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31 Best Puerto Rican Appetizers: A Taste Of The Caribbean

31 Best Puerto Rican Appetizers: A Taste Of The Caribbean

From mini empanadillas to baked tostones, these 31 Puerto Rican appetizers will let you experience a taste of the Caribbean in your meal!

Puerto Rican cuisine is an astonishing mix of Spanish, African, and Taíno influences.

And when you’re talking about appetizers, there are plenty of mouth-watering options.

One popular choice is Bacalaitos, which are fried codfish cakes that are often served with a dipping sauce.

Another popular option is Alcapurrias, fried or baked dough balls typically filled with meat or seafood.

Other popular appetizers include empanadas, croquettes, and tostones.

So, go ahead and explore the many options Puerto Rican cuisine offers.

Make sure to check out #28 on this list, as it’s delectable as it is visually stimulating.

So, put on some island music and get cooking!

1. Tea Party Sandwiches (Puerto Rican Version)

Tea sandwiches are classic finger food, perfect for everything from elegant parties to casual get-togethers. 

While there are endless possibilities for fillings, one of our favorite versions is the Puerto Rican tea sandwich. 

Puerto Rican tea sandwiches are made with a variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables, all stuffed into a small, crustless piece of bread. 

The result is a flavorful and satisfying bite that will leave your guests asking for more.

2. Aranitas De Platanos

Aranitas De Platanos is an enjoyable traditional dish from Puerto Rico.
They are made by frying plantain slices in a little bit of oil and then dipping them in a sweet and sour sauce made with sugar, vinegar, and orange juice.
Aranitas De Platanos are typically served as an appetizer, but they can also be a tasty side dish or even a dessert.
Whether you’re Puerto Rican or not, you’re sure to enjoy this delicious dish.

3. Guava & Manchego Cheese Pastry Bites

It’s not often that you find a bite-sized snack that’s both sweet and savory, but that’s precisely what you get with Guava & Manchego Cheese Pastry Bites.
The pouches are made with puff pastry and a mixture of melty cheese and sweet-tart guava paste.
The result is a sublime little snack perfect for parties or anytime you need a quick bite.
And best of all, they’re bite-sized, so you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging.

4. Puerto Rican Guava & Cream Cheese Dip

This Puerto Rican guava dip is a velvety combination of guava and cream cheese ideal for your first course, cheese board, or potluck spread.
The guava adds a lovely sweetness to the dip, while the cream cheese provides a smooth, rich texture.
Serve it with crackers or bread for dipping and enjoy the flavor of Puerto Rico in every bite.

5. Vegan Mofongo

Mofongo is a dish that is popular in Puerto Rico that is traditionally made with plantains, pork, and oil. 

This dish can be “veganized” by replacing the pork with vegan mock meat and roasting the plantains instead of frying them.

6. Baked Tostones

If you love plantains, then you’ll love these Baked Tostones!
They’re a delicious and wholesome alternative to traditional fried plantains.
These tostones are baked in the oven, not fried, so you won’t feel guilty about relishing them.
Plus, they’re just as flavorful and crispy as their fried counterparts.

7. Plantain Chips

Anyone who’s ever been to a tropical country knows that plantains are a staple food.
Plantains are very versatile and can be used in several dishes, from sweet desserts to savory main courses.
One of the simplest ways to enjoy plantains is as chips.
Baked Plantain Chips are a flavorful alternative to traditional potato chips.
They’re easy to make at home, and they go great with tropical salsa for dipping.

8. Puerto Rican Sofrito

Sofrito is a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine, and it’s easy to see why once you taste it.
This tasty mixture of onions, peppers, garlic, and fresh herbs is a terrific way to add a punch of flavor to any dish.
While sofrito is traditionally used as a base for stews and rice dishes, it can also be added to soups, sauces, or even used as a condiment.

9. Bacalaitos (Puerto Rican Salted Codfish Fritters)

There’s nothing quite like a crispy, salty codfish fritter.
They’re not difficult to make and even easier to enjoy.
The key to making the perfect fritter is to get the codfish nice and crisp.
You can also put in some herbs or spices if you like.
Serve with a simple dipping sauce and enjoy!

10. Puerto Rican Mofongo

Mofongo is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that typically consists of plantains that have been fried or mashed and then mixed with garlic, pork cracklings, and broth.
There are many variations of mofongo, but the essential ingredients remain the same.
The dish originated in the mountains of Puerto Rico, initially made with yams.
Over time, the dish has evolved and now includes plantains as the main ingredient.
Mofongo is often served during holidays and special occasions.

11. Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas are a divine appetizer.
Mashed potatoes are croquettes stuffed with flavorful picadillo and fried to golden perfection while still creamy on the inside.
The meat and potatoes join together to form an appetizer that diners will surely want more of!

12. Fried Sweet Plantains

Sweet Plantains are cooked bananas and are often served as a side dish.
They are popular in African and Latin cuisine and can make a great snack all by themselves.
Fried sweet plantains are delightful; the cooking process brings out their natural sweetness, and they become crunchy on the outside while remaining soft on the inside.

13. Mini Empanadillas

Empanadillas are a type of pastry that originates from Puerto Rico.
They are made with a buttery, flaky deep-fried dough and typically stuffed with meat, onions, peppers, and olives.
These empanadillas are seasoned with cumin and garlic, giving them a savory flavor balanced by the peppers’ sweetness.
The dough is light and crispy, while the filling is moist and flavorful.

14. Arepas De Coco

These crispy little beauties are my kryptonite, and I can’t resist their siren song as I stroll by. 

One bite of the crispy exterior gives way to a fluffy, coconut-y interior, and I’m in heaven.

A delectable blend of sweet and briny, these arepas are my guilty pleasure.

15. Puerto Rican Sorullitos De Maíz (Corn Fritters)

Originating in Puerto Rico, sorullos are a traditional appetizer that is typically made from yellow cornmeal.
They are fried until golden and crispy on the outside while remaining soft and pillowy on the inside.
One of the best things about sorullos is that they can be served with various dipping sauces, such as cilantro pesto or chipotle mayo.

16. Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos

Bacalaitos are a traditional Puerto Rican dish that is typically made with codfish.
However, these Vegan Bacalaitos are a sumptuous fish-free alternative that is wonderful for any occasion.
The fritters are made with a combination of jackfruit, flour, baking powder, and salt.
They can be served plain or with a dipping sauce, and they are sure to be a hit with vegans and non-vegans alike.

17. Alcapurria

If you’re looking for an authentic Puerto Rican snack, look no further than Alcapurria.
These fried fritters are typically made with green bananas and taro root and can be stuffed with various types of meat.
The most common fillings are ground beef or pork, but you can also find Alcapurria filled with chicken or shrimp.
No matter what filling you prefer, you’re sure to enjoy the crispy exterior and the fluffy, flavorful interior.

18. Puerto Rican Deviled Eggs

Puerto Rican Deviled Eggs are an enticing twist on a classic appetizer.
The eggs are boiled and mashed with mayonnaise, mustard, and various spices.
They are then stuffed into the eggshells and garnished with paprika or other colorful toppings.
Puerto Rican Deviled Eggs are perfect for parties or gatherings where you want to impress your guests with something a little bit different.

19. Pinchos De Pollo (Grilled Puerto Rican Chicken Skewers)

For the ultimate BBQ appetizer, try these Puerto Rican Chicken Skewers!
The key to making great Pincho De Pollo is to marinate the chicken in a delicious mixture of garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and spices.
Then, thread the chicken onto the skewers and grill until cooked through.
The result is tender, juicy chicken with a flavorful char that is absolutely irresistible.

20. Puerto Rican Arepas

Arepas are a type of cornmeal cake that is popular in Puerto Rican cuisine.

They are made with yellow or white cornmeal, and they can be either grilled or fried.

Arepas are typically served with cheese, meat, or vegetables, and they make a great appetizer or main course.

21. Puerto Rican Almojábanas

Puerto Rican Almojábanas are traditionally served as a side dish or appetizer but can also be enjoyed as a snack or dessert. 

Almojábanas are usually round in shape and have a crispy outer shell. 

The fritters can be either sweet or savory, depending on the ingredients used. 

Some common fillings include cheese, ham, and guava. 

22. Puerto Rican Shrimp Ceviche

Puerto Rican Shrimp Ceviche is a dish that is both tantalizing and fuss-free to make.
Ceviche is a traditional Latin American dish that typically consists of fish or seafood cooked in lime juice.
The lime juice flavors the seafood and “cooks” it, resulting in a light and refreshing dish.
Puerto Rican shrimp ceviche typically also includes onions, peppers, and cilantro, providing a precise balance of flavors. 

23. Sopa De Salchichon

Sopa De Salchichon, or Puerto Rican salami soup, is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for a winter meal. 

The soup is made with salami, noodles, potato, and a variety of other ingredients, all of which come together to create a classic Puerto Rican flavor.

24. Stuffed Peppers With Mofongo

Stuffed peppers are an all-natural way to enjoy mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish made from mashed plantains.
To make this, simply stuff green peppers with seasoned pork or chicken mofongo, then bake in the oven until the peppers are tender.

25. Puerto Rican Green Salad With Red Onion

This salad is a refreshing and flavorful way to enjoy the vibrant colors and tastes of Puerto Rico.
The combination of crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, sweet onions, and tart lime juice is a delightful balance of flavors that will bring you back for more.

26. Barriguitas De Vieja (Pumpkin Fritters)

There’s nothing like a plate of hot pumpkin fritters, and Puerto Ricans know this better than anyone.
Barriguitas De Vieja, as they’re known on the island, is a traditional dish that dates back centuries.
The fritters are made with fresh pumpkin grated and mixed with flour, eggs, and spices.
The mixture is then fried until it’s golden brown and crispy.

27. Pan De Agua (Water Bread)

Pan De Agua, or water bread, is a popular bread in the Caribbean. 

It’s made with flour, water, and salt, and it has a soft, fluffy texture that makes it perfect for sandwiches. 

Pan de Agua is usually served warm, with a dab of butter. 

The bread gets its name from the fact that it’s made with water instead of milk. 

This gives the bread a slightly different flavor than other types of bread, but it’s still delicious. 

Water bread is a staple in many Caribbean households, and it’s also popular in Latin American countries such as Venezuela and Colombia.

28. Guineos En Escabeche (Pickled Green Banana Salad)

Guineos En Escabeche is a traditional Caribbean dish that is both very palatable and simple to make.
Green bananas are boiled and sauteed with onions, garlic, and green olives.
The result is a savory dish that diners will enjoy.

29. Puerto Rican-Style Black Bean Soup

This delicious Black Bean Soup is hearty and filling, but it’s also light and wholesome.

And it’s super easy to make!

Just simmer black beans, vegetable broth, garlic, and jerk seasoning in water until the beans are tender.

Serve with a wedge of lime and some chopped green onions for a soup that’s sure to please.

30. South American Yuca Fries (Yuca Frita)

Yuca fries are a popular South American appetizer.
They’re made by frying strips of yuca, a cassava root.
Yuca fries are usually served with a dipping sauce, such as chimichurri or aji Camarillo.
They can also be topped with cheese or spices.

31. Croquetas De Jamón

Few things are as incredible as freshly fried Croquetas De Jamón.
These Ham Croquettes are a household staple in many Puerto Rican homes, and it’s not hard to see why.
They’re crispy, bite-size logs of smooth ground ham coated in breadcrumbs and then fried to perfection.
Serve them as an appetizer, and watch your guests devour them!

The bottom line

Puerto Rican appetizers are an excellent way to add some flavor to your next party or gathering.
With so many mouthwatering options, you’re sure to find something that everyone will love.
So, what are you waiting for?
Get cooking!
Puerto Rican appetizers are sure to be a hit with your guests.

Best Puerto Rican Appetizers

Best Puerto Rican Appetizers

From mini empanadillas to baked tostones, these Puerto Rican appetizers will let you experience a taste of the Caribbean in your meal!


  • Tea Party Sandwiches (Puerto Rican Version)
  • Aranitas De Platanos
  • Guava & Manchego Cheese Pastry Bites
  • Puerto Rican Guava & Cream Cheese Dip
  • Vegan Mofongo
  • Baked Tostones
  • Plantain Chips
  • Puerto Rican Sofrito
  • Bacalaitos (Puerto Rican Salted Codfish Fritters)
  • Puerto Rican Mofongo
  • Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas
  • Fried Sweet Plantains
  • Mini Empanadillas
  • Arepas De Coco
  • Puerto Rican Sorullitos De Maíz (Corn Fritters)
  • Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos
  • Alcapurria
  • Puerto Rican Deviled Eggs
  • Pinchos De Pollo (Grilled Puerto Rican Chicken Skewers)
  • Puerto Rican Arepas
  • Puerto Rican Almojábanas
  • Puerto Rican Shrimp Ceviche
  • Sopa De Salchichon
  • Stuffed Peppers With Mofongo
  • Puerto Rican Green Salad With Red Onion
  • Barriguitas De Vieja (Pumpkin Fritters)
  • Pan De Agua (Water Bread)
  • Guineos En Escabeche (Pickled Green Banana Salad)
  • Puerto Rican-Style Black Bean Soup
  • South American Yuca Fries (Yuca Frita)
  • Croquetas De Jamón


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