16 Essential Puerto Rican Recipes
Let's start with sofrito. It's essential! "Sofrito is the base for most Puerto Rican dishes," says FIVEBRIGS, "and this one is better than store bought. Add sofrito to beans, rice, soups, stews, you name it."
Here's a simplified sofrito recipe — make it and freeze it in ice cube trays to have on hand whenever you need sofrito!
Pollo guisado is a delicious and easy chicken stew with sofrito, potatoes, garlic, onions, chicken broth, tomato sauce, sazon, cumin, and bay leaf. "Delicious!" raves fabeveryday. "I made it with my own homemade Puerto Rican sofrito and it s reminiscent of some of my family s Puerto Rican recipes. I also love how hands-off the recipe was while it was cooking." It makes great leftovers, too!
Asopao de Pollo
This traditional Puerto Rican stew with rice features chicken thighs, garlic, green olives, and adobo seasoning. "Absolutely delicious!" raves VETTY430. "It's a simple recipe with great flavor. The olives and cilantro make this dish spectacular. I added sofrito, as we Puerto Ricans add it to almost every main dish, and I also added some sazon."
Here's an authentic Puerto Rican steak sandwich with garlic and cheese between slices of fried plantain: "My family can't get enough of it," says LOSTNBFE29. "Wonderful because there is NO bread involved!"
Puerto Rican Tostones (Fried Plantains)
"As a Puerto Rican, I know and love platanos," says Alexis Santos-Vimos. "They're an easy side dish and can take the place of other sides, like rice or potatoes. Just make sure you use the green plantains for this recipe. I don't bother with the water, just fry, smash, and re-fry."
Sandra adds a note about dipping the plantain slices in water: "The reason Puerto Ricans dip in water is because we cut them up early while making the rest of dinner. When the plantain sits in the kitchen, it will turn brown after a while,so we put them in water salt, so it so it won't oxidize. It is not necessary if you are frying soon after you cut them up.
The Puerto Rican version of beans are seasoned with Sazon, sofrito, and a little tomato sauce. "A perfect side dish for Carne Guisada," says FIVEBRIGS.
Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Shredded Pork
Pop a pork roast into the slow cooker along with orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and oregano. "Very tasty and your slow cooker does most of the work," says Gene Payne. "Serve shredded pork in lettuce wraps or in corn tortillas. Top with pico de gallo, chopped cilantro, and avocado."
Pastelon (Puerto Rican Layered Casserole)
This recipe features "a little bit of salty, sweet, and savory all in one bite," says Jenna M. "This typical Puerto Rican dish is made up of an interesting mix of ingredients that somehow all work together."
Slow Cooker Pernil Pork
Here's the famous Puerto Rican pork roast, pernil, only it's done in the slow cooker. You'll rub the roast with a paste of mashed garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chili, olive oil, and vinegar. Cook it low and slow. "It's so tender and flavorful," says Country Cook. "Best of all, it's so easy to make!"
Easy Arroz con Gandules
Rice and pigeon peas are seasoned with sofrito and tomato sauce. "As a Puerto Rican, I'm clearly impressed!" raves ENSHALACOOK. "Turned out wonderful, and I added a few more garlic cloves than the recipe calls for."
Puerto Rican Sancocho
"This is my mom's Puerto Rican comfort soup," says nydiah, who describes the recipe's rich history. "The mix of vegetables and herbs is an influence of the Spanish Canary Island ancestors of some Puerto Rican families. The soup was adjusted to the vegetables available in Puerto Rico by the addition of corn and pumpkin. Some cooks now add ginger root, chile pepper, cumin, and other ingredients but I believe it destroys the original rich natural vegetable taste. Serve hot with bread to soak up the delicious flavor."
Puerto Rican Steamed Rice
"This basic Puerto Rican version of steamed rice goes well with Carne Guisada and Habichuelas Guisada," says FIVEBRIGS.
"Mashed green plantains with garlic, olive oil, and pork rinds (or bacon)," says LatinaCook. "Mofongo goes well with chicken or fish broth and can be stuffed with garlic shrimp, carne frita, or octopus salad. It can also be formed into small balls and dropped in soups or served directly in a mortar. It might not look like much, but it sure is tasty."
Authentic Chicken Empanadas (Empanadas de Pollo)
Stuffed with shredded chicken, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, and green olives, these empanadas are inspired by the empanadas de pollo found in roadside stands in Puerto Rico. "My husband and I returned recently from a wonderful trip to Puerto Rico. While there we fell in love with empanadas de pollo that we found at roadside stands along Route 3," says NatalieC. "Here is a version we came up with once we returned--delicious!"
Quick Vegetarian Picadillo Empanadas
These Puerto Rican-inspired empanadas are filled with a vegetarian picadillo filling. Shortcuts like canned potatoes and canned lentils and tomato sauce mean they're simple to make, too.
Maicena (Corn Pudding)
This thick corn pudding is infused with vanilla and lemon rind. "Easy and delicious!" says T C. "My family loves this recipe and I love that they get so much calcium from it. It does set very firm but we like pudding like that (much better than not setting and being loose)."