In many Puerto Rican households, Thanksgiving Day blends traditional holiday vibes from the U.S. territory and the rich, flavorful influences of Puerto Rican spices and recipes.
It isn’t just about the roast pig, also known as “lechón,” which took center stage last year, but about the fusion of cultures that give rise to some of the most popular Puerto Rican Thanksgiving food.
Picture this: At the Thanksgiving dinner table, alongside the pumpkin pie and green beans, there’s a roasting pan gleaming with a Thanksgiving turkey, its skin perfectly crisped from a flavorful marinade of olive oil, garlic cloves, and sour orange.
That marinade isn’t just any mixture; it’s passed down through family traditions, with Spanish words whispered between generations, ensuring the turkey legs and breast side get the right amount of love.
Yet, it’s not just the turkey that shines. A side of yellow rice and beans appears drenched in a tropical flavor from San Juan’s bustling markets. But the real star might be the mofongo stuffing.
For this, you’d mash green plantains and sweet potatoes on a firm work surface. Modern Puerto Rican families often employ a food processor to ease the process, ensuring the mofongo is consistent.
A sprinkle of black pepper and a drizzle of dulce de leche provide a sweet and spicy contrast that’s hard to resist.
Preparing the turkey Puerto Rican style requires particular attention. After ensuring it’s at room temperature, various minor cuts, or even a small slit on the side of the excess skin, help the marinade penetrate deeper.
The turkey’s cavity also gets special treatment, usually filled with Puerto Rican rice or mofongo stuffing. For an extra touch, the turkey’s skin, once marinated, is covered with aluminum foil, ensuring it’s golden but not overcooked by the time it’s done.
Don Gume’s famous dipping sauce, a blend of Puerto Rican spices and a hint of Leffe Brune, is often served to accompany the turkey. Last year, during the Christmas season, the sauce became a hit at family gatherings, a new addition to the traditional Puerto Rican Thanksgiving menu.
The next day, leftovers find their way into different ways of culinary delight. The meals post-Thanksgiving are just as crucial for family traditions, from turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce to slow-roasted pork shoulder.
Like the Christmas season, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of Puerto Rican households’ favorite holidays. Even if the main ingredient might be a pound of turkey instead of a roast pig, the essence remains the same.
Family, food, and a mix of traditions take the main stage. It’s a testament to the blending of cultures, where a traditional Puerto Rican Thanksgiving dinner sits alongside the pumpkin pies and cranberry sauces, symbolic of the union between the island and the mainland.
Whether it’s special occasions or an everyday meal, the essence remains family traditions, the heart of every Puerto Rican household. And as the island remains a U.S. territory, the blend of the traditional and the tropical will continue to grace many a Thanksgiving holiday table, from the streets of San Juan to homes far and wide.
This mouthwatering food list brings together the best of Puerto Rican and Caribbean cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a succulent roast pork dish alternative or want to explore new flavors this holiday season, these food recipes will impress. Check out our list of delicious dishes!
37 Best Puerto Rican Thanksgiving Food Recipes
- ✅ Pernil (Roast Pork)
- Ingredients: Pork shoulder, garlic, oregano, vinegar, adobo seasoning, sazón.
- Method: Marinate pork overnight and roast until crispy.
- ✅ Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)
- Ingredients: Rice, pigeon peas, sofrito, olives, capers, sazón.
- Method: Cook everything in a pot until rice is tender.
- ✅ Pasteles
- Ingredients: Green bananas, pork filling, achiote oil, sofrito.
- Method: Make dough, fill, wrap in banana leaves, and boil.
- ✅ Mofongo
- Ingredients: Green plantains, garlic, pork cracklings.
- Method: Fry plantains, mash with ingredients, and shape.
- ✅ Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)
- Ingredients: Chicken, potatoes, carrots, sofrito, olives, capers.
- Method: Brown chicken, add ingredients, and simmer.
- ✅ Tostones (Fried Plantains)
- Ingredients: Green plantains, salt.
- Method: Slice, fry, smash, and refry.
- ✅ Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)
- Ingredients: Chicken, rice, sofrito, beer, sazón, peas, pimentos.
- Method: Brown chicken, add other ingredients, simmer.
- ✅ Alcapurrias
- Ingredients: Green bananas, yautía, meat filling.
- Method: Make dough, fill, and deep fry.
- ✅ Flan
- Ingredients: Eggs, sugar, vanilla, condensed milk, evaporated milk.
- Method: Caramelize sugar, blend ingredients, and bake in a water bath.
- ✅ Coquito (Coconut Eggnog)
- Ingredients: Coconut milk, rum, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, vanilla.
- Method: Blend all and chill.
- ✅ Sorullitos de Maíz (Cornmeal Fritters)
- Ingredients: Cornmeal, sugar, butter, salt, cheese.
- Method: Mix, shape into cylinders, and fry.
- ✅ Rellenos de Papa (Stuffed Potato Balls)
- Ingredients: Mashed potatoes, ground beef, sofrito, and achiote oil.
- Method: Stuff mashed potato balls with meat, then fry.
- ✅ Tembleque (Coconut Pudding)
- Ingredients: Coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon.
- Method: Cook until thickened, chill, and serve.
- ✅ Habichuelas Guisadas (Stewed Beans)
- Ingredients: Red beans, ham, potatoes, pumpkin, sofrito.
- Method: Cook all until beans are tender.
- ✅ Bacalaitos (Cod Fritters)
- Ingredients: Salted cod, flour, baking powder, garlic, water.
- Method: Mix ingredients and fry spoonfuls.
- ✅ Piononos (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
- Ingredients: Ripe plantains, ground beef, cheese, tomato sauce.
- Method: Layer and bake.
- ✅ Sancocho
- Ingredients: Mixed meats, root veggies, corn, sofrito.
- Method: Simmer until all is tender.
- ✅ Chicharrón de Pollo (Chicken Cracklings)
- Ingredients: Chicken, adobo, oil.
- Method: Season deep fry.
- ✅ Guisado de Camarones (Shrimp Stew)
- Ingredients: Shrimp, tomato sauce, sofrito, olives.
- Method: Sauté and simmer.
- ✅ Quesitos (Cheese Pastries)
- Ingredients: Puff pastry, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla.
- Method: Fill, roll, and bake.
- ✅ Besitos de Coco (Coconut Kisses)
- Ingredients: Shredded coconut, sugar, egg whites.
- Method: Mix, shape, and bake.
- ✅ Majarete (Corn and Coconut Pudding)
- Ingredients: Corn, coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon.
- Method: Cook, chill, serve.
- ✅ Arepas
- Ingredients: Cornmeal, cheese, butter.
- Method: Mix, shape, and fry.
- ✅ Morcilla (Blood Sausage)
- Ingredients: Pork blood, rice, spices.
- Method: Stuff into casings, boil, and fry.
- ✅ Salmorejo de Jueyes (Crab Stew)
- Ingredients: Crab meat, tomato sauce, sofrito.
- Method: Sauté and simmer.
- ✅ Carne Guisada (Beef Stew)
- Ingredients: Beef, potatoes, carrots, sofrito.
- Method: Brown beef, add ingredients, and simmer.
- ✅ Turrón de Ajónjolí (Sesame Seed Candy)
- Ingredients: Sesame seeds, honey, sugar.
- Method: Cook sugar and honey, add sesame, shape, and relax.
- ✅ Pulpo Guisado (Octopus Stew)
- Ingredients: Octopus, potatoes, tomato sauce, sofrito.
- Method: Boil octopus, then simmer with other ingredients.
- ✅ Mallorcas (Sweet Rolls)
- Ingredients: Flour, sugar, butter, eggs.
- Method: Make dough, shape, bake, and sprinkle with sugar.
- ✅ Garbanzos Guisados (Chickpea Stew)
- Ingredients: Chickpeas, sausage, potatoes, sofrito.
- Method: Cook all until chickpeas are tender.
- ✅ Avena Caliente (Hot Oatmeal Drink)
- Ingredients: Oats, milk, sugar, cinnamon.
- Method: Cook until thickened.
- ✅ Arroz Dulce (Sweet Rice Pudding)
- Ingredients: Rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, raisins.
- Method: Cook until rice is tender.
- ✅ Tostadas (Fried Bread)
- Ingredients: Bread, butter.
- Method: Butter bread and fry until crispy.
- ✅ Champola (Fruit Shake)
- Ingredients: Guava, milk, sugar.
- Method: Blend until smooth.
- ✅ Frituras de Malanga (Malanga Fritters)
- Ingredients: Malanga, garlic, salt, egg.
36. ✅Asopao de Pollo (Chicken Soup with Rice)
- Ingredients: Chicken, rice, sofrito, tomato sauce, olives, capers, chicken broth, sazón, bay leaves.
- Method: Sauté chicken with sofrito, add other ingredients, and simmer until rice is tender.
- ✅ Budín de Pan (Puerto Rican Bread Pudding)
- Ingredients: Stale bread, milk, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla extract, raisins, rum, and cinnamon.
- Method: Soak bread in milk, mix other ingredients, pour into a buttered baking dish, and bake until set. Serve with a rum sauce or sprinkle with powdered sugar.
❤️ Some of our Favorite Recipes
👩🍳 Traditional Puerto Rican Delights: Queso Frito and Fried Plantains
Indulge in the crispy goodness of Queso Frito, a beloved Puerto Rican fried cheese dish made with plantains and served with rice. This delicious food recipe is a must-try!
The combination of its golden exterior and gooey interior makes it a delightful treat for cheese lovers. This food dish recipe is enhanced with the perfect seasoning. This food dish recipe is enhanced with the ideal condiment.
Savor the sweet and savory combination of perfectly fried plantains in this delicious food dish recipe. Whether you prefer green plantains or ripe ones, these versatile fruits can be transformed into delicious dishes like tostones or sweet maduros.
These dishes are a great addition to any food list and can be made using a simple rice recipe. These dishes are a great addition to any food list and can be made using a simple rice recipe.
Experience the authentic taste of Puerto Rico with these classic food dishes. Discover the best Puerto Rican recipes that showcase the rich flavors of the island. This list of traditional dishes will transport you to the vibrant streets of Puerto Rico.
Both queso frito and fried plantains are popular dishes in Puerto Rican cuisine. They are essential recipes that showcase the island’s diverse food culture. These traditional foods are a must-have on any food lover’s list when exploring Puerto Rican cuisine.
- Queso Frito:
- Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside
- Beloved Puerto Rican fried cheese dish
- Perfectly pairs with tostones or as an appetizer
- A must-try for cheese enthusiasts
- Fried Plantains:
- Sweet and savory combination
- Versatile fruit used in various dishes
- It can be enjoyed as a delicious dish, such as tostones (fried green plantain slices) or maduros (sweet ripe plantain slices). This versatile recipe offers a tasty option to add to your list of favorite dishes.
- Adds a unique flavor to any meal
These traditional Puerto Rican dishes have gone beyond the island’s shores and can now be enjoyed throughout the United States. Whether you’re looking for a new recipe to try or want to explore the culinary delights of Puerto Rico, this list of food will satisfy your cravings.
So why not bring a taste of Puerto Rican food to your Thanksgiving table this year with a delicious dish? Here’s a list of words to consider.
👩🍳 Caribbean-Inspired Main Dishes: Pavochón Turkey and Macaroni Pie
Elevate your Thanksgiving feast with a Pavochón Turkey marinated in traditional Caribbean spices. Immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors of Caribbean food with these main dish options. Check out our list for a taste of the best the region has to offer.
Pavochón Turkey: Elevate your food dish with the bold flavors of the Caribbean. Try this delicious turkey recipe to add it to your list of must-try words. Marinate your pavo (turkey) in a compelling blend of pavochon seasoning, coconut, and island spices to create a delicious food dish.
Let the plate soak up all the food’s deliciousness overnight for a burst of flavor that will leave your guests craving more.
Add a flavorful twist to your food with Macaroni Pie, a creamy and cheesy dish. It is a delightful addition to any meal. This delicious side dish combines al dente macaroni with a rich mixture of cheese, eggs, and coconut pudding.
Check out our list of mouthwatering recipes! Baked to perfection, this dish is an irresistible addition to any Thanksgiving table. It’s a must-have food on the list.
👩🍳 Festive Puff Pastries: Cranberry Apple and Strawberry & Cream Cheese
Delight your taste buds with the tangy sweetness of Cranberry Apple puff pastries, a delicious food dish that should be on everyone’s list. Indulge in the creamy decadence of Strawberry and cream Cheese puff pastries. This dish is a must-try for food lovers. Add it to your list of delectable treats.
This dish is a must-try for food lovers. Add it to your list of tasty treats. These festive dishes bring seasonal fruits and flaky pastry dough, perfect for holiday celebrations. Check out our list of food to try!
- Cranberry Apple Puff Pastries
- Bursting with tangy sweetness
- The perfect combination of cranberries and apples
- The flaky pastry crust adds a delightful texture
- A treat that captures the essence of Thanksgiving
- Strawberry & Cream Cheese Puff Pastries
- Creamy indulgence in every bite
- Sweet strawberries complemented by rich cream cheese
- The buttery puff pastry enhances the flavors
- A dessert that will leave you craving more
Enjoy these mouthwatering puff pastries during your Thanksgiving feast. Whether you prefer the tanginess of cranberries and apples or the creamy delight of strawberries and cream cheese, these food treats will surely be a hit among your family and friends. Add them to your wish list!
So why wait? Add these delectable Puerto Rican Thanksgiving food recipes to your menu and impress everyone with the best dish creations.
👩🍳 Flavorful Side Dishes: Arroz con Gandules and Potato Salad
Enhance your Thanksgiving table with Arroz con Gandules, a flavorful rice dish cooked with pigeon peas that will satisfy your food cravings. This traditional Puerto Rican side dish is perfect for your holiday feast. The delicious food is a must-have for any festive gathering.
The delicious food is a must-have for any festive gathering. Combining garlicky sofrito, aromatic spices, and tender beans creates a flavor that will leave your taste buds wanting more food.
Add a refreshing side of traditional Puerto Rican Potato Salad to your meal. This food is a delicious addition to any dish. Made with simple ingredients like potatoes, green peppers, onions, and food, this salad is dressed in a tangy marinade that brings out the best flavors.
It’s the perfect complement to any main course on your Thanksgiving menu, especially if you’re looking for delicious food.
These delicious food side dishes will impress your guests and add an extra flavor to your food celebration. Whether you’re looking for something different from the usual white rice or want to explore Puerto Rican cuisine, Arroz con Gandules and Potato Salad are excellent choices for your Thanksgiving spread.
Incorporate these flavorful dishes into your holiday menu:
- Arroz con Gandules:
- Cooked with aromatic spices and sofrito.
- Features tender pigeon peas for added texture.
- Bring the taste of Puerto Rico to your table.
- Puerto Rican Potato Salad:
- Made with simple ingredients like potatoes, green peppers, and onions.
- Dressed in a tangy marinade for a refreshing twist.
- Provides a lighter alternative to heavier sides.
By including these mouthwatering side dishes on your Thanksgiving table, you’ll introduce new flavors inspired by Puerto Rican cuisine while adding variety to traditional favorites.
Your guests will appreciate these delightful creations’ unique twist and savor unique twist and savor every bite.
So why not elevate your holiday feast this year? Prepare Arroz con Gandules and Potato Salad as flavorful additions that will make this Thanksgiving memorable.
👩🍳 Delectable Desserts: Pumpkin Hot Chocolate and Sorrel
Warm up this holiday season with Pumpkin Hot Chocolate, a comforting blend of pumpkin spice flavors and rich chocolate. Indulge in the delicious creamy pumpkin, warm spices, and velvety smooth chocolate.
This dessert is perfect for those chilly days when you crave something sweet and comforting.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with Sorrel, a traditional Puerto Rican dessert made from hibiscus flowers. This unique treat offers a burst of flavor with its tangy and floral notes.
The vibrant red color adds a festive touch to your holiday spread, making it an eye-catching addition to any table.
End your Thanksgiving meal on a sweet note with these delightful desserts. Whether you prefer Pumpkin Hot Chocolate’s warm embrace or Sorrel’s refreshing taste, these recipes will surely please everyone’s palate.
Pumpkin Hot Chocolate Recipe:
- 1 cup milk
- Two tablespoons of pumpkin puree
- One tablespoon of cocoa powder
- Two tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Whipped cream (optional)
- Cinnamon stick (for garnish)
- In a small pot, heat the milk over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
- Whisk in the pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, sugar, and cinnamon until well combined.
- Continue whisking until the mixture is heated through and slightly bubbly.
- Remove from heat and pour into mugs.
- Top with whipped cream if desired, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
- 2 cups dried brown petals
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
- Juice of 1 lime
- In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
- Add the dried sorrel petals and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain out the brown petals, discarding them.
- Stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- Add lime juice to taste and mix well.
- Allow the brown mixture to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
- Serve over ice and garnish with a slice of lime.
These delectable desserts will add a touch of sweetness to your holiday season, leaving you craving another bite. Whether you choose Pumpkin Hot Chocolate or Sorrel, these Puerto Rican delights will become new holiday favorites!
👩🍳 Embrace the Unique Flavors of Puerto Rican Thanksgiving
Puerto Rican cuisine celebrates flavors, bringing an extra special touch to your Thanksgiving feast. From traditional delights like Queso Frito and Fried Plantains to Caribbean-inspired main dishes such as Pavochón Turkey and Macaroni Pie, each bite will transport you to the vibrant streets of Puerto Rico.
And let’s not forget about the festive puff pastries like Cranberry Apple and Strawberry and cream Cheese, the flavorful side dishes like Arroz con Gandules and Potato Salad, and the delectable desserts like Pumpkin Hot Chocolate and Sorrel.
Incorporating these mouthwatering recipes into your Thanksgiving menu will create a memorable culinary experience for yourself and your loved ones.
So why wait? Step out of the ordinary this Thanksgiving by infusing your feast with the unique flavors of Puerto Rico. Discover new taste sensations that will leave everyone asking for seconds.
These recipes are not only delicious but also a reflection of Puerto Rican culture and heritage. Embrace diversity on your table this holiday season and make it a Thanksgiving to remember!
FAQs – Puerto Rican Thanksgiving Food
Can I find all the ingredients for these recipes easily?
✅ Yes! Most ingredients for Puerto Rican Thanksgiving recipes can be found in local grocery stores or specialty Latin markets. However, if you’re having trouble finding specific items, you can always explore online options or consider substituting them with similar ingredients.
Are these recipes suitable for vegetarians or vegans?
✅ While some recipes may contain meat or dairy products, plenty of vegetarian-friendly options are available too! You can modify certain dishes by replacing animal-based ingredients with plant-based alternatives to accommodate different dietary preferences.
Can I prepare these dishes in advance?
✅ Absolutely! Many Puerto Rican Thanksgiving dishes can be prepared ahead of time to save you precious moments on the day itself. Some components can be made days in advance and stored correctly until serving time.
Can I adjust the spice level of these recipes?
✅ Definitely! Puerto Rican cuisine is known for its bold flavors, but you have complete control over the spice level. Feel free to adjust the amount of spices or hot peppers according to your taste preferences.
How can I make these recipes healthier?
✅ While some traditional Puerto Rican dishes may be indulgent, you can always make healthier choices by using leaner cuts of meat, reducing added sugars or fats, and incorporating more vegetables into your dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adapt the recipes to suit your dietary needs.
Born and raised in a family of foodies, Georgia’s passion for cuisine was nurtured from a young age as she learned the intricacies of flavor and texture from her grandmother’s kitchen. As an adult, this early fascination blossomed into a full-fledged love affair with the culinary world.