Eating in Cuba

Overview Recipes
  • Pineapple Surprise (appetizer)
  • Ajiaco (stew)
  • Rice with meat, Camagüey style
  • Gypsy's Arm (sweet pastry)
  • Rice Pudding with Coco Milk (dessert)
  • Mojito (cocktail)

Delicious Cuban recipes

Here are the recipes of just a small sample of some of the tastiest dishes in Cuban cuisine:

  • Pineapple Surprise (appetizer)
  • Ajiaco (stew)
  • Rice with meat, Camagüey style
  • Gypsy's Arm (sweet pastry)
  • Rice Pudding with Coco Milk (dessert)
  • Mojito (cocktail)


Pineapple Surprise (5 servings)

  • 5 medium pineapples
  • 600 gr. fruit salad
  • 50 gr. melon scoops
  • 10 gr. yerbabuena (herb similar to spearmint)
  • 145 ml orange juice
  • 50 ml Carta Blanca Rum
  • 25 ml grenadine

Wash the pineapples well and remove leaves. Cut the top off at approximately 6 cm below the crown of the fruit in a zig zag pattern. Take off the top and empty the fruit, leaving 2 cm thickness. Fill with the fruit macerated in the rum and grenadine. Garnish with the yerbabuena and the melon scoops and finish by pouring the liquid mixture left after the maceration. Put the top of the pineapple in place and keep in the refrigerator.


Main Dish

Ajiaco (stew) (5 servings)


  • 145 gr. tasajo (cured dry beef)
  • 145 gr. pig’s head meat
  • 87 gr. bacon
  • 190 gr. sweet plantain
  • 190 gr. malanga (type of root vegetable)
  • 220 gr. tender corn
  • 220 gr. pumpkin
  • 220 gr. boniato (sweet potato)
  • 75 gr. salsa criolla (a Creole Barbecue sauce made with onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil)
  • salt
  • 60 ml vegetable oil
  • 2.5 L (approx.) water

Leave the tasajo to soak for approximately 12 hours. Clean the pig’s head. Put the tasajo in water for 30 minutes; add the pig’s head and leave to cook until softened. Then remove the meat and leave to cool. Clean the tasajo and cut into 5 even pieces. Sieve the broth left over from cooking the meat; pour it back into the saucepan and heat. Add the corn and leave to cook for 45 minutes; add the vegetables (in order of hardness) chopped into 3 to 4 centimeter pieces and stir until soft.

Dice the bacon, braise lightly in oil, mix in with the salsa criolla and add it to the ajiaco (stew) along with the tasajo and the pig’s head meat. Cook for 10 more minutes.


Side Dish

Rice with meat, Camagüey style (5 servings)

  • 450 gr. red meat
  • 370 gr. rice
  • pepper
  • 290 gr. sweet plantain
  • 75 gr. dry wine
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • 45 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 L. chicken stock
  • 145 gr. salsa criolla

Cut the meat in approximately 4 cm. pieces.Season with salt and pepper, sauté in oil over high heat, add the rice (previously washed and drained). Sauté, add the salsa criolla, bay leaf and stock, sprinkle with salt. Once this has begun to boil, sieve the fried, slightly flattened plantains over the rice. Put in the oven at 190 ºC for approximately 20 minutes, and aromatize with the wine. Garnish with the peppers, chopped parsley and peas.


Cake and Pastry

Rolled Panetela or Gypsy’s Arm (8 servings)

  • 1 cup wheat flour  
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla

Grease a 39 x 27 s 2.5 cm. panetela cake mould; cover with wax paper and grease the paper too. Heat the oven at 190 ºC. Sift the flour together with the baking powder and salt. Beat the eggs for approximately 10 minutes or until they attain a thick consistency and add the sugar little by little. Add the water along with the vanilla and last of all the dry ingredients, stirring gently with a spatula or wooden spoon or with the electric beater set at minimum speed. Pour the mixture into the mould and bake the panatela for 15 minutes.

Once baked, and before it gets cold, separate the sides of the panatela from the cake tin with a knife and turn over onto a wet or dry cloth sprinkled with icing sugar. Gently remove the paper and cut the sides with a well sharpened knife. Wrap the panatela in the cloth and leave to cool. Once cold, unwrap and fill with cream or fruit jam, to taste. Wrap up again and decorate.



Rice Pudding with Coco Milk (5 servings)

  • 100 gr. rice
  • 300 ml water
  • 150 ml fresh milk
  • 150 ml coco milk
  • 100 gr. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon sticks
  • lemon rind
  • 2 ml vanilla essence
  • ground cinnamon

Wash rice and leave in a thick based saucepan along with the water and salt; cook covered, on a low flame until rice is soft. In another saucepan mix the milk, sugar and cinnamon sticks and leave to boil for approximately 3 minutes, then add to saucepan containing the rice. Add the lemon rind, the coco milk (strained) and leave to boil over a low flame for 30 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Once removed from the heat, add vanilla essence and leave to cool. Before serving sprinkle with cinnamon.




  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup white rum
  • 6 cups club soda
  • 6 cups crushed ice

Wash and stem the mint leaves, reserving a whole sprigs for garnish. Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a sturdy pitcher and add the sugar. Mash mint leaves and sugar together, using the tip of a wooden spoon to extract mint oils. Add the lime juice and rum and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Just before serving, add the club soda and gently stir to mix. Partially fill 6 highball glasses with ice. Add the mojito mixture and garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh mint.