holidays made with green bananas and yautia. 

c. Mofongo:

While cooking Puerto Rican paleo recipes, you can make mofongo which is mashed plantains. A paleo mofongo recipe includes green plantains, garlic, and salt. The seasoning and filling have beef, chicken, vegetables, or shrimp. Mofongo relleno is one of the most popular dishes in restaurants around the island. 

A few of the other best foods are Alcapurrias, Empanadillas, and Rellenos de Papa as appetizers, and Pernil, Pastelon, Pasteles… So many good choices in Puerto Rican cuisine.  You’ll want to try it all!

DIY Puerto Rican Adobo

What are the typical Puerto Rican ingredients?

The aroma of cuisines in Puerto Rico comes from a mixture of Adobo and Sofrito herbs and spices. It brings a distinctive flavor and color to most indigenous foods. A DIY Puerto Rican adobo marinade can be made with a blend of oregano, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. Sofrito is a blend of onions, peppers, garlic, culantro or cilantro, blended with a bit of oil. Add Sazón or achiote (annatto seeds), to give rice, soup, and stews it’s shiny yellow color. 

A Puerto Rican Sazón Recipe is a mixture of ingredients. They are a delicious mix of Spanish, African, Taino, and American influences. You can add achiote (annatto seeds), coriander, cumin, and garlic. Everyone makes it a bit different, but there are many store bought sazóns that are healthy and delicious. Just make sure to get the ones made with pure ingredients, without artificial colors and ingredients (check out our own healthy blends at the shop Healthy Rican, made by Nutrition Dork).

Make a Homemade Sazón Seasoning Mix by combining annatto, garlic, and salt to start. You can also include cumin, black pepper, coriander, and oregano for a flavorful sazón mix. 

Main Dishes in Puerto Rico

There are a variety of main dishes in Puerto Rico. From rice and beans, to root vegetables and fish, and plantains in various recipes. The food in Puerto Rico is always enticing, distinct, and bold. The people enjoy tasty yet easy Puerto Rican recipes. As they grow a diverse range of vegetables, the island is famous for chayote, a pear-shaped vegetable also known as a christophine plant. Along with berenjena (eggplant), and various squashes like calabaza.
Puerto Rican Sazon Recipe

What are the two typical dishes in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico has a history of savory dishes. Two of the traditional dishes are pasteles and Arroz con dulce. Especially during the holidays. Pasteles are made with green plantains and are generally filled with pork. Can also be made with added yuca or yautia, and chicken. In flavor and texture, many people believe that they are like tamales. Arroz Con Dulce is a coconut rice pudding made of coconut milk, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and cloves. Garnished with cinnamon sticks & raisins and served as a dessert.

Is Puerto Rican food spicy

Puerto Rican food is spicy, but not hot. It is a combination of spices and herbs which makes the food very flavorful and savory. Most of the food dishes include sofrito, adobo, and sazón as seasonings staples.

Desserts and Drinks in Puerto Rico?

The most popular dessert in Puerto Rico is flan, a caramel custard, made with various milks, condensed milk, and eggs. Flan can be made in various flavors like vanilla, cheese, coconut, and even nutella. 

There are various sweets like guava cake, orange layer cake, and banana cupcakes.

The most popular dessert ingredient is coconut. You can taste a wide variety of tasty desserts with it. Many serve it as coconut flan, coconut cream, and candied coconut rice. You can also find coconut in popular drinks like piña colada, and coquito (a coconut eggnog for the holidays).

Gluten-free Puerto Rican Recipes

Rum is the national drink. Puerto Rico is its leading producer. A few others that go on the list are coquito, black coffee, and beer (Cerveza).

While the food is spicy (in a delicious not hot way), the people are famous for having a sweet tooth. Right from Puerto Rican Breakfasts to Desserts, the food is worth admiring.

What is Puerto Rican ice cream called?

The Puerto Rican ice cream is called helado del país. It comes in various fruit flavors that are indigenous to the island. Some of the flavors are coconut, pineapple, guava, and passion fruit. 

A piragua is another type of “ice cream”. It is not really ice cream, but more like a snow cone as it is a shaved ice cone in the shape of a pyramid, with a fruity syrup on top. The syrup comes in different flavors. They include raspberry, pineapple, coconut, guava, or tamarind.

Piragua is a blend of Spanish words pirámide ("pyramid") and agua ("water").

What drink is Puerto Rico known for?

Puerto Rico is famous for Pina colada, a famous rum-based cocktail.

It is an easy Puerto Rican recipe as it is a proportionate combination of coconut cream, pineapple juice, ice, and rum.

Dinner Etiquette in Puerto Rico

You say "Buen provecho" (enjoy your meal) when you visit a restaurant. At lunch, you say “Buenos dias.” And, it is “Buenas tardes” during dinner.

Puerto Ricans are friendly. You are expected to greet and smile even when you do not know the people sitting at the next table.

What time is dinner in Puerto Rico?

People prefer to consume dinner late in Puerto Rico. Many of the restaurants do not open before 6 in the evening. Until 7, it is usually a person or two. Yet it gets crowded after 8:00 p.m.

Do you tip waiters in Puerto Rico?

In Puerto Rico, tipping is the usual etiquette. It is like most other parts of the U.S. Also, it is an essential source of income.

Fifteen percent of the bill is the average after you have enjoyed a great meal. It is not mandatory to tip in bars. But, you can still tip with $1 per drink.


Puerto Rican Dinner draws influences from American, Taino, Spanish and African cooking. The typical dishes comprise a variety of exotic blends. It reflects the colorful culture. The tropical ingredients make the perfect culinary diversity. Visit Nutrition Dork for healthy Puerto Rican dinner recipes.

What are Puerto Rican Spices?

What are Puerto Rican Spices?

Puerto Spices include bay leaves, oregano, basil, and cilantro. It also includes parsley, garlic, culantro, and Caribbean thyme. Sofrito is the primary ingredient in making the food palatable. With that, Sazón, Recao (aka culantro), Achiote (aka annatto), and Adobo are some of the dry seasoning mixes. They add flavor to rice dishes, soups, fish, meats, stews, and poultry. These items give the dishes a much stronger taste. 

Let us deep dive into Best Healthier Versions of Puerto Rican Recipes.

1. What spices are used in Puerto Rican cooking?

Puerto Rican cooking is quite simple. Yet it involves using the correct variety of spices. Sofrito, Sazón, Adobo and Cuban Oregano are a few to name.

The Authentic Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe is a blend of different herbs and vegetables. It includes onion, peppers, garlic, sweet aji peppers, recao or cilantro, and a bit of olive oil. 

Blended from Spanish and Mexican cuisine, Sazón refers to a colorful seasoned salt. The Puerto Rican Sazón Recipe is simple. The homemade Sazón seasoning mix includes achiote, coriander, garlic, and salt. 

Puerto Rican Adobo is another dry seasoning mix which is always used in every Puerto Rican dish. You can make your DIY Puerto Rican Adobo by blending salt, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, and other spices. 

Cuban Oregano, a succulent leafy herb, is also a key element in Puerto Rican cooking.

Is Puerto Rican food spicy?

Puerto Rican food is well seasoned, but not as spicy as you think. It is not hot, just very flavorful, and it all depends on how much your taste buds can handle. Most people trying Puerto Rican foods for the 1st time say they enjoy it, and would like to try more. 

Many of the food items consist of common herbs and spices, including basil, parsley, and bay leaves. This makes the dish more flavorful, seasoned, and delicious. You can add to many of your own Puerto Rican Paleo Recipes by adding vegetables, fish, meat, or sausage.

Best Healthier Versions of Puerto Rican Recipes

2. What sauce is served with many Puerto Rican dishes?

Mojito isleño is a famous Puerto Rican hot sauce. It contains olives, olive oil, tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, bell peppers, and vinegar. It gets an extra flavor from spices and fresh herbs. Mojito isleño is a chunky topping added on a variety of fish and shellfish.

Ajilimójili is another famous sauce with many elements. A few of them are garlic, coriander, white vinegar, hot chili peppers, olive oil, salt and lime juice. For its preparation, blend all the ingredients to make a smooth purée. 

Puerto Rico is famous for another hot sauce known as Pique Criollo. It consists of hot chili peppers and vinegar combined with various herbs and olive oil. 

Another popular sauce that became popular in the 90’s is mayo-ketchup. It is a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, garlic, and a bit of hot sauce. This sauce is typically served with plantain dishes. 

What is a common side dish in Puerto Rico?

Guanimes is one of the most common side dishes in Puerto Rico during lunch time. It’s a cornmeal masa, which includes a side of bean stew, seafood like “bacalao”, meat and a few other items. 

“Arroz y habichuelas” (rice and beans) and “Pastelón” (plantain lasagna) are other mouth-watering side dishes. Arroz y habichuelas contains rice and beans with ham or bacon, tomato purée, sazón, and sofrito. Pastelón includes sliced plantains, and is layered using ground meat. It is a delicious, filling side dish. 

You can also enjoy Platáno Frito also known as “amarillos” as a flavorful side dish made up of fried ripe plantains in oil until golden brown.

3. What is the best Puerto Rican food?

The list of the best Puerto Rican food is endless. A few of the must-try dishes include Arañitas, Bistec Encebollado, Asopao and Tripleta.

You can prepare Arañitas by frying shredded plantains. It is a crispy plat du jour served with garlic-based dip known as mayo-ketchup. Bistec encebollado is a flavorful dish. It consists of marinated beef steak with adobo-spiced and onion sauce. The flavors come from marinating the meat well for 10-12 hours. 

Asopao is a blend of a stew and soup. A piquant dish, rice is its key ingredient and can include beef, pigeon peas, chicken, and pork. Tripleta, a sandwich, has a filling of grilled steak, ham and Lechon pork. Place the filling in a loaf of bread and top with ketchup, mayonnaise, fries, lettuce or cabbage, and tomato.

Is Puerto Rican food healthy?

Yes, Puerto Rican food can be modified to satisfy your paleo, or plant based needs. You can make healthy low-calorie Puerto Rican food by using non-starchy vegetables. You can use eggplant, okra, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, chayote squash, peppers, asparagus, cauliflower, and so much more. Blend vegetables with rice and beans for a meal high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can make meals even healthier by using very little hydrogenated oils, and adding more healthy fats like avocado, olives, and frying foods in coconut oil. 

Gluten-Free Puerto Rican Recipes

4. What is a traditional Puerto Rican breakfast?

A traditional Puerto Rican breakfast includes Revoltillo, Cremas and baked goods like bread and “quesitos”.

Revoltillo consists of scrambled eggs mixed with other ingredients of choice. You can find options like onions, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and meats like ham, bacon, and sausages. 

Have a healthy start to your day by eating a bowl of fresh fruits. The Puerto Rican fruit bowl consists of mangoes and papaya. You can also use pineapple, berries, quenepa, and guanabana.

Enjoy Cremas, the most famous Puerto Rican porridge. Add some butter or cinnamon as it may taste a little bland. Some of these include oatmeal, cornmeal, and cream of wheat. 

Quesito is a small pastry with cream cheese and is an excellent companion to a cup of your morning coffee.

What is a typical Puerto Rican lunch?

Some Popular Puerto Rican Lunch Recipes include sizzling hot appetizers like bacalaitos, sorullitos, and empanadillas. Soups are also a great choice. You can also have the mesmerizing Paleo Mofongo Recipe. It is a Gluten-Free Puerto Rican Recipe consisting of green plantains, seasoned with garlic, butter and salt, stuffed with beef, chicken, seafood, or veggies. Arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) is one the most popular chicken dishes during lunch or dinner, paired with a slice of avocado, and a salad, it can be a wholesome healthy meal at any time. 

Easy Puerto Rican Recipes

5. What are some typical Puerto Rican foods?

Some typical Puerto Rican foods include “Lechón Asado”, Alcapurrias, and “Flan de queso”.

The Lechon Asado is a typical traditional Puerto Rican recipe in which an entire pig is doused with spices. A few of these include salt, oregano, pepper, aji dulces, and garlic. The pig is then cooked on a wood charcoal fire. This way you get a crispy texture to the skin. This pig roast is usually done during the Holidays, and special events because it can feed many people. However, if you visit the mountain area on the island, you will find restaurants that serve roasted pig and “pernil” which is very similar. 

Alcapurrias, a local Puerto Rican food, is a fried fritter made with a batter called masa. It consists of green bananas and Xanthosoma (grated yautia), and it is stuffed with chicken, beef, or seafood. 

Flan de queso looks like a combination of caramel custard and cheesecake. With the help of simple ingredients, the traditional Puerto Rican flan is ready to eat! Some of the ingredients include condensed milk, evaporated milk and eggs. You can also add some sugar and cream cheese. Generally, it is vanilla flavored. But, you can try it in chocolate, Nutella, or coconut.

What are the two typical dishes in Puerto Rico?

Bacalaitos and Pan de Mallorca are two typical dishes in Puerto Rico.

Bacalaitos is a salted cod fish fritter. The variety of spices and seasonings make it taste really good. Garnished with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro make it taste even better. This interesting snack is chewy inside and crisp outside, and served with a garlic sauce. 

Pan de Mallorca is also a very common Puerto Rican Breakfast. It is a sweet bread roll topped with sugar powder.

The spices in Puerto Rican recipes are accessible and versatile. With no dietary restrictions, there’s a dish to please each palate. The spices and flavors reflect its diversity. The island is full of heavy and rich food styles. Relieve your cravings for fresh produce, seafood or meat.

Enjoy the amazing flavors of Puerto Rican spices. Nutrition Dork brings you an array of healthy Puerto Rican recipes and seasonings. Get your Healthy Rican Ebook and Spices, with over 35 Naturally Gluten-Free Recipes, now on SALE at the SHOP!

In case you can not view this video here, please click the link below to view Spices Commonly Used in Puerto Rico on my YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/i-Y5GA5OLHw