If you have ever been to Chile, you unquestionably know that this country positively has more to offer than gorgeous views, amazing nature, and a lot of history and culture.
Particularly, what many people don’t realize is that Chile has an outstanding track record in the culinary world as well. However, if you’re not yet convinced, now follows an ultimate overview of the 21 most delicious Chilean recipes that you can try if you’re in the mood for some good food. You won’t regret it!
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1. El Completo
First and foremost, a very delicious signature dish from Chile is the Completo. Roughly translated, this means complete in English, and for good reason!
That is to say, the Completo essentially is a hotdog filled with Chilean products and toppings to the absolute max, so it’s confidently loaded. More concretely, a Completo is a toasted bun filled with Chilean sausage, fresh tomatoes, mashed avocado, and sauerkraut.
However, this is just the basic recipe, there are currently numerous variants in circulation. For example, nowadays, Completos often get made with some mayonnaise on top as a finishing touch! It goes without saying that it’s not difficult at all to make a tasty Completo and that’s precisely why this type of dish is extremely popular in Chile, especially as a snack during your favorite sports game!
2. Pan Amasado
One thing that’s very particular for Chilean people is that they love bread with their whole hearts. That’s exactly why Pan Amasado deserves to be on this list of special Chilean recipes. Pan Amasado is a type of Chilean bread that you can eat as breakfast, as a starter, and also as a side with your main dish.
Hence, it’s a very versatile dish! It might sound like there’s nothing special to this dish since it’s chiefly the Chilean variant of regular bread, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Specifically, the secret of Pan Amasado is all in the kneading, which is what gives this dish its amazing texture. After kneading the Pan Amasado dough, you’ll need to shape the dough into round flat balls and poke the topside with a fork. Then, you can just bake the bread until it’s that desired golden color!
Another extremely popular dish in Chile is Pastel de Choclo. It can best be described as a casserole with a golden crust consisting of sweet corn(a.k.a. choclo), minced meat, olives, and other ingredients that can vary, ranging from raisins and onions to hard-boiled eggs.
The most peculiar thing about this dish is that it tastes sweet and spicy at the same time. This is due to the ingredients and spices that are involved with the making of this dish such as sweet corn, cumin, cayenne, or paprika. Due to its predominant sweet taste, Pastel de Choclo is especially requested during the summertime.
Keeping up the trend of Chilean recipes, Pan de Pascua is another one of those desserts that will leave you craving more. Pan de Pascua is a type of fruitcake with a special cultural meaning. To make this less abstract, this dessert is a fixed feature with many Chilean families during the Christmas holiday. It takes a lot of time and effort to make this cake, but the Chilean people generally find it worth it when they can enjoy a slice in the presence of their family. Pan de Pascua is a very rich cake made from a mix of dried fruits and nuts. Often, it’s brought to life with a daring set of spices such as cinnamon and clove and with a hint of brandy.
A tip in this department is to drink the typical coffee-based drink of Cola de Mono when you eat Pan de Pascua. This will really bring justice to the diverse flavors!
Disclaimer: Alfajor is usually known as an Argentinian dessert but the recipe can be traced to both countries.
While Chile has a lot to offer on a culinary level when it comes to savory dishes, you can also definitely strike sparks as regards dessert as well. That is to say, Chile offers a very wide assortment of desserts. However, one dessert in particular that truly stands out is the Alfajor. Fundamentally, this is a Chilean pastry consisting of 2 cookies with a sweet filling in between. You can go in many different directions when it comes to this filling such as in the direction of chocolate, honey, or coconut, but if you really want to make the most authentic Alfajors, it’s recommended that you opt for dulce de leche. Finally, these cookies are topped with powdered sugar and will surely leave you wanting more once you get a decent taste of them!
There’s nothing that Chilean people love more than their national casseroles and stews and Tomaticán is another dish that demonstrates this love. This traditional dish is made from remarkably fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, sweet corn, green peppers, onions, and meat. If you’re wondering which type of meat is most often used to make this dish, then the resounding answer would be beef. However, there exist variants that include other types of meat such as lamb or chicken, so this is something that you can be slightly flexible with if you’d prefer. Tomaticán is a dish that’s not at all challenging to make. You just need to cook your meat, stir-fry your vegetables, add spices and throw it all together. The best thing about the dish however is that you can eat it with a lot of side dishes such as rice, bread or tortillas!
If you want a recipe that’s a bit more challenging to make, then you should really consider this traditional Chilean dessert, called Torta de Mil Hojas. Translated to English, this means that you’ll be making a pie of a thousand layers.
Of course, this dessert doesn’t actually have a thousand layers, but it’s still impressive to see how many there are and more importantly, how then they are! The layers from the cake are made from puff pastry and between the layers, the traditional filling is made from dulce de leche and walnuts. Nevertheless, as is the case with many recipes on this list, there are several ways to stray from the traditional recipe, for example by going with jam or pastry cream. Additionally, with this recipe, carefulness is crucial.
You can’t knead at all and you must be extremely cautious with the puff layers or otherwise, they will break and you want to avoid this at all costs.
The name of this next Chilean dish, called Machas a la Parmesana might give the main ingredients away, but this dish still deserves some extra explanation.
Essentially, this dish’s main ingredients are clams (razor clams ideally) and parmesan cheese. Besides that though, the dish also involves salt, butter, white wine, and optional spices such as oregano. To make this recipe, you first have to broil the claims until they have the perfect texture and until the cheese is gooey like it’s supposed to be.
It’s recommended to eat them while they’re still hot, so that’s something to keep in the back of your mind. If you do, it goes without saying that Machas a la Parmesana is the perfect Chilean appetizer!
Next up, it’s time to talk about Curanto, which is a tasty dish originating from the South of Chile. In the olden days, this dish was prepared using a self-made hole with hot stones and leaves in it. Nowadays, the preparation method has changed for a big part, but the ingredients remain the same. That is to say, Curanto is a dish whose main ingredients are potatoes, meat, fish, potato bread, fresh vegetables, shellfish, and dumplings. The best thing about this Chilean dish is that it’s perfect for feeding a giant group of people so there are bonus points for coziness.
Furthermore, if you love spicy food, you might want to pay extra attention to this next culinary delight called Pebre. Many Chilean people take great pride in this mix of spices and that’s completely justified. Concretely, this Chilean hot sauce consists of pureed peppers, onions, olive oil, garlic, and other spices such as chili or cilantro. However, the thing about Pebre is that almost every Chilean citizen has a different recipe for it because they all want to give it a personal touch. Whatever the case, Pebre in all its forms is the perfect condiment for every barbecue and compliments other types of food such as empanadas and bread extremely well.
Now, onto a slightly lighter meal, this next Chilean meal, called Cazuela is just that. Particularly, Cazuela is an extremely tasteful type of Chilean soup that you can prepare in many different ways. For instance, you can use chicken or some other type of meat, or you could use fish as a base.
Besides this main ingredient, Cazuela often has other traditional ingredients such as potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, or green beans. Lastly, as usual with the Chilean way of cooking, you can also use several spices such as cumin or oregano to cause a taste explosion!
This dish typically is very popular in the south of Chile and can provide you a remarkable comfort during the colder winter months.
Another Chilean dish that has a rich cultural history is Humitas. This dish originates from the old Andean culture and actually is very well-liked among several South-American countries. To provide more details on how these sweet Humitas are made, the recipe actually is rather straightforward.
That is, they are prepared by cooking flour and corn dough first and then, by adding ingredients like spices, onions, and butter. Yet, the most striking characteristic of Humitas is that they are served in banana leaves or corn leaves. As a result, this dish doesn’t only taste insanely good, but it’s also pleasing to the eye as well!
13. Chupe de Jaiba
Moreover, Chupe de Jaiba is a traditional dish that’s especially renowned among people living on the coast of Chile. Basically, this is a casserole with baked crab meat as the main protagonist. However, there are other ingredients besides crab meat as well. Bread is an incredibly pertinent factor as well and the same can be said for cheese. Namely, the ultimate goal with this Chilean dish is that you create a nice crust of cheese on top.
Another mouth-watering Chilean dish that absolutely couldn’t get left behind on this list is the culinary masterpiece, also known as Sopaipillas.
These basically are fried pumpkin flatbreads, which might sound very simple, but there are a lot of different ways to bring this dish to an even higher level. The base for this recipe is easy, you just need flour.
However, you can use cornflower or wheat flour, or even a mix of both if you’d prefer. From then on, you can add pureed pumpkin, which is responsible for sopaipillas’ sweet flavor. Once your Sopaipillas are fried, you can choose how to give them a finishing touch.
For example, you can use honey, but there are just as easily many people who like to eat Sopaipillas with Pebre, a condiment that also features on this list!
15. Paila Marina
If you’re a fan of a classic fish stew, look no further. Paila Marina is a Chilean dish that can best be described as a fish stew and that gets served in a paila, as the name suggests. A paila is an enormous metal or copper pan and this really adds to this dish’s charm. As far as what goes into the pain, that’s equally impressive as well. To clarify, Paila Marina is a broth-based stew made with different types of fish and shellfish.
The ultimate trick when it comes to this dish is to refrain from overcooking it since that will be extremely detrimental as far as the taste goes. However, if everything goes right, Paila Marina is the perfect meal for when you want to have a big cookout for your friends or your whole family.
16. Pollo Arvejado
Now, Chilean food doesn’t always have to be very fancy and this next dish, Pollo Arvejado clearly demonstrates that. That is, this dish is not necessarily meant for special occasions, you can just as easily enjoy it on a regular day.
That’s because traditionally, there was a whole process behind preparing Pollo Arvejado, and people used to use fresh vegetables and entire chickens that needed to be diced and sliced still. Nowadays, however, you can just as easily use chicken breasts and frozen vegetables (although it won’t taste as good this way).
In essence, you can add almost any vegetable to this chicken stew, but the vegetables that are most common as regards this dish are peas, carrots, green peppers, and tomatoes. As long as there is chicken (pollo) and there are peas (arvejas), you’ll be good to go!
With many Chilean foods, the name of the dish often already can give you a suspicion about what it will entail. This dish is no exception to this unwritten rule, for sure! Particularly, Choritos con Arroz involves cooked mussels, rice, and stir-fried vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, and carrots. Thus, this dish is the ultimate comfort dish for when you don’t have a lot of extra time to spare and you just want a meal that’s very easy and quick to make.
18. Pescado Frito
Pescado Frito is a dish that you’ll encounter in many countries all over the world, especially in South America. Nonetheless, the Chilean take on fried fish surely deserves to be in the spotlight for a moment as well. To make this dish, you won’t need much. First of all, you can select any type of fish that you want. Secondly, you will need flour. Thirdly and finally, you will need beer or white wine to bring it all together. A fundamental tip in this aspect is that since Pescado Frito can be a little bit heavy to eat seeing as it’s coated in fried batter, it’s suggested to eat it together with a light salad.
On a related note, empanadas are popular in several South-American and South-European countries too, so empanadas in general aren’t necessarily a Chilean dish. Yet, Empanadas de Pino truly can be labeled as the Chilean version of empanadas. Principally, these are empanadas made with the classical empanada dough, but also with a beef feeling.
Besides beef, the filling also is made from onions, boiled eggs, olives, raisins, and typical Chilean spices. At first glance, this might sound a little unconventional but these Empanadas de Pino are extremely appetizing, without a doubt.
As mentioned before, the Chilean people love their stews. Well, Charquicán might just be the most traditional stews of them all since it’s so loved among the citizens of Chile. The name of this stew comes from a typical Chilean way of preserving meat, which is to dry it until it turns into jerky, so to speak. Talking about meat, this dish is traditionally made with dried beef (Charqui), but there are also versions of this recipe that use bacon, for example.
Besides meat, potatoes and pumpkin are an absolute must as well to include in this recipe. Finally, you can add all vegetables that you want, ranging from corn, beans, and onions to carrots and peas. Yet, if you really want to do it the authentic Chilean way, you simply must finish your Charquicán with a hard-boiled egg on top.
Last, but certainly not least, this spicy condiment deserves this final spot on the list. This Chilean hot sauce is very similar to the above-mentioned Pebre, but don’t be fooled, there are some striking differences to be found between both. That is to say, Chancho en Piedra is a more traditional Chilean salsa.
It’s made by mixing diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, salt, pepper, cilantro, and red chili paste if you want it spicy. Finally, a fun fact about this Chilean salsa is that traditionally, people used to make it with a mortar (chancho) and pestle (piedra) made from stone. Hence, that’s where the name of Chanco en Piedra comes from!
Owner and Food blogger on The Cookware Geek. She loves cooking, baking, traveling, playing with the cats, and knitting. She believes that eating delicious meals doesn’t require a culinary degree or a Michelin-star chef in your kitchen.