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25 Best Cuban Recipes

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These authentic Cuban dishes are so tempting, they might make you want to plan a trip to Havana!

If you’re headed to Cuba, you’ll want to check out this list of the best Cuban recipes.

Cuba has so many amazing dishes that it would be a shame not to try them all.

Cuban food is composed of a wide array of savory dishes that are hearty, spicy, and flavorful.

25 Best Cuban Recipes 1

From appetizers to entrees, there are so many mouthwatering dishes on this list. This list will give you a taste of Cuba!

So get ready for some unforgettable Cuban eats with these easy recipes!

1. Cuban Potato Balls (Papas Rellenas)

These Cuban potato balls are stuffed with cheese and smothered in a fresh tomato sauce.

They’re extremely versatile, so feel free to add any extras you like.

For example, I love adding minced garlic and chopped parsley for added flavor.

Or, try some black pepper if you want them spicy!

2. Bistec Empanizado (Cuban Breaded Steak)

The Cuban breaded steak is a classic dish that’s loved all over the world.

It’s a staple at every holiday dinner and it’s even better when you serve it with a side of rice.

Fried potatoes are an extra treat!

They add so much more flavor, as well as texture, to this dish.

This recipe calls for some ground beef cut into cubes and seasoned with cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

You can also use leftover chicken breast if you have it.

Serve your Cuban breaded steak with warm beans and salsa. Yum!

3. Tamal En Cazuela (Cuban Polenta)

If you love polenta, but can’t stand the thought of sitting around and waiting for it to cook, this tamal en cazuela recipe is a lifesaver.

It’s not just easy to make; it has some pretty impressive flavors.

It tastes like a light, warm bowl of corn pudding with plenty of nuts and veggies on top.

The best part? It takes less than 30 minutes to make!

4. Pulpeta (Cuban Meat Loaf)

Pulpeta is a rich, savory loaf full of pork and beef ribs.

The pork is marinated in pickling spices and then slow-cooked until tender.

It’s then shredded and cooked with rice for a filling treat that’s perfect for any occasion.

It pairs well with rice or mashed potatoes, but it’s also delicious on its own!

5. Classic Cuba Libre Cocktail

I’m not sure how people go through life without having a Cuba Libre in their hands.

It’s sweet, it’s strong, and it’s the best way to start your day.

But with this copycat recipe, you can have one of these at home in less than 5 minutes!

It’s got rum, vanilla extract, and lime juice for a smooth drink that tastes like something straight from Miami.

The rum gives it warmth and depth – as well as a kick – while the lime adds brightness and zest.

This is such an easy drink to make for those hot summer days when you want everything on your plate but no desire to cook.

The secret is to mix the ingredients in a mason jar with ice from the freezer.

That way, you can just add everything into the blender without stirring or prodding.

  • If you think about it, sharing drinks is pretty much what marriage was invented for. Why should spouses stand around awkwardly looking like they don’t know how each other feels?
  • (And I don’t mean just flirting!)

6. Cuban Chicken With Yellow Rice

This Cuban dish is a perfect main course for a romantic dinner.

It’s simple and fuss-free, so you can easily make it on a weeknight.

The rice is cooked in olive oil with garlic, onion, and oregano.

Then, the chicken breasts are sauteed in white wine vinegar and lemon juice.

You can serve this along with fluffy French fries or roasted veggies for an added kick of flavor.

7. Cuban Shrimp Creole

This Cuban shrimp creole is a must-try for any seafood lover.

A combination of shrimp, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions makes up this dish.

The addition of spicy and garlicky Creole seasoning adds a layer of flavor to the whole dish.

Best of all, it’s ready in 30 minutes!

8. Cuban Frita

If you like your fritas with a touch of spice, try these Cuban frita.

Cuban frita is also called “fritada” in Spanish. It’s just as delicious and has the same shape, but it doesn’t have the melted cheese inside.

It’s packed with flavor, thanks to a blend of spices and ingredients including onions, garlic, chilies, cumin seeds, and more.

The heat from these peppers moves through the meat beautifully and makes every bite richly flavorful.

9. Huevos Habaneros – A Cuban Breakfast

If you’re looking for a breakfast that will wake your body up, I have just the thing for you.

Huevos Habaneros are one of my favorite Cuban dishes.

The combination of crunchy jicama, gooey eggs, and spicy chiles is absolutely exquisite.

To prepare them well, make sure to soak the jicama overnight in water.

Then cook it with white rice, eggs, garlic, olive oil, and seasonings until it’s fully cooked.

It goes without saying that this dish is best eaten with a glass of sweet tea or smoothie!

10. Deviled Crab Croquettes

These Deviled crab croquettes are a great way to use up leftover crab meat.

They’re also super simple to make and require just 10 minutes of prep time.

That means you can have these deviled crab croquettes on the table in only 30 minutes.

The filling is made with mayo, mayonnaise, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder , white pepper, and parsley.

It’s creamy and savory with a citrusy kick from the lemon juice.

The combination of sweet, savory, and spicy makes for one scrumptious dish.

And it’s easy enough that you can whip them up ahead of time so they can be saved for later if you need to serve something fancy.

11. Cuban Stuffed Peppers

I always make a large batch of stuffed peppers from this recipe. It’s quick, easy, and delicious.

The peppers are filled with ground beef, rice, queso fresco, and plenty of marinara sauce.

These are great for when you want something warm and filling without the carbs!

12. Cuban Sandwich

Cuba is famous for its grilled sandwiches and of course, the Cuban sandwich.

This recipe is a delicious twist on this traditional dish.

It’s packed with amazing flavors that you’ll love!

This recipe combines ham, cheese, and caramelized onions to make one helluva sandwich.

The best part?

This recipe only requires four ingredients and 30 minutes of your time.

It’s so easy, you can have it ready in just five minutes!

13. Cuban Mojo Pot Roast

Mojo (pronounced mo-jo) is a Caribbean dip made with diverse spices, including cinnamon, ginger, and anise.

It’s a spicy, distinctive sauce that adds flavor to everything it touches.

If you love Cuban food as much as I do, you won’t want to miss this recipe.

This Cuban mojo pot roast is loaded with savory ground beef and ooey-gooey cheese !

Serve it on your favorite Cuban bread for the ultimate family meal!

14. Cuban Picadillo

Cuban picadillo is a hearty and flavorful dish that’ll fill you up for hours.

It’s meaty, spicy, and has a ton of flavor. It’s also very easy to make.

You stuff the ground beef with rice and seasonings, then bake it until it’s falling apart.

You can serve it with beans, or use it as an appetizer.

15. Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup

This Cuban chicken noodle soup is so much more than just a bowl of noodles.

It’s loaded with tender shredded chicken, silky egg noodles, and extra flavors from sauteed onions and peppers.

A side of steamed white rice completes this filling meal.

Feel free to add additional ingredients if you like!

16. Cuban Pork Sandwich (Cubanos) From Chef Movie

While all of the recipes in this book have something to do with Cuban food, I think this one is a must-try.

The pork is tender, juicy, and flavorful.

But it’s the bread that makes everyone love Cuban sandwiches.

It’s an extra special treat for fans of French or Italian bread.

If you want to make it your own, try using some fresh banana bread.

17. Cuban Lentil Soup – Potaje De Lentejas

I’m putting this recipe on the list because I think it’s one of the most delicious and nutritious soups you can make.

Instead of just adding lentils to a pot, which many people do, you cook them with onions and garlic before adding everything else.

You’ll be surprised at how flavorful this soup is.

It has a ton of veggies and tender meat that tastes like authentic Cuban fare.

Serve it as an appetizer or light lunch when guests come over for dinner. It makes for a great side dish too!

18. Slow Cooker Cuban Mojo Pork

Cuban mojo pork is a spicy, flavorful sauce that’s tangy and super flavorful.

This recipe calls for a blend of cilantro, lime juice, garlic, onion powder, and paprika to create the most succulent pork.

The best part about this dish is how easy it is to make. No special ingredients are needed at all!

You can enjoy Cuban mojo pork with your favorite sides just like any other Cuban dish – rice, beans, potatoes – you get it!

20. Cuban Mojo Chicken Recipe

We’re all aware of the famous Cuban mojo, but did you know that it’s made with simple ingredients?

The chicken is marinated in citrusy mojo and purple paprika before roasting until tender.

It’s served with a creamy mayonnaise sauce and topped with crispy fried plantains.

It’s a tasty dish that takes less than 30 minutes to make.

21. Cuban Ham Croquettes

These are a cousin of the Cuban scramble, and they’re the perfect little side dish for pork chops.

They’re made with sautéed onions and peppers, seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika.

For some extra flavor, you can add in some dried chilis to the mixture if you like.

You can also serve these as an appetizer or addition to your ham dinner!

22. Cuban Arroz Imperial

This dish is a popular side for pork roast and also great as an appetizer.

While the recipe calls for rice, you can use white or brown if you prefer.

Garnish with pickled jalapenos and cilantro.

23. Cuban Papas Rellenas

I love Cuban food and can’t get enough of its smoky, cheesy flavors .

So when I heard that papas rellenas was a cheesy dish made with flour tortillas and plenty of cheese, I had to try it!

Flavored with garlic and spices, these may be an unexpected recipe, but they taste incredible.

Still, it’s the fact that you can make them in just 15 minutes that makes them such a good choice for impromptu dining.

24. Meatballs Cuban Style

The meatballs in this recipe are tender and juicy.

The spicy mayo adds a nice kick of heat.

In addition to the sauce, you’ll also use fresh pineapple for its sweet and tangy taste.

It also helps to make these look more like a meal rather than a casserole.

25. Cuban Cilantro Orange Chicken

Cilantro and orange are a match made in heaven, and you can’t go wrong with this iconic duo.

This juicy chicken dish is bright and fresh, and the addition of cilantro gives it a unique flavor that won’t disappoint.

Be sure to save enough for the best part: the sauce.

This Cuban-influenced sauce has a citrusy kick that will help bring all those flavors together!

25 Best Cuban Recipes 2

Papas Rellenas

Papas Rellenas are a popular Cuban snack. For a tasty appetizer or main course, the fried mashed potato balls are filled with ground beef and other fillings.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Cuban
Servings 24
Calories 161 kcal

Equipment

  • sauté pan

Ingredients
  

Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks lightly beaten, reserve whites
  • 1/4 cup whole milk add slowly as you might not use it all
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Breading

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 egg whites

Picadillo

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika smoked
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin or more to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 10 Spanish olives finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olives juices
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Instructions
 

Mashed potatoes

  • Boil potatoes until fork tender in salted water, then drain. In a large mixing bowl, mash the potatoes. Mix in the butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Potatoes should be fairly stiff in order to retain their shape.
  • Incorporate the beaten yolks. Refrigerate or cool potatoes. These should be firmer than traditional mashed potatoes. They can be made ahead of time.

Picadillo

  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Cook for a few minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Stir in the garlic for about 1 minute, or until it is fragrant.
  • Stir in the ground beef to break it up.
  • Mix in the paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Cook until the beef is brown all the way through. Mix in the olives and juice. Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more if necessary.

Breading

  • In a shallow bowl, combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup bread crumbs.
  • In a bowl, whisk together 2 egg whites and 1 egg.

Making the Papas Rellenas

  • Form a ball with about 1/4 cup stiff, cold mashed potatoes.
  • Make a hollow out of the ball by flattening it.
  • 1 tablespoon picadillo should be placed inside the indentation.
  • Form a ball out of the meat and potatoes. Put on a baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the rest of the potatoes and meat.
  • Roll each ball in the egg mixture and then in the breading. Put on a baking sheet. Allow 2 to 4 hours to chill.
  • In a deep-fat fryer or deep frying pan, heat the oil. I used a large frying pan with 1 1/2 inches of oil. When the oil is hot, carefully place 2 or 3 balls in the pan and turn until golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean baking sheet that has been lined with paper towels.
  • Keep warm in the oven until all papas are fried. Depending on the size, this recipe yields about 2 dozen cookies.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 161kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 95mgPotassium: 343mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 110IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Papas Rellenas
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