Is Puerto Rican Food Spicy? Discover Now!

Is Puerto Rican food spicy? The Puerto Rican food is not on the hot side, but their dishes are often well spiced. Even though a household may not cook extremely hot, there’s not a Puerto Rican table that doesn’t have a bottle of Pique curing on it—the one with red and greenish yellow Ajies fixed inside.

It is the same bottle, and the content inside is only replenished with fresh pickling. Remember that it’s hot pickled peppers and not hot sauce.

Introducing Puerto Rican Cooking

Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat easy. However, it involves the proper selection of spices. Cuban oregano, adobo, Sazón, and Sofrito are some of the spices they use. The authentic Puerto Rican Sofrito recipe combines vegetables and herbs, including sweet aji peppers, cilantro, recao, garlic, peppers, onion, and a bit of olive oil.

Combined with Mexican and Spanish cuisine, Sazón refers to a vibrantly seasoned salt. This recipe is straightforward, and the DIY Sazón seasoning mix includes salt, garlic, coriander, and achiote.

Also, Puerto Rican Adobo is another staple dry seasoning that is used in every Puerto Rican dish. You can make your dish by combining oregano, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and other spices.

Take note that Cuban oregano is a major element in any Puerto Rican cooking.

Is Puerto Rican Food Spicy?

As mentioned earlier, Puerto Rican foods are well seasoned, but it’s not as spicy as you may think. It’s not considered super-hot, only flavorful. It also depends on how much your taste buds can handle. Many people trying Puerto Rican foods for the first time say they enjoy the foods in the region.

Most food items are composed of common spices and herbs like basil, bay leaves, and parsley. That makes the dish more delicious, seasoned, and flavorful.

7 Spicy Puerto Rican Dish You Can Try

Here are some of the dishes you can try. Even though they are not extremely hot, you can still get a taste of spiciness in these dishes.

Puerto Rican Sancocho

Puerto Rican Sancocho

Did you know that Puerto Rican Sancocho is the comfort food of any Puerto Rican cuisine? The dish originates in the Spanish Canary Islands. However, Puerto Ricans have made their unique spin on it.

This dish comprises ginger root, corn, pumpkin, vegetables, chili pepper, plantains, yuca, and beef. It’s also the ideal food to curl up on a rainy and lazy day.

Asopao de Pollo

Chicken soup has never led anybody astray. Whether you need a pick-me-up for the soul or are feeling under the weather, this Asopao de Pollo will uplift your spirits.

The soup is made with rice, tomatoes, chicken, peas, and green olives. The island’s version of sofrito is included for a uniquely Puerto Rican flavor.

Take note that sofrito combines finely chopped ingredients, which act as a base condiment. It’s often made with different types of peppers for that spic, garlic, onions, coriander, tomatoes, and saw-toothed mint.

Caldo Santo

This is a holiday specialty but for Good Friday. Also referred to as a holy stew, this dish is made from fish, so it follows the Catholic proscriptions over eating land animals on Good Friday. This recipe highlights an African influence on its ingredients and flavors.

For most of its history, the meal was little known outside of the area surrounding the city of Loiza. However, its appearance in Emma Duprey de Sterling’s cookbook made the soup substantially more popular.

Caldo Santo is often made with a combination of seafood such as salted cod, fresh snapper, and shrimp. The fish is simmered with plantain balls and root vegetables in a broth of coconut milk, achiote oil, garlic, peppers, and coriander for that hint of spiciness.

The flavor of the seafood deepens the broth with a salty taste. Also, the achiote oil transforms to a lovely orange color. 



Sofrito is not a dish itself, but we feel like this dish deserves a place on this list because it plays a crucial role in most Puerto Rican foods. This dish is a sauce that is used as a base for different dishes.

Every sofrito recipe differs lightly, but the main ingredients are red peppers, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, aji dulces peppers, and red peppers. You must slice those ingredients and throw them into a food processor to make one.

The sauce is delicious and has a hint of spiciness, but not too hot. It helps make different Puerto Rican dishes vibrant, bright, and full of flavor.



Are you also a fan of a roasted pig? Then you will undoubtedly love Pernil. It is one of the most renowned Puerto Rican foods.

It’s composed of a whole roasted pig, which is slow roasted. That’s correct. Puerto Rico roasts their pig whole! Can you believe that?

The dish is often reserved for family functions and significant events. It is also enjoyed alongside other classic Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo or Arroz con Gandules. Nonetheless, you won’t find Pernil at most casual restaurants you walk into.

The pork is often seasoned with oregano, black pepper, garlic, and chili. Most Puerto Ricans understand how to cook the pork tenderly, so it easily slides off the bone when served.



Who does not like a juicy and tasty sandwich? Puerto Rico may not be famous for its bread, but they surely know how to make a delicious sandwich.

The jibarito is a classic Puerto Rican sandwich composed of steak, garlicky mayo, tomato, lettuce, and cheese sandwiches between two slices of mashed and fried plantains.

To make it extra spicy, you can include a sprinkle of hot sauce.

Guineítos en Escabeche

It may sound like jargon, but this Puerto Rican dish is not. Guineítos en Escabeche is a green banana salad made by boiling and cooking the bananas in an Escabeche sauce composed of bay leaves, onion, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and salt and pepper for a hint of spice.

Leaving the bananas submerged in the sauce in a fridge overnight would help the marinades absorb too. That makes the flavors more obvious. You can serve it cold or at room temperature as an accompaniment with vegetables or dishes.

When combined with the tangy, spicy sauce, the sweet bananas make a distinct taste.

Final Thoughts

Remember that most of the Puerto Rican dishes I have mentioned above are not that super-spicy but have just the right amount of spiciness. Don’t forget that Puerto Ricans are not a massive fan of hot and spicy foods, so you may find their food selections lacking.

Fortunately, Puerto Rican dishes can be served with sauces, and the country has lots of sauces (that are spicy) for you to choose from. Mojito isleño, Pique Criollo, and Ajilimójili are some of the most popular Puerto Rican sauces. They all have a considerable amount of hot chili peppers as their ingredients.

I am also glad this article has provided informative information about the rich Puerto Rican cuisine. Thank you for reading, and happy eating!

Share your love
Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *