Home Desserts 23 Traditional Cuban Desserts

23 Traditional Cuban Desserts

Looking for some traditional Cuban desserts? From bars to cookies to flan, these easy recipes will give you a little taste of Havana!

Having an abundance of sugarcane in their country, Cubans take their desserts seriously.

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Homemade Leche Flan

Their knack for combining tropical flavors and warming spices puts their confections in a league of their own.

If you love bananas and guavas, then this round-up of desserts is for you. With these delectable sweets, you can taste the flavors of Cuba in the comfort of your home.

Tired of the same desserts you’ve been cleansing your palate with? Why not step out of your comfort zone and try something new and interesting?

These Cuban desserts will give any meal that perfect sweet ending.

1. Arroz con Leche

Cuban cuisine has strong Hispanic influences, hence this first entry. Arroz con leche is perhaps the most popular Cuban dessert, and for good reason.

Arroz con leche is a sweet rice pudding made with rice and milk that’s sugar-infused with cinnamon, lemon zest, and sometimes star anise.

The combination of milk, cinnamon, and lemon creates rich, creamy, and mildly spicy flavors.

You can serve it cold or at room temperature. I like mine warm, though. It’s the perfect treat for cold, rainy days!

2. Cuban Mojito Shortbread Bars

These sweet and mildly spiked shortbread bars are the best way to get the party started!

Who doesn’t love mojitos? The refreshing cocktail is perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot summer night. 

But you know what tastes amazing with mojitos? Mojito shortbread bars!

These squares have a super soft shortbread cookie crust and a sweet, tangy, and rum-infused custard. Yum.

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Flavored with lime juice, mint, and rum extract, it’s no surprise that the custard tastes exactly like mojitos!

3. Cuban Sweet Potato Puddingaja

Boniatillo is a sweet and luscious pudding made from sweet potatoes. It’s a quick and easy dessert that’s sure to knock your socks off.

Boniatillo is derived from “boniato,” meaning sweet potato. Sweet potato is one of the most widely used crops in Cuban cooking, used in both sweet and savory dishes.

The formula for boniatillo is very simple: mashed sweet potatoes and sugar. That’s all you really need to make such a sweet and creamy pudding.

But you can also give it more flavor by adding honey, grated coconut, or white cheese.

4. Cuban Shortbread Cookies

Torticas de Moron is an ultra-crumbly and buttery shortbread cookie flavored with coconut and a touch of lime. 

Torticas de Moron originated from a town in Cuba called Morón.

If you have never tried coconut and lime together, you’re missing out.

The perfect balance between sweet and tangy, it’s the ultimate tropical flavor combination.

Apart from the mind-blowing taste and texture, what makes these shortbread cookies irresistible are those colorful sprinkles.

5. Cuban Flan

Crème caramel, flan, custard – almost every country has its version of this rich, smooth, and creamy treat.

What makes Cuba’s version stand out? 

Cinnamon!

It’s genius because cinnamon pairs beautifully with both the custard and the caramel glaze on top.

If you’re tired of the usual flan, however, try infusing yours with chocolate, cinnamon, or citrus flavors for a fun spin!

Fun fact: did you know that flan was actually a Roman invention?

It was originally a savory dish that was later adopted by Spaniards and transformed into a dessert.

6. Pastelitos de Guayaba

Pastelito de guayaba is a traditional Cuban dessert made with guava paste and sweetened cream cheese inside a flaky puff pastry.

Think of the best turnover you’ve ever had and multiply it by ten. That’s what Pastelitos de guayaba tastes like.

The combination of sweet guava jam and sweetened cheese is absolutely divine. It’s sweet, rich, creamy, and everything you can ask for in a filling.

Then there’s the puff pastry. It’s incredibly buttery and flaky and turns into the most beautiful golden brown as it bakes.

7. Plátanos Maduros

Platanos maduros is a super simple yet irresistible dessert. Oh, and they’re also nutritious to boot! 

Plantains are an indigenous fruit in Cuba, which is why they’re widely used in their cuisine. Unlike regular bananas, plantains have a milder flavor. 

Plátanos maduros is basically deep-fried plantains. This two-ingredient dish could not be easier to make! Just peel the plantains and deep-fry them in oil.

But just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavor. Frying them amplifies their flavor tenfold!

8. Capuchinos

No, capuchinos aren’t coffee. Neither are they a coffee-flavored dessert. Rather, they’re these adorable cone-shaped cakes that are ridiculously addictive.

Legend has it that the dessert is named after the headgear that Capuchin monks wear.

It’s not clear how Cuba and Roman monks are at all related, but there you go.

Apart from the shape, what makes these cute little cakes a cut above the rest is that they’re soaked in syrup.

When I say syrup, I mean a heavenly concoction flavored with cinnamon, lemon peel, orange peel, and anisette.

Soaked in the syrup for at least 30 minutes, the cake absorbs all the beautiful flavors of the syrup and becomes so soft, it melts in your mouth.

9. Dulce de Leche Cortada

Dulce de leche cortada is a classic Cuban, Venezuelan, and Puerto Rican dessert achieved by curdling milk.

Yup, this dessert requires you to curdle milk on purpose. It may seem a bit strange (and kind of disgusting), but it works!

Imagine a much thicker sweetened condensed milk with a cottage cheese-like consistency. 

The process involves low-cooking milk and sugar until it turns into a rich and thick caramel milk curd.

You can infuse it with cinnamon while cooking because cinnamon always tastes great with milk and caramel. 

10. Cuban Churros

Just like in other Hispanic-influenced countries, churros are a beloved snack and dessert in Cuba.

I mean, how can anyone say no to deep-fried dough coated in cinnamon and sugar?

They’re like donuts in stick form, and they’re insanely addictive. Limiting yourself to just one is a real challenge!

Churros are already fantastic on its own. But they’re not nearly as good without the dip. 

In this recipe, you’ll use thick hot chocolate flavored with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick to dip the crisp and fluffy churros in.

It’s a match made in heaven.

11. Cuban Sugar Cookies

Here’s another variation of Torticas de Moron for ya. If you like caramel or dulce de leche, you’ll fall in love with these sugar cookies.

The cookies in and of themselves are already amazing. Sweet, tender, and crumbly, you really couldn’t ask for more.

But this recipe takes the classic cookies to a whole new level of deliciousness by topping them with dulce de leche.

If you’re not familiar with it, now is the perfect time to try it.

Dulce de leche stands for “candy made of milk,” and that’s exactly what it is.

It’s sweetened condensed milk cooked for hours to achieve a super thick and caramel-y consistency, and it’s phenomenal.

The cookies and the dulce de leche are delicious apart, but are even more spectacular together.

12. Coquitos

Coquitos are bite-sized balls that taste like heaven. 

Coquitos are a popular street food in Cuba, and I completely understand why. They’re incredibly soft, chewy, and packed with flavor!

What makes these candies ridiculously delicious is the combination of brown sugar, coconut, and vanilla.

But it doesn’t end there. The balls are dipped into melted chocolate, making them even more impossible to resist.

It only takes one bite to get you hooked. Good thing it’s easy to make!

13. Guava Cheesecake

Some like topping cheesecake with berries, and others with crushed candy. In Cuba, the best cheesecake is topped with guava marmalade.

Can’t imagine what guava and cheesecake together taste like? Um, only amazing! The unique flavors of guava complement the rich and creamy cheesecake really well.

This recipe takes the classic guava cheesecake up a notch by using not just one, but two layers of buttery crescent dough.

Then, apart from the guava marmalade, the cake is topped off with fluffy whipped cream. This confection is the stuff of legends!

14. Apple Empanadas

Apple pie that you can eat on the go? Sounds perfect!

These sweet empanadas are made of apples soaked in a sweet and mildly spiced syrup stuffed in a flaky and buttery dough. I call it heaven in a bite.

This isn’t your regular apple pie filling, folks.

The syrup is infused with ground cinnamon, cloves, Mexican piloncillo, brown sugar, vanilla, and a splash of lemon juice. Just the thought of it makes me drool!

15. Banana Casserole Recipe

The next entry is a rich casserole loaded with sweet bananas, crisp pecans, butter, brown sugar, and raisins. It’s nothing short of amazing.

How can anyone resist the combination of bananas, butter, and pecans? This Cuban casserole is sure to delight your taste buds.

Apart from the flavor, the contrasting textures also make it insanely addictive.

Casseroles are usually served for breakfast, but this one is so good, you’ll want to eat it all day.

16. Casquitos de Guayaba

Casquitos de guayaba is a simple dessert achieved by cooking guavas in a sweet syrup. It’s the easiest way to bring the flavors of Cuba into your home.

Guavas are already inherently sweet, but cooking them in light syrup just makes them even more delectable.

Cooking makes the guavas a lot softer, too, making them easier to devour.

You can cook the guavas in a simple mixture of sugar and water, but you can also take it up a notch by adding your favorite spices. 

17. Bolitas de Tamarindo

Bolitas de tamarindo, or tamarind candy balls, are super soft and chewy. They also have that wonderful combination of sweet and tangy.

How I love snacking on these tamarind candies! The flavor contrast is just absolutely amazing.

Sweetened tamarind is rolled into small balls and coated in sugar It’s the Cuban dessert I never thought I’d be addicted to. Trust me, you will, too. 

18. Cuban Lunch Squares

These Cuban lunch squares combine the goodness of chocolate, peanut butter, and chocolate all in one. These bars are every sweet tooth’s dream!

Also, look at how mouthwatering they are! One look and you already know you’re about to have a lovely experience.

Apart from the flavor, these squares also have such interesting textures.

They’re topped with crushed peanuts and Rice Krispies, giving the ooey-gooey treat a crisp and crunchy contrast.

19. Pina Asada

Pina asada are pineapples soaked in butter and sugar and grilled to perfection.

It’s a simple treat that has mind-blowingly amazing flavors. And the aroma is legendary.

The combination of pineapples, brown sugar, and butter is impossible to resist.

Add a splash of lime juice into the mix, and you’ll get an even brighter, more wonderful flavor!

The pineapples caramelize as they’re grilled, making them taste even sweeter and more delightful than ever.

20. Cuban Coffee

If you’re in dire need of a caffeine fix, Cuban coffee is for you. This espresso topped with thick foam is seriously strong!

It’s perfect for giving you that much-needed boost in the morning.

Cuban coffee, or cafecito, is a strong, dark roast espresso. It’s very bitter on its own, which is why it is topped with sugar foam, called espumita.

Together, they make one heck of an energizing drink.

21. Mojito

Mojitos are a popular cocktail that originated in Havana, Cuba. 

There once was a time when rum didn’t taste good on its own at all. That’s how mojitos came to be.

Cubans decided to make a cocktail mix that would make it a lot more pleasant to drink.

A mixture of rum, sugar, mint, and lime juice, a mojito is a sweet and refreshing drink that’s sure to give you a buzz.

22. Guava Bars

This next recipe has guava paste and coconut together in one amazing bar. It’s the ultimate tropical confection!

Apart from the filling, these bars also have a super soft and buttery shortbread crust and a crisp oatmeal-sugar-coconut topping.

Together, the layers create a sinful and heavenly treat.

23. Guava Caramel Bread Pudding

Let’s end this list with a bang, shall we? Pudding flavored with guava, caramel, cinnamon, and booze: now that sounds incredible.

The pudding itself is made with day-old bread, condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg.

It’s rum-infused, too, so it’s not for kids. But if you want them to join in on the fun, simply omit the rum.

The whole thing is drizzled with a sweet guava caramel sauce and topped with candied maple pecans for a wonderful crunch.

23 Traditional Cuban Desserts

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Cuban Desserts

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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