Top 7 Thanksgiving Dishes From the Latin Caribbean

Add Caribbean Flavors to Your Thanksgiving Meal

Grandma's secret turkey recipe, mom's special cranberry dish, and Thanksgiving Day celebrations are a mixed bag of cherished, time-honored recipes and traditions. Although Thanksgiving is not exactly a Caribbean holiday, many people from the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and The U.S. Virgin Islands, in addition to Americans with Caribbean roots, do celebrate with their own special menus for the occasion. Here are recipes for dishes commonly served at Thanksgiving, but with an island flare. 

  • 01 of 07

    Pavochòn (Roasted Turkey)

    Roasted Turkey
    Michael Pohuski/ Getty Images

    Roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving as if it were lechòn (suckling pig) has been a tradition in Puerto Rico since the island became an American commonwealth and adopted the holiday. Normally, the meat of choice for the holidays is roasted suckling pork. So it only makes sense to combine the tradition of the islands with an American tradition and serve​ a turkey that tastes like roasted pork for Thanksgiving. This flavor intensive recipe will go over well with the most discriminating of tastes.

  • 02 of 07

    Mofongo Stuffing (Green Plantain Turkey Stuffing)

    Mofongo Plantain Dish

    Envision / Corbis Documentary / Getty Images

    Plantain Turkey Stuffing, also called Mofongo Stuffing, is an excellent alternative to the traditional breaded and meat stuffing associated with a Thanksgiving turkey. This mouthwatering stuffing is made from plantains, bacon, garlic, and ajíces ​dulces (sweet chili peppers).​ For a typical recipe, try this traditional plantain mofongo.

  • 03 of 07

    Cuban Fufu (Sweet Plantain Stuffing)


    Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Getty Images

    Cuban Fufu is similar to Mofongo Stuffing, but the recipe calls for ripe plantains. If you don't like green plantains, you can make this sweet plantain stuffing mashed with bacon and onion. This recipe makes a sweet yet savory turkey dressing or side dish.

  • 04 of 07

    Arroz con Gandules (Rice With Pigeon Peas)

    Puerto Rican Rice With Pigeon Peas

    The Spruce

    Instead of mashed potatoes, try Puerto Rico's national dish, Arroz con Gandules. This tasty recipe is a rice and pea dish seasoned with sofrito and diced ham.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Besitos de Coco (Coconut Kisses)

    Coconut Kisses Macaroons

    Patricia Hamilton / Moment / Getty Images

    Besitos de coco is a favorite treat in the Spanish-speaking islands. They are a great substitute for cookies. Here is a simple basic recipe, which can be dressed up by adding nuts or dipping kisses in chocolate.

  • 06 of 07

    Coconut Flan

    Coconut Flan

    Keith McDuffee / Flickr / CC 2.0

    If your traditional fare includes custard, why not try something a little different this year. Here's a creamy custard dessert with a tropical twist. Not only will the taste "wow them" but the presentation is beautiful as well.

  • 07 of 07

    Bacardi Rum Cake

    Bacardi Rum Cake

    The Spruce

    Although Bacardi Rum Cake is not typically served on Thanksgiving, this tried-and-true recipe makes the moistest cake you'll ever eat. You can even make it in advance as it only gets better with age.