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