Spanish Cuisine and Spanish Dishes

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Spanish Cuisine and Spanish Dishes
  • José Anconina
  • 10 Feb, 2024
  • 9 Mins Read

Spanish cuisine and Spanish food are cooking styles created and developed by people of Spanish origin or living in Spain. 

There is a general belief that Spanish cuisine uses olive oil, various spices, and vegetables very often. Spanish foods are influenced by Mediterranean cuisine due to its proximity to the Mediterranean. Products such as olive oil, herbs, and greens, the most frequently used products in Mediterranean cuisine, are used in Spanish cuisine.

Ingredients such as garlic, olive oil, parsley, thyme, lamb, and beef are frequently used in Spanish cuisine.

What are Spanish Dishes and Common Food Items?

The most commonly consumed food items in Spanish meals are listed below.

  • Olive oil
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Chicken meat
  • Pork
  • Veal
  • Lamb meat
  • Seafood

What are Spanish Traditional Dishes?

Traditional Spanish dishes are listed below.

  • Paella
  • Patatas Bravas
  • Tortilla
  • Gazpacho
  • Churros
  • Albondigas
  • Croquetas
  • Fideuà
  • Migas
  • Bacalao
  • Leche frita
  • Spanish Omelette

Traditional Spanish dishes and cooking techniques occupy an important place in world cuisine.

What are the Local Dishes of Spanish Cuisine?

There are 17 regions in Spain. In Spain, the way the regions cook and the materials they use are different from each other.

Spanish regional dishes are listed below.

  • Gazpacho is one of the most famous Spanish regional dishes. Gazpacho is a dish from the Andalusia region of Spain. Gazpacho is made with tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, salt, olive oil, vinegar, bread crumbs, black pepper, and cumin. To make Gazpacho, Tomatoes, red-green peppers, cucumbers, garlic, and onions should be chopped and put in the food processor. Bread crumbs should be added to the ingredients, placed in the food processor, and mashed into the ingredients. The pureed ingredients should be mixed with water, and flavoring products such as olive oil, black pepper, and cumin should be added.
  • One of the most famous Spanish regional dishes is paella. Paella is a dish from the Valencia region of Spain. Paella is prepared with vegetables such as rice, peas, pepper, saffron, and beans. The paella has seafood or meat varieties such as rabbit, duck, and chicken. While making the paella, the bottom part should be light, hardened, and crispy.
  • Originating from Galicia, one of the regions of Spain, caldeirada is a local Spanish dish. In the caldeirada, which means fish stew or fish stew, besides seafood such as oysters, mussels, squid, and octopus, fish such as mackerel, cod, and haddock are also used. Apart from seafood, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, tomato paste, peppers, and various spices are added to the caldeirada and cooked on low heat with water.

What are the Books Written About Spanish Food?

Articles and books about Spanish food are listed below.

  • Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain
  • The Cuisines of Spain: Exploring Regional Home Cooking
  • Rustica: A Return to Spanish Home Cooking
  • 1080 Recipes
  • The Food of Spain

What are the Most Famous Spanish Desserts?

The most famous Spanish sweets are listed below.

  • Churros
  • Crema Catalana
  • Tarta De Santiago
  • Tarta De Queso
  • Torrijas
  • Miguelitos
  • Torta De Aceite
  • Leche Frita
  • Arroz Con Leche

Tarta De Santiago

Tarta de Santiago is an almond pie that is famous in Spain. Tarta de Santiago, named after Santiago de Compostela, where St. James’s pilgrimage ended, is served with powdered sugar on top. While powdered sugar is poured over the Tarta De Santiago, a section of Saint James’ pilgrim is left blank.

Tarta De Queso

Tarta De Queso is a Spanish-style cheesecake. Tarta De Queso is also known as San Sebastian Cheesecake. Tarta De Queso takes its name from San Sebastian, where it first appeared. Tarta De Queso is made with only cheese and cream; no fruit is used. Tarta De Queso is a cheesecake that is fried, slightly burnt on the top and bottom, and has slightly liquid inside.


Torrijas is a dessert made during Easter in Spain. Torrijas resembles a sweetened version of egg bread. Torrijas, sweetened with honey, cinnamon, milk, or fruit-flavored syrups, are consumed in many parts of Spain at Easter.

Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana is a Spanish pudding. Crema Catalana, which comes from Catalan cuisine, is very similar to the famous dessert of French cuisine, Créme Brûlée. However, Créme Brûlée is made with cream, while Crema Catalana is made with milk.

Spanish Pie

Spanish pie is one of the traditional delicacies of Spanish cuisine. Spanish pie, in which milk, sugar, eggs, and various fruits are used, is consumed especially during tea hours. Ingredients such as coconut, chocolate, and chestnuts enrich the Spanish pie.


Miguelitos is a Spanish dessert made from thinly rolled dough. Ingredients such as chocolate and cream are placed in Miguelitos, which are prepared by folding them into the form of a pastry.

Tarta De Aceite

Tarta de Aceite is a Spanish dessert made with olive oil. The cake becomes denser with the olive oil added to it. Products like almonds, sugar, and coconuts are placed in the Tarta De Aceite.

Mantecados Y Polvorones

Mantecados Y Polvorones are cookies made during Christmas time in Spain. Spanish Christmas cookies, flavored with products such as chocolate, cinnamon, lemon, and almonds, are available in many sweet shops at Christmas time.

Leche Frita

Leche Frita is a Spanish dessert meaning fried milk. To prepare Leche Frita, milk, flour, and eggs are cooked and solidified, and the prepared dough is fried in oil. Leche Frita is served sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

Arroz Con Leche

Arroz Con Leche is a Spanish dessert made with rice and milk.

What is Spain’s Famous Food?

Spain’s most famous dishes are listed below.

  • gazpacho
  • paella
  • Tortilla
  • Gambas Al Ajillo
  • Patatas Bravas
  • empanadas
  • Mari Muntanya
  • Fabada Asturiana

Spanish food culture is a very broad food culture based on eight regions of Spain. In Spain, different cooking techniques and ingredients specific to that region are used in all eight regions.


Spanish cuisine
Spanish cuisine


What to Eat for Breakfast in Spain?

Listed below are the foods that are eaten for breakfast in Spain.

  • Toast
  • Biscuit
  • Madeleine (cake)
  • Tortilla de patatas
  • Coffee (Some rum or vodka in it)
  • Milk
  • Hot chocolate

What to Eat for Dinner in Spain?

The foods eaten for dinner in Spain are listed below.

  • Tapas (Appetizers)
  • Gazpacho
  • Paella
  • Tortilla
  • Croquetas
  • Empanadas
  • Mari Muntanya
  • Albondigas
  • Churros (as Dessert)
  • Tarta de queso (for dessert)

What is Cooked in Spanish Cuisine on Special Occasions?

More expensive and special foods are usually eaten at Christmas in Spain.

Listed below are which dishes are eaten at Christmas in Spain.

  • Turkey with truffles (pavo trufado’)
  • Lobster
  • Lamb meat
  • Pork
  • Cheese
  • Christmas cake (roscón de los reyes)
  • Turron (Candy)
  • Spanish Christmas cookies (Mantecados Y Polvorones)

Listed below are which dishes are eaten at Easter in Spain.

  • Torrijas
  • hornazo
  • Mona de pascua
  • Potaj de vigilia
  • Leche Frita
  • pestinos

The foods eaten on New Year’s Day in Spain are given below.

  • 12 grapes (Eat just before the new year. Grapes are believed to bring good luck and abundance.)
  • Lentil soup/stew (as lunch)
  • Panecillos
  • Tapas
  • Javanese

How have Spanish cuisine and Spanish food culture Been shaped through history?

Spanish cuisine has evolved continuously since ancient times until it took its present form. In Spain, under the influence of the Mediterranean climate, products such as olives and grapes have taken up a large area since ancient times. Products such as olive oil, vine oil, grapes, and wheat were the foods frequently used in ancient times. Bread making in Spain, where wheat is grown, dates back to ages ago.

In the Middle Ages, products such as rice, watermelon, orange, lemon, peach, apricot, spinach, and saffron began to grow in Spain with the influence of the Byzantines and Arabs. Arab influence, which is also important for Spanish history; It enabled foods such as gazpacho, salmorejo, turron, and majoma to appear in Medieval Spain.

With the discovery of the American continent in the New Age and the increase in migration between continents and countries, the food culture in Spain has also changed. During this period, the people of Spain met products such as vanilla, cocoa, corn, potatoes, and red pepper.

Spanish Cuisine Dishes and Spanish Recipes

Spanish cuisine recipes are made using many techniques and products. In this part of the article, which examines Spanish cuisine, some famous and local Spanish dishes will be described.

The names of the Spanish dishes to be described are listed below.

  • Spanish spicy tortilla
  • Fried cod with paella and saffron olive oil
  • Spain chicken
  • Spanish food paella

Spanish Spicy Tortilla

To prepare the Spanish spiced tortilla, you need olive oil, onions, paprika, tomatoes, potatoes, coriander sprigs, curry, and eggs. Add onions and peppers to the heated oil and cook until soft. Cooking is continued by adding spices and tomatoes, potatoes, and coriander stalks on it. Eggs flavored with spices are poured over the vegetables cooked in the pan, and cooking is continued for 8-10 minutes. Put the cooked egg mixture on the grill and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Fried Cod with Paella and Saffron Olive Oil

To prepare paella, sausage, onion shallot, red pepper, and olive oil are placed in a pan and cooked. Cooking is continued by adding rice to the cooked ingredients. While preparing the paella, care is taken to ensure the bottom is sticky and slightly crispy. To make fried cod, the fish is seasoned, thrown into the oven, and cooked for 25-30 minutes. Cooked cod fish is expected to cool. To prepare saffron, saffron is mixed with olive oil and lemon and cooked for 5 minutes. Mix cod and saffron. The saffron chicken and paella are thrown into the preheated oven together. It is served by adding seafood such as mussels and shrimp to the paella from the oven.

Spanish Chicken

Chicken legs, onion, red pepper, lemon, parsley, and olive oil are taken to the counter to prepare Spanish chicken. Vegetables are chopped and thrown into the preheated oven along with spices and chicken. The food, which is cooked for 45 minutes, is mixed 20 minutes after it is placed in the oven so that it is cooked evenly.

Spanish Food Paella

Paella, one of the local dishes of Spain, is a dish made with rice. In Spain, paella is made using vegetables, seafood, or white-red meat other than rice. To prepare the base of the paella, onions, garlic, tomatoes, red and green peppers, and peas are thrown into a pan with olive oil and mix. Saffron is added to the mixture of vegetables. After the pan, saffron, rice, and broth are added, and the paella is cooked for 15 minutes. For the bottom of the paella to hold, it is continued to be cooked first on high heat and then on low heat. If it is desired to put seafood or red and white meat on the paella, it is added and cooked for another 5 minutes.


José Anconina

Jose has been a Spanish Tutor at since 2023. She studied Spanish Language Teaching at university and has an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. In her free time, she likes book reading.
Jose aims to enrich his students' learning experiences by providing them with knowledge about Spanish culture and traditions.

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