Indulge in 25 Cuban Recipes that show off the bold flavors and creative uses of simple ingredients that this cuisine is known for. Drawing from Spanish cuisine, and influenced by Taino, African, and other Caribbean dishes, Cuban food is as rich in history as it is in flavor.

These easy and accessible recipes feature healthy protein dishes, comforting sides, and decadent desserts that will have you falling in love with Cuban food. Pair these mains and desserts with one of these nutrient-dense plantain recipes and some guilt-free skinny cocktails for a delicious and healthy feast!  

Cuban Picadillo served with salad and dressing of Avocados slices
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

1. Cuban Picadillo 

Cuban Picadillo is a traditional dish from Antillean Island that showcases the Latin American flavors. This meaty stew is packed with sautéed vegetables, potatoes, raisins, olives, and capers, resulting in a hearty, sweet, and savory one-pot meal. We use lean meat and halve the amount of potatoes to keep this recipe Weight Watchers-friendly at just 4 points per serving. It’s bursting with flavor!

2. Cuban Mojo Chicken 

Mojo sauce is one of the most iconic flavoring agents in Cuban food. It combines sour orange juice, olive oil, garlic, and black pepper. This mojo chicken is marinated and baked to juicy perfection resulting in a dish that is healthy, flavorful, and wonderful representation of Cuban food. Mojo chicken, ready in under an hour, makes a great family dinner. 

3. Cuban Black Beans 

Made with canned beans, these traditional Cuban black beans are simple, hearty, and packed with fiber. A perfect side dish to any of the protein dishes on this list, Cuban black beans are thick and delicious, seasoned with onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, green pepper, cilantro, and tomato. They are sweetened with brown sugar and brightened with red wine vinegar for a well-rounded depth of flavor. 

4. Cuban Roast Pork (Lechon Asado)

This Lechon Asado or Cuban roasted pork is fall-apart-tender after sitting in a homemade mojo marinade overnight and then being roasted low and slow. This dish is traditionally served on special occasions and holidays, with leftovers being used up in Cuban sandwiches. This dish is a labor of love, taking two days with the marinating time, but it is SO worth it for the intense flavor and mouth feel of this slow-roasted pork. 

5. Cuban Style Meatballs 

Cuban meatballs are seasoned with traditional Cuban spices – garlic powder, cumin, oregano, finely diced onions, and parsley. Then they’re fried until golden and cooked in tomato sauce with more onions and garlic. They are juicy, tender, aromatic, and saucy. Serve them with rice, beans, and plantains for a super traditional Cuban meal. 

6. Cuban Beef Cigars 

This fusion dish features Cuban empanada filling, rolled into crispy, flaky eggroll wrappers or filo, similar to Moroccan meat cigars. These meaty Cuban egg rolls make a perfect party finger food or dinner party appetizer. Making the empanada filing is a great way to use up leftovers of your Cuban pork roast or Picadillo stew! 

7. Cuban Cube Steak 

Cuban cube steak is a quick and easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love. Cube steak is an affordable yet tender cut of meat that lends itself well to this simple, balanced meal. Simply seasoned and covered with onions, this traditional Cuban steak pairs well with rice, beans, and your favorite veggies. Plus, it’s ready in just 20 minutes!

8. Bistec en Cazuela 

Bistec en Cazuela (roughly translated to “steak in a pot”) is a dish featuring steak stewed in a pan with tomato, garlic, and onion. Like most Cuban food, it’s simple yet perfectly balanced in flavor and texture. Beef round or sirloin steak is seasoned with garlic, oregano, cumin, and black pepper before being browned and then simmering in a rich tomato sauce. This dish is easy, budget-friendly, and super satisfying. 

9. Sheet Pan Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Rice Bowl

Take a Cuban chicken dish but make it a one-pan meal. Spicy citrus-flavored chicken and bell peppers are served atop a bowl of steamed rice, black beans, homemade mango salsa, and avocado. It’s colorful, packed with flavors and healthy ingredients, and oh-so-easy to prepare—making it perfect for meal prep. Chicken and rice is an ultimate comfort food and this Cuban-flavored bowl is no exception!

10. Cuban Empanadas

Cuban empanadas are delicious hand pies filled with a spiced ground beef mixture and green olives. Empanadas in Cuba are a popular street food and also a snack traditionally made for birthdays and other family parties. This recipe uses a traditional homemade dough but provides options for store-bought as well. Use leftover picadillo as a hearty and flavorful filling for this comforting finger food. To keep things traditional, serve with a chimichurri sauce for dipping!

11. Bistec Empanizado (Cuban Breaded Steak) 

Bistec empanizado, or Cuban breaded steak, is a very traditional meal consisting of a thin steak that’s seasoned, coated in a cracker meal, and fried until golden brown. This crispy and flavorful steak is traditionally served with lime wedges, tostones, steamed rice, and beans—though it pairs well with any of your favorite veggies and salad for a well-rounded meal. After seasoning and breading, these steaks fry up super fast! 

12. Cuban Street Tacos

These authentic Cuban Style Pulled Pork Tacos are SO easy to make thanks to the slow cooker! Cooked low and slow, melt-in-your-mouth tender pork is infused with orange and lime citrus, creating a mild and delicate flavor. This is a great dish to throw in the Crock Pot before you head to work and have ready when you get home. Top with chopped onion, cilantro, cheese, and lime for a very traditional meal.

13. Guiso de Maíz de Miriam (Cuban Corn Stew)

Cuban corn stew is a traditional soup made with simple, affordable ingredients. Made with pork stew meat, corn, potatoes, and spices, guiso de maíz is a hearty, budget-friendly meal that comes together in an hour. Filled with tender pork meat, nutritious veggies, and nourishing broth, this one-pot meal makes for great meal prep. It’s a satisfying winter dish that can be enjoyed all year round. 

14. Vaca Frita (Cuban Shredded Fried Beef)

“Vaca Frita” literally translates to fried cow in Spanish. The dish consists of shredded beef that has been pan-fried to crispy perfection. The combination of crispy beef and soft onions, bursting with garlic and lime flavor, is an experience to remember. The recipe is made by simmering beef in seasonings for 90 minutes before shredding and pan-frying the meat with onions and fresh garlic. A squeeze of lime juice finishes and brightens the dish. 

15. Potaje de Chicharos (Split Pea Soup)

Cuban split pea soup, known as Potaje de Chicharos, is a hearty and flavorful soup with a chunky, creamy texture. Fresh split peas, sofrito, vegetables, and a combination of smokey chorizo and salty ham form the foundation of this simple yet nutritious dish. For ease, cook it in your pressure cooker while you’re at work, and come home to a delicious and aromatic dinner! 

16. Cuban Shrimp Creole  

This shrimp creole recipe really shows off the variety of flavors that influence Cuban cuisine. This saucy and flavorful dish is simple to make and comes together in just 30 minutes. While the red color of the sauce appears spicy, it is a mild—albeit flavorful—dish. Serve this fragrant shrimp dish over rice to absorb all of the flavor and extra sauce.  

17. Cuban Tamales with Pork 

This Instant Pot recipe for Cuban tamales is one of our favorites on this list! This traditional recipe includes two methods for wrapping the tamales. While they are said to have originated from Mexican tamales, Cuban tamales are quicker and easier to prepare because the meat is mixed into the corn mixture, rather than just being rolled inside. This very traditional recipe is perfect for celebrations and family events. 

18. Cuban Chicken with Onions – Pechuga a la Plancha 

Pechuga a la Plancha is a Cuban restaurant favorite, but it’s so easy and delicious to make at home! Pan-fried chicken flavored with lime and cooked with sauteed onions and garlic makes a moist, tender, and flavorful family meal! The chicken is simply seasoned and cooked on a flat-top grill or griddle before being smothered with cooked onion and drizzled with lime. For added oomph, marinate the chicken in Mojo sauce before cooking!

19. Tamal en Cazuela (Cuban Tamal Casserole)

Tamal en Cazuela is essentially a deconstructed Cuban tamale. This dish is perfect if you want to enjoy the flavors and textures of a tamale without the prep work or wrapping them. Tender, braised mojo-marinated pork is cooked in a thick, sweet, and savory cornmeal and tomato-based stew for 1-hour, one-pot meal perfect for colder weather. It’s thick, satisfying, and finger-licking good. 

20. Mojo Pork Cuban Sandwiches

Bread lovers will delight in these classic Cuban sandwiches with mojo pork, crispy ham, dill pickles, and mustard! Follow the shortcut in the recipe to make deliciously tender mojo pork from scratch or use up leftovers in this drool-worthy sandwich. These babies make a beautiful lunch or even dinner! Serve with fries, rice, beans, plantains, or a nice salad for a balanced meal. 

21. Cuban Flan Recipe (Flan Cubano)

Once again, the Cubans took a Mexican classic and made it their own with this Flan Cubano. Cuban flan is thicker and heartier than Mexican flan, delivering a custard texture that is so heavenly. Also known as flan de leche, this dessert is sweet and rich. It is often enjoyed with a shaving of coconut and a thick, sweet syrup or caramel sauce on top. It’s easy to make yet incredibly indulgent and festive. 

22. Dulce De Leche Cortada Recipe (Curdled Milk Dessert)

Dulce de Leche Cortada is a curdled milk dessert with deep roots in Cuban culture. The Cubans make sure to use everything they have—even curdled milk! They turn the milk into sweet curds and then cook them in syrup for this sweet and golden fudge-like treat. This is a slow-cook recipe and takes minimal advanced prep (leaving the milk out to curdle), but it’s worth the effort!

23. Cuban Ropa Vieja 

Cuban Ropa Vieja, the popular national dish of Cuba! For this dish, beef flank steak or skirt steak is braised in an aromatic sauce made with red bell peppers, onions, tomato paste, and green olives. Slow-cooked until tender and then shredded into long strands, this shredded beef recipe can be made on the stovetop, oven, slow cooker/crock pot, or Instant Pot—making it incredibly convenient and great for meal prep. 

24. Fricase de Pollo (Cuban Pollo Fricassee)

Fricase de Pollo recipe is a hearty and delicious stew, featuring tender chicken thighs braised in a well-seasoned, wine-infused broth. It’s bursting with flavor and gets its thick and hearty texture from the addition of potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and olives—a classic Cuban combination. The cooking style is French but this dish is infused with unmistakenly Cuban flavors and ingredients. 

25. Cuban Beef Stew (Carne Con Papas)

This Cuban beef stew is comfort food at its finest. Chuck roast is slow-cooked until it’s tender, cooked with potatoes, carrots, onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, and garlic. Simple, affordable ingredients are all you need for this hearty classic that tastes like something grandma would make. This is a winter meal that feeds the body and soul. This easy stew requires just 15 minutes of prep and feeds 10!

4.34 from 6 votes

Cuban Picadillo

Servings: 6 people
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Cuban Picadillo served with salad and dressing of Avocados slices


  • 500 grams of lean ground beef, 97% lean meat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, 100 g.
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped, 100 g.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 tbsp raisins, 20 g.
  • 10 olives, 30 g.
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more.
  • Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up any clumps with a spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cumin, black pepper, and red pepper (if using). Cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, with their juice, raisins, olives, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Season with salt to taste. Serve hot.


4 WW points according to the WW app.


Serving: 242gCalories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 21gFat: 5.7gSaturated Fat: 1.7gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 643mgPotassium: 760mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 9.3gCalcium: 55mgIron: 4.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @drizzlemeskinny or tag #drizzlemeskinny!

You May Also Like

About Drizzle Me Skinny

Kate founded DrizzleMeSkinny in 2014. Since then she has shared nearly 1000 weight watchers friendly recipes with DrizzleMeSkinny's over 500,000 social media followers.

Leave a comment

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

Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    Hello there! Let me start by saying that I’m a 61 yoa Cuban and that I know Cuba’s traditional cuisine very well. Congratulations! You have chosen a good line up of Cuban dishes to try. Nonetheless, I’m sorry to tell you that, #6 and #12 are not Cuban recipes. They might be someone’s improvised dish but you won’t find them anywhere as a typical dish. All the other are excellent choices.
    Ps: May I suggest including the Cuban steak sandwich (pan con bistec), the Cuban burger (Frita cubana), Cuban oxtail recipe (rabo encendido, cooked slowly in red wine), yellow rice with chicken (arroz con pollo, made with dry wine), just to name a few. Good luck and buen provecho!

    1. Thanks for reading Gabe. And thanks for the helpful suggestions about recipes. I’m going to put that arroz con pollo on my list to try immediately!