11 Puerto Rican Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

Looking to add a tropical twist to your Thanksgiving feast? Look no further than the vibrant and flavorful side dishes of Puerto Rico. With a blend of American and Latin flavors, these dishes are sure to impress your guests and bring a taste of the Caribbean to your table.

From the iconic Pavochon to the mouthwatering Mofongo stuffing, Puerto Rican side dishes for Thanksgiving offer a delightful fusion of traditional recipes and unique twists. Picture your Thanksgiving table adorned with Arroz con Gandules, Tostones, and more Puerto Rican delicacies that will leave everyone wanting seconds.

So, why not step out of the ordinary and infuse your Thanksgiving dinner with the rich flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine? Let’s explore 11 Puerto Rican side dishes for Thanksgiving that will take your holiday meal to a whole new level.

Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or a big family affair, these Puerto Rican Thanksgiving recipes will add a touch of elegance and cultural flair to your celebration. Get ready to experience the vibrant flavors and warm hospitality of Puerto Rican cuisine this Thanksgiving!

The Tradition of Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico

Thanksgiving is celebrated in Puerto Rico on the same day as in the United States, but with its own unique traditions. Puerto Ricans see Thanksgiving as the kickoff to the holiday season, and it is a time for families to come together. The holiday is celebrated with family gatherings and traditional feasts, featuring a mix of Puerto Rican and American dishes. It is also followed by a shopping spree on Black Friday.

During Puerto Rican Thanksgiving, families embrace their cultural heritage by incorporating traditional Puerto Rican dishes alongside classic American favorites. This fusion of flavors creates a truly memorable and delicious holiday menu. From succulent turkeys prepared with Puerto Rican seasonings to mouthwatering side dishes made with local ingredients, Puerto Rican Thanksgiving traditions are a celebration of both culinary diversity and family bonds.

One of the highlights of Puerto Rican Thanksgiving is the festive atmosphere and the sense of togetherness it brings. Families gather around the table, sharing laughter, stories, and delicious food. The aroma of roasted turkey and the lively conversations create a warm and inviting ambiance that is the essence of Puerto Rican hospitality.

As Puerto Ricans honor their ancestral traditions, they also embrace the spirit of gratitude and giving thanks that is central to Thanksgiving. They express their appreciation for the blessings in their lives, cherishing the moments spent with loved ones and reflecting on the year gone by.

Puerto Rican Thanksgiving traditions

Embracing Puerto Rican Thanksgiving Traditions

Puerto Rican families celebrate Thanksgiving with a diverse menu that combines the best of both cultures. The traditional Puerto Rican Thanksgiving menu includes dishes like Pavochon, Mofongo stuffing, Arroz con Gandules, and Tostones, alongside classic American fare like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. This fusion of flavors creates a unique culinary experience that represents the rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico.

Join the celebration and experience the vibrant flavors of a Puerto Rican Thanksgiving. From traditional family recipes passed down through generations to modern twists on classic dishes, the Puerto Rican Thanksgiving menu is a feast for the senses.

Pavochon: A Puerto Rican Twist on Turkey

Pavochon is the centerpiece of a traditional Puerto Rican Thanksgiving menu. It is a turkey dish that is seasoned and prepared to taste like pork. The marinade, called Pavochon seasoning, consists of garlic cloves, sour orange juice, cumin, thyme, and oregano, which infuse the turkey with a powerful flavor. The name Pavochon is a combination of the Spanish words “pavo” (turkey) and “lechon” (roast pig), highlighting the unique blend of flavors.

If you’re looking to add a touch of Puerto Rican flair to your Thanksgiving feast, Pavochon is the perfect choice. The succulent turkey, infused with aromatic spices, will leave your guests craving for more. The bold flavors of this Puerto Rican Thanksgiving food will complement traditional Puerto Rican sides for Thanksgiving, creating a truly unforgettable dining experience.

To prepare Pavochon, start by marinating the turkey overnight in the Pavochon seasoning. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, ensuring each bite is packed with deliciousness. Then, roast the turkey until it’s perfectly browned and moist. The result? A mouthwatering centerpiece that will impress your family and friends.

When serving Pavochon, consider pairing it with other traditional Puerto Rican sides for Thanksgiving, such as Mofongo stuffing, Arroz con Gandules, and Tostones. These authentic Puerto Rican dishes will elevate your Thanksgiving meal and transport your taste buds to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican Thanksgiving food

Indulge in the flavors of Puerto Rico this Thanksgiving with Pavochon and other traditional Puerto Rican sides. Your guests will be delighted by the unique blend of American and Latin flavors, making this holiday feast truly memorable. Buen provecho!

Mofongo Stuffing: A Fusion of American and Latin Cuisine

Mofongo stuffing is a delicious and popular Puerto Rican side dish that adds a unique twist to your traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This flavorful dish is a fusion of American and Latin cuisine, combining the beloved stuffing concept with the traditional flavors of Puerto Rico.

Made with fried green plantains mashed together with pork rinds, garlic, salt, and other savory seasonings, mofongo stuffing brings a burst of flavor to the table. The rich, savory taste of the pork rinds and aromatic garlic perfectly complement the starchy texture of the mashed plantains.

Traditionally, mofongo stuffing is prepared by stuffing it into the turkey before cooking. As the turkey cooks, the mofongo absorbs the delicious flavors of the bird, resulting in a tantalizingly moist and flavorful stuffing that will have your guests begging for seconds.

This easy-to-make Puerto Rican side dish is not only a hit at Thanksgiving but is also enjoyed year-round as a side dish with various meats. Its popularity can be attributed to the unique blend of flavors and textures that mofongo offers, making it a crowd-pleaser at any gathering or celebration. Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving feast or simply looking to impress your family and friends with a taste of Puerto Rican cuisine, mofongo stuffing is sure to be a hit.

Arroz con Gandules: Puerto Rico’s Signature Rice Dish

Arroz con Gandules, also known as Pigeon Peas and Rice, is a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine and a must-have side dish for Thanksgiving. This authentic Puerto Rican dish features flavorful yellow rice that is cooked with sofrito, a blend of peppers, onions, and garlic, which gives it a vibrant and aromatic taste. The rice is then mixed with tender pigeon peas, adding texture and a unique flavor to the dish.

Arroz con Gandules is a versatile dish that pairs well with a variety of Puerto Rican Thanksgiving dishes. Whether it’s served alongside the succulent Pavochon, the savory Mofongo stuffing, or the crispy Tostones, this traditional Puerto Rican rice dish complements the flavors of the feast, adding depth and richness to the overall meal.

How to Make Arroz con Gandules

To make Arroz con Gandules, start by sautéing the sofrito in a large pot until fragrant. Then, add the rice and stir until it is coated with the sofrito. Next, pour in chicken broth or water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let the rice simmer until it is cooked and has absorbed all the liquid. Finally, fold in the cooked pigeon peas and let the flavors meld together for a few minutes before serving.

Authentic Puerto Rican side dishes

Arroz con Gandules is not only a delicious and satisfying side dish for Thanksgiving, but it is also a cherished part of Puerto Rican culinary heritage. Its vibrant colors, fragrant aromas, and delightful flavors showcase the authentic taste of Puerto Rico. So, why not add this mouthwatering Puerto Rican staple to your Thanksgiving menu and treat your guests to a taste of the island’s rich culinary traditions?

Morcilla: A Popular Puerto Rican Blood Sausage

Morcilla, also known as blood sausage, is a beloved dish in Puerto Rico and is a flavorful addition to any Thanksgiving feast. Made with a mixture of rice, cilantro, garlic, and chili pepper, the Puerto Rican version of morcilla is a deep black color that adds a unique and vibrant element to the holiday table. It is often served during the holiday season, showcasing the rich culinary traditions of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican side dishes for Thanksgiving

Tostones and Amarillos: Fried Plantain Delights

When it comes to Puerto Rican Thanksgiving recipes, tostones and amarillos are authentic Puerto Rican side dishes that bring a burst of flavor to the festive table. Tostones are twice-fried plantains that are popular in Puerto Rico and are enjoyed regularly, especially during Thanksgiving. They have a crunchy texture on the outside and a soft interior, similar to a potato chip.

Amarillos, on the other hand, are fried ripe plantains that can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or dessert. They offer a sweet and savory flavor profile that perfectly complements the main dishes. Whether you prefer the crispy goodness of tostones or the sweet satisfaction of amarillos, these fried plantain delights are sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving feast.


Puerto Rican side dishes for Thanksgiving bring a vibrant and tropical twist to your festive table. By incorporating dishes like Pavochon, Mofongo stuffing, Arroz con Gandules, and Tostones, you can infuse your Thanksgiving dinner with the flavors of Puerto Rico. These dishes not only tantalize the taste buds but also serve as a reflection of Puerto Rican traditions and culture, creating a unique and memorable holiday experience.

The Puerto Rican Thanksgiving menu offers a delightful fusion of American and Latin flavors, showcasing the island’s culinary richness. By embracing this cultural diversity, you can create a Thanksgiving feast that celebrates both tradition and innovation. And in doing so, you not only treat your loved ones to delicious dishes but also pay homage to the heritage and customs of Puerto Rico.

So why not take a culinary journey to the Caribbean this Thanksgiving? By adding a little bit of Puerto Rican flair to your menu, you can create an unforgettable feast that embodies the spirit of togetherness and celebration. Start a new tradition in your family, enjoy the mouthwatering flavors, and create lasting memories as you savor the tropical delights of a Puerto Rican-inspired Thanksgiving.


Are these Puerto Rican side dishes difficult to make?

While some dishes may require a bit of preparation, most Puerto Rican side dishes for Thanksgiving are easy to make with the right ingredients and instructions.

Can I incorporate these Puerto Rican side dishes into my traditional Thanksgiving menu?

Absolutely! These dishes can add a unique and delicious twist to your traditional Thanksgiving menu. Your guests will love experiencing a fusion of American and Puerto Rican flavors.

Where can I find the ingredients for these Puerto Rican side dishes?

You can find most of the ingredients for these dishes at your local grocery store. Some specialty ingredients may be available at Latin American or international markets.

Can these Puerto Rican side dishes be made in advance?

Many of these dishes can be prepared in advance, allowing you to save time and stress on the day of Thanksgiving. Just follow the recipe instructions for best results.

Are these side dishes suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

While some side dishes may contain meat or animal products, there are also vegetarian and vegan options available. You can modify the recipes to suit your dietary preferences.

How can I make sure these Puerto Rican side dishes complement the other dishes on my Thanksgiving menu?

These side dishes are versatile and can complement a wide range of dishes. Consider the flavors and textures of your other dishes when deciding which Puerto Rican sides to include.

Can I make substitutions or adjustments to the recipes?

Absolutely! Feel free to make substitutions or adjustments according to your taste preferences or dietary needs. Cooking is all about creativity and experimentation.

Can I find more Puerto Rican Thanksgiving recipes online?

Yes, there are many websites, blogs, and cookbooks dedicated to Puerto Rican cuisine. Explore these resources to find more delicious recipes for your Thanksgiving feast.

What are some other Puerto Rican dishes I can serve alongside these side dishes?

Puerto Rican cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes that can complement these side dishes, such as pernil (roast pork), pasteles (meat-filled dumplings), and flan (a creamy caramel dessert).

Can I incorporate these Puerto Rican side dishes into other holiday meals?

Absolutely! These dishes are not limited to Thanksgiving and can be enjoyed during other holiday meals or any time you want to add a taste of Puerto Rico to your table.

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