Puerto Rico is known for many things, including its beautiful coastlines and oceans, its vibrant, historical culture, and its stunning natural landmarks such as the Bahia Bioluminiscente and the El Yunque National Forest.
However, with all the fascinating things to see and do, Puerto Rican cuisine should not be overlooked! Puerto Rico has some delicious national dishes to offer.
Specifically, Puerto Rican desserts make for a real treat whether you’re visiting Puerto Rico or simply looking for new and exciting recipes to try out at home.
Here are some of our favorite Puerto Rican desserts. There are 25 recipes on this list ranging from traditional cakes to cookies, so take your pick and get cooking!
1. Flan De Coco
This dessert is similar to a custard pie. The main ingredients include coconut milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
This is one of the most popular desserts in Puerto Rico, partly because of the deliciously sweet caramel sauce it is traditionally topped with. Aside from the caramel sauce, which takes some skill to execute, the rest of the recipe is very easy to make.
This is another type of flan. It is made with chocolate instead of coconut milk, giving it a rich and velvety flavor as well as texture. Chocolate flans are usually served warm, but cold versions are sometimes available too depending on your preference.
The flan itself is made using egg, cheese, vanilla, and condensed milk. Like Flan de Coco, this recipe features a caramel sauce, but most importantly, it has a layer of chocolate cake underneath.
This is a traditional Puerto Rican dessert, despite the primary ingredient being a vegetable. When fried in a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, plantains make for a delicious dessert that you should definitely try for yourself.
If you prepare this dish yourself, make sure to choose ripe plantains with yellow skin for maximum sweetness.
Majarete is a dessert recipe that can be enjoyed by itself or added to another dessert from this list to enhance the texture and flavor. This is a type of traditional Puerto Rican custard made with both condensed milk and coconut milk.
It is thick and creamy and often topped with cinnamon to accompany the sweetness of the coconut.
One of Puerto Rico’s most famous desserts is Tres Leches cake. This traditional cake is usually served for afternoon tea and might also be called milk cake due to its primary ingredients.
The name ‘tres leches’ means ‘three milks’, and the cake is so named because it contains heavy cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. The result is a sweet, rich, and moist cake with whipped cream on top.
Mantecadas are small Puerto Rican pastries that resemble muffins. They are light and fluffy, made from eggs, sugar, milk, and butter. The butter is especially important in the preparation process.
These pastries get their name from the Spanish for ‘animal fat’ because the original recipe called for lard, although these days, the fat from the butter is generally all that’s required.
Dulce de Batata y Coco is an interesting Puerto Rican dessert recipe involving both coconut and sweet potato. If you’ve never tried this combination, you should add it to your to-do list!
The sweet potato is cooked with shredded coconut and evaporated milk on high heat until it forms a sticky mixture. The mix is then spread over a baking sheet and left to set.
Another famous Puerto Rican dessert is Dulce de Lechosa. It is made with papaya, although interestingly, the papayas chosen for this dish are typically unripe.
The cut papaya is then boiled with cinnamon, cloves, and sugar to create a sweet and spicy mixture with a syrup-like texture. Often enjoyed by itself, dulce de lechosa can also be added to other desserts.
Pineapple rum cake is one of the staples of Puerto Rican dessert cuisine. The pineapple and brown sugar combine to create a tropical sweetness that pairs perfectly with the dense, sugary cake underneath.
The dark rum really brings the cake together, moistening the cake and lending more flavor to the pineapple topping.
If you haven’t tried Limber de Nutella, you should make it a priority! This is a frozen dessert most accurately described as a kind of chocolate popsicle. It is made by combining Nutella chocolate spread, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and plain milk.
The mixture is then transferred to a cup and frozen. You can then flip the frozen mixture upside down in the cup to make something like an ice cream cone. It’s delicious and fun to eat!
Panetela is a popular Puerto Rican cake made with butter, sugar, almond, eggs, flour, and guava paste. The guava and sugar make this cake an excellent choice if you have a sweet tooth.
This cake takes some effort to make because it features layers of guava between the batter, but it’s well worth the time and hard work!
Coquito is the Puerto Rican equivalent to eggnog. It is a sweet drink that is usually served at Christmas. What makes this drink so popular is how creamy it is thanks to the coconut cream used in the recipe in addition to coconut and condensed milk.
The rum blends with the mixture to create an alcoholic, comforting beverage for the festive season.
This guava roll cake is known in Puerto Rico as Brazo Gitano. This is similar to the famous Swiss roll, but instead of strawberry jam, the inside is filled with a delicious combination of cream and guava jelly. This recipe is central to Spanish dessert cuisine.
If you ever find yourself in Puerto Rico, you should definitely try Piragua. This dessert is easy to find because it’s often sold at stands and pushcarts.
The recipe consists of shaved ice and fruit syrup, so it’s very simple, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious! This is the perfect Puerto Rican dessert to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.
Quesitos de Guayaba are Puerto Rican pastries filled with cream cheese and guava. Most bakeries in Puerto Rico serve these pastries, making it easier to enjoy these delicious desserts.
When dusted with powdered sugar, quesitos de guayaba make a wonderful sweet treat.
16. Mallorca Bread
Mallorca bread is a type of sweet dessert roll commonly served in Puerto Rico. These sweet bread rolls are made with unbleached bread flour, milk, eggs, butter, white sugar, yeast, and salt.
The dough is then rolled into ‘ropes’ and arranged to create swirl-shaped rolls that look as good as they taste. While they are sweet rolls, you can also use leftovers to make sandwiches.
Polvorones, also sometimes referred to as Mantecaditos, are Puerto Rican cookies with a guava paste filling. Polvornes come in various flavors, sometimes being filled with pineapple jam or Nutella.
The other ingredients in the recipe are very simple so they are easy and quick to prepare as a treat.
18. Budin De Pan
Budin de Pan, otherwise known by its full name of Budin de Pan con Pasas, is a type of bread pudding that comes from Puerto Rico. It has a cake-like consistency and contains raisins.
This recipe has been a favorite in Puerto Rico for generations and is associated with home comforts. It’s often consumed for breakfast as well as dessert.
Pumpkin Flan, known in Puerto Rico as Flan de Calabaza, is exactly what it sounds like. This is a traditional flan recipe with pumpkin mixed into the cream cheese. It’s easy to prepare, although it does traditionally call for a caramel sauce as a topping.
20. Guava Cheesecake
Puerto Rican guava cheesecake is nothing short of a delicacy. The cheesecake has a cookie-like crust and features guava paste combined with the cream cheese filling.
The results are delicious, and miniature versions can also be made using Graham crackers as a base.
21. Arroz Con Dulce
A Puerto Rican dessert everyone should try once in their lives is Arroz Con Dulce. It’s a kind of rice pudding that gets its flavor from coconut milk and raisins. It’s simple but very tasty and perfect for winter evenings.
Tembleque is a coconut pudding made from either coconut milk or coconut cream. It has a consistency similar to pannacotta, and when prepared correctly, it should jiggle on the plate while maintaining its shape.
23. Besitos De Coco
One of our favorite Puerto Rican desserts is Besitos de Coco. Basically, these are coconut macaroons with a crispy, cookie-like texture. If you fancy a sweet treat but don’t want anything too heavy, these bite-sized desserts are an excellent choice.
Guava Cheese Empanadas are pastries filled with guava and cream cheese. They are easy to make by cutting out circles of pastry and folding them over into disc shapes once the filling is inside.
25. Dulce De Coco
Finally, we recommend trying Dulce de Coco if you’re interested in Puerto Rican cuisine. It is also known as Coconut Fudge and it’s essentially a type of coconut candy.
It only requires a few ingredients: coconut, sugar, milk, and cinnamon. Once refrigerated, the mixture can be cut to any size and enjoyed as preferred.
Thank you for reading our list of the top 25 Puerto Rican desserts. Whether you prefer savory flavors or sweet ones, or a combination of the two, there should be a dessert here to meet your expectations.