Best Easy Recipes From Costa Rica

Costa Rican cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors and use of fresh ingredients. From traditional dishes to modern interpretations, there is something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re looking for some easy recipes from Costa Rica to try at home, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best ones:

1. Gallo Pinto: This traditional dish is a flavorful combination of rice and beans, often served for breakfast. It’s made with onion, bell peppers, garlic, and cilantro, cooked with leftover rice and black beans.

2. Casado: A popular lunchtime meal, casado consists of rice, black beans, plantains, salad, and a choice of meat or fish. It’s a delicious and balanced dish that represents the Costa Rican culinary culture.

3. Sopa Negra: This black bean soup is a comforting and hearty dish. It’s made with black beans, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and spices, and often topped with hard-boiled eggs and cilantro.

4. Arroz con Pollo: A simple yet flavorful one-pot meal, arroz con pollo is made with chicken, rice, vegetables, and spices. It’s a staple in Costa Rican households and a crowd-pleaser.

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5. Chifrijo: Perfect for entertaining or as a snack, chifrijo is a delicious combination of rice, black beans, diced pork, and pico de gallo. It’s often served with tortilla chips for dipping.

6. Ceviche: Costa Rica is known for its fresh seafood, and ceviche is a popular way to enjoy it. Made with marinated raw fish or shrimp, lime juice, onions, cilantro, and peppers, it’s a refreshing and tangy dish.

7. Tres Leches Cake: A beloved dessert in Costa Rica, tres leches cake is moist and decadent. It’s made with a sponge cake soaked in a mixture of three milks (evaporated, condensed, and heavy cream) and topped with whipped cream.

8. Picadillo de Papa: This potato hash is a comforting and flavorful side dish or main course. It’s made with diced potatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and spices, often served with tortillas or rice.

9. Empanadas: These savory pastry turnovers are filled with a variety of ingredients like cheese, meat, or vegetables. They are perfect for a quick and delicious snack.

10. Olla de Carne: A hearty beef and vegetable soup, olla de carne is a staple in Costa Rican households. It’s made with beef, root vegetables, corn, and spices, simmered to perfection.

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11. Patacones: These crispy plantain fritters are a popular side dish or snack in Costa Rica. They are made by flattening and frying green plantains until golden and crispy.


1. What are some popular Costa Rican spices?
Costa Rican cuisine often incorporates spices like cumin, oregano, garlic, and cilantro.

2. Can I substitute black beans with any other type of beans?
Yes, you can use pinto beans or kidney beans as a substitute for black beans in recipes.

3. Can I make gallo pinto without leftover rice?
Yes, you can cook fresh rice and beans together for gallo pinto.

4. What can I serve with casado?
Casado is often served with a choice of meat or fish, salad, plantains, and a side of tortillas.

5. Can I use frozen fish for ceviche?
It’s best to use fresh fish for ceviche, but if using frozen fish, make sure it is properly thawed and drained.

6. How long does tres leches cake need to soak?
Tres leches cake should be soaked for at least 2 hours in the milk mixture for maximum flavor.

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7. Are empanadas fried or baked?
Empanadas can be either fried or baked, depending on personal preference.

8. Can I make patacones with ripe plantains?
No, patacones are made with green, unripe plantains, while ripe plantains are used to make maduros.

9. Can I make olla de carne in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can adapt the recipe to cook olla de carne in a slow cooker for a more convenient preparation.

10. Can I make picadillo de papa without meat?
Yes, you can omit the meat and make a vegetarian version of picadillo de papa.

11. How do I flatten plantains for patacones?
To flatten plantains, you can use a plantain press or the bottom of a heavy glass or jar to flatten them before frying.

With these easy and delicious recipes from Costa Rica, you can bring a taste of this beautiful country into your own kitchen. Enjoy the vibrant flavors and culinary traditions of Costa Rica with these flavorful dishes that are sure to impress.

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