14 Spanish Potato Dishes You Should Try At Least Once

Potatoes are a ubiquitous crop and among the top five most important worldwide — along with wheat, rice, corn, and sugar cane. Nearly every cuisine features spuds in unique ways, pairing them with local ingredients and cooking techniques to craft the ultimate starchy dish. Thanks to their hearty nature and neutral taste, potatoes make an excellent pairing with countless foods, offering near-endless ways to serve them. Of course, their capacity to be deliciously fluffy or creamy on the inside with a crispy roasted shell makes them all the more appealing, and a mainstay in comfort food recipes.

Spanish explorers are responsible for introducing potatoes to Europe from what is now South America, so it's only natural that the cuisine of Spain showcases the root vegetables in many forms. From traditional Spanish tapas dishes and quick snacks to nourishing stews, Spanish recipes are abundant with potatoes. We've gathered a list of the top Spanish potato dishes you should try at least once to experience this humble vegetable in a range of ways. Whether traveling to Spain or following a recipe to prepare them from scratch, starch lovers will want to try every one of these delicious Spanish potato dishes.

1. Patatas bravas

Any tapas lover snacking their way across Spain is sure to encounter this fried Spanish potato dish at least once. Arguably the most well-known tapa in the country, patatas bravas features chunks of fried potato with a spicy sauce. Although the dish comes from Madrid, there are plenty of regional versions, with the sauce varying accordingly.

Some are tomato-based, with a blend of paste, olive oil, paprika, garlic, and onions, while others omit the tomato and highlight the spicy paprika. Others add a splash of vinegar to infuse a tangy element to the fried bites. To balance the heat, many recipes include a creamy garlic aioli, cementing this dish as one that displays bold flavors.

Patatas bravas are best as a snack with a cold drink, but they also work well as an appetizer or side dish with a protein. Tone down the heat or amp up the garlicky aioli to best complement the rest of your meal, though chances are you'll be focusing mainly on the spuds.

2. Tortilla de patata

Another popular everyday bite, tortilla de patata is Spain's answer to an omelet. The fluffy dish may have originated in western Spain, though internal debates about its true place of birth abound. Its exact source is also hard to pinpoint and may stem from Persian influence. Nowadays, it's common around the country, served anytime from morning to late evening. An egg and potato mixture — sometimes containing onions, depending on who you ask — makes up the bulk, though some variations include chorizo, peppers, and other add-ins.

Spanish tortilla is made by frying potatoes and onions until tender, before adding them to a skillet with whisked eggs. Once the sides and center are mostly set, the tricky task of flipping the omelet to brown the second side comes next. Often served by the slice with or without bread, this pillowy omelet is equally welcome with a cup of coffee at a cafe or a cold beer at a tapas bar. It's also a reliable home-cooked option if you want to make a cheap and filling meal with just a few staple ingredients.

3. Patatas a lo pobre

Patatas a lo pobre translates to "poor man's potatoes" and gets its name due to the cheap and simple preparation. Made with basic ingredients that satiate hunger, it's no surprise this dish was popular during times of economic hardship. Originally from the city of Granada in Andalusia, the hearty recipe has since become popular around Spain. Simply, it consists of potatoes, onions, bell peppers, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Variations omit the peppers and onions, while others add chorizo, eggs, herbs, and spices.

Sliced potatoes are fried low and slow in oil to create an unctuous, confit-like texture. For this reason, a good and flavorful olive oil is typically chosen over a blander variety since the potatoes will soak plenty of it up. The heat is increased before adding the remaining ingredients, finishing it off by toasting the potatoes in a dry pan with garlic and a splash of vinegar. This filling potato recipe is commonly served as a side dish with a sprinkling of fresh parsley, especially alongside a simple fish or grilled chicken preparation.

4. Patatas panaderas

Sometimes a simple baked potato dish is all you need to pack in plenty of flavor. Patatas panaderas features only a few ingredients, yet the method yields perfectly tender and creamy potatoes in every bite. Thinly sliced potatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, white wine, salt, and pepper are the stars of the show. The potatoes and alliums bake with olive oil in a tin foil-covered dish at high heat, before the addition of white wine. At this point, the oven temperature is decreased and the foil is loosened for the final cooking duration.

This easy side dish produces delicious results, lacking in crispiness and crunch but making up for it with a luxurious mouthfeel. Thanks to the basic components, this accompaniment works well with a wide range of mains. Grilled meats, scrambled eggs, and fried fish all pair nicely with patatas panaderas, making them a staple offering in many Spanish homes and restaurant kitchens.

5. Trinxat

Trinxat is a Catalonian dish from the Pyrenees region that takes the notion of comfort food to heart. Cabbage and potatoes make up the bulk of the preparation, with bacon, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and other add-ins showing up in variations. At its base, it consists of boiled potatoes and cabbage added to a pan with fried bacon. As the potatoes fry in the fat, they are crushed to make a sort of mash. The recipe comes in countless styles, with personalizations from kitchen to kitchen.

The version from Cerdanya County is prized for the type of local winter cabbage used. With a touch of frost, it develops a subtle sweet flavor that ties the whole dish together. Every February, trinxat fans celebrate with a festival in the region's capital of Puigcerdà, highlighting the savory dish with fellow aficionados. The dish is also popular in neighboring Andorra, where the cold winter mountain climate makes it a true winner.

6. Papas arrugadas

Translated to "wrinkly potatoes," this starchy dish from the Canary Islands represents its name well. The archipelago is located close to northwestern Africa and showcases the neighboring influences in its cuisine. This particular recipe consists of small skin-on new potatoes boiled in salt water (originally sourced from the surrounding sea). As they cook, the salt pulls out the water from the potato, drying out the inside and leaving smaller spuds with wrinkly skins. Once the water is fully cooked off, a lightly crusted salt layer remains, ensuring the potatoes are deliciously seasoned.

This Canarian specialty commonly shows up as a side dish alongside fish or meat, or as an appetizer served with sauce. To balance out the starchiness of the root vegetable, a vibrant sauce called mojo is often spooned over top. The combination of bell peppers, tomato, garlic, spices, and olive oil adds a refreshing (and sometimes spicy) element to the potato dish.

7. Patatas a la Riojana

Named after the La Rioja region where the recipe originated, patatas a la Riojana offers a punch of flavor with minimal ingredients and effort. The dish features chunks of peeled potatoes, onion, garlic, chorizo, paprika, and olive oil. The preparation method is unique and unlike recipes that call for frying boiled or parboiled potatoes. Instead, peeled potato chunks fry in a pan with olive oil, garlic, onions, and chorizo. Once they are nicely browned, seasonings and water are added, so the potatoes fully cook in the liquid.

This process creates an almost stew-like consistency, which makes patatas a la Riojana especially delicious paired with crusty bread slices to mop up the sauce. Paprika and salt bring out the earthy notes of the potatoes, complemented by the smokiness and spice of the chorizo. Considering the dish's origin, you'll want to serve it with a glass of Rioja wine for the ultimate pairing.

8. Cachelos

Much like many classic dishes, cachelos has a different meaning depending on what part of northwestern Spain you're in. Galicia has a large coastline, and this Galician potato dish is the perfect pairing to serve with seafood. Arguably the most popular duo is cachelos with pulpo a la Gallega, a regional delicacy featuring tender octopus, potatoes, garlic, and plenty of olive oil. The cooked potatoes also make a great pairing with hake and other white fish.

Cachelos likely comes from the Galician term "escachada," which describes crushing the potato into pieces, or "cachos." Consequently, the dish consists of either crushed or chunked potatoes, based on the specific area where it's made. Kennebec potatoes are commonly used for this dish due to their abundance in Galicia. Either boiled and crushed or cooked as chunks with a bay leaf and salt, the potatoes are typically seasoned with coarse salt, olive oil, and the occasional sprinkling of chili or paprika.

9. Patatas a la importancia

More or less translated as "important potatoes", it's clear that this starchy dish is well-loved. As it turns out, the descriptor refers to the other ingredients added to the spuds that round out the dish. The simple recipe is originally from northern Spain and communities around Madrid, but it is now enjoyed across the country, with add-ins and variations depending on the region.

Instead of sticking to basic potatoes, the root vegetables are coated in flour and eggs, creating a batter that develops into a crispy shell after frying in oil. Then, they're combined with onion, garlic, white wine, saffron, and parsley sauce, and cooked a bit longer in broth. The result is a saucy dish tinged with an orangish-red hue that truly lets the potatoes shine (with importance). Patatas a la importancia is delicious served solo or accompanied with a few extras, like clams, cod, or mushrooms.

10. Papas aliñas

Papas aliñás is a popular potato dish from the southern region of Andalusia, most notably from the city of Cádiz. Essentially the Spanish version of a classic potato salad, this recipe stays true to its name, which means "seasoned" or "dressed" potatoes. The actual translation is patatas aliñadas, but the abbreviation comes from Andalusian dialects, so you may be misunderstood if you try to order it by its full name. The simple dish highlights quality ingredients in just the right proportions.

Boiled potatoes are immediately peeled and cut before tossing the chunks with olive oil to absorb the flavor. As a potato salad, the add-ins range based on preference, though basic versions typically contain vinegar, salt, pepper, onions, and parsley, as well as heartier components like canned tuna and hard-boiled eggs. This fresh medley tastes equally good just-made, lukewarm, or chilled, offering a rich bite that pairs well with a cold drink on a hot day.

11. Patatas Mozárabes

Andalusia is known for its regional delicacies, and patatas Mozárabes from the city of Seville are a prime example. The dish gets its name from the time when Spain was under Arabic rule between the 8th and 11th centuries, during which small populations of Spanish Christians known as Mozarabs lived together in community. Popular at tapas bars and as an accompaniment to various main courses, this potato dish is a local favorite.

Waxy potatoes keep their shape as they cook, ensuring they are boiled until tender. Then, they are mixed with a luscious dressing consisting of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil, honey, lemon juice, and seasonings like smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. The result is deliciously creamy, with every bite loaded with flavor from the rich dressing. Chopped fresh parsley keeps the flavors bright, while an extra squeeze of lemon juice highlights the tangy notes.

12. Croquetas de patatas

This seemingly simple dish is a popular favorite, as evidenced by the yearly contest seeking out the country's best croquetas. Although croquetas de patatas (and plenty of other variations) are ubiquitous across Spain, the fried morsels are actually from France. Nevertheless, Spanish cuisine puts its own twist on French croquettes, creating a tapas or snack that is equally crunchy and creamy in every bite.

Béchamel sauce is responsible for the delicious texture — it gets mixed with boiled potatoes to create a luscious filling. Along with potatoes, some recipes incorporate ingredients like ham, chicken, cheese, cod, or mushrooms. Once the filling is complete, it's shaped into balls or cylindrical forms, rolled in bread crumbs, and deep-fried. You don't need much to complement the crispy treats, served just hot enough to avoid burning your tongue. A plateful is sure to disappear quickly among a couple of diners, washed down with a cold beer or glass of fino sherry.

13. Espinacas con patatas a la Andaluza

Once again, Andalusia proves to be the source of some of Spain's most delectable potato dishes, consisting of simple ingredients that come together to equal more than the sum of their parts. Spinach with Andalusian potatoes might sound like a basic combination, but this classic recipe elevates the timeless veggie duo. Waxy potatoes add a tender and creamy consistency to this stewed dish, creating a delightful mouthfeel in every bite.

The dish consists of onions and garlic sauteed with cumin, paprika, and grated tomato. Sliced potatoes are added to the pan, along with some water in order to cook them fully. Along with the sauteed tomato mixture, a thick sauce is created, infusing the potatoes with plenty of flavor. Shortly before the potatoes are done, fresh spinach is tossed in, wilting from the heat as it blends into the savory dish.

14. Patatas revolconas

Every cuisine needs to have a mashed potato dish, and patatas revolconas is a winning version from Spain. The recipe infuses mashed potatoes with a Spanish twist, courtesy of paprika and savory bacon fat. Typical of some of Spain's inland mountainous regions, this hearty preparation is peak comfort food. It's commonly served in bars as a tapa to soak up the accompanying booze, or made at home for the ultimate cozy meal.

Plenty of garlic and smoky spice add aromatic depth to the mash, which is further enhanced by the pork fat and extra olive oil. Crispy pork rinds are sometimes sprinkled on top as a garnish, adding to the final presentation and providing a contrast to the creamy and chunky texture of the potatoes. Double down on the carbs by enjoying this unctuous dish with crusty bread, or top it with a fried egg, sausage, or more bacon for a satisfying fix.