Puerto Rican staples: Yuca, green plantains and sweet plantains

Yuca, green plantains and sweet plantains. Here is everything you need to know about these three staples of Puerto Rican cuisine.

Read: ¡Qué rico!: 9 classic Puerto Rican dishes


Yuca, also known as cassava, is the root of the cassava plant. This close relative of the potato and the yam has a rough, bark-like skin that must be peeled before eating. Its starchy, potato-like flesh is white or cream in color, grainy in texture and mild in flavor.

In the United States, yuca root is used to make tapioca. In Puerto Rico, boiled yuca is marinated in an escabeche sauce and served as a side dish. It is also often fried and enjoyed as an appetizer or a snack along with cilantro-garlic aioli for dipping.

Yuca was the main crop of the island's indigenous Taíno tribe.

Green plantains

Green plantains are unripe plantains. They are starchy, dense and not sweet. They are are often boiled and eaten as a side dish or fried into tostones, mofongo, pasteles, alcapurrias or chips. Click here to read more than about those dishes.

Sweet plantains

Sweet plantains are overripe plantains. They are sweet and soft. They are typically fried and enjoyed as a side dish, or they can serve as a component in a dish such as pastelón, piononos or trifongo. Click here to read more than about those dishes.

Photo courtesy of Valisa Bakery.