Traditional Costa Rican desserts are known for their natural ingredients. They are part of Costa Rican culture. In fact, Costa Ricans love to eat desserts after a meal. There is a great variety of sweet desserts found within the country’s gastronomy. Some of them are made with typical ingredients such as corn and rice, while others are more modern and use different flavors.

Within the traditional cuisine we find the following desserts:

Flan de Coco

Although its origin is not Costa Rican, in Costa Rica it is easy to find the version with grated coconut. It is made with very simple ingredients: milk, eggs, sugar and grated coconut. It can be found in supermarkets, sodas, restaurants and every home has its own recipe!

Arroz con leche

Since ancient times, it was believed that when rice was cooked with other ingredients, it acquired a good flavor. Thus, in each country or region, the recipe had particular characteristics, depending on the type of milk, rice and spices or condiments added. Rice pudding is a typical dessert that you can find in Costa Rica because of its easy preparation. It’s made with rice, condensed milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon and cloves. You can also make it with vanilla and even add raisins. On the other hand, it always appears in family parties or in the communities’ shifts.


Chiverre Empanadas

It is perhaps the most traditional pastry, since it is made during Easter, but it is also consumed throughout the year. The chiverre is a type of pumpkin, with a rind of light green, when ready, and white pulp.

It is cultivated in the high regions of Costa Rica, such as Zarcero, San Carlos, Tierra Blanca and El Empalme. The important part of this dessert is the preparation of the chiverre honey. To prepare the honey, place in a pot the sweet or panela with a little water and then add the cloves and cinnamon. When this mixture is ready, add the dried and cut chiverre. The honey will be ready when the chiverre strands have taken the color of the candy.


One of the legacies left by the indigenous ancestors were corn-based recipes. Chorreadas are tender corn tortillas, seasoned and prepared on a comal. They are usually accompanied with custard or cream cheese. They have a sweet flavor and a soft texture, perfect for the afternoon coffee.

Coconut Cajetas

This name arises in the country thanks to the custom that the settlers had of storing the candy in wooden boxes. Its preparation begins by melting the panela, and then adding coconut, lemon leaves and cloves. A very simple recipe with few ingredients that portrays the simplicity of Costa Rican cuisine.

In Brief: Traditional Desserts from Costa Rica

  • Costa Rican desserts are known for their natural ingredients.
  • These portray the simplicity of Costa Rican cuisine.
  • Made with typical ingredients such as corn, coconut and rice


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