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15 Most Popular Spanish Dishes You Need to Try

There are some Spanish dishes that are well known around the world, such as paella, and are always part of the menu in any Spanish restaurant.

However, there are many others most people don´t know, but are still very popular in Spain.

Unlike tapas, the dishes presented here, can be part of a course or a whole meal by themselves.

Do you feel like knowing what are the most popular dishes in Spain? Keep reading and find 15 of the most popular Spanish dishes you need try!

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15 Most Popular Spanish Dishes

ALBÓNDIGAS

Albóndigas are ground meat rolled into small balls. In addition, Spaniards also call them almóndigas however, according to la RAE this term is in disuse and is considered vulgar.

Spaniards usually prepare albóndigas with ground meat mixed with spices, whisked eggs and grated bread.

Do you want to learn how to prepare this dish? Watch the following video.

ARROZ A LA CUBANA

Arroz a la cubana is a Cuban influenced rice dish popular in the Canary Islands from when Cuba was a Spanish colony.

This is probably one of the easiest Spanish dishes to prepare. You just need rice, a fried egg and tomato sauce. You can also add a plantain or banana.

Take a look at the video and see for yourself.

BACALAO AL PIL PIL

Bacalao al pil-pil is a traditional fish dish from the Basque Country.

The plate consists of just four ingredients: salt cod, olive oil, garlic, and chili peppers. The cod is fried with olive oil and garlic. Once the cod is cooked and removed, the gelatin left behind is then whisked with the remaining garlic and olive oil to create a sauce.

Watch the video for more instructions.

CALLOS

Callos is one of the most representative dishes from Madrid.

It is a a stew, which the main ingredient is beef tripe. Spaniards usually eat it hot and in winter.

Do you feel like making this dish? Check out the video.

CANELONES

Canelones are the “cylindrical version” of lasagna and are traditional on Saint Stephen’s Day in Catalonia, the day after Christmas.

The stuffing typically contains the leftover meat from Christmas. Traditionally, they are covered with béchamel sauce and ground cheese.

Do you want to try to make it yourself? Check out the following video.

COCIDO MADRILEÑO

Along with callos, cocido madrileño is another symbolic dish of Madrid´s cuisine, which Spaniards usually serve during the cold winter days.

It is a chickpea-based stew with meat, which is mainly pork, and vegetables such as, potatoes, cabbage and carrots.

Check out the following video and learn how to make this delicious dish.

COCHINILLO ASADO

Cochinillo asado is a roasted suckling pig that is especially popular in Castile and Leon.

It is traditionally roasted whole and prepared in an earthenware pot. Even though this is a popular dish in Spain, there is some controversy among people in favor of animal rights, since the pig is eaten at a very young age.

Watch the following video to learn how the oldest restaurant in the world prepares this dish.

FABADA ASTURIANA

Fabada asturiana, also known as fabada, is a bean stew from the autonomous community of Asturias that is usually eaten in winter.

It consists of white beans from Asturias and el compango, which consists of different types of smoked pork meat.

Check out the video below to learn how to make it. However, if you don´t feel like cooking, here you can find canned fabada asturiana that is ready to eat.

FIDEUÁ

Fideuà is a seafood dish from Valencia that is very similar to paella. The main difference between these two dishes is that unlike paella, Fideuá is made with noodles and not rice.

The origin of this dish is not fully known. However, one of the most popular theories is that a cook on a boat in Gandía´s port used noodles instead of rice for a dish called Arròs a banda (another rice dish). Some believe that he used noodles because he didn´t have rice. Others claim that the Capitan of the boat loved Arròs a banda so much, that the rest of saliors woudn´t get their full portions. In order to find a solution, the cook used noodles instead of rice to make the dish less appetizing for the Capitan.

Do you feel like making this dish? Check out the following video.

MENESTRA

This dish is a vegetable stew, which is popular in the north of the country, like Rioja and Navarra.

Menestra comes from the Italian word minestra, which means soup. Also, sometimes, the plate is not 100% vegetarian, since you can find it with pieces of meat as well.

Check out the video and learn how to make this dish.

MIGAS

Migas is a plate whose main ingredient is stale bread. In addition, it is served with other ingredients which vary across Spain.

The main part in preparing this dish is to cut the old bread into small pieces and cook it with any of the ingredients you chose.

Watch the next video for more instructions.

PAPAS ARRUGADAS

Papas arrugadas or literally ’wrinkly potatoes’ is a traditional boiled potato dish from the Canary Islands.

The dish is usually served with sauces called mojo verde and mojo rojo. Canary Islanders usually make mojo verde with green peppers, cilantro or parsley. In addition, they commonly use a variety of local pepper and paprika for mojo rojo.

Watch the video below and learn how to make this dish.

PAELLA

Paella is by far one of the best known Spanish dishes, which is a traditional rice dish from Valencia.

The main ingredients of the dish are rice and saffron, a spice that gives it its traditional yellow color. In addition, you can find a large variety of other ingredients such as, various vegetables, meat and seafood. Because of this variety, we have three main types of paellas: meat paella, seafood paella and paella mixta (with meat and seafood).

Learn how to prepare your own paella valenciana at the video below.

Do you need a paella kit to prepare your own paella? Check out this one. It comes with a paellera or paella (paella pan), rice, Garrafon beans, Extra Virgin olive oil and saffron.

PISTO

Pisto is a dish made of different types of vegetables and is popular in Murcia, Castilla La Mancha and Extremadura.

The vegetables used vary depending on the region. It is served cold or hot and is found more typically in the spring or summer.

Learn how to prepare it with the following video.

ZARZUELA

Zarzuela is a seafood and fish stew popular in some parts of the Mediterranean such as in Catalonia.

If you are a fish lover, then this is your plate, as it contains all kinds of seafood and fish like mussels, shrimps, clams, hake or monkfish. It is usually made in a casserole or paellera.

Learn how to prepare this plate at the following video.

How to Make Spanish Dishes

Besides watching YouTube videos, having a cookbook helps a lot when it comes to cooking.

With a cookbook you will always find the recipe you want to make no matter if you have access to the internet or not. In addition, if you like the old style reading, a cookbook is what you need 😉.

The Complete Spanish Cookbook is one that I personally like and use. It has a wide variety of recipes, easy explanations, a lot of pictures to see what the food looks like and it starts with a cool introduction.

The introduction is about the Spanish cuisine with topics like the foods from the different regions of Spain, and the foods associated with Spanish festivities.

Then, it continues with some of the appliances Spaniards use in the kitchen. Also, it mentions the main ingredients they cook with and some of the most popular foods and drinks.

After this, you can find recipes separated in eight different sections:

  • Tapas
  • Eggs and soup
  • Salads and vegetables
  • Rice and pasta
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Poultry and game birds
  • Meat and furred game
  • Desserts and baking

At the end of the book there is a page with different Spanish cafes and stores you can find in Australia, United Kingdom and the United States.

Final Thoughts

With this list we tried to show you a small part of the rich variety of Spanish dishes that you can find in Spain. Actually, the list is endless 😋.

Hopefully, some day you can enjoy first-hand all these dishes and more! If you ever come across one of these dishes or others, try them! You will not regret it.

And if you liked reading about these amazing dishes then, you will enjoy reading about how to order food in Spain and the what the 15 most popular Spanish tapas are.

Now, I would like to hear from you.

  • Have you ever tried any of these dishes?
  • Which one do you like the most?
  • Do you know about any other dishes from Spain?

Share your answers in the comment section below!


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