7 Best Spanish Tapas Recipes

If you’ve been to Spain or even parts of Mexico, you may have heard of tapas. Tapas are small dishes of food, similar to appetizers except that people don’t just eat them before meals. Tapas can be eaten at any time, even as a meal if you want.

With tapas being such a big part of Spanish culture, it stands to reason that some dishes are better than others. So, what are some of the best tapas recipes? Are there any we should try?

There are a few that we would recommend, and we’ll talk more about them in the paragraphs below.

1. Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas Tapas in cazuela
Patatas Bravas

The first of our tapas recipes, patatas bravas are crispy potatoes with mayonnaise and a spicy kick. Everybody puts their own slight twist on it, but the basics are always there: spicy potatoes and mayonnaise.

2. Croquetas

Spanish Croquetas on wood cutting board with toothpick

Croquetas are a Spanish staple that offers great taste and a lot of variety. The basic premise behind croquetas is a ball of fried, breaded food, often cooked with mashed potatoes and a variety of spices.

Croquetas can be filled with any number of things. The most common types of croqueta contain meat or seafood, though potatoes, mushrooms, and any number of alternatives exist.

One reason for this is that croquetas are often thought of as a way to reuse leftovers.

3. Gambas al Ajillo

Spanish tapas gambas al ajillo served in cazuela
Gambas al Ajillo

Being a peninsular nation, Spain has a thing for seafood, and one of their most famous seafood dishes is Gambas al Ajillo, or garlic shrimp. These are shrimp cooked in a sauce of garlic and Spanish olive oil. Cayenne peppers can be added, but it’s not necessary if you don’t like spicy food.

This dish is so good that everyone at the table may want a bite, and that’s okay. Tapas are meant to be shared.

4. Tortilla Española

Spanish Tortilla Tapa served with toothpicks
Tortilla Española

Tortilla Española is often thought of as the Spanish version of an omelet. The big difference is that it is often served in slices, like a pie. Some people even add some jamon iberico to their tortilla and make sandwiches out of them.

Nobody knows for sure when the Spanish started making this dish, but most agree it was sometime in the 19th century.

5. Albondigas

Spanish Meatballs tapas served with toothpicks

Albondigas is Spanish for meatballs, although the Spanish don’t eat meatballs the same way the Italians would. They’re often served on their own or as a side dish and can be made from pork, beef, or even lamb.

6. Calamares Fritos

Spanish Calamares Fritos in a spanish cazuela bowl
Calamares Fritos

You may have thought Calamari was an Italian dish, but that’s only half true. The name for this squid dish does come from Italian, but the Italians are far from the only ones to make it.

Squid is popular throughout the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. Madrid, in particular, is known for its calamares.

7. Dates or Figs Wrapped in Bacon

Spanish Dates wrapped in bacon
Datiles con Queso Manchego and Bacon

Americans aren’t the only ones who like to wrap things in bacon. One Spanish recipe calls for a date or fig to be stuffed with manchego cheese and, if you want, an almond. Then, the outer layer is wrapped in bacon and stuck onto a toothpick.

You can also coat it in honey if you’re in the mood for something sweeter.

The Best Tapas Recipes

There’s a long list of tapas recipes out there. We’ve mentioned only a few of them in the paragraphs above. If you’re interested, we encourage you to do more research on your own.

If you want to know more about Spanish foods and even foods from a few other Latin countries, please visit our site. We can tell you all about the origin of tapas. We’re also an online grocery store for traditional Spanish recipes and ingredients.

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