If you love Latin food, you’re not alone. Latin American recipes are beloved by people all over the world.
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When we say Latin food, what we’re talking about is foods from countries in Latin America. This includes both Central America and South America, but it can also mean recipes from Spain and Portugal. One thing all of these cuisines have in common is that they’re super flavorful and often spicy.
Latin recipes are full of flavor and spice, and we can’t get enough of them.
It’s no wonder Latin food is so flavorful. Influences come from all over the world, including Europe, Native America, Asia, and Africa.
Latin cuisine is a rich and diverse tapestry of flavors, ingredients, and techniques that have been passed down through generations. From the Caribbean to South America, each region boasts its own unique culinary heritage, influenced by indigenous peoples, European colonial history, and cultural exchanges with other parts of the world. With such a vast array of dishes and ingredients to explore, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and learn from in Latin food.
Understanding the history and regional variations of Latin cuisine enables one to appreciate the complex combinations of flavors and textures that characterize these dishes. Common ingredients such as corn, beans, and chili peppers form the backbone of many recipes, but it’s the artful blending of spices, seasonings, and cooking techniques that sets Latin cuisine apart. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a culinary novice, delving into Latin food recipes is a delicious way to broaden your culinary horizons and bring the warmth and depth of these diverse food cultures into your own kitchen.
- Latin cuisine is characterized by its diverse ingredients, flavorful dishes, and rich history.
- Each region boasts its own unique culinary heritage, offering something for everyone to enjoy.
- Understanding common ingredients and cooking techniques is key to mastering Latin food recipes.
Every Latin recipe produces meals that are flavorful and unique.
While every Latin American country has its own unique Latin dishes, some side dishes such as guacamole, Mexican salsa, and pico de gallo, can be used in every Latin cuisine.
From delicious Cuban stuffed peppers to ceviche, and cafe con leche to Mexican rice, there’s something on this list of Latin American recipes that will delight your friends and family.
Nothing is more flavorful than Latin American cuisine, Hispanic food, and Hispanic cuisine.
Are you ready for some tasty Hispanic recipes? Let’s explore these 22 examples of delicious Latin American food!
No list of traditional Hispanic dishes or Latin American food recipes would be complete without a ceviche recipe.
You can serve your ceviche as a main dish or as a dip. Serve your ceviche with tortillas and tortilla chips, or in a taco salad shell or over brown rice (or basmati rice).
Brazilian peanut candy is a classic dessert from South America.
This peanut candy is made with sugar, crushed peanuts, and salt. Just three super easy ingredients, but it’s perfection.
Rice pudding is a popular dish all around the world, and when it’s made in Latin American countries, it’s super special.
This recipe for Columbian rice pudding is made with long-grain rice, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. The three kinds of milk used to make this rice pudding are the “tres leches” that are indicated in the name of the recipe.
The spices used to make arroz con tres leches are cinnamon and sea salt.
In Latin American countries, children often start drinking coffee early. However, their coffee is about half milk and half coffee, with plenty of sugar to sweeten it.
Also, if you can use filtered water or bottled spring water to make cafe con leche, that’s even better.
Pão de Queijo is also known as Brazilian cheese bread or Brazilian cheese puffs.
These tasty little cheese bread nuggets are bite-sized and absolutely addictive.
To make Pão de Queijo, you need whole milk, butter, extra virgin olive oil, tapioca flour, eggs, and grated cheese. Queijo de Minas cheese is traditionally used, but you can use Monterey Jack cheese, parmesan cheese, or mozzarella cheese.
6. Ropa Vieja
Traditionally, beef ropa vieja (Spanish for “old rope”) is a Cuban meat recipe, but you will find versions of ropa vieja all over Latin America.
You can think of ropa vieja as a Latin American version of pot roast with veggies, but the meat is shredded.
This ropa vieja recipe has tons of veggies, including yellow onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, green bell pepper, garlic cloves, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, dry white wine, allspice, peeled whole tomatoes, chicken stock (chicken broth), bay leaves, carrots, celery, green pimento-stuffed olives, and cilantro.
Serve your ropa vieja with pinto beans (or black beans), fried plantain, or basmati rice.
7. Mexican Rice
Whether you call it Spanish rice or Mexican rice, this tomato based rice recipe is a dish you can serve with any Latin American meal.
We like to use Knorr’s Caldo de Tomato to make our Mexican rice, but this recipe shows you how to make it using a can of tomato sauce. That’s handy because not everyone keeps caldo de tomato in their pantry.
The secret to the best Mexican rice is to cook the rice (you can use brown rice or basmati rice) in oil until it’s golden brown.
This yummy and unique dessert combines guava paste and cheese to create an amazing salty and sweet sensation that will bring your taste buds to life.
The cheese should be queijo minas curadinho, but you can use mozzarella cheese if that’s what you can find.
This is an easy Latin food dessert to make, but it’s so satisfying and impressive.
Cuban food is delicious, and one of the secrets is the seasonings that are used.
This recipe for Cuban stuffed peppers features white rice that’s mixed with Cuban picadillo.
It’s great to use leftover picadillo and white rice to make these stuffed peppers (as if there’s eve leftover picadillo!).
Picadillo is made with ground meat (usually ground beef, but you can use ground turkey or ground chicken), tomato sauce, garlic, green pepper, oregano, cumin, green olives, and raisins.
For the rice, you can use brown rice or basmati rice.
If you’re looking for a classic Puerto Rico plantain dish that is sure to please even the most discerning eaters, you must try fried green plantains, also known as tostones.
These salty and crispy little gems are addictive almost the same as French fries are addictive.
The plantain itself is mildly sweet, but the salty seasoning is what makes it perfect.
You can serve tostones with salsa or mojo verde (green sauce).
11. Brazilian Rice
While Brazilian rice looks a lot like plain old steamed rice, there’s an authentic flavor to this recipe.
For Brazilian rice, you use sauteed garlic and onions to season it. As with Mexican rice, Brazilian rice is made special by browning the rice for a bit before adding the water to cook it.
To make Brazilian rice, we recommend using basmati rice, jasmine rice, or long-grain white rice.
You can use chicken stock or chicken broth (or beef broth) to add even more flavor to your Brazilian rice.
How does a one pot meal sound to you? This recipe for Brazilian chicken that’s served with saffron rice is perfect for a quick and easy meal that has lots of complex flavors.
This recipe is traditionally made with chicken thighs, but feel free to use chicken breasts if you prefer. You can even use chicken tenders if you like.
Other ingredients in this Latin American dish are cumin, saffron, extra virgin olive oil, green bell pepper, onion, garlic, white wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, a bay leaf, diced tomatoes, fresh peas (or frozen peas), fresh lemon juice, and green onions (scallions).
You can also cook this delicious dish in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.
No list of Latin food dishes or Mexican cuisine list would be complete without Mexican churros.
Churros are deep-fried in oil and then coated with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.
But perhaps the best part is dipping the churros in creamy chocolate sauce.
This churros recipe shows you exactly how to make these delicious little Mexican food treats, complete with photos that show you step-by-step instructions.
14. Carne Guisada
Carne guisada is a Mexican food or Colombian food delicacy, and it’s also the perfect comfort food.
Essentially, carne guisada is a beef stew that’s full of tomatoes, beef, and green onions (scallions).
Other ingredients in this meat stew are garlic, cumin, chili powder, beef froth, and extra virgin olive oil.
Serve your Carne guisada with a rice dish, pinto bean dish (refried beans) and corn tortillas. It’s also delicious with pico de gallo, sliced avocado, and sour cream.
Venezuelan arepas are thick but small, and arepas from Columbia are thin and sweet with a cheese filling.
This Venezuelan arepas recipe calls for masarepa, vegetable oil, butter, and your desired filling. You can use beans, cheese, pulled pork (or roasted pork), or shredded chicken.
What is masarepa? Masarepa is a cooked corn meal that’s been dehydrated. You can find corn meal of this type in the Latin food section of most grocery stores.
In Peruvian food, fried rice is known as Arroz chaufa in Peru.
This delicious Latin food recipe is full of ingredients like chicken, onions, and green peppers. You can use any type of meat, including shrimp, beef, and even hot dogs.
The Latin flavor for this Latin food dish comes from garlic cloves, fried egg, bell pepper, scallion, fresh ginger, soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, cumin, and agave nectar.
One great thing about this particular Peruvian fried rice recipe is that it’s made using Minute Rice, so it’s a quick and easy Latin American dish. You can use brown rice or regular white rice.
Empanadas are something we see in Cuban cuisine or Spanish cuisine (or in a Latin restaurant), but other Latin American cuisines also feature these tasty little hand pies.
The Chilean empanadas are full of delicious beef, and these empanadas have some interesting ingredients that make them pop: olives, raisins, and hard-boiled eggs.
Serve your empanadas with pinto beans, black beans, or another bean side dish.
18. Tres Leches Cake
Tres leches cake (three milk cake) is made with three different types of milk: sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, and evaporated milk. Also, the syrup for this cake is made with heavy cream, as is the cake’s frosting.
Otherwise, the ingredients for this easy cake are simple. You just need all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla.
It seems like chocolate is popular everywhere in the world, and chocolate truffles can be found in most of the world’s cuisines.
In Brazil, chocolate truffles are known as Brigadeiros, and these delicious little chocolate balls are absolutely heavenly.
Brigadeiros are made with sweetened condensed milk, butter, cocoa powder, and sea salt.
Once you’ve made your Brigadeiros, sprinkle them with any type of sprinkles, including chocolate sprinkles to add even more creamy chocolate flavor.
You can make traditional Mexican street corn right in your own kitchen and bring delicious Mexican food flavors home.
To make classic Mexican street corn, you need ears of fresh corn. However, you can also use canned corn.
This Mexican street corn recipe calls for Mexican sour cream (crema Mexican), but you can use regular sour cream, too.
Other ingredients in this Mexican street corn recipe are mayonnaise, Cotija cheese, garlic cloves, sea salt, fresh lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and chipotle chili powder. Some folks like to add a dash of hot sauce.
Tamales are one of the most well-known Mexican food dishes. The deliciously seasoned meat wrapped in corn husks is a classic.
Famously time-consuming to make, most of us get our tamales from neighborhood Mexican food chefs who sell tamales by the dozen. However, if you can master the art of making them, it’s well worth the effort.
This tamales recipe gives you step-by-step instructions with photos so that you can make this beloved Mexican food classic.
You need beef broth or chicken broth to make these tamales, along with cumin, lard, dried corn husks, and Masa Harina (which is made from corn).
You can fill your tamales with any type of meat, including chicken, beef, and pork.
Serve your tamales with a sweet plantain side dish, pinto beans, and a rice dish.
Guacamole is one of the most popular Mexican foods in the world. It seems like everyone loves guacamole and there is no shortage of delicious guacamole recipes online.
However, we think we’ve found the perfect guacamole recipe. This guacamole recipe calls for red onion, fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic sea salt, black pepper, and diced tomato.
You can top your guacamole with anything from crumbled feta cheese to cilantro. We also like ours with crumbled bacon and toasted pepitas.
Serve your guacamole over lettuce for a salad, or you can eat it the classic way with tortilla chips.
Do you want to learn how to make the perfect Mexican salsa for your feast of Latin Amerian dishes? Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions on making the perfect Latin American salsa.
22 Delectable Latin Food Recipes (+Cafe con Leche)
- 4 oz. espresso or strong black coffee
- 4 oz. steamed whole milk or milk substitute such as oat milk
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- Make the espresso or coffee using an espresso machine.
- Steam the whole milk.
- Put the brewed coffee or espresso in a mug.
- Stir the sugar in and top with milk.