21 Best Puerto Rican Desserts to Try (By a Local)
Travelers with a sweet tooth can’t miss out on all the great Puerto Rican desserts when visiting the island.
Puerto Rico’s cuisine is a heritage of different cultures, and immersing yourself in Puerto Rican food is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico.
I grew up eating all of these delicious desserts on the island, and I still can’t get enough of them. Since I know you will love them as much as I do, this is my pick of the 21 top Puerto Rican desserts you must try on your next visit.
Table of Contents
- 21 Best Puerto Rican Desserts to Try
- FAQs About Puerto Rican Desserts
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21 Best Puerto Rican Desserts to Try
Flan de Queso
Creamy custard topped with caramel
🍽️ Where to Find Flan: Casa Linda (Añasco), Palma’s Bakery & Coffee Shop (Arroyo)
Flan is a type of custard Puerto Ricans inherited from Europe. The traditional vanilla flan mixture has condensed milk, evaporated milk, and eggs.
But, Puerto Ricans are perhaps best known for their adaptation of flan de queso made with cream cheese. Other popular flavors include flan de calabaza (pumpkin flan), and chocoflan (chocolate flan).
A refreshing and sweet treat you can enjoy on the go
🍽️ Where to Find Piragua: Paseo La Princesa (San Juan), Piraguas El Coquí (Arecibo)
Piragua is one of the most popular Puerto Rico desserts to escape a hot summer’s day. Piragua is shaved ice served in a cup, topped with different syrups.
Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a refreshing piragua while you’re exploring San Juan attractions.
A creamy coconut pudding you’ll find in every Puerto Rican household on Christmas
🍽️ Where to Find Tembleque: Panadería Fernández (Carolina), Castilla Bakery (Bayamón)
Tembleque is a traditional Puerto Rican dessert named after its jiggly consistency. Tembleque is a pudding made with coconut milk, coconut cream, and cornstarch that foodies will love.
The list of ingredients is short and the preparation is simple, but not everyone can make tembleque with the right consistency and creamy taste.
Tres Leches Cake
A sweet moist cake made with three different kinds of milk
🍽️ Where to Find Tres Leches: El Lechón Ardiente (Fajardo), Panadería Artesanal Villa Palmeras (San Juan)
If you have a sweet tooth, then you’ll love tres leches. The name “tres leches” refers to the three types of milk used for this Puerto Rican dessert.
To get its airy and moist texture, the cake gets soaked in a mixture of full fat milk, evaporated milk, and sweet condensed milk. Finally, it’s topped with whipped cream, cinnamon, and a cherry.
Arroz con Dulce
Sweet rice pudding with raisins and cinnamon
🍽️ Where to Find Arroz con Dulce: Fresh and Fancy Bakery (Bayamón)
The Puerto Rican rice pudding also has evaporated, condensed, and coconut milk. But what gives arroz con dulce its unique flavor is the spice tea used to cook it.
It’s one of the most challenging Puerto Rico desserts to make, as having too much or too little of something can ruin it. Food lovers will enjoy flavors like cinnamon sticks, ginger, and star anise inside this pudding.
Rolled sponge cake with guava filling perfect to eat with coffee
🍽️ Where to Find Brazo Gitano: Ricomini Factory & Bakery (Mayagüez), Panadería Artesanal Villa Palmeras (San Juan)
Brazo gitano is the Puerto Rican version of a swiss roll and, like other Puerto Rico foods, it was inherited from Europe.
The Puerto Rican version is unique in that it’s a guava roll cake filled with guava paste and topped with powdered sugar. Coffee enthusiasts will love to accompany their drink with this cake.
Besitos de Coco
Bite-size shredded coconut treats that will enchant coconut lovers
🍽️ Where to Find Besitos de Coco: On Supermarkets, Always 99 stores, Hecho en PR (San Juan)
A Puerto Rican dessert perfect to take on the go is besitos de coco. These coconut macaroons are made out of flour, shredded coconut, and condensed milk. They are usually bite size and are perfect to snack on the go for explorers.
These macaroons are also called coquitos, and shouldn’t be confused with the infamous coquito drink.
Creamy pudding topped with cinnamon
🍽️ Where to Find Majarete: Dulce Masa (Florida, PR)
If you aren’t a fan of the texture of tembleque but love the flavor, don’t miss the chance to try Majarete.
This Puerto Rican treat is a sweet pudding also made with coconut milk, condensed milk, and cinnamon. Only, instead of including cornstarch like tembleque, the main ingredient in majarete is rice flour. Majarete is part of the popular Puerto Rican cuisine during the holidays.
Guava-filled cookies with sweet dough that dissolves in your mouth
🍽️ Where to Find Polvorones: Carla’s Sweets (Bayamón) , Mantecaditos Doña Luchy (San Juan)
Polvorones is one of the few traditional Puerto Rican desserts you can find easily in supermarkets. Polvorones are shortbread Puerto Rican cookies made out of butter, sugar, and flour.
In Puerto Rico, you’ll find them topped with sprinkles or filled with guava paste. Your kids will love this tasty dessert with a glass of milk.
Pastelillos de Guayaba
Jam-filled pastries you will find at every party
🍽️ Where to Find Pastelillos: Kasalta (San Juan), Panadería Encanto (Carolina)
Pastelillitos are a staple of Puerto Rican food at parties and holidays. A pastelillo is a simple puff pastry with guava paste filling and topped with powdered sugar.
Although less common, you can also find pastelillos filled with pineapple jam. Foodies can buy in small packs or large trays in supermarkets.
Budin de Pan
Pudding made with exquisite Puerto Rican bread
🍽️ Where to Find Budin de Pan: Panificadora Pepin (San Juan), Pan a Peso (Vega Alta)
If you’re a pudding lover, then you’ll be blown away by the Puerto Rican bread pudding recipe. This bread pudding is made with Puerto Rican bread which is more dense than most bread out there.
It also includes coconut milk, brown sugar, evaporated milk, full fat milk, and raisins. The preparation takes hours but bread pudding is worth the wait.
Both a custard and a cake in one delicious dessert
🍽️ Where to Find Flancocho: Kuki Sweets (San Germán)
Flancocho might not be a very appealing name for a dessert, but I guarantee this will be on your favorite Puerto Rican desserts list. Puerto Rican flancocho is “flan cake”. In other words, it’s custard on top of a cake.
The cake batter is served in a mold and topped with the flan mixture made out of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and eggs. The final result is a two-layer dessert with a mix of texture and colors. Popular flancochos in Puerto Rico include pumpkin, Nutella, and cream cheese flavors.
A versatile sweet bread that tastes good with everything
🍽️ Where to Find Mallorca Bread: Panaderia Lemy (Guaynabo), Cafeteria Mallorca (San Juan)
Mallorca is a sweet roll you’ll find in all bakeries and supermarkets around the island. It’s a staple of Puerto Rican breakfast and coffee lovers will find it to be the perfect companion to their coffee.
Mallorca bread in its basic form is a sweet yellowish roll topped with powdered sugar. But, you will also find versions of it filled with jam, ham, and cheese.
A delicious pastry with a cream cheese filling
🍽️ Where to Find Quesito: Florida Bakery (Ponce), San Luis Bakery (Aibonito)
Quesito is one of the delicious desserts you’d find on display if you walked into a bakery or gas station. This flaky puff pastry is filled with sweet cream cheese.
The honey and sugar topping in the outer layer caramelizes in the oven, making it crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Quesito is the perfect sweet breakfast if you’re in a hurry.
Frozen treats that will make you remember your childhood days
🍽️ Where to Find Limber: In gas stations, or hidden inside small neighborhoods. Search for a house with a sign of “Limber”
Limber is a simple Puerto Rico dessert, but it’s one of the most popular among locals. Limber in its basic form is frozen fruit juice in a plastic cup.
But, some variations have a creamy texture like limber de Nutella. Every Puerto Rican loves a sweet frozen limber. Most of us used to buy this treat as kids from a neighborhood grandma.
Coconut and rum combined perfectly in this traditional drink
🍽️ Where to Find Coquito: Luis Muñoz Marín Airport (San Juan), Bacardí Rum Factory (Cataño)
Rum connoisseurs can’t miss a chance to taste the sweet Coquito. Both a dessert and a beverage, Coquito is a traditional drink on the holidays.
Similar to eggnog, Coquito’s ingredients include coconut cream, coconut milk, evaporated and condensed milk, and a shot of rum. Buying it out of season might be a challenge, but you can always try to make it yourself.
Queso Blanco con Pasta de Guayaba
Enjoy sweet and salty together in a quick snack
🍽️ Where to Find Queso Blanco con Pasta de Guayaba: In Supermarkets
Puerto Ricans love cheese, and that’s why it’s present in almost all of the desserts. But, one of the simplest desserts with cheese you’ll find is sliced guava paste with white cheese.
Served alone or on top of a cracker, this is a great late snack with hot chocolate or coffee.
Panetela de Guayaba
A bite-size pastry with guava and cheese
🍽️ Where to Find Panetela de Guayaba: Carla’s Sweets (Bayamón), Barista Squared Condado (San Juan)
Panetela is a pastry filled with guava paste. Although panetela is basically a buttery crumb cake, the Puerto Rican style is sliced into small bite-size cubes and topped with lots of sugar.
Some recipes include sweetened cream cheese in the filling. It’s a great coffee break snack if you’re willing to get your hands (and maybe clothes) full of sugar.
Pineapple Rum Cake
Sweetness and tanginess come together in this rum cake
🍽️ Where to Find Rum Cake: Hecho en PR (San Juan)
The Puerto Rican pineapple rum cake, known as “upside down cake”, is something grandmothers make on special occasions. Sometimes plain, and sometimes topped with pineapples, the main ingredient in this cake is the rum used to make the cake moist and fluffy.
Although this type of cake is common in Latin America, its taste is unique when it’s made with Puerto Rican rum.
Puerto Rican Candy
Variety of candies with coconut, papaya, sesame, and almonds
🍽️ Where to Find Puerto Rican Candy: La Orocoveña Biscuit (Orocovis), Supermarkets
Candy lovers will find all kinds of Puerto Rican sweets worth trying. Puerto Rican candy has a variety of flavors and textures.
Some of the most common candies include shredded coconut bar, sesame brittle, dulce de batata (sweet potato), dulce de coco (coconut), and dulce de lechosa (papaya).
Fried dough bathed in honey
🍽️ Where to Find Almojábanas: Cafetería Martínez (Lares), Cagua Kiosk in Calle Ruiz Belvis (Caguas)
Almojábanas is one of those utterly delicious dishes you will find only in certain locations in Puerto Rico.
This dessert consists of fried dough made out of rice and wheat flour, and sugar. After it’s done, it’s topped with honey. The salty recipe for almojábanas has cheese inside it.
FAQs About Puerto Rican Desserts
What is the most popular dessert in Puerto Rico?
The most popular desserts in Puerto Rico include flan de queso, arroz con dulce, and tembleque. Although coquito is more like a drink, it’s also very popular among Puerto Ricans, particularly during the holidays.
What is a popular treat in Puerto Rico?
Popular sweet treats in Puerto Rico include tembleque, flan, arroz con dulce, quesitos, besitos de coco and mallorcas. The two most popular frozen treats are piraguas and limbers, which due to the island’s weather, you can find wherever and whenever you visit Puerto Rico.
What are limbers in Puerto Rico?
Limbers are frozen fruit juices sold inside plastic disposable cups. While some types of limbers are juices, others have a creamy consistency because they are made with cream cheese or milk. These are usually flavors like chocolate, cream, Nutella, and cheesecake.
Now you know the top Puerto Rican desserts you should include in your tasting tour when you’re visiting Puerto Rico! While you’re out and about hunting down sweet treats, don’t forget to check out these amazing sites in Puerto Rico.
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I am enjoying reading your articles of places to visit and eat. I’m traveling with my mom to Puerto Rico who is wheelchair bound. I can’t find very many places to bring her outside of San Juan. We are staying with relatives in Quebradillas. Any suggestions on that side of the island? I’m renting a car so I can drive us pretty much anywhere.