Our Best Tapas Recipes

Shrimp and Chorizo Flatbreads

Popular throughout Spain, tapas are festive and delicious appetizers and snacks. Traditional tapas include mixed olives, fried baby squid, meatballs, and chorizo. Whether you're craving briny seafood or crispy potatoes, these are our best tapas recipes.

01 of 11

Stuffed Fried Sardines

Stuffed Fried Sardines
© Marcus Nilsson

The traditional Galician preparation is to simply grill the freshly caught sardines over hot coals. Instead, Janet Mendel fills the tender fish with a sweet-salty ham-and-raisin stuffing and fries them to make a crunchy starter that loves a crisp Albariño. For a light meal, serve these sardines with a mesclun salad and fresh lemon juice.

02 of 11

Potato-and-Mozzarella Croquettes

Potato-and-Mozzarella Croquettes
FREDRIKA STJÄRNE

These light and cheesy fried potato croquettes are breaded twice: They're dredged in breadcrumbs, dipped in beaten eggs seasoned with mustard and garlic, then dredged in breadcrumbs once more. The payoff is a supercrisp, flavorful crust for the filling of soft mashed potato and melted cheese.

03 of 11

Garlicky Shrimp with Olive Oil

Garlicky Shrimp with Olive Oil
© Quentin Bacon

At La Casa del Abuelo, a tiny taberna in Madrid, gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic) are cooked in individual earthenware cazuelitas and served with plenty of bread to dip into the garlicky oil once the shrimp have been eaten. This dish can also be prepared in a skillet.

04 of 11

Open-Faced Crab Empanadas

Open-Faced Crab Empanadas
© Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle

José Andrés says: "I love America! Without a doubt, one of my favorite American ingredients is blue crabs, a true delicacy! And a great value, I think." This recipe is his twist on the traditional Basque txangurro (crab simmered with tomato), crossed with a Galician empanada (a savory pie). "Part of my efforts to build a bridge between America and Spain," he explains.

05 of 11

Chicken Croquettes

Chicken Croquettes

These croquettes are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and an excellent vehicle for leftover roast chicken.

06 of 11

Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon

Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon.
© Tina Rupp

This timeless tapa from Spanish cookbook author Penelope Casas has everything going for it—it's sweet, smoky, and savory, all in one bite.

07 of 11

Cauliflower Fritters

José Andrés (minibar by José Andrés, Washington, DC)

To create these wonderful tapas, José Andrés makes a batter with crunchy nubs of chopped cauliflower florets, fries spoonfuls in a skillet and then tops the fritters with yogurt sauce and a dollop of caviar.

08 of 11

Lamb Meatballs with Mint

Lamb Meatballs with Mint
© Quentin Bacon

The bar at Seville's Enrique Becerra restaurant serves a standout tapa, Albóndigas de Cordero a la Hierbabuena, meatballs made with the classic combination of lamb and mint.

09 of 11

Chorizo Poached in Red Wine

Chorizo Poached in Red Wine
© Cedric Angeles

Jim German and his wife, Claire Johnston, make wonderfully simple snacks to accompany his cocktails. A favorite at their restaurant is this smoky Spanish sausage with garlic, cooked gently in red wine until it's plump and juicy.

10 of 11

Pincho Ribs with Sherry Glaze

Pincho Ribs with Sherry Glaze

These ribs are named after Spanish snacks known as pinchos. Jason McCullar rubs them with a smoked-paprika spice blend, then lacquers them with a sherry-spiked glaze. For an ideal cocktail snack, look for riblets, a half portion of baby back ribs; they're especially meaty. Or ask your butcher to split your rib racks crosswise.

11 of 11

Shrimp and Chorizo Flatbreads

Shrimp and Chorizo Flatbreads

Chef Way Jose Garces prepares fresh coca dough, a Spanish dough similar to pizza dough, for the flatbreads. He also cooks dried garbanzos for the bean puree that's spread on top.

Easy Way Store-bought pitas take the place of coca dough, topped with good-quality prepared hummus, fresh shrimp and spicy slices of chorizo.

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