20 Best Spanish Recipes You Have to Try

Take a culinary trip to Spain and savor a world of tapas, incredible seafood, and sweet desserts. You won’t want to come home!

1. Valencian Empanadas

Valencian Empanadas
© claudio, AdobeStock

These work as a snack or as an appetizer.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 12 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ¾ cup thawed frozen hash browns
  • 1/3 cup chopped cooked ham
  • 1 chopped hard-boiled egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 13 oz. pizza crust dough
  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the hash brown and ham and heat for 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
  5. Stretch the pizza dough into a 14 x 10 rectangle.
  6. Cut into 12 squares.
  7. Fill each square with the same amount of filling.
  8. Fold the dough into a triangle and press the edges to seal them.
  9. Repeat with all dough pieces.
  10. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet that’s been coated with non-stick spray.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool.

2. Huevos Endiablados

Huevos Endiablados
© nata_vkusidey, AdobeStock

These are not your everyday deviled eggs.

Cooking Time: 15 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 6 oz. drained tuna
  • 3 tbsp. diced sweet onion
  • 2 minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ to ¼ tsp. hot sauce, depending on taste
  • Salt to taste
  • ¾ tsp. sweet paprika

Directions:

  1. Add the eggs to a pot of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Cool the eggs with running cold water and peel them. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. Slice the eggs lengthwise.
  5. Scoop out the yolks and transfer them to a bowl.
  6. Line the egg white on a serving plate.
  7. Combine the egg yolks, tuna, onion, garlic, mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, and salt.
  8. Use a tablespoon to fill each egg white with the mixture.
  9. Top with paprika.

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3. Avocado and Tuna Tapas

Avocado and Tuna Tapas
© iuliia_n, AdobeStock

This is a wonderful tapas appetizer.

Cooking Time: 10 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. drained and flaked packed-in-water tuna
  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. chopped scallions
  • 3 tbsp. chopped and seeded tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 halved avocados

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except the avocados in a bowl.
  2. Scoop the tuna filling into the avocado halves.

4. Paella Valenciana

Paella Valenciana
© FomaA, AdobeStock

If possible, prepare this dish using a paella pan. TIP: the artichoke adds a lot to this dish. Simply peel off the artichoke leaves until you reach the center, or the heart. Then quarter it.

Cooking Time: 1 hour 25 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 lb. cubed chicken
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • ¾ cup drained lima beans
  • 3 quartered fresh artichokes
  • 5 oz. frozen green beans
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/8 tsp. oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. rosemary
  • 4 cups short-grain white rice,
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Heat the paella pan and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Add the chicken and whole garlic to the pan and brown the chicken for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato, lima beans, artichokes, green beans, salt, saffron, oregano, rosemary, and paprika, and stir well.
  4. Cover the ingredients with water and simmer for 1 hour, long enough to create a tasty broth.
  5. Add half the amount of rice as there is water (if you have 1 cup of water left, add ½ cup of rice, etc.).
  6. Simmer the rice in the broth for 20 minutes while keeping an eye on the liquid. All the liquid should be absorbed.
  7. Remove the whole garlic clove and enjoy.

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5. Sopa de Ajo – Garlic Soup

Sopa de Ajo – Garlic Soup
© JackF, AdobeStock

Serve this delicious soup with some good, crusty bread.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cubed French bread
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 7 peeled and sliced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup crumbled chorizo sausage
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 5 beaten eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Transfer the cubed bread to the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsp. olive oil.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan.
  6. Saute the garlic for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in the crumbled sausage and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Season the mixture with paprika and stir the toasted cubes of bread into the pan.
  9. Add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper, and bring the liquid to a boil.
  10. Lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the parsley.
  11. Stir the beaten eggs into the pan one egg at a time.
  12. Simmer for 2 minutes and ladle the soup into bowls.

6. Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil Soup)

Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil Soup)
© Ariadna, AdobeStock

This soup is loaded with veggies and flavor.

Cooking Time: 40 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown lentils that have been soaked in water for 1 hour, then drain
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup chopped pancetta
  • 1 chopped large tomato
  • ½ lb. crumbled Spanish chorizo sausage (Spanish, please, not Mexican chorizo)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 2 medium peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 2 peeled and sliced carrots

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
  2. Stir in the pancetta, tomatoes, chorizo sausage, and bay leaf.
  3. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, soaked lentils, salt, pepper, and cumin.
  5. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the temperature to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for 15 more minutes, until the vegetables are done.

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7. Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella
© fortyforks, AdobeStock

This is a classic Spanish dish made with seafood. Use the freshest seafood you can find. You can use seafood broth instead of lobster broth, but the lobster broth will help this dish hit another level.

Cooking: 40 minutes

Yield: 2 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • ¾ cup white short-grain rice
  • 8 large shrimp
  • 8 scallops
  • 8 mussels
  • 8 clams
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 2 ¼ cups lobster stock
  • ¼ tsp. saffron threads
  • ½ tsp. rosemary
  • 1 cup of fresh peas
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large paella pan.
  2. Saute the onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the sugar snap peas and rice, butter beans, and keep stirring for 3 minutes to toast the rice.
  4. Place the seafood on top of the rice and add in wine and lobster stock.
  5. Season with saffron and rosemary.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes, remove the seafood and set aside. Discard any clams and mussels that did not open.
  7. Add the peas and continue simmering for 20 minutes, until the rice is done.
  8. Return the seafood to reheat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  9. Served topped with chopped parsley.

8. Gazpacho

Gazpacho
© karandaev, AdobeStock

What a wonderful soup on a warm summer day, and it’s filled with healthy vegetables. What more could you ask for? If you can’t find Spicy V-8 Juice, use tomato juice and add a bell pepper.

Cooking Time: 10 minutes.
Yield: 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Spicy V-8 Juice
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 peeled and chopped cucumber
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Pulse until the soup is just a bit chunky.
  3. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

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9. Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho
© ricka_kinamoto, AdobeStock

An incredibly cool gazpacho made with watermelon. Nothing better on a hot summer day. The sweet/spicy taste of this dish is out of this world. Make sure the ingredients are diced nice and small.

Cooking Time: 10 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced watermelon
  • 1 cup diced cantaloupe
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 peeled and diced cucumber
  • 1 diced orange bell pepper
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tsp. chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place ¼ cup watermelon, ¼ cup cantaloupe, and the pineapple juice in a food processor and puree.
  2. Place the puree in a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

10. Spanish Sea Bass

Spanish Sea Bass
© fudio, AdobeStock

A delicious Spanish bass recipe with a pungent tomato sauce, green olives, and marinated vegetables. Throw some jumbo shrimp in with the fish for an even more delicious and impressive meal.

Cooking Time: 15 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ cup tomato sauce – extra points for homemade sauce
  • 3 tbsp. chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1 peeled and sliced zucchini
  • ¼ chopped green olives
  • ¼ cup chopped canned artichoke
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 6 bass fillets
  • 12 peeled and deveined medium shrimp (optional but fantastic)

Directions:

  1. Heat the butter in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, zucchini, olives, artichokes, pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika, and stir well.
  3. Transfer the bass to the sauce and cook on low for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes, until the shrimp are done and the bass is flaky.

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11. Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)

Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)
© 시윤 여, AdobeStock

Shrimp infused with garlic. Scrumptious. It takes time to slice the garlic, but it is well worth it.

Cooking Time: 10 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 sliced garlic cloves
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. sherry
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes or to taste

Directions:

  1. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and season with paprika and salt.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the sliced garlic for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the shrimp, sherry, lemon juice, and sugar, and cook for 5 minutes on low while turning the shrimp at least once.
  4. Top with red pepper flakes and serve with pasta.

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12. Octopus in Tomato Sauce

Octopus in Tomato Sauce
© Marco Mayer, AdobeStock

A traditional dish in Malta. It can be eaten on its own or over pasta.

Cooking Time: 55 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. octopus
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp. smoky paprika
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • ½ tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Directions:

  1. Transfer the octopus to a pot of salted boiling water.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain and cut the octopus into smaller pieces.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir in the octopus and lemon zest and pour in the wine and beef broth.
  6. Simmer everything for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and sugar.
  8. Cover the skillet and simmer for 40 minutes.

13. Pasta de Sardine

Pasta de Sardine
© Fanfo, AdobeStock

This is a great use of sardines, which the Spanish love to eat.

Cooking Time: 20 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. uncooked fettuccine pasta
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 75 oz. drained canned sardines
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce with basil
  • 3 tsp. chopped black olives
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes, then drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the sardines, tomato sauce, and olives, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Place the pasta in a bowl and coat with the sardine sauce.
  5. Drizzle with the lemon juice and top with the red pepper flakes and Romano cheese.

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14. Basque Codfish Stew - Bacalao a la Vizcaina

Basque Codfish Stew - Bacalao a la Vizcaina
© LRafael, AdobeStock

The Basque region of Spain is known for its great seafood.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. salted cod fish
  • 3 thickly sliced potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • 3 minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp. pitted green olives
  • 2 roasted and chopped red chili peppers
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white wine

Directions:

  1. Soak the cod in water for 8 hours while changing the water at least 3 times.
  2. Drain the water and chop the fish into bite-size cubes.
  3. In a large skillet, layer half the potatoes, cod, onion, capers, garlic, olives, red peppers, and raisins.
  4. Add the bay leaf, then add half the tomato sauce and half the olive oil.
  5. Create a second layer using these ingredients.
  6. Do not stir and pour in the water and the wine.
  7. Cover the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil.
  8. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

15. Spanish-Style Oxtail Stew

Spanish-Style Oxtail Stew
© uckyo, AdobeStock

This stew is a favorite in southern Spain when the weather gets chilly. And cocoa is a critical secret ingredient. Don’t forget about it.

Cooking Time: 3 hours 15 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 lb. beef oxtail, chopped into pieces
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 medium peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven and brown the oxtails for 5 minutes – this may have to be done in batches.
  2. Stir in the onion and garlic and keep stirring for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, oxtails, cocoa, and bay leaves.
  5. Simmer the broth for 2 ½ hours.
  6. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and add the potatoes and mushrooms.
  7. Simmer for 30 more minutes until the vegetables are done.
  8. Discard the bay leaves.

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16. Spanish Beef Stew

Spanish Beef Stew
© HLPhoto, AdobeStock

Serve this fantastic stew over rice.

Cooking Time: 6 hours 35 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • ½ tsp. Sazon (Latin seasoning) to taste instead of salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 8 oz. canned diced tomatoes or more if needed
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp. capers
  • 4 peeled and cubed medium potatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Season the beef with the Sazon seasoning and cumin.
  3. Transfer the seasoned meat to the slow cooker.
  4. Using the same skillet, sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic for 5 minutes and add the vegetables to the slow cooker.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients except for the potatoes.
  6. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  7. Add the potatoes and cook for 3 ½ more hours – make sure the potatoes are done.
  8. Top the stew with parsley.

17. Spanish Potato Omelet

Spanish Potato Omelet
© Vasiliy, AdobeStock

This can be considered Spain’s national dish. The omelet actually looks more like a pie. Flipping the omelet can be tricky, but it isn’t that difficult.

Cooking Time: 25 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ lb. sliced potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 5 beaten eggs

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and cook until they are lightly browned, about 10 minutes depending on how thick the slices are.
  3. Add the bell pepper and onion.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover the vegetables with the beaten eggs and let cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Cook while occasionally stirring for 5 minutes.
  7. Use a spatula to loosen the eggs from the bottom and flip the omelet onto a large plate.
  8. Gently transfer the omelet back into the skillet with the uncooked side on the bottom.
  9. Cook for 5 more minutes.

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18. Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice
© Adelina, AdobeStock

Serve this flavorful side dish with any meat.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 5 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic gloves
  • 1 1/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 2 ¼ cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup Rotel tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Heat the butter in a skillet.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and stir until it is browned, 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth and Rotel tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes but keep an eye on the liquid. All the liquid should be absorbed.

19. Flan

Flan
© sebastien rabany, AdobeStock

This is a wonderfully sweet dessert.

Cooking Time: 55 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 10 oz. evaporated milk
  • 2 oz. caramel cream liqueur
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the sugar with 3 tbsp. of water in a small pan in the microwave.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch baking dish making sure the entire bottom is covered.
  4. Whisk the eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, liqueur, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish on top of the sugar.
  6. Place the baking dish into a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with boiling water halfway up the baking dish – this is called a water bath.
  7. Bake for 55 minutes and remove the baking dish from the roasting pan.
  8. Let cool.

20. Spanish Almond Cake (Tarta de Santiago Recipe)

Spanish Almond Cake (Tarta de Santiago Recipe)
© Angelika Heine, AdobeStock

This is a very popular dessert in Spain.

Cooking Time: 35 minutes.
Yield: 2 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ tsp. orange zest
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Amaretto liquor
  • 3 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Process the almonds in a food processor until they are ground,.
  3. Whisk together the sugar, eggs, orange zest, flour, cinnamon, and Amaretto liquor and process until it is creamy.
  4. Gently stir in the almonds.
  5. Butter a 10-inch springform pan and add the batter.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes and check for doneness.
  7. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.
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