Home Appetizers 17 Easy Caribbean Appetizers

17 Easy Caribbean Appetizers

With these 17 simple Caribbean appetizers, you can bring the flavor of the islands straight into your kitchen!

If you’re already a fan of tropical fare, you’ll love every one of these delicious recipes.

Grilled Shrimp with Lime and Dipping Sauce
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There’s a lot to love about the gorgeous Caribbean.

It’s a favorite tropical location for many because of its beauty, its excitement, and of course, its food. 

And trust me, these Caribbean appetizers are about as good as it gets.

So grab some mangos, plantains, and your entire spice rack, and get ready to cook all kinds of new and exciting dishes.

1. Yaniqueques

Yaniqueques, also known as Johnny cakes, are a popular Caribbean appetizer because they taste great and are pretty easy to make. 

They require only fundamental ingredients – flour, baking soda, water, vegetable oil, etc. – and can be cooked easily in a stovetop skillet. 

When finished, they’re crunchy, crispy, flaky, and full of the deep-fried goodness we all secretly (or not-so-secretly) love.

2. Pholourie

If you’re looking for something with a lot more spice and a bolder taste, check out this recipe for pholourie.

The ingredients list is a little long, but it’s primarily herbs and spices.

These fried, golden brown balls of deliciousness combine garlic, onions, cilantro, parsley, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, hot sauce, and more for an unforgettable explosion of flavors.

3. Caribbean Salad

Picture a bed of leafy greens topped with dried cranberries, tropical fruit, and green onions, all drizzled with a sweet and zesty honey-lime dressing.

Sounds fantastic, right? It is. 

If you’re a fan of fruit and chia seeds in your salad, this might just be your new go-to lunch.

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4. Caribbean Potato Salad

I love potato salads. They’re so versatile, so easy to make, and so yummy. This one, though, has been a longtime favorite of mine.

It’s creamy and full of things that are good for you, including potatoes, eggs, peas, carrots, and onions. All-in-all, it takes a little over 30 minutes to make. 

It’s an easy way to get your kids to eat their veggies, and the Cajun seasoning gives it the perfect amount of heat and spice.

5. Caribbean Sweet Cornbread

No matter where you live in the world, that place has a cornbread recipe.

The Caribbean Islands are no different, and if you like sweet cornbread, you’ll want to bookmark this recipe.

It combines the crunchy, crumbly texture of cornbread with the sugary sweetness of cake, and it’s the ideal bread to serve at your next neighborhood cookout or BBQ.

6. Cassava Bread

Cassava bread, or casabe, is a Dominican staple, so if you’re looking for a way to bring a bit of Dominican heritage to your table, this is it.

It’s a super crunchy flatbread made from yuca flour, and it’s both fat-free and high in fiber. It’s also sodium- and cholesterol-free, so it’s a pretty guiltless bread.

You can serve it with savory foods like eggs, avocado, and coffee for breakfast, or you can slather it in peanut butter and have it as a mid-day treat. 

7. Caribbean Three Bean Salad

If you need a quick and easy Caribbean side dish, Caribbean three-bean salad is perfect. 

The peas and beans are set off nicely by the onions, tomatoes, coriander, and peppers.

The dressing is made from lime, olive oil, chili pepper, and garlic gives it a spicy, tangy, garlicky finish. 

8. Bacalaitos (Codfish Fritters)

This recipe is a little more Spanish than Caribbean, but it’s so delicious, no one will mind.

Bacalaitos are where codfish and pancakes meet, and if you think that sounds gross, you’re totally wrong.

Think of them more like spicy, crunchy seafood hush puppies with just a hint of sweetness thrown in.

That’ll give you the best idea of what to expect, or just trust me when I say they’re excellent.

9. Caribbean Coleslaw

Caribbean chefs do a lot of things right, but one of the things they do the best is coleslaw.

It’s like your typical, everyday coleslaw; only it’s been dialed up to 11. 

In addition to cabbage, carrots, and salt and pepper,  this coleslaw also features jalapenos, Caribbean hot sauce, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, honey, mango, scallions, and more.

It’s sweet and spicy like so much of Caribbean food is, and you’ll never want to use another coleslaw recipe.

10. Stuffed Plantain Cups

Don’t worry; I didn’t tell you to grab your plantains for no reason.

These hearty, filling plantain cups are stuffed to the brim with shredded beef, and they’re incredible. 

If you’re not a fan of beef, you can use whatever shredded protein you prefer.

Top each one with a little mayo and ketchup, and the only problem you’ll have is making yourself stop eating them.

11. Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas (Stuffed Potatoes)

You can never have too many ways to fix potatoes. As Samwise Gamgee says, “Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew!”

Now you can also stuff them with beef and deep fry them.

Honestly, you just have to try them to see what all the fuss is about. They’re heavenly.

12. Sorullitos de Maiz (Sorullos)

These Puerto Rican corn fritters have a crisp, crunchy outside, but their centers are soft, gooey, and supremely buttery. 

Although you traditionally serve them with mayo or ketchup, I enjoy them with cocktail sauce or marinara. 

You can also forego the cheese, add extra sugar, and serve them with sweet dipping sauces instead. Try maple syrup, chocolate ganache, or powdered sugar.

13. Trinidad Corn Soup

This Trinidadian soup is low-calorie, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free.

It’s full of all kinds of great things – corn, onions, split peas, garlic, chives, and more, which give it a mishmash of tropical flavor and spice.

Important note: The recipe calls for you to add a Scotch bonnet pepper into the soup. It’s essential you add it in whole, not sliced, and remove it before serving. 

The Scotch bonnet pepper will set your mouth on fire, but if added whole and removed, you’ll get only the pepper’s flavor in the soup and not its heat.

14. Caribbean Shrimp Spread

This is a quick, 5-minute recipe that’s great if you’re looking for a new spread for your bagels, vegetables, or bread.

Simply mix your cream cheese with shrimp, mango jam, Caribbean seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then serve it atop your favorite breads or veggies.

15. Caribbean Sweet Potato Soup

This Caribbean soup is spicy, earthy, creamy, and filling. It’s also vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and simply frozen.

Because it tastes better the day after it’s made, it’s a perfect soup for meal prepping.

If you’re not a fan of heat, leave out the jalapeno.

16. Caribbean Salsa

If you’re looking for a sweeter, more tropical way to do salsa, this recipe is one of the best I’ve found. 

The pineapples, mangos, and papayas go surprisingly well with the onions, red peppers, and cilantro.

It’s a tangy, fruity salsa that works well with chips or as a stand-alone side dish.

17. Jamaican Coco Bread

I don’t usually save the best for last, but in this case, it just so happened to turn out that way. Jamaican coco bread is the perfect sandwich bread, although it looks more like a biscuit.

It has a strong, firm outside, but the inside is soft, buttery, and full of easily pulled apart layers that are ideal for packing in your preferred meats, cheeses, and condiments. 

It takes about an hour to cook, but once you take that first bite, you’ll realize it was an hour well spent.

17 Easy Caribbean Appetizers


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Caribbean Appetizers

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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