Traditional Spanish Food

If you’ve ever wondered what typical Spanish food is like, wonder no more! We’ve compiled a list of some of the most typical Spanish dishes to help guide you on your culinary exploration!


spanish paella

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish from Valencia. It is a rice dish that can have meat, fish, seafood, and vegetables and is characterized by its use of saffron, which gives it a yellow color and unique flavor. There are three main types of paella:

  • Valencian paella (paella valenciana): rice, green vegetables, rabbit, chicken, or duck, snails, beans, and seasoning.
  • Seafood paella (paella de mariscos): rice, seafood, and seasoning.
  • Mixed paella (paella mixta): combination of seafood, meat, vegetables, beans, and seasoning.

Jamón serrano/ Jamón ibérico

jamón serrano

Jamón serrano and jamón ibérico are dry-cured Spanish hams that are served in thin slices. Jamón serrano is named after the custom of drying the salted and cured ham in a shed high on a mountain, or sierra. Serrano is the adjective form of sierra. While jamón serrano is typically made from the Landrace white pig, jamón ibérico, which is much more expensive, is made from black Iberian pigs, and often called jamón de pata negra. Despite their differences, both jamones are deliciously salty and savory examples of Spanish cuisine!

Queso manchego

Another traditional Spanish food, queso manchego is typically eaten together with jamón serrano or jamón ibérico. Queso manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain. It is firm and buttery and a wonderful complement to many Spanish dishes.


Tapas are a great Spanish food tradition consisting of small dishes of different types of food, like appetizers or snacks. The dishes may be cold (jamón serrano, queso manchego, olives, etc.) or warm (tortilla española, meatballs, etc.) and can be served as bar food or a complete meal. Eating tapas is a great opportunity to taste a whole variety of flavors and dishes, so if you are ever in Spain make sure to order tapas and experience what the country has to offer!

Tortilla española

Another great typical Spanish food is tortilla española, an omelette-like potato dish fried in olive oil and served as a tapa. It is a filling and flavorful dish (with the addition of chopped onions) and is often sliced and served both warm and cold.