After spending several years living in Spain, and now living in Ireland, we realized if we wanted authentic Spanish tapas recipes, we needed to make them at home. Here’s our ultimate list of the best Spanish tapas recipes that you can make at home.
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What Are Authentic Spanish Tapas
In Seville, Spain, bartenders would put a saucer or a coaster on top of a drink to keep the flies out. Eventually, they offered a little snack on top, like olives or jamon. Bar patrons started to like the free food on top, a tapa. The practice spread throughout southern Spain.
Today, tapas are assumed to be small portions or plates of all types of cuisine served at Spanish restaurants across the country and the world. Although it is still possible throughout Spain to order a drink and receive a small plate of potato chips or olives, generally patrons will purchase tapas and drinks separately. Granada is the exception to this rule where free tapas are still provided.
The types of dishes and tapas are also regional. In the north, in the Basque country, bars serve pintxos. Pintxos are small bites traditionally served on a skewer. These are popular in San Sebastian and there is an entire street in Logrono, in Rioja, dedicated to pintxos bars.
Check out our Spain Food Guide – What To Eat In Spain for more details on regional must-try dishes in Spain. Or learn about What To Expect From El Celler De Can Roca In Girona, one of the best restaurants in the world.
Kitchen Tools & Gadgets For Making Spanish Tapas
There are a handful of kitchen tools and gadgets that make cooking tapas at home much easier.
We use our UnoCasa cast iron skillet for a lot of these recipes. The skillet distributes the heat evenly and goes from the stovetop to the oven easily. Use this link to save 10% on all UnoCasa products. Discount applied at checkout.
Almost every Spanish recipe has a base of garlic and olive oil. I always prefer to mince or press my garlic so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the final recipe. Of course, for Spanish garlic prawns, I want big chunks of garlic. But, otherwise, I prefer the garlic melt into the recipe more. We have the Zulay garlic press and love it. No need to even peel the garlic.
We also have a couple of Spanish cazuelas for serving. These are classic terracotta pots. You can also cook in some of them. We use ours in the oven and they’ve worked well on electric stovetops. Just be sure to get one that is safe to cook in.
For slow cooking pork and beef tapas recipes, like oxtail or pig cheek, we use a large dutch oven. We have the 6.75 quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven, which is the perfect size for slow cooking and braising.
Tips For Cooking Spanish Tapas At Home
Most of these are easy Spanish tapas recipes, but a few are a little more complicated. Here are some tips for cooking Spanish food at home. First, almost every recipe starts with olive oil. Having a good quality Spanish olive oil helps.
If using these recipes for a night of Spanish tapas, there are a few of these recipes that can be made ahead of time or prepped ahead of time. Cold tapas recipes, like ensaladilla rusa or a piquillo pepper dip, can be made ahead of time, even the day before. Mushroom tapas recipes, like our Spanish garlic mushrooms, can also be made ahead and reheated. The same goes for the Spanish chorizo tapas recipes.
Only a few of these should be prepared just before serving. For example, the Spanish tuna stuffed peppers should be served the day you make them. The pimientos de Padron, or Spanish blistered peppers, should be served just after cooking them.
Putting Together A Spanish Tapas Night
If you want to have a little tapas party, I would suggest a menu that offers a sampling of our easy Spanish recipes below.
Start with vegetarian tapas recipes like Spanish potato salad or Spanish marinated carrots, which can be prepared the day before or the piquillo pepper dip. Starting with something cold makes it easy as well. Then, one or two hot tapas recipes like the Spanish garlic mushrooms or chorizo tapas makes a good second round.
To have a full night of tapas, there should be one hefty or hearty recipe, like the oxtail or pigs’ cheeks. These can be served alongside potato tapas recipes, like a Canary Island wrinkled potato or patatas bravas.
Then, to round out a tapas dinner, finish with a little Spanish dessert, like mini Basque cheesecakes or Spanish rice pudding. The rice pudding can be served warm or even at room temperature making it easy to use when entertaining.