20 Popular and Traditional Hispanic Foods to Try Now

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enchiladas verdes

Mike Garten

From taco recipes stuffed with any filling you can imagine to food trucks parked on city streets selling arepas, Hispanic food is a huge part of the culture in the United States.

Hispanic cuisine refers to dishes from Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico and Spanish-speaking South American, Central American and Caribbean countries. It encompasses unique regional recipes as well as popular foods enjoyed throughout the world (crispy cinnamon churros, we’re looking at you!). It does not always include your favorite Cinco de Mayo recipes, which draw inspiration from Mexican cuisine but tend to be more Americanized.

While there are far too many Hispanic dishes to sum up in one article, we rounded up some of our favorites, including zesty Argentinian chimichurri, flavorful Mexican mole and crowd-pleasing Spanish paella. So whether you’re looking to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (it starts on Wednesday, September 15 this year — mark your calendars!) or you’re just looking for an easy dinner recipe, these flavorful, fun ideas are a great place to get started.

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1 Agua Fresca

Refresh yourself with an invigorating agua fresca, the thirst-quenching Mexican drink made from a combo of fruit (you can use almost any type) blended with lime juice, a sweetener and water and served over ice.

Get the recipe for Agua Fresca »

2 Enchiladas Verdes

Originally from Mexican cuisine, enchiladas can be filled with almost anything, from meats and cheeses to beans and veggies. Try this version with chicken and salsa verde.

Get the recipe for Enchiladas Verdes »

3 Steak Chimichurri

5 Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp ceviche generally calls for raw shrimp marinated in lime juice, but we used cooked shrimp instead for extra weeknight (or weekend!) ease.

Get the recipe for Shrimp Ceviche »

6 Chicken Mole

Traditional mole sauce from Mexico, made with many ingredients and simmered for hours, is a delicious culinary feat. Our version takes a few shortcuts for a flavorful dinner you can make in an hour.

Get the recipe for Chicken Mole »

7 Cinnamon Churros

8 Easy Red Salsa

9 Easy Seafood Paella

Paella is a Spanish rice dish made with vegetables, meat or seafood (or a combo!) that dates back to the early 1800s. This version uses just seafood and vegetables, but feel free to add extra meat or veggies to your liking!

Get the recipe for Easy Seafood Paella »

10 Classic Fresh Lime Margarita

11 Arepas

Arepas are Venezuelan fried corn cakes stuffed with tasty fillings, like this creamy, zesty chicken and avocado salad.

Get the recipe for Arepas »

12 Spanish Potato Omelet

14 Grilled Tequila Steak Tacos

15 Ginger-Grape Sangria

16 Tostones

17 Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef)

18 Pupusas With Curtido

These El Salvadorian corn cakes are stuffed with roasted squash, pickled jalapeños and mozzarella cheese and topped with a tangy cabbage slaw. Yum!

Get the recipe from A Cozy Kitchen »

19 Tamales de Elote

20 Huevos Rancheros

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