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Costa Rican Recipes

We love traditional Costa Rican food here at Casa Pura Vida, and we’ve spent countless hours recreating our favorite Costa Rican recipes to share with you!

 

Not familiar with the food of Costa Rica? Don’t worry, here’s a quick overview! The main staples of the Costa Rican diet are white rice, black beans, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

Costa Rican food (or tico food as we also call it!) is generally flavored with salt, garlic, onion, cilantro and Salsa Lizano.

 

We’ve got all kinds of recipes in every category- Costa Rican main dishes, Costa Rican desserts, Costa Rican traditional foods, breakfast foods, and more. Here are some of our most popular posts:

 

 

Don’t see a recipe here that you’re looking for? Contact me– I’ll add it to my list of recipes to post!

  • Chicken tortilla soup with tortilla chips, cheese, lime garnish and wooden spoon.

    Sopa Azteca- Costa Rican Tortilla Soup

    One of our favorite recipes here at Casa Pura Vida is Sopa Azteca - it tastes like home for my husband, I LOVE anything with melted cheese, and the girls have…

  • Black bean soup in a ceramic bowl beside a cloth napkin and spoon.

    Traditional Costa Rican Black Bean Soup Recipe

    This traditional Costa Rican black bean soup recipe is a delicious, healthy, and simple vegetarian meal that everyone loves!  Served with Costa Rican white rice and Salsa Lizano.  You can find…

  • Yellow bowl of guacamole surrounded by tortilla chips.

    Homemade Guacamole Dip Recipe

    For some reason, every single person that tries my guacamole immediately falls in love with it. And people- this is the most unfussy, unpretentious, EASY guacamole recipe you will ever find.…

  • close up of chayote picadillo

    Beef Picadillo de Chayote- Costa Rica

    This recipe is a very popular recipe in the Central Valley of Costa Rica as part of a casado. If you visit small restaurants or roadside buffets (called sodas in Costa…

  • Glass bowl of shredded beef centered to the right and flanked by vegetables.

    Costa Rican Shredded Beef Recipe

    This shredded beef (carne mechada) is generally prepared in a pressure cooker, although I will include slow cooker instructions here too. This recipe is a staple in Costa Rica because it…

  • Close-up of tamarindo juice with ice floating on top.

    Fresh Tamarindo Juice From Costa Rica

    Tamarind juice is made from tamarind pods that grow on the tamarind tree throughout Costa Rica. Because they are so commonly found throughout the country, the fruit is used for both…

  • Fresh homemade bean and cheese empanadas.

    Costa Rican Bean and Cheese Empanadas

    Bean and cheese empanadas (empanada de frijol con queso) are a popular vegetarian type of empanada. Most other empanadas just have a single filling, but the bean and cheese are a…

  • Filling and coconut empanadas.

    Coconut Empanada Recipe – Costa Rica

    Coconut empanadas (empanadas de coco) are a popular Costa Rican sweet treat. Obviously, there are tons of coconuts in Costa Rica, so the basic ingredient is easy to find and abundant…

  • Bowl full of miel de coco on a yellow cloth.

    Miel de coco- Costa Rican Dessert Recipe

    Miel de coco literally translates to coconut honey in Spanish, but that is not exactly what this recipe is. In Costa Rica, "miel" refers to almost any sticky, sweet fruit concoction…

  • Tamal de masa de Costa Rica con café

    Costa Rican Holy Week Foods

    In Costa Rica during the week before Easter, a lot of cooking happens. That's because most Costa Rica Easter traditions center around food- and sharing holiday dishes with family and friends. I…

  • Beans and rice, fried egg, and pan casero together on a wooden tabletop.

    Pan Casero Costa Rican Homemade Bread

    Pan casero is a strangely traditional Costa Rican recipe. I say this because everyone loves it but very few people actually make it.  Pan casero literally translates to homemade bread (casero/a…

  • Close-up of Costa Rican tamal mudo.

    Tamal Mudo Recipe Costa Rica

    The tamal mudo is a vegetarian and vegan version of the traditional Costa Rican pork tamal that is made during Lent and especially Holy Week. Most all Costa Ricans who stay…

  • Costa Rican potato empanadas and filling in a red bowl.

    Traditional Potato Empanada Recipe – Costa Rica

    Potato empanadas are made from a corn-based dough, and therefore gluten-free. The dough is formed into a circle, stuffed with a potato filling consisting of roughly mashed potatoes stir-fried in a…

  • Close-up of Costa Rican potatoes.

    Costa Rican Boiled Potato Recipe

    These potatoes are unique because after cooking, they are roughly mashed and then refired in a typical Costa Rican sofrito before serving with a meal (such as in picadillo), or using…

  • Costa Rican dulce de leche empanadas.

    Dulce de Leche Empanada Recipe – Costa Rica

    Dessert empanadas are popular throughout Latin America, and Argentina and Chile are most well known for their sweet empanadas, but Costa Rican empanadas have a special place in my heart because…

  • Fully fried cheese empanadas with queso fresco.

    Cheese Empanadas – Costa Rica

    Costa Rican cheese empanadas are half-moon shaped fried appetizers made from a corn-based dough. They are then filled with traditional white Costa Rican cheese and fried up until hot- and the…

  • Two beef empanadas accompanied by a bowl of shredded beef.

    Shredded Beef Empanada Recipe – Costa Rica

    These crispy deep-fried half-moon shaped empanadas are filled with shredded beef and then fried to golden perfection. This beef empanada recipe uses a traditional Costa Rican shredded beef filling. While many…

  • costa rican pineapple empanadas with large bowl of fresh pineapple

    Costa Rican Pineapple Empanadas

    These Costa Rican pineapple empanadas (empanadas de piña) combine a homemade pastry dough and sweet pineapple preserves baked to perfection for a delightful baked dessert. With just a few ingredients- flour,…

  • Suspiros costa rican cookies with traditional costa rican ox cart in the background

    Costa Rican Suspiros Cookies (Espumilla)

    Costa Rican suspiros are little delicate meringue cookies popular year-round but especially at Christmas and Easter. With just three ingredients, they are easy to make with what you have on hand,…

  • Yuca fries served with cabbage salad and chimichurri sauce.

    Costa Rican Yuca Fries

    These yuca fries are made by boiling large chunks of yucca in saltwater, cutting the rounds into thick straw pieces, and then frying them in vegetable oil. The taste is very…

  • Costa Rican salad with lime, chicharron, chimichurri sauce and yuca.

    Costa Rican Vigorón Recipe

    Like many popular Costa Rican dishes, the Costa Rican vigorón is an easy to prepare mix of several popular Costa Rican recipes combined to make a unique dish. Made from chicharrones…

  • Bowl of freshly boiled yuca from Costa Rica.

    Boiled Yuca Recipe – Costa Rica

    Yuca roots are large tubers endemic to Central America and much of the world. It's one of the oldest foods around- it's filling and inexpensive. Many Latin American countries use yucca in…

  • Costa Rican taco bowl chifrijo with chimichurri sauce.

    Costa Rican Chifrijo Recipe

    The Costa Rican chifrijo, much like its name, is a mix of several Costa Rican recipes, and it's a beloved dish throughout the country. The word chi-frijo is a combination of…

  • Lime juice with white onion, cilantro and onion chimichurri tico.

    Easy Chimichurri Recipe From Costa Rica

    This Costa Rican chimichurri sauce recipe is served with almost every meal possible in Costa Rica. It's made from ingredients readily available year-round in Costa Rica (tomato, onion, cilantro, lime and…

  • Costa Rican pink sauce for dipping fried appetizers.

    Costa Rican Salsa Rosada Recipe

    So let's get one thing straight- salsa rosada is decidedly not just a Costa Rican thing. It's a Latin America thing- and I actually suspect that back in the day McDonald's…

  • Mound of Costa Rican Gallo Pinto on a red plate.

    Traditional Costa Rican Gallo Pinto Recipe

    Lovingly called "pinto" for short, you can also find this dish on lunch and dinner menus alongside freshly braised meat. Sometimes we substitute gallo pinto for rice and beans in a…