39 Latin American Recipes

Latin America is an incredibly diverse region with rich culinary traditions. Every country has its own unique cuisine, and even within each country, every region has its own unique seasonings, techniques and local specialties. We don’t often get to experience this diversity in the United States outside of large Latino enclaves like New York City, Los Angeles or Miami. However, we’ve rounded up some of our best Latin American recipes representing each country to introduce you to some of the lesser-known specialties of this region.

By Carlos Olaechea

Colombia: Ajiaco Bogotano

"I absolutely loved this soup. As a previous reviewer mentioned, although there are very simple ingredients in the soup, it's packed with a lot of flavor. Definitely making this again soon!"

-Jonathan Melendez

Puerto Rico: Pernil

"Call it what you want (I know technically it's pernil — my boyfriend is Puerto Rican too!), but I call it the ‘5 hours of torture roast.’ It fills the house with such a tantalizing aroma that you swear you will lose your mind obsessing over the timer!”


El Salvador: Pupusas

Pupusas are considered the official food of El Salvador (although Honduras also claims them for itself). They are like cheesy stuffed tortillas and go really well with a tangy cabbage slaw.

Costa Rica: Gallo Pinto

“I’m from Costa Rica! The recipe is just fine, just the way we make it here! To add an extra touch you can use also chopped red bell pepper. We usually eat this for breakfast as it is a very filling dish.”


Cuba: Ropa Vieja

This Cuban dish literally translates to “old clothes” because the shredded beef reminds people of tattered, threadbare clothing. The dish tastes nothing like cloth, though — the beef is fork tender and the tomato sauce is complex with typical Cuban seasonings, like cumin.

Chile: Pastel De Choclo

"I have been looking for a ground beef and corn casserole since dining at a local Chilean restaurant. I made this recipe last weekend and it came out fabulous. It was even better the next day when re-heated for lunch at work."


Peru: Jamón del País

This is a modernized recipe for traditional Peruvian-style “country ham,” which is the star of the popular butifarra sandwiches. The flavors of ají chiles, garlic and cumin infuse into the pork loin making a really flavorful sandwich filling.

Peru: Ceviche Mixto

You can serve this ceviche Mexican style with chips (pictured) or opt to serve it the traditional Peruvian style with a slice of sweet potato and a section of corn cob on the side (no chips).

Nicaragua: Tres Leches

"To anyone making this cake, or any tres leches cake, instead of poking it with a fork to absorb liquid, I simply turn the cake over on aluminum foil straight out of the oven and let it cool completely. When it is done cooling the top of the cake comes off and exposes the top. I then soak it and it absorbs the milk beautifully."


Mexico: Mole

"This sauce is to die for! I made it with about a tablespoon of cocoa powder instead of the chocolate and I cooked chicken breast in it. Served with rice and peas it is a beautiful meal. I will definitely make it again."

-Bauline Baker

Mexico: Conchas

“I have been wanting these for years since my favorite bakery on the west coast closed some 15 years ago and use to make these. The longer they have to do the second rise the better.”


Colombia: Cholado

“These icy treats are made even better by the tropical fruit typically used. However, if your access to ripe tropical fruit is limited, feel free to riff on this Colombian classic.”

-Hannah Petertil

Uruguay: Chajá Cake

This is a delicious, pillowy cake from Uruguay layered with whipped cream, canned fruit and dulce de leche. The best part, however, is the coating of crispy meringue pieces covering the outside of the cake.

Argentina: Alfajores

“These were amazing! At first they were really hard, like crackers, but after I added the dulce de leche and let them sit for a while they were wonderfully soft and chewy. They had a very unique taste and were pretty easy to make.”

-Kat McCallister

Brazil: Brigadeiros

"As the recipe states, it's really important to cook down the condensed milk mixture for the entire time, all while stirring. If you follow that, these will turn out perfect! They're so good and great as a treat!"

-Jonathan Melendez

Puerto Rico: Arroz Con Gandules

"Good basic recipe! I added a lot more sofrito and a little garlic pepper seasoning to it once it was on my plate. Love Puerto Rican food.”


Cuba: Arroz Imperial

"Good recipe but added Adobo to the rice and used sofrito and recaito instead of tomato sauce to make it more traditional and add a lot more flavor. Never took out the bacon just drained the excess grease to add more flavor to the chicken.”

-Randy A.

Dominican Republic: Chimichurri

Don’t confuse this Dominican-style burger with the herby/garlicky Argentinian dressing that goes by the same name. This Dominican street food staple features a moist, seasoned burger patty and a signature pink sauce you’ll want to slather on everything.

Dominican Republic: Mangú

"My husband gives it four out of five stars, and he is a picky eater."

-Like the muppet chef

Guatemala: Hilachas

This Guatemalan dish features shredded beef in a tomato and tomatillo sauce. It’s made hearty with the addition of potatoes and carrots and gets a little heat from guajillo chiles.

Guatemala: Pan De Banano

"So good that it served only six people! Baked only 30 minutes. Really easy and I promised my kids to make it again with them, especially for my little three-year-old son who pretends not to like bananas.”

-Virginie R.

Honduras: Sopa de Mariscos con Coco

"Easy to follow. Made this today and my husband, who is from Honduras, said I nailed it!”

-Esmer R.

Honduras: Espaguetis Con Pollo

This take on spaghetti is extremely popular in Honduras and other Central American countries. It features a heady mix of spices and herbs that make it bolder than traditional Italian-style pasta sauces. The secret, however, is the finishing touch of sour cream.

El Salvador: Maria Luisa

"Loved this cake! Made as a birthday cake. What a great alternative to the usual frosted birthday cake. The orange taste was not overpowering. I made a nice decorative powdered sugar design on top, which made this cake taste and look good.”

-Chef Sarita in Aust

Nicaragua: Nacatamales

“They taste so different from Mexican tamales because they are not full of chiles; instead they are sweet and savory. In Nacatamales, there is always either one prune or golden raisins. Usually there is no cilantro or chipotle salsa in them either — it is diced tomatoes, onions and a little garlic — but this is personal taste.”


Panama: Sancocho

"I'm from the USA and have lived in Panama now for about three months. I have had sancocho several times — some good, some not so good. This recipe is delicious!”


Venezuela: Pan de Jamón

This Venezuelan savory bread is filled with ham and olives and is traditionally enjoyed on Christmas. However, it’s a great treat any time of year and great for a party.

Venezuela: Tequeños

"A tasty snack. It's not possible to eat just one."


Ecuador: Llapingachos

"This is really good. The potatoes are delicious, but the star of this recipe is the sauce! I will be making it for other dishes, too. Would be great on pasta or rice, and on chicken breasts!”

-Outta Here

Ecuador: Sancocho Quiteño

"I wanted to say that I had a lot of fun making this soup and it came out perfect. It was easy, but the recipe forgot to say when to add the corn in the soup. I added the corn in step four.”

-Chef Anabell

Salsa De Cilantro - Pebre

"This tastes exactly like the pebre I had so often in Chile. Excellent with fresh ingredients; I recommend making it the night before and letting it sit in the fridge until you serve."

-AD 25520

Chile: Salsa Verde

“This is fantastic! I added two extra garlic cloves because we love it and used garlic red wine vinegar because I was out of regular red wine vinegar. I think I will use four cloves of garlic next time. This has the perfect amount of heat to it as well.”

-Lise P.

Bolivia: Silpancho

"Just like my Abuela makes it!"

-Misha Bella

Bolivia: Cocadas

"These little delights remind me more of macaroons than candy but they are delicious no matter what they're called. I baked mine 30 minutes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet."

-Dreamer in Ontario

Paraguay: Chipa Guazú

"I was fully expecting to like this dish, but I was not expecting to love it so much that I'd have to hide the leftovers from myself just to stop short of eating the entire thing! The onions become deliciously sweet from the long cooking time and the cream cheese, milk and corn make it so wonderfully creamy. Melt-in-your-mouth loveliness.”


Paraguay: Sopa Paraguaya

"Delicious! It was moist, cheesy and oniony — very savory! Almost like a cross between regular cornbread and spoon bread. I used fresh cut corn and followed the instructions as written.”

-Marcasite Queen

Uruguay: Pollo en Escabeche

“This was really different from any way i've ever had chicken but still very good. My boyfriend said it tastes like a pickled egg, which is a compliment because he loves anything pickled! The carrots were very yummy, but the onions! Wow! Those were tasty!”


Argentina: Matambre

"Very tasty nice presentation and quite easy to prepare, except for the butterflying. Next time I'd get that done at the butcher shop. I used skirt steak, but with the marinating and slow cooking, it was plenty tender. I also substituted grated carrots, and added a couple of spoons of tomato sauce in the marinade. I think I would include a bay leaf next time, and it could support a little more spinach, if you happen to like spinach."


Brazil: Moqueca

"This is a delicious recipe; excellent flavors that brought back memories of Bahia. It's a favorite go-to dish at home and is great for having friends over. Simple to prepare and gets better the longer the flavors have to blend together. Highly recommended."