When you’re looking for the best recipe ideas around, this epic list of 35 Latin foods will be sure to get you started in the right direction!
What makes Latin foods different from other cuisines in the world is their versatility.
With influences from Asian, African, European, and Native American dishes, each recipe is full of spice and flavor.
Each Latin American country has its own unique specialties, but there are also certain condiments that are used throughout the region.
Needless to say, every dish is utter perfection.
We’ve gathered 35 of the must-try Latin foods.
From the various tacos and salsa from Mexico and hot stews and mouth-watering roasts of the Caribbean islands.
To the delicious Pastel de Choclo from Chile and tasty rice selections like the Bistec Encebollado from Puerto Rico.
Read on as we go through each enticing dish, and don’t forget to check out #28 if you love tacos.
1. Mexican Rice
Mexican Rice is a tomato-based rice recipe that you can serve together with many Latin American meals.
This dish comes together so easily and quickly in a single pot.
You can throw in your favorite vegetables, but the most common ones used are corn kernels, onion, carrots, and peas.
Add some cumin and chili powder for that extra kick.
If you’re tired of the same old bland white rice, then you can make Mexican Rice and pair it with your Sunday roast.
Galinhada, or Brazilian Chicken & Saffron Rice, is a one-pot meal made with Brazilian chicken and served with saffron rice.
It is traditionally made with chicken thighs, but chicken breasts can also be used.
Other ingredients are added into the mix, such as cumin, green bell pepper, onion, garlic, chicken broth, tomato paste, tomatoes, and peas to taste.
Galinhada is a quick and easy meal to make with lots of complex flavors.
3. Ropa Vieja
Ropa Vieja, which means “old clothes” in Spanish, is a popular meat and vegetable recipe overloaded with flavor.
The dish looks like old, colorful rags on a plate, hence the name.
Made with shredded beef, onions, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olives, and pimientos, Ropa Vieja is a delicious meal for dinner.
Probably one of the most popular Latin foods, Guacamole is beloved all over the world, and for a good reason.
Made with mashed avocados and seasoned with red onions, salt, lime juice, and jalapenos, this is simple but spectacular at the same time.
This is a delicious dip for crispy nachos and perfect as an appetizer.
Empanadas De Pino is a tasty little hand pie full of delicious beef.
This dish has interesting ingredients that make them pop, like raisins, olives, and hard-boiled eggs.
Serve Empanadas De Pino with black beans, pinto beans, or another bean side dish.
Feijoada, or Brazilian black bean stew, is a hearty dish that consists of black beans cooked with different cuts of pork, tomatoes, cabbage, and carrots.
Traditionally, it is made with slow-cooked offal such as ears and trotters, but that is no longer necessary.
It is best served with kale, bacon bits, toasted cassava flour, rice, and orange.
Tostones is a classic Puerto Rican fried plantain dish.
These crispy and salty little gems are addictive and are the Latin version of French fries.
The plantain is mildly sweet, but the salty seasoning makes the dish perfect.
You can dip the tostones in salsa or mojo verde.
8. Arroz Chaufa
Peru’s Arroz Chaufa is a delicious Latin food recipe full of onions, green peppers, and chicken, although you can use any meat, including beef, shrimp, and even hot dogs.
The Latin flavor of this Peruvian fried rice comes from garlic cloves, bell pepper, fried egg, fresh ginger, scallion, soy sauce, green onions, cumin, sesame oil, and agave nectar.
One great thing about this recipe is that it is made using Minute Rice, so it is a quick and easy dish to make.
You can also use brown rice or regular white rice if you can’t find Minute Rice.
10. Pao De Queijo
Pao De Queijo is a tasty little bread nugget filled with cheese.
Queijo de Minas cheese is traditionally used, but you can also use parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, or Monterey Jack cheese.
Best paired with coffee, these bite-sized bread will definitely be your next obsession.
Arepas are small, round, and tasty cornmeal cakes.
This delicious snack can be grilled, baked, or fried, and you can create different versions.
The Venezuelan version is small and thick, while the Colombian version is sweet, thin, and filled with cheese.
Arepas are best paired with coffee or tea.
12. Carne Guisada
Carne Guisada is a rich, hearty, and delicious Colombian stew loaded with tomatoes, scallions, and beef.
The dish is flavored with garlic, cumin, and cilantro, and it is simmered in beer.
Paired with rice, the beef in Carne Guisada is so tender that it melts in your mouth.
Cuban Stuffed Peppers features seasoned white rice mixed with Cuban picadillo.
Picadillo is made with ground meat, tomato sauce, garlic, green pepper, cumin, raisins, and oregano.
Cuban Stuffed Peppers are amazing appetizers, and it is so tasty that even those who are not a fan of vegetables will love them.
Chocolate truffles can be found in several cuisines, including Latin cuisine.
Brigadeiros is a delicious Brazilian chocolate truffle that is absolutely heavenly.
Made with butter, sweetened condensed milk, sea salt, and cocoa powder, this dessert has sprinkles on top to add to its creamy flavor.
Arroz Con Tres Leches, or Colombian rice pudding, is made with long-grain rice, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk.
Three kinds of milk are used to make this recipe, hence the name.
Sprinkled with sea salt and cinnamon, Arroz Con Tres Leches is delicious breakfast food.
17. Romeu E Julieta
Just like the star-crossed lovers, the flavor combination in this Brazilian Romeo and Juliet recipe is a perfect pairing.
The unique and simple combination of salty, soft cheese, and sweet guava paste makes it a fantastic dessert or appetizer that will surely win hearts.
Pacoca, or Brazilian peanut candy, is a classic Latin dessert.
This soft and crumbly candy is made with sugar, crushed peanuts, and salt.
Pacoca is easy to make since it only needs three ingredients, but the result is phenomenal.
22. Pastel De Choclo
Pastel de Choclo, or Chilean beef and corn casserole, is a wonderful combination of flavors and classic Latin ingredients.
Also known as the Chilean version of shepherd’s pie, this dish is absolute comfort food and is perfect for dinner.
Picadillo is a fragrant, flavorful ground beef stew with raisins and olives.
This is an easy and no-fuss lazy weeknight meal, or you can quickly prepare it for parties.
Picadillo is very versatile as you can use it as stuffing for bell peppers, empanadas, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and more.
Bistec Encebollado is a traditional Puerto Rican recipe made with flank steak marinated in a tasty combination of onions, vinegar, and sofrito before being stewed in a savory tomato-based sauce.
This dish is fantastic comfort food that can be served with rice along with black beans and tostones.
Barbacoa is made with a pork roast that is slowly cooked until tender.
It has an incredible combination of flavors of garlic, cumin, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
This dish is amazing for making burritos, tacos, and salads.
27. Chile Verde
Chile Verde is made of tender pork cuts simmered in a flavorful spicy tomatillo and salsa verde for an extra kick.
Best paired with rice, Chile Verde is an authentic Mexican meal you can serve for lunch or dinner.
28. Birria Tacos
Birria Tacos are juicy, cheesy, and delicious.
This rich and flavorful recipe is served as a stew topped with onion, cilantro, and fresh lime.
You can serve Birria Tacos on your next Taco night.
29. Baja Fish Taco
Baja Fish Tacos are soft tortilla shells stuffed with crispy beer-battered white fish and topped with pico de gallo and tasty chipotle mayo dressing.
Every bite bursts with flavor, but it is still light and fresh enough for a summer meal.
Albondigas is a traditional Latin soup made from juicy meatballs infused with herbs and rice that have been cooked in a delicious tomato broth with lots of fresh vegetables.
This is a hearty and tasty soup that both adults and children will enjoy.
31. Tacos Gobernador
Tacos Gobernador also called Governor’s Tacos, are one of the most modern takes on Latin cuisine.
The dish is filled with buttery shrimps, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and melted cheese.
The cheese complements the scrumptious tacos, which can be a mouthwatering treat for every occasion.
Fajitas is a tasty marinated flank steak dish that can be used as a topping on tortillas.
It is full of vibrant vegetables and very filling, making it an excellent meal for a weeknight dinner.
Mechada is made with shredded beef packed with flavor and is very versatile because you can eat it together with other Latin meals.
You can pair this dish with some rice and beans or with arepas, pastelitos, or empanadas.
The bottom line
Latin America is known for its beautiful tropical landscapes, world-class sports teams, and groovy music.
But if you are a food lover, you’ve probably heard about its amazing cuisine.
With the list of Latin foods above, you won’t have to book a flight to try Latin America’s best flavors.
- Mexican Rice
- Ropa Vieja
- Empanada De Pino
- Arroz Chaufa
- Pao De Queijo
- Carne Guisada
- Cuban Stuffed Peppers
- Arroz Con Tres Leches
- Romeu E Julieta
- Tres Leches Cake
- Pastel De Choclo
- Bistec Encebollado
- Chile Verde
- Birria Tacos
- Baja Fish Taco
- Tacos Gobernador
- Habichuelas Guisadas
- Chuletas Fritas
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