Tired of the same old party appetizers? Revolutionize your platter with these Puerto Rican appetizers.
From empanadas to pork cracklings, Puerto Rico has a knack for tasty bites.
Their cuisine is a vibrant fusion of Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences.
So you know your guests are in for a flavorful experience!
Appetizers like ceviche, fried plantains, and mofongo are a party in your mouth with every bite.
Whether you’re planning a big bash or a small gathering, there’s a Puerto Rican appetizer here for all your parties.
1. Puerto Rican Empanadas
Empanadas need no introduction. These savory hand pies have spread in popularity across the USA.
What makes Puerto Rican empanadas unique is the sofrito filing. This is a tomato sauce with spices, onions, and garlic.
Add beef, olives, and potatoes to the mix and you have one scrumptious empanada.
2. Puerto Rican Salt Cod Fritters (Bacalaítos)
Bacalaitos are Puerto Rican salted cod fritters.
The exact recipe can vary by household. But this is one of my favorite preparation methods.
You soak the cod in water to remove some of the salt. Then, mix it with flour, baking powder, garlic, and seasoning.
All that’s left is to shape the fritters and fry.
An appetizer like this is just screaming for pique. It’s a legendary Puerto Rican hot sauce.
3. BBQ Chicken Skewers (Pinchos de Pollo)
Throwing a backyard bash? Toss these skewers on the grill.
They’re the perfect finger food. Plus, they’re easy to prepare.
Coat the chicken with spices, olive oil, and lemon. Next, skewer the meat and toss it on the grill.
As they cook, slather them in barbecue sauce. It won’t be long now until your appetizer is ready.
4. Ham Croquettes (Croquetas de Jamón)
Ham croquettes are classy enough for an upscale soiree. They’re also laid back enough for game day because they’re fried.
A classic Spanish tapas, these fried bites are popular in many countries, including Puerto Rico.
Sink your teeth into one and you’ll easily get why. These savory morsels are irresistible.
5. Puerto Rican Shrimp Ceviche
From Mexico to Peru, ceviche recipes vary by region. All of which are exquisite if you ask me.
There’s something about Puerto Rican ceviche, though, that’s extra lively.
It’s full of bright flavors and fresh ingredients like shrimp, lime, and tomatoes.
There are also pimento peppers hiding in the mix.
6. Puerto Rican Salami Soup (Sopa de Salchichon)
Puerto Rican salami soup is a bit of an oddball.
It merges soup with spaghetti, tomato sauce, salami, and the veggies you’d find in a crawfish boil.
For a regional flare, it also incorporates the holy trinity of Puerto Rican food. That’s adobo, sofrito, and sazón.
If you want something truly unique, you have got to try it. I guarantee it will be the main talking point at the party.
7. Stuffed Yuca Fritters (Alcapurrias de Yuca)
On the outside, you have the perfect crunch. On the inside, you have yuca stuffed with ground beef.
What you don’t notice by the looks is how incredible these are. Both the yuca and the beef require their own seasonings.
So when you bite in, you get an explosion of flavor.
8. Pork Cracklings (Chicharrones de Cerdo)
Sure, you could bust open a bag of chips and call your appetizer good. Or, you can make these crispy delights.
Pork cracklings are super addicting.
I love them for their delectable crunch and savory flavor. You get parts of crispy fat and meat in every bite.
From game days to cookouts, pork cracklings will be a hit!
Mofongo is a classic Puerto Rican dish featuring plantains and chicharrones. Both get mashed together with garlic and salt.
Serve it with a savory beef broth for an enticing pairing.
Sweet, savory, and bold, it’s an authentic Puerto Rican experience.
10. Fried Plantains (Tostones)
Fried plantains are a special treat your guests will love.
These smashed bananas get fried twice for a super crispy bite.
Dunk them in a creamy dip like chipotle mayo or mayo ketchup sauce.
11. Puerto Rican Almojábanas
Almojábanas need to be on your brunch menu. These fried fritters are to die for!
They consist of rice flour, all-purpose flour, milk, eggs, and cheese. Add a scoop of baking powder to fluff them up.
For a sweet take, add a spoonful of sugar. For the savory version, skip the sugar and dip them in mayo ketchup.
12. Puerto Rican Fried Chicken (Chicharrones De Pollo)
If there is one thing we love in America, it’s fried chicken. But have you tried it the Puerto Rican way?
It’s finger-licking good!
A whole chicken bathes in an adobo and sazón seasoned marinade.
When it’s time for frying, coat it in cornstarch and drop it in hot oil.
The final result is a flavorsome fried chicken with the perfect texture. You’ll want to sink your teeth right in.
13. Papas Rellenas
Papas rellenas are a meat and potato lover’s dream.
These plump potato balls are stuffed with ground beef, coated with breadcrumbs, and fried.
For an extra savory bite, the beef mixture has tomato sauce, garlic, adobo, and sazón.
So there’s no need for a dip. All the flavor you need is hiding inside!
14. Puerto Rican Coconut Fry Bread (Arepas de Coco)
When these hit the table, your guests will come running!
Arepas de coco is a sweet coconutty version of Puerto Rican fry bread.
Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they melt in your mouth.
And, what’s even better is they call for five pantry staples. So you can make them right now.
15. Fried Cheese (Queso Frito)
Fried cheese? Yes, please!
It’s not a party without a cheese appetizer. So grab the Queso De Freir and let’s start frying.
Crispy and creamy, these bites are heavenly.
It’s a popular dish in many Latin American countries, including Puerto Rico.
And now, it’s about to be all anyone can talk about at your party.
16. Puerto Rican Corn Fritters (Sorullos)
For holidays, birthday parties, barbecues, or potlucks, these corn fritters are great for any occasion.
They feature a cheesy cornmeal dough fried to perfection.
And, they only take 30 minutes to make.
For a dipping sauce, you can’t beat mayo ketchup. It’s a Puerto Rican favorite.
17. Puerto Rican Water Bread (Pan de Agua)
Puerto Rican water bread is an excellent accompaniment to a charcuterie board.
It’s just waiting to be topped with an assortment of meats and cheeses.
If you’re curious about the name, you bake it over a boiling pot of water. It’s what makes it soft and crusty.
18. Pickled Unripe Green Bananas (Guineos en Escabeche)
If you’re looking for something different from a classic American appetizer, go with this escabeche.
It features unripe bananas with olives, avocado, red onion, garlic, vinegar, and pickling spices.
The bold contrast of flavors is unlike anything you’ve ever had.
19. Puerto Rican Sofrito
You can’t talk about Puerto Rican recipes without mentioning sofrito.
Sofrito is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine. From soups to empanadas, you’ll find this base in all sorts of dishes.
It consists of bell peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro. You toss all that in a blender, and 5 minutes later, you have sofrito.
20. Crispy Baked Tostones
Not keen on frying tostones? Bake them instead.
Baked tostones are little bites of heaven. You get crispy tidbits of plantain with less oil.
Simply slice the plantains, bake, smash, and bake again.
For serving, try aji verde sauce or a creamy chipotle sauce.
21. Pumpkin Fritters (Barriguitas de Vieja)
Here’s a fun appetizer for the holidays.
These crispy pumpkin fritters don’t call for any crazy ingredients.
They only contain pumpkin puree, flour, baking powder, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Add a pinch of salt and adjust the brown sugar to your liking.
Once they’re fried, dust them with powdered sugar and serve them warm.
22. Salted Cod Salad (Ensalada de Bacalao)
Need a fresh seafood appetizer for a summer bash? This salted cod salad is calling your name.
Salted cod is very, well, salty. So you need to soak it in water before cooking.
Once you achieve the ideal level of salt, build the salad.
You need hard-boiled eggs, sauteed onions, tomatoes, avocado, olives, and vinegar.
23. Fried Yuca (Yuca Frita)
Each bite of fried yuca is just as delightful as the last.
Frying yuca gives it a crispy exterior and creamy interior. It has a wonderful texture, making it hard to stop munching.
Drizzle the creamy garlic cilantro sauce on top and serve it up.
24. Puerto Rican Guava and Cream Cheese Dip
Every party needs a memorable dip. And this one is unforgettable!
This Puerto Rican dip combines guava paste and cream cheese with honey, sour cream, and garlic.
Grab the crackers and give this dip a try. You‘ll want to get in on this before it’s gobbled up.
25. Stuffed Fried Plantain (Pionono)
What’s better than fried plantains? Stuffed fried plantains!
These savory medallions aren’t just an appetizer. They’re an experience.
On the outside, you have a slice of fried plantain.
Stuffed inside are beef, bell peppers, onions, tomato sauce, and a ton of spices.
The presentation has the wow factor you want with the flavor to match.
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