Skip to Content

13 Traditional Uruguayan Foods You Must Try

13 Traditional Uruguayan Foods You Must Try

Traditional Uruguayan food is so vastly underrated and exciting! There are so many dishes to explore, each with an amazing heritage and history.

I’ll be completely honest and say I expected the food to be fairly bland. But after trying a few of the local Uruguayan delicacies I was hooked and kept going back for more.

Most Popular Uruguayan Foods

Uruguayan cuisine is influenced by a huge diversity of other countries cuisines, predominantly due to colonization and immigration. There are unmistakable influences from the likes of Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, with many dishes brought over and adapted.

Uruguayan food can be difficult to define, with such varied dishes and styles. Typical staples of Uruguayan cuisine include meat (beef, chicken, lamb), stews, breads, pastries, pasta, pizza, fish and polenta. The majority of dishes found throughout the country will be based around one of those staples.

There are some popular dishes from Uruguay that absolutely should not be missed and these are our top picks for the best Uruguayan dishes you can try on your next trip.

Whether you’re in Montevideo or at one of the stunning coastal towns, these foods are widely available throughout Uruguay (and indeed other parts of South America too). So without further ado, here are the most popular traditional Uruguayan dishes along with links to our favorite recipes for you to try for yourself.

Revuelto Gramajo

Revuelto Gramajo is a Uruguayan dish of hash potatoes, onions, bacon, eggs, butter and french fries.
Uruguayan Revuelto Gramajo made from hash potatoes

Revuelto Gramajo is a popular dish in both Uruguay and Argentina, and is super simple to make. Consisting of deep fried hash potatoes, onions, bacon, eggs, butter and french fries, Revuelto Gramajo is a bit of a guilty pleasure due to the unhealthy ingredients!

Our favorite Revuelto Gramajo recipe.

Chivito

Chivito is South America's greatest sandwich
Chivito is South America’s greatest sandwich!

Probably the most famous food of Uruguay, the chivito is considered to be the Uruguayan national dish. It’s not just a sandwich, it’s an amazing sandwich!

A chivito is a the ultimate champion of sandwiches! Consisting of beef steak, melted cheese (usually mozzarella), tomatoes, pickles, eggs and mayonnaise, often served with fries.

Our favorite Chivito recipe.

Tortas Fritas

Tortas fritas are biscuit bread snacks eaten in Uruguay
Tortas fritas can be served with dulce de leche or jam

Tortas fritas are little biscuity-bread snacks often served with dulce de leche or jam.

They are essentially little baked dough cakes that are considered to be a hearty little national treasure, enjoyed on a rainy day. You can find these as quick snacks sold by street vendors or at certain restaurants in Uruguayan cities.

In fact, we loved these sweet treats so much we decided to showcase the authentic tortas fritas recipe we learned in Uruguay.

Our favorite Tortas Fritas recipe.

Churros with Dulce de Leche

Churros served with dulce de leche are like doughnouts
Churros served with dulce de leche

Churros with dulce de leche are doughnut-like sweet snacks that are absolutely heavenly!

The churros are dipped in the dulce de leche is a creamy sauce made from milk, sugar and sometimes vanilla. A perfectly sweet combination!

Whilst also popular in Spain, Portugal and throughout Latin America, they are particularly common throughout Uruguay.

Our favorite Churros with Dulce de Leche recipe.

Asado

Chajá

Nobody does barbecues quite like the South Americans! And it goes to show that Asado is one of the national foods of Uruguay.

The head chef doing all the barbecuing is called the Parilla and typically they will cook up ribs, steak, chicken, pork and lamb in a massive meat feast.

Asado cooked meat will then be accompanied by salad, vegetables and of course beer! What’s not to like?

Our favorite Asado recipe.

Pasta Con Salsa Caruso

Pasta con salsa caruso is a dish from Uruguay inspired by Italian cuisine
Pasta Con Salsa Caruso – influenced by Italian cooking

Infused with outstanding Italian influences, Pasta con salsa caruso is a Uruguayan dish of stuffed pasta, ham, mushrooms and a creamy sauce.

Top this dish off with parmesan and you may well think you are in Italy! Allegedly first created to impress Italian opera singer, Enrico Caruso, it is now a fully fledged Uruguayan traditional dish enjoyed throughout the country.

It’s super easy to cook as well, with only a small number of ingredients and equipment required.

Our favorite Pasta Con Salsa Caruso recipe.

Arroz con Leche

Arroz con leche, the rice pudding staple dessert of Uruguay
Uruguay’s rice pudding dessert – Arroz con Leche

Arroz con Leche is a stunning Uruguayan rice pudding dessert. Served cold or warm, it is so homely and comforting, you’ll find yourself hooked on these sweet treats.

It is cooked using cinnamon which gives it a nice light-hearted flavor. Served with a delicious coffee you’ll feel like you’re at your grandma’s house!

Our favorite Arroz con Leche recipe.

Choripán

Choripán is a hot dog like sandwich in Uruguay, made with chorizo
Choripán is a super hot dog – Uruguayan style

Choripán is a grilled chorizo sausage sandwich served with toppings such as onions and tomatoes, served in a baguette bun with a side of chimichurri.

Choripán is also considered to be an Argentinian dish and it is enjoyed elsewhere throughout the continent such as in Chile. Whilst this looks like a super simple dish, it is so filling and tasty due to the smoky chorizo sausage.

Our favorite Choripán recipe.

Chajá

Chajá

Another dessert to add to the list! Chajá is a Uruguayan Meringue that is actually quite exquisite.

Chajá is somewhat of a work of art with sponge, meringue, apricots and whipped cream all combining into a perfect combination of textures.

It’s definitely one to order after a meal when you still have some room left because you’ll want to eat more and more!

Our favorite Chajá recipe.

Empanadas Criollas

Empanadas filled with beef, onions, peppers, olives and garlic
Typical Empanadas filled with beef

Empanadas are not just a Uruguayan dish, they are eaten throughout the world but each country has their own wonderful, delicious take on them!

European countries such as Spain and Portugal eat empanadas, the British love a meat pie, and even Jamaica has their own version, the Jamaican patty. But of course, the Uruguayan version is an absolute favourite.

Super simple to prepare, they are always available at street food and in restaurants throughout Uruguay. Typical Uruguayan Empanadas are pastry baked pockets filled with beef, onions, peppers, olives, garlic and seasonings.

Our favorite Empanadas Criollas recipe.

Farinata

Farinata

Farinata is a kind of flat pancake made using chickpea flour and seasonings of rosemary, pepper and salt.

Cut into triangles, it is ten eaten on its own as a snack because it is quick and simple to prepare.

It is also eaten in Italy where Faranita is stuffed into focaccia bread. (If you haven’t already, I recommend you read our guide to Italian food too!)

Our favorite Farinata recipe.

Milanesa a la Napolitana

Milanesa a la Napolitana, a pizza-like dish inspired by Italian cooking
The Milanesa a la Napolitana is the Uruguayan pizza!

Uruguay’s version of pizza, the Milanesa a la Napolitana!

Of course, the Napolitana refers to Naples so again another Italian-inspired dish. But that’s what makes the food of Uruguay so great!

Milanesa a la Napolitana is basically baked meat, usually beef, covered with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and various different toppings such as onion, peppers and ham.

There are also popular versions where horse meat is used, if that’s what you’re into!

Our favorite Milanesa a la Napolitana recipe.

Empanada Gallega

Empanada Gallega is a tuna filled pastry
Empanada Gallega is a tuna filled pastry

Another version of the empanada, the Empanada Gallega is the same principle but this type is filled with delicious tuna and peppers!

Imported from Galicia in Spain where it is originated, the tuna filling is filled with boiled egg, red pepper, onions and tomato sauce.

Our favorite Empanada Gallega recipe.

Exploring Uruguayan Cuisine

Of course, the best way to really try Uruguayan cuisine is to actually go to Uruguay! Wandering the streets of Montevideo allows you to take in the sights and smells of the food cooking and really experience the culture.

Share on Social: