30 Traditional Costa Rican Foods With Easy Recipes in 2024

Costa Rican foods create a wide range flavors and textures in Costa Rican cuisine which is known for being fairly mild, with high reliance on fruits and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican dishes, often served three times a day.

30 Traditional Costa Rican Foods With Easy Recipes PIN

30 Traditional Costa Rican Foods With Easy Recipes

1. Chorreadas


1. Costa Rican Chorreadas Recipe 1

Chorreadas are a beloved dish in Belizean cuisine, enjoyed as a breakfast or snack option. Made with fresh corn kernels, the batter is prepared by blending corn, flour, milk, sugar, and spices until smooth. The batter is then cooked on a griddle or skillet until golden brown, resulting in thin and flavorful corn pancakes. Chorreadas are typically served warm with a dollop of butter or sour cream, making them a delightful and comforting treat that highlights the natural sweetness of corn.

2. Tamal de Maicena


2. Costa Rican Tamal de Maicena Recipe 2

Belize Tamal de Maicena is a delicious and unique twist on the traditional tamale in Belizean cuisine. Unlike the traditional corn-based tamale, Tamal de Maicena is made with cornstarch (maicena), butter, sugar, and milk, resulting in a soft and delicate texture. The mixture is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed until cooked through. Belize Tamal de Maicena offers a subtly sweet flavor and is often enjoyed as a delightful snack or dessert, showcasing the creativity and versatility of Belizean cuisine.

3. Pan de Yuca


3. Costa Rican Pan de Yuca Recipe 3

Costa Rican Pan de Yuca, also known as Yuca Bread, is a popular and gluten-free treat in Costa Rican cuisine. It is made with yuca flour, which is derived from cassava or yuca root. The flour is combined with cheese, eggs, and butter to form a dough. The dough is then shaped into small balls and baked until they become golden and slightly crispy on the outside, while remaining soft and chewy on the inside. Costa Rican Pan de Yuca offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures, making it a beloved snack or accompaniment to meals.

4. Gallo Pinto


4. Costa Rican Gallo Pinto Recipe 2

Costa Rican is a classic and flavorful dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It is made by sautéing a mixture of cooked rice and black beans with onions, garlic, and bell peppers. The dish is often seasoned with spices like cumin and cilantro, and sometimes flavored with a splash of Lizano sauce. Costa Rican Gallo Pinto is enjoyed as a hearty and satisfying breakfast or a side dish for lunch or dinner, offering a delicious blend of rice, beans, and savory flavors.

5. Agua Dulce


5. Costa Rican Agua Dulce Recipe 1

Agua Dulce is a traditional beverage enjoyed in Costa Rica and other Latin American countries. It is made by dissolving “piloncillo” or solidified cane sugar in hot water until it forms a sweet syrup. The syrup is then mixed with water and often flavored with ingredients like cinnamon or lemon juice. Agua Dulce offers a comforting and naturally sweet taste, making it a refreshing and popular choice, especially during warm weather. It is a delightful way to enjoy the flavors of traditional Costa Rican cuisine.

6. Picadillo de Vainica


6. Costa Rican Picadillo de Vainica Recipe 2

Picadillo de Vainica is a delightful dish in Costa Rican cuisine that features green beans as the star ingredient. The green beans are sautéed with onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes, creating a flavorful base. Ground beef is then added and cooked until browned and fully cooked. The dish is seasoned with spices like cumin, oregano, and salt, resulting in a savory and comforting flavor. Picadillo de Vainica is often enjoyed as a filling for tacos, empanadas, or served over rice for a satisfying meal.

7. Arroz con Pollo


7. Costa Rican Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo Recipe 3

Arroz con Pollo, or Chicken with Rice, is a popular and delicious dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It begins with browning chicken pieces in a pot, then sautéing onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Rice is added to the pot along with chicken broth, tomatoes, and spices. The dish is simmered until the rice is cooked and absorbs the flavors of the chicken and spices. Arroz con Pollo is a flavorful one-pot meal that showcases the combination of tender chicken and aromatic rice, offering a satisfying and comforting taste of Costa Rican cuisine.

8. Piononos


8. Costa Rican Piononos Recipe 1

Piononos are a delightful and sweet treat in Costa Rican cuisine. They consist of a rolled cake filled with a sweet and creamy filling. The cake is made by spreading a thin layer of sponge cake batter onto a baking sheet, baking it until light and fluffy. Once cooled, it is spread with a filling such as dulce de leche or cream, then rolled tightly. Piononos are typically dusted with powdered sugar and sliced into individual portions, offering a delightful combination of cake and filling in every bite.

9. Torta Chilena


9. Costa Rican Torta Chilena Recipe 1

Torta Chilena, or Chilean Cake, is a delicious and iconic dessert in Costa Rican cuisine. It consists of layers of thin buttery pastry filled with dulce de leche, also known as caramel. The layers are stacked together, creating a beautiful and decadent cake. Torta Chilena is often topped with a rich chocolate glaze and decorated with intricate patterns. The result is a heavenly dessert with a perfect balance of sweetness and textures, making it a favorite for special occasions and celebrations in Costa Rica.

10. Galletas Maria


10. Costa Rican Galletas Maria Recipe 2

Galletas Maria, or Maria Cookies, are a beloved and popular staple in Costa Rican cuisine. These round and crisp cookies are made with a simple blend of flour, sugar, butter, and a touch of vanilla. They have a subtle sweetness and a delicate texture that makes them perfect for enjoying on their own or as a base for other desserts. Galletas Maria are often served alongside a cup of coffee or used in recipes like icebox cakes or cookie crusts, adding a delightful touch to Costa Rican culinary delights.

11. Tamal Asado


11. Costa Rican Tamal Asado Recipe 1

Tamal Asado is a delicious and savory dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It starts with a flavorful masa dough made from cornmeal, which is seasoned with a blend of spices and lard or butter. The dough is then spread onto a banana leaf and filled with various ingredients such as shredded chicken, vegetables, and olives. The tamal is then folded and wrapped in the banana leaf, creating a neat package. It is cooked by grilling or baking until the dough is cooked through, resulting in a moist and flavorful tamal. Tamal Asado is a cherished dish enjoyed during special occasions and gatherings in Costa Rica.

12. Black Bean Dip


12. Costa Rican Black Bean Dip Recipe 1

Black Bean Dip is a flavorful and versatile appetizer in Costa Rican cuisine. It starts with cooked black beans that are blended with a combination of ingredients such as garlic, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and spices. The mixture is processed until smooth, creating a creamy and savory dip. Costa Rican Black Bean Dip can be enjoyed with tortilla chips, as a spread on sandwiches or tacos, or as a flavorful accompaniment to various dishes. It offers a taste of the rich and vibrant flavors of Costa Rican cuisine.

13. Enyucados


13. Costa Rican Enyucados Recipe 2

Enyucados are a delectable and traditional dish in Costa Rican cuisine. They are made from yuca, also known as cassava or manioc root, which is peeled, grated, and mixed with a combination of ingredients like cheese, eggs, and butter. The mixture is then shaped into small balls or patties and deep-fried until golden and crispy on the outside, while remaining soft and tender on the inside. Enyucados are enjoyed as a flavorful snack or side dish, showcasing the versatility and unique flavors of yuca in Costa Rican cooking.

14. Empanadas de Piña


14. Costa Rican Empanadas de Pina Recipe 1

Empanadas de Piña, or Pineapple Empanadas, are a delightful sweet treat in Costa Rican cuisine. They feature a delicate pastry dough filled with a luscious pineapple filling. The filling is made by cooking fresh pineapple with sugar and spices until it becomes thick and jam-like. The pastry dough is rolled out, filled with the pineapple mixture, and sealed before being fried until golden and crispy. Empanadas de Piña offer a delightful combination of sweet and tart flavors, making them a beloved dessert or snack in Costa Rica.

15. Capirotada


15. Costa Rican Capirotada Recipe 1

Capirotada is a traditional and comforting dessert in Costa Rican cuisine. It is a bread pudding made with a mixture of toasted bread, cinnamon, piloncillo (solidified cane sugar), dried fruits, nuts, and sometimes cheese. The ingredients are layered in a baking dish and soaked with a sweet syrup made from piloncillo, water, and spices. The dish is then baked until the bread absorbs the flavors and becomes moist and tender. Capirotada offers a delightful blend of textures and flavors, creating a delicious and satisfying dessert that is enjoyed during special occasions and holidays in Costa Rica.

16. Ceviche


16. Costa Rican Ceviche Recipe 1

Ceviche is a refreshing and tangy seafood dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It is made by marinating fresh fish, such as snapper or tilapia, in a mixture of citrus juices, typically lime or lemon, along with diced onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro. The acidic juices “cook” the fish, resulting in a tender and flavorful texture. Costa Rican ceviche is often seasoned with salt and served with tortilla chips or tostadas for a delightful appetizer or light meal option that highlights the vibrant flavors of the sea.

17. Tamal de Costa Rica


2. Costa Rican Tamal de Maicena Recipe 2

Tamal de Costa Rica is a traditional and cherished dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It starts with a masa dough made from cornmeal and seasoned with ingredients like garlic, onions, and spices. The dough is spread onto a banana leaf and filled with a mixture of seasoned meat, typically pork, chicken, or a combination of both. The tamal is then folded and wrapped tightly in the banana leaf before being steamed until cooked through. Tamal de Costa Rica offers a flavorful and hearty taste, making it a beloved dish for special occasions and celebrations.

18. Yucca Pie


18. Costa Rican Yucca Pie Recipe 1

Yucca Pie is a delicious and unique dessert in Costa Rican cuisine. It begins with yucca, also known as cassava or manioc root, which is peeled, boiled, and mashed into a smooth consistency. The mashed yucca is then mixed with ingredients like sugar, eggs, milk, and spices to create a sweet and custard-like filling. The mixture is poured into a pie crust and baked until golden and set. Yucca Pie offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, showcasing the versatility of this tropical root vegetable in Costa Rican culinary creations.

19. Melcochas de Natilla


19. Costa Rican Melcochas de Natilla Recipe 1

Melcochas de Natilla are a delightful and traditional sweet treat in Costa Rican cuisine. They are made with natilla, a type of custard made from milk, sugar, and cornstarch, which is cooked until thickened. The natilla is then portioned into small balls and rolled in grated coconut. These sweet and creamy coconut balls are allowed to cool and set before being enjoyed as a delightful dessert or snack. Melcochas de Natilla offer a burst of coconut flavor and a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture that is beloved in Costa Rica.

20. Olla de Carne


20. Costa Rican Olla de Carne Recipe 2

Olla de Carne is a hearty and flavorful beef soup that is a favorite in Costa Rican cuisine. It starts with a combination of beef, such as shank or stew meat, along with vegetables like potatoes, carrots, yuca, and corn. The ingredients are simmered together in a flavorful broth with herbs and spices until the beef is tender and the flavors have melded. Olla de Carne is a comforting and satisfying soup that showcases the rich and savory flavors of Costa Rican cuisine, making it a popular choice for gatherings and family meals.

21. Tortillas de Queso


21. Costa Rican Tortillas de Queso Recipe 2

Tortillas de Queso are delicious and cheesy treats in Costa Rican cuisine. They are made by combining masa harina (corn flour), cheese, and water to form a smooth dough. The dough is then flattened into thin rounds and cooked on a griddle until lightly golden and slightly crispy on the outside. The cheese melts and adds a savory flavor to the tortillas. Tortillas de Queso can be enjoyed as a snack or served as a side dish with meals, offering a delightful taste of Costa Rican culinary traditions.

22. Carne en Salsa


22. Costa Rican Carne en Salsa Recipe 3

Carne en Salsa is a flavorful and comforting dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It involves tender beef, such as flank steak or stew meat, cooked in a savory tomato-based sauce with onions, bell peppers, garlic, and a blend of spices. The beef is simmered until it becomes tender and absorbs the rich flavors of the sauce. Carne en Salsa is typically served with rice, beans, and tortillas, offering a satisfying and delicious meal that showcases the bold and vibrant flavors of Costa Rican cuisine.

23. Sopa de Albondigas


23. Costa Rican Sopa de Albondigas Recipe 1

Sopa de Albondigas, or Meatball Soup, is a comforting and flavorful dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It features tender meatballs made from ground beef, mixed with herbs, spices, and often rice or breadcrumbs for added texture. The meatballs are cooked in a savory broth with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and celery, creating a hearty and nourishing soup. Sopa de Albondigas is often served with a side of warm tortillas or bread, making it a satisfying and delicious meal option for any occasion.

24. Homemade Tortillas


24. Costa Rican Homemade Tortillas Recipe 1

Homemade Tortillas are a staple in Costa Rican cuisine, offering a delightful and versatile bread option. They are made by combining masa harina (corn flour) with water and a pinch of salt to create a pliable dough. The dough is then formed into small balls, flattened into thin rounds, and cooked on a hot griddle until lightly browned and puffed. Homemade Tortillas can be enjoyed warm and fresh, perfect for wrapping around fillings, serving as a side with meals, or as a base for various dishes.

25. Barbudos


25. Costa Rican Barbudos Recipe 1

Barbudos are a unique and delicious dessert in Costa Rican cuisine. They are made by mixing grated coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla extract to form a sticky dough. The dough is then shaped into small balls and rolled in shredded coconut for added texture. Barbudos are typically baked until golden and slightly crispy on the outside, while remaining soft and chewy on the inside. These delightful coconut treats offer a sweet and tropical taste, making them a popular choice for dessert or as a sweet snack in Costa Rica.

26. Casado


26. Costa Rican Casado Recipe 3

Casado is a traditional and satisfying dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It consists of a generous serving of cooked rice, black beans, and meat (such as chicken, beef, or fish). It is often accompanied by a side of fried plantains, salad, and a corn tortilla. The components are usually served on a single plate, creating a balanced and hearty meal. Casado showcases the flavors and ingredients commonly found in Costa Rican cuisine, offering a delicious and filling dining experience.

27. Chifrijo


27. Costa Rican Chifrijo Recipe 2

Chifrijo is a popular and flavorful dish in Costa Rican cuisine. It combines two beloved ingredients: chicharrones (crispy fried pork) and frijoles (beans). The dish is made by layering a base of crispy tortilla chips or plantain chips, followed by a generous serving of seasoned black beans, topped with chicharrones, diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Chifrijo is often served with a side of avocado or a tangy salsa. It is a delicious and satisfying appetizer or snack that showcases the vibrant flavors and textures of Costa Rican cuisine.

28. Patacones


28. Costa Rican Patacones Recipe 3

Patacones, also known as tostones, are a beloved and versatile dish in Costa Rican cuisine. They are made from green plantains that are sliced, fried until golden, then flattened and fried again to create a crispy texture. Patacones can be served as a side dish, a base for toppings like beans or ceviche, or enjoyed on their own as a delicious and savory snack. They offer a delightful combination of soft interiors and crispy exteriors, showcasing the versatility of plantains in Costa Rican cooking.

29. Bolitas de Coco


29. Costa Rican Bolitas de Coco Recipe 2

Bolitas de Coco, or Coconut Balls, are a delightful and sweet treat in Costa Rican cuisine. They are made by combining shredded coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla extract to form a sticky dough. The dough is then shaped into small balls and rolled in more coconut for a delightful texture. Bolitas de Coco are typically chilled until firm, allowing the flavors to meld and the texture to set. These coconut balls offer a rich and tropical taste, making them a popular choice for dessert or as a sweet snack in Costa Rica.

30. Tres Leches Cake


30. Costa Rican Tres Leches Cake Recipe 1

Tres Leches Cake is a classic and indulgent dessert in Costa Rican cuisine. It starts with a light and fluffy sponge cake that is soaked in a mixture of three types of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. The cake absorbs the milks, resulting in a moist and rich texture. Tres Leches Cake is often topped with whipped cream and garnished with fruits or cinnamon. It is a beloved dessert that showcases the decadent and sweet flavors of Costa Rican cuisine.

Traditional Costa Rican Foods

Costa Rican dishes are nutritionally well rounded, and nearly always cooked from scratch from fresh ingredients. Most meals in Costa Rica (and the rest of Central America) are served with fresh fruits and vegetables, rice and beans, green plantains or fried plantains, corn tortillas and chimichurri or pico de gallo. Owing to the location of the country, tropical fruits and vegetables are readily available and included in Costa Rican cuisine. Locals use corn to make cookies, tamales, and tortillas, among other things.

The plantain, a larger member of the banana family, is another commonly used fruit and can be served in a variety of ways. Ripe plantains (maduro) have a sweet flavor and can be fried in oil, baked in a honey or a sugar-based sauce, or put in soups. Green (unripe) plantains can be boiled in soups or can be sliced, fried, smashed and then refried to make patacones. These are often served with a bean dip or guacamole.

Frequently Asked Questions About Costa Rican Foods

1. What Are Popular Foods in Costa Rica?

As a whole, the three most famous dishes of the country are Casado, Gallo Pinto and Arroz con Pollo.

2. What is Casado?

A casado, meaning marriage, is just that. It is a typical dish offering a variety of tastes piled up on one over-flowing plate of bright colors and delicious flavors. This authentic plate generally has a good sized portion of white rice, black beans, and salad.

3. What Do Costa Ricans Have For Breakfast?

A typical Costa Rican breakfast is a plate of gallo pinto (rice and beans), eggs, home-made corn tortillas or fresh bread from the bakery, sweet plantains and natilla (sour cream) or local cheese, such as queso turrialba.

4. What Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day In Costa Rica?

Costa Rican’s, locally called Ticos, never eat excessively. Limiting their portions is one way they stay so healthy. Also, lunch is the most important meal of their day.

5. What Do Costa Ricans Eat For Dinner?

One typical main dish in Costa Rica is arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) which can be served with different vegetables from the area. Seafood is also common thanks to the country’s proximity to both the Pacific and Caribbean.

6. What Are Popular Costa Rican Desserts?

Tres leches cake is a favorite Costa Rican recipe- and the most delicious dessert. It’s a sponge cake baked from scratch with sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla. Add three types of milk- evaporated milk, heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk and top with whipped topping for an incredibly rich flavor.

7. What Vegetables Do Costa Ricans Eat?

A traditional Costa Rican dish is a beef stew of bone-in meat and a variety of cut vegetables; typically: corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cassava, chayote (type of squash), yam, to name a few.

8. Do Costa Ricans Eat Tacos?

Costa Rican tacos are not like Mexican tacos at all! They roll the tortilla with the filling and deep fry it. They put shredded cabbage with ketchup and mayonnaise on top and it’s usually filled with beef or chicken.

9. Do Costa Ricans Like Spicy Food?

Most Costa Ricans don’t like very spicy food, which is why hot sauce is always offered separately. In general, the Costa Rican fillings may look the same as Mexican ones, but they tend to be more garlicky and less spicy.

10. Are There Spicy Dishes in Costa Rica?

One of the most important ingredients of Costa Rican cuisine is ‘la chilera’. Some call it a hot sauce in Costa Rica but it really is not. El chilera is really nothing more than spicy pickled vegetables. A chilera is one of the most important ingredients of a casado. The chilera will give the food the final touches.

The History of Food From Costa Rica

Traditional Costa Rican food is noted for being mild and for relying heavily on fruits and vegetables. Most typical Costa Rican meals include rice and black beans, which are eaten three times a day.

From the north and south, Costa Rica fell between presiding cultural groups before Spanish colonization. The region’s current indigenous communities represent this overlap. The public has adopted most popular foods, such as pancake-like chorreadas and tortillas while taking porridge and beverage from purple corn, or maz pujagua is more isolated. Boruca and Bribri people live off the land in the southern Talamanca region, preserve a wide range of ancestral ingredients while cultivating cacao on a large scale.

Colonialization roared through the country, tampering with most Costa Rica’s traditional foodways and introducing European agriculture and livestock. To raise cattle and pigs, the Spanish cleared forests and cultivated rice and wheat. Most national dishes, such as olla de Carne and many sweets, have their roots in Spain and have been modified to include regional components.

Although Afro-Costa Ricans are descendants of the enslaved Africans during the colonial era, most English-speaking Jamaican refugee offspring who arrived on the Caribbean coast in the 19th century added some spice to the traditional Costa Rican food. The most popular ingredient here is coconut milk, and people used it in seafood stews such as rondon and to cook beans and rice and root vegetables.

As a result of European invasion and colonization, Costa Rica’s real and genuine culture has been affected. Because of the vast impact colonizers and invaders left on Costa Rican cuisine, there are various and diverse options today.

Old Style Costa Rican Foods And Cooking

Gallo pinto meaning “spotted rooster,” is Costa Rica’s national dish, consisting of mixed beans and rice fried in a pan for a speckled appearance. The food is served with cheese or sour cream and fried or scrambled eggs during breakfast. Gallo pinto is also the national dish of Nicaragua, a neighboring country. The ideal combination of spices, rice, and beans in this dish is a source of debate in both countries and their regions. As the locals call it, Pinto is a cheap and delicious dish, and you can find it worldwide.

The typical lunch meal is known as a Casado. Casado is a Spanish word that means “married man.” It got its name from wives packing their husbands a lunch in a banana leaf before working in the fields. Instead of being mixed, rice and beans are served side by side. There will normally be some meat (fish, chicken, beef, or pork chops) and a salad to round out the meal. Extras such as fried plantain (Maduro or patacones), a slice of white cheese, or corn tortillas can be served as an accompaniment.

Modern Costa Rican Foods And Cooking

As mentioned earlier, maize was a major part of the diet of Costa Rica’s indigenous peoples, including the Chorotega, during the pre-Columbian period. Even though the Spanish conquest of the region heavily influences modern Costa Rican cuisine, corn remains a common ingredient in many dishes. Tamales, which were first brought to Central America by the Aztecs, are served at nearly every celebratory event, especially during Christmas.

Residents of Costa Rica make the tamales using cornmeal, lard, and spice dough that is filled with assorted meat, rice, and vegetable mixtures before being wrapped and steamed in plantain or banana leaf. The Chorotega people prefer pumpkin seeds, turkey or deer meat, sweet peppers, and onions to be stuffed into their tamales.

What To Drink When Enjoying Your Traditional Costa Rican Foods

When you think of drinking in Costa Rica, coffee is probably the first thing that comes to mind, and with good reason. For more than a century, coffee production has been primarily based on quantity. However, distinct coffees can be found in new-wave coffee cafes and roasters in San José and the occasional beach area, thanks to greater traceability and micro-lots.

Pinolillo and tiste, made from rice and cacao or cornandell as agua de Sapo, a refreshing concoction made from ginger, lime, and panel, are available in Indigenous areas of the world. Chichas are also available, which are low-proof beverages made from fermented corn or fruits such as pejibaye.

A Few Costa Rican Dishes That Are Popular

Gallo Pinto: Gallo Pinto is the traditional Costa Rican breakfast food that consists of rice and beans served with egg, sausage and slathered with the local favorite, Lizano sauce.

Tamales: In Costa Rica, they do tamales a little bit differently. Tamales are made of a starchy corn-based dough called masa, wrapped in a banana leaf. The dough is mixed with vegetables, meats or cheese and then steamed or boiled in the prepared leaves. The most popular food in Costa Rica during Christmas and not seen as a roadside snack.

Casado: One of the most popular foods in Costa Rica. The dish consists of a medley of rice, beans, meat/fish and a simple salad. It is typically eaten for lunch or at dinner.

Chifrijo: Chifrijo is one of the most famous appetizers in Costa Rica but can also be eaten as a main meal. Besides pork and beans, the dish includes chef’s choice of pico de gallo, chillies, tortillas, and vegetables like avocado and cabbage.

Ceviche: Costa Rican style ceviche is best, in part, due to its secret ingredients: ginger ale and club soda. It gives the dish a certain sweetness you won’t find elsewhere. Ceviche is usually made with raw white fish. Typically served with crackers or tortillas and is one of those Costa Rica food dishes that can be eaten as a meal but also falls under the Costa Rican appetizers category.

Patacones (fried plantains): These can only be made from very young green plantains. Patacones can be served on their own topped with meat, pico de gallo, vegetables or as an accompaniment to many Costa Rican meals. They are especially good alongside ceviche.

Arroz Con Pollo (chicken and rice): A dish that’s usually served for lunch or dinner. It’s a simple dish and Costa Rican comfort food whose two ingredients are obviously rice and chicken and with roots going back to Spanish paella. Other spices and vegetables are added to taste.

Empanada: Today, you will find empanada’s with a variety of fillings. Some contain meat, others are filled with cheese and are suitable for vegetarians. Also, some are vegan friendly and filled with potato. They are a super flexible and versatile Costa Rican food staple and delicious to boot.

Picadillo: A potato dish served with a medley of vegetables and meat. However, what sets a Costa Rican picadillo apart from other Latin American picadillos is the inclusion of Costa Rican squash known as chayote.

Yuca Fries: Yuca potatoes are high in fibre, protein and are one of the primary sources of carbohydrates for people living in Central America (besides rice and beans!). They are one of the traditional Costa Rican recipes which are super easy to cook at home.

Popular Desserts In Costa Rica

Costa Rica is no exception to having a sweet-tooth. The variety of locally grown fresh fruits and the abundance of sugar cane means sweet treats are plentiful. There is no shortage of amazing dessert recipes.

★ Coconut Flan: Custard tarts are popular across Latin America, and one of Costa Rica’s most famous flan flavors is coconut. Coconut is used in a lot of desserts, including cookies, cakes and pies.

★ Tres Leches: A Latin American favorite and one that Costa Ricans are well-known for. Tres leches, meaning ‘three milks’, is a cake made with full-fat milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk

★ Arroz con Leche (rice pudding): While rice is often considered a primarily savory ingredient, it takes on a dreamy new quality when baked with milk, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and raisins.

★ Fruit-filled Empanadas: Dessert empanadas are either fried or baked, and stuffed with different types of fruit jam. Pineapple and guava are two common fillings.

★ Bolitas de Coco: Bolitas de coco are small soft Costa Rican coconut balls. There are a lot of coconut balls recipes worldwide but the bolitas de coco combine two interesting ingredients: condensed milk and biscuits. The biscuits traditionally used for bolitas de coco are galletas Maria (Marie biscuits). Graham crackers are also often used as a substitute for this recipe.

★ Galletas Maria: Costa Rican Coconut-Peanut Cookies. Nutty and textured, easy, kid-friendly, delicious and perfect for any time. A great, not-super-sweet cookie to add to a cookie assortment. Bake these on parchment paper and you won’t have a burning problem. Use Spanish peanuts, smaller than regular peanuts, so the dough had a finer texture to it. Their flavor really complements the coconut better than regular peanuts.

★ Capirotada: (Costa Rican Chocolate Bread Pudding) This dessert is incredibly decadent and so delicious! The pudding itself is silky smooth, while the bread turns into ooey-gooey-chewy chocolate custard pieces. It’s just warm and delicious and wonderful.

★ Tamal de Masa: This Costa Rican tamal de masa dessert is slightly sweet with a unique texture. Traditionally served during Holy Week and at Christmas, it’s the perfect complement to a steaming hot cup of coffee or agua dulce!

★ Melchochas de Natilla: Melcochas de natilla are literally translated as sour cream candies. Don’t be fooled, however, they are super super sweet. There are many types- some are hard, some are semi-hard, and some are super soft like taffy. All are made with sugar cane, or the traditional Costa Rican tapa de dulce. They are handcrafted candies sold in very tiny batches all around Costa Rica.

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