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Uruguayan cuisine

Asado with achuras (offal) and sausages

Uruguayan cuisine is a fusion of cuisines of several European countries, with a particular emphasis on Mediterranean food from Spain, Italy, Portugal and France. Other possible influences on the cuisine may result from immigration from countries such as Germany and Britain. The food is very similar to Argentine cuisine.

A typical Uruguayan parrillero
Milanesa, fried eggs and frech fries.
milanesa a caballo
Bacalao typically served on Semana Santa (Easter).
A chivito with lettuce, tomato, thin filet steak, bacon, ham, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella cheese, onion, egg, garlic mayonnaise on a non sesame seed bun

The base of the country's diet is meat and animal products, mostly coming from beef but also chicken, lamb, pig and sometimes fish.

Uruguayan gastronomy came from immigration, and did not come from the Amerindians, because the new colonies did not trust the natives.[clarification needed]

The preferred cooking methods for meats and vegetables are still boiling and roasting, but with modernization also came frying (see milanesas and chivitos). Meanwhile, wheat and fruit come mostly fried (torta frita and pasteles), comfited (rapadura and ticholos de banana) and sometimes baked (rosca de chicharrones), which is a new modern style.

Although Uruguay has exuberant flora and fauna, with the exception of yerba mate, the rest of it is mostly still unused.

Uruguayan food always comes with fresh bread;[citation needed] bizcochos and tortas fritas are a must for drinking with mate ('tomar el mate').

Mate is the national drink. The dried leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant (Ilex paraguariensis) are placed in a small cup. Hot water is then poured into a gourd at near-boiling point so as to not burn the herb and spoil the flavor. The drink is sipped through a metal or cane straw, known as a bombilla.

Wine is also a common drink. Other spirits consumed in Uruguay are caña, grappa, lemon-infused grappa, and grappamiel (grappa honey liquour). Grappamiel is very popular in rural areas, and is often consumed in the cold autumn and winter mornings to warm up the body.

Regional fruits as butia and pitanga are commonly used for flavoring caña, along with quinotos and nísperos.

Bushmeat comes from mulitas and carpinchos

Popular sweets are membrillo quince jam and dulce de leche made from carmelized milk.

A sweet paste, dulce de leche, is used to fill cookies, cakes, pancakes, milhojas, and alfajores. The alfajores are shortbread cookies sandwiched together with dulce de leche or a fruit paste. Dulce de leche is used also in flan con dulce de leche.

Spanish influences are very abundant: desserts like churros (cylinders of pastry, usually fried, sometimes filled with dulce de leche), flan, ensaimadas (Catalan sweet bread), and alfajores were all brought from Spain. There are also all kinds of stews known as guisos or estofados, arroces (rice dishes such as paella), and fabada (Asturian bean stew). All of the guisos and traditional pucheros (stews) are also of Spanish origin. Uruguayan preparations of fish, such as dried salt cod (bacalao), calamari, and octopus, originate from the Basque and Galician regions, and also Portugal.

There is Germanic influence in Uruguayan cuisine as well, particularly sweet dishes. The pastries known as bizcochos are Germanic in origin: croissants, known as medialunas, are the most popular of these, and can be found in two varieties: butter- and lard-based. Also German in origin are the Berlinese known as bolas de fraile ("friar's balls"), and the rolls called piononos. The facturas were re-christened with local names given the difficult German phonology, and usually Uruguayanized by the addition of a dulce de leche filling. In addition, dishes like chucrut (sauerkraut) have also made it into mainstream Uruguayan dishes.

Due to its strong Italian tradition, all of the famous Italian pasta dishes are present in Uruguay including ravioli, lasagne, tortellini, fettuccine, and the traditional gnocchi. Although the pasta can be served with many sauces, there is one special sauce that was created by Uruguayans. Caruso sauce is a pasta sauce made from double cream, meat, onions, ham and mushrooms. It is very popular with sorrentinos and agnolotti.

Common dishes

  • Asado: both the tradition of grilling beef over coals (which translates to barbecue in American English), and the dish, tira de asado.
  • Chivito: a sandwich containing steak, ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise.
  • Choripán: a very popular Uruguayan fast food - A grilled chorizo and a crusty bread such as a baguette, usually served with chimichurri sauce.
  • Empanada: a small pie or turnover, most commonly filled with meat, such as ham and cheese.
  • Empanada Gallega: a fish pie, with sauce, onions and bell peppers. Brought by immigrants from Galicia.
  • Fainá: a mix of chickpea flour, salt, water and olive oil, originally called "farinata", cooked like a pizza on a flat tray. Brought by immigrants from Liguria (Italy).
  • Pancho: a typical Uruguayan hot dog - a bun called "pan de Vienna" filled with a "hot dog" with mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise or salsa golf on top.
  • Gnocchi (known as "ñoquis") are traditionally eaten on the 29th day of each month. This was the day before payday, when people were at their poorest. Gnocchi made a cheap and hearty meal. On these occasions, some people leave a coin or a banknote under the plate to attract prosperity.
  • Húngara: very similar to the Frankfurter, but very spicy.
  • Milanesa: a thin breaded cutlet steak. There is a great variety, such as: Milanesa Napolitana, Milanesa Rellena, and Suprema Maryland.
  • Lehmeyun: an Armenian dish, brought by Armenian immigrants.
  • Pascualina: a Swiss chard pie, puff pastry crust on bottom and top, filled with seasoned Swiss chard and eggs. Pascualina is a reference to Pascua (Easter).
  • Pastel de carne: in English: meat pie. Chopped meat, mashed potato, green peppers, olives, and eggs.
  • Russian salad: potatoes, carrots, peas and mayonnaise.

Pizza (locally pronounced pisa or pitsa), has been wholly included into Uruguayan cuisine, and in its Uruguayan form more closely resembles an Italian calzone than it does its Italian ancestor. Typical Uruguayan pizzas include pizza rellena (stuffed pizza), pizza por metro (pizza by the meter), and pizza a la parrilla (grilled pizza). While Uruguayan pizza derives from Neapolitan cuisine, the Uruguayan fugaza (fugazza) comes from the focaccia xeneise (Genoan), but in any case its preparation is different from its Italian counterpart, and the addition of cheese to make the dish (fugaza con queso or fugazzeta) started in Argentina or Uruguay.[citation needed]

Sliced pizza is often served along with fainá, made with chickpea flour and baked like pizza. For example, it is common for pasta to be eaten together with white bread ("French bread"), which is unusual in Italy. This can be explained by the low cost of bread, and that Uruguayan pasta tends to come together with a large amount of tuco sauce (Italian: suco - juice), and accompanied by estofado (stew). Less commonly, pastas are eaten with a sauce of pesto, a green sauce made with basil, or salsa blanca (Béchamel sauce). During the 20th century, people in pizzerias in Montevideo commonly ordered a "combo" of moscato, which is a large glass of a sweet wine called (muscat), plus two stacked pieces (the lower one being pizza and the upper one fainá). Despite both pizza and faina being Italian in origin, they are never served together in Italy.

Polenta comes from Northern Italy and is very common throughout Uruguay. Unlike Italy, this cornmeal is eaten as a main dish, with sauce and melted cheese.


The current roots of Uruguayan cuisine can be traced back to a subsistence economy adopted by gauchos, and sustained on subsistence agriculture implanted by the Spanish and Criollos at the start of European colonization. The native peoples did not stay in one place, and Uruguay was used as a remote port, with few incursions for treasure hunting.

The only permanent establishment at the time was constituted by Franciscan monks that was located in a territory now belonging to Brazil called Misiones, because their mission there was to Christianize the native peoples. The tradition of mate started during this time, with the monks brewing a beverage with the leaves of yerba mate that the Guarani people used to chew.

Cattle was later introduced by Hernando Arias de Saavedra.

The first group of immigrants came from poor families from Buenos Aires and the Canary Islands, along with their empanadas and cocidos. Everything was sold from pulperias that were stores and saloons at the same time.

The asado tradition came with gauchos that lived in the country, descendants of those first families that having no land nor home, made cattle raiding their way of life.

Portuguese and Brazilian influence was also added during Portuguese colonization. Feijoada was incorporated into the rest of the guisos.

Food was rudimentary and based on Spanish tradition until immigration at end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, when the first families came mostly from Italy and Spain. Immigration increased following World War I and World War II, when people from all over Europe and the Middle East came to Uruguay, including people from Germany, Russia, Italy, and Armenia. Such immigration enriched the importation of dishes, as there is now pasta, Russian salad and innumerable types of pastries from France and Germany, resulting in chajá (es) and alfajores.

Butter was not widely used until the 1950s, where beforehand the common fat substance came from cattle and not from milk. The introduction of butter resulted in more refined products.

Uruguayan cuisine has gone through many changes across the ages and it is still happening today. The exportation of meat is making asado less accessible, and the government does not seem to have an interest in protecting the rising price of yerba.

As for everyday food, Milanesas are being replaced for panchos, croquetas are being replaced for pizza, and guiso de lentejas is becoming more common than puchero or feijoada.

Appetizers, entrees and snacks

Matambre relleno with Russian salad

Among Uruguayan cuisine, there is a significant list of preparations and dishes that are included on this category, the most typical or autochthonous is the picada, probably descending from the Spanish tapas, and as for everyday food there are also matambre relleno and lengua a la vinagreta.


Common spirits produced in Uruguay include grappa and caña; grappa is considered an excellent apéritif, and caña is considered a liqueur. Liquors made with caña have good digestive qualities there are mainly consumed as drink and not as aperitifs. apéritifs such as martinis, vermouth, whisky, medio y medio (half and half) and also uvita, sangria and wine are popular.[1]

Medio y medio is a special blend of dry wine and sparkling wine, or sparkling wine and caña (rum). Uvita is a fortified wine with caña that resembles marsala wine.



Picada can be described as the main entrée of a typical asado (barbecue); consumed within aperitives, it is constituted by cheese, olives, longaniza, salami, chips and salted peanuts, peanuts and other snacks are served on small pots and all of the other ingredients are served on a wood table among with slices of bread.

Matambre relleno

Matambre relleno is a common dish in Rio de la plata, so much in Uruguay as in Argentina. It is one of two dishes that are prepared from matambre, a meat cut that is a flank steak. It is prepared as a lunch meat by rolling thin slices over spinach, carrots and boiled eggs, tied up and sewed with a strong string, boiled and later pressed, it is consumed when cold.

Lengua a la vinagreta

Lengua a la vinagreta[2][better source needed] (Spanish for tongue with vinaigrette) is a cold preparation of beef tongue that is previously peeled and boiled and aligned with a vinagreta sauce made with chopped boiled eggs, parsley, garlic, onions, olive oil, and vinegar.[3]

Pescado en escabeche

Escabeche is a preserved method common in Spain and Spanish speaking countries, it consists on a mix of oil and vinegar that is used as a marination that also preserves the food.

Pescado en escabeche (escabeche fish) is a cold dish often made from Argentine hake that is buttered as in pescado a la marinera.

After being separately fried is shortly boiled on a vinaigrette made of oil and vinegar that is added with sliced onions and carrots and whole garlics and black pepper.[4]

Side dishes

Food is mostly eaten with bread, and sometimes rice, salad or chips. Along with asado there are accompaniments chorizo, morcilla, offal, and also stuffed peppers, and papas al plomo (roasted potatoes).


From asado to pasta, Uruguayan cuisine offers a widely variant of sauces, most remarkable are chimichurri, salsa criolla and salsa Carusso.


Spicy sauce commonly added to frankfurters (panchos), hungaras, choripanes and hamburgers. It is common to find on fast food dispensers located at the streets and locally called as 'carritos'. It resembles a hot mustard or mayonnaise.


Sharing the same name as the Spanish mojo, its as simply as a sauce made with garlic, oil, Parsley, Oregano, paprika, water and salt, it is added to asado during its cooking process and optionally on the dish. Mojo differs in chimichurri over that it has water besides vinegar and less paprika


Chimichurri is between a vinaigrette and a pesto variant, made with chopped garlic, oregano, paprika, oil, vinegar and salt. Along with salsa criolla it is the preferred for asado

Salsa criolla

Made with finely chopped tomatoes and onions, oil and salt, salsa criolla[5] is used for garment of asado, choripan and sometimes panchos.[6]

Salsa golf

Invented in Argentina but also consumed in Uruguay it is blend from mayonnaise and ketchup.

Mostaza La pasiva

La Pasiva is a famous chain of restaurants in Uruguay, dedicated at fast food serving or minutas as known in the region, their speciality are panchos and hungaras and also renowned by their chivito. Moustard La pasiva is a white colured hot moustard served on the local along with panchos. It is made with beer, starch, moustard grains, pepper, salt and vinegar. Though it has never been sold apart as a commercial moustard brand, it is sometimes given in small quantities as a present for the client and as seen before its recipe is not totally a secret.

Mostaza La pasiva is also used among other moustards as sauce for puchero meat.

Salsa carusso, estofado and tuco

All of the three are necessary pasta sauces among with other foreign pasta sauces. Salsa Carusso was made in honor of the opera singer Enrico Caruso and became a popular sauce (specially for its main dish 'cappeletis a la Carusso'), estofado is a stewed version of ragu made from steaks and sometimes single eaten, tuco when it has chopped meat resembles a bolognese sauce.

Barbecue and salads


Uruguayan cuisine has adopted if not blended a considerable amount of salads, the most typical of it is the 'ensalada criolla'.

Ensalada criolla

With slights variants it is a common denomination for a family of salads that are wide spread over the southern south cone region, most variants as in the Chilean salad always include onion and lettuce. The variant consumed on Uruguay contains tomato along with lettuce and onion served with a single vinaigrette made of oil, vinegar, salt, garlic and oregano. As it is a basic form of salad, it is idoneus accompaniment for asado.

Ensalada rusa

More similar to the polish sałatka jarzynowa than the typical olivier salad it contains potatoes, carrots, and peas with mayonnaise.

Ensalada de papa y huevo

Potato and egg salad or onion and potato salad or simply potato mayonnaise and parsley.

Ropa vieja

Resembling an old Spanish salpicon, ropa vieja (Spanish for old clothes) intends to include everything that exceeds from asado, mainly the best meat cuts chopped with vegetables such as potatoes or ensalada criolla. Not to be confused with the Cuban ropa vieja that though it is also a derivative dish but resembles more a sancocho than a salad.

Salpicon de ave

Another derivative salpicon, chicken salpicon is made with chicken, eggs, and potatoes.

Palmitos con salsa golf

Simply heart of palm sometimes rolled in ham slices and served with salsa.

Watercress salad

Basically watercress, olive oil and lemon juice.


A typical parrillero with asado chorizos and morcillas

As in English, barbecue asado is called both the tradition of making the meal and the meal itself. The meal and meat cut are also called asado or tira de asado.

In most Uruguayan homes, it is common to find a special grill on the patios called asador, that is a structure made of iron and bricks, wondering in dimensions more asadores have at least two metres for one metre and they are constituted by a chimney, a small bonfire of iron where to place, firewood and a large grill where it goes the meat and where, under it are placed the embers produced by the firewood.

In many towns and cities, there are also street vendors who sell asado. These small barbecue grills are called medio tanque (half barrel), because they are made with on adaptation of a split steel drum. Asado cooked this way is sold often on the street as a snack or light lunch.

Line cooks grilling sausages and other meats in a market near the port of Montevideo, Uruguay.

In the larger cities, such as Montevideo, markets commonly have one or more grill stations where customers can order and eat asado directly at the bar, which may be served with offal, sausages, tapenades, and tapas. It is usually served with lager beer for lunch.

The person who make the meal is called also asador.

Asado is often preceded by apéritives such as vermouth, uvita, and medio y medio, an entree called picada and some chorizos, morcillas, and some offal that done first.


Ingredients of a complete Uruguayan asado include: chorizo, morcilla, pulpon, entraña, tira de asado, cow gizzards, chinchulines, chotos, and kidneys. Poultry may also be included.

Sometimes, specially on festive days, pork, fish, and lamb are consumed as substitute for cow meat, conforming a dish variant.


A parrillero

A typical asado takes from one hour to two hours to be done, and even more if a different kind of meat is going to be barbacued (for example a whole pig takes at least four hours to be ready), further from that the process is pretty simple.

The asador starts the fire in the burner and, once that the fire is started, meat is salted and condimented, condiments may include oregano, garlic, paprika, parsley and mojo, then later first embers are put in place and this is going to be repeated as they keep falling from the burner and then meat is put on the grill, while slowly cooked and smoked on the asador, the rest of the operation is limited just to eat picada and wait and sporadically add mojo (to make the meat flavorous), and of course control the fire.

When all the meat is ready then it is served sided by bread and salads, and served with condiments such as mojo, chimichurri and Uruguayan salsa criolla and beverages such as wine, clerico and sangria.

Variants - Asado con cuero

Though asado barbacue also can be made of other meats than cow, there is still another variant, that mainly from cow meat results peculiar.

Its name is asado con cuero (barbacue with its leather), it is a favourite on rural sides but also very preciated on the capital. Its main essence resides on a different and more complex technique than that employed for making asado and is it that the entire cattle is barbacued at once and even with its leather, though bones are taken apart.

The origin of this practice is remoted to pampa people that omitted the cutting of the cattle and retirement the leather but at the same time discarded the bones. They did this because on this way resulted them easier to just roll all the meat and run without leaving their food in the act.


Typical Uruguayan beverages are mate, caña, uvita, grappamiel and medio y medio (half and half).


Grappa was implanted by Italian immigrants as they kept coming at the immediation of SXIX, then grappamiel and grapa con limon where made in the country from this Italian influence.[7]


Taste for wine[8] also is acquired from mediterranean influence also sangria and clerico, uvita (translated as little grape) is a fortified wine[9] resembling marsala wine.

Medio y medio

Literally meaning half and half, is a drink blend both of parts of caña and sparkling wine and dry wine and sparkling wine. It is sold and fabricated under the trademark Roldos.


A typical Uruguayan mate

Mate is consumed everytime and on every occasion, solely, with tortas fritas or biscochos, it is so important that, the act of drinking mate performs a ritual of friendship between those involved. Even carrying thermos of hot water facilitates that this practice be done on every place, though hot days of summer it still said to be refreshing.

Mate cocido served in a glass

Uruguay is the first global consumer of mate, with a consume of 6.8 kilograms of yerba mate per capita at year passing Argentina for 1.2 kilograms per capita at year.[10]

Yerba mate also is consumed as mate cocido, when is prepared with milk its named mate de leche and when it is added with milk its called mate con leche.

Grapa con limon

Grappa is sold under various trademarks but the most significant one is San Remo, it is distilled and bottled by ANCAP and there was also a try of rescuing its original Italian form by some local cellars, when macerated with lemon it is called grapa con limon.


Caña is an ambar coloured distilled similar to aguardiente made from sugar cane mill, its caramel color is due aging in barrels. It is destilled and bottled under the brand De los 33.[11]


Caña as much as grappa are used to be widely infusioned with herbs and fruits resulting in known traditional combinations such as grappamiel (grappa + honey, honey maceration), grapa con limon (grappa with lemon, lemon maceration), caña con pitanga, caña con butia, and so on, there is a popular bar on Montevideo, called Los yuyos that is famous for serving this varieties.[12]

Stews and puchero

Specially suitable for cold days Uruguayan guisos or stews are highly revitalizing, specially for its puchero, followed by buseca, guiso carrero, guiso de fideos (noodle stew), estofado and feijoada.

Spanish culinary influence is marked over Uruguayan stews, also remarkable the Italian and Portuguese-Brazilian, llast influence obtained under the during Luso-Brazilian invasion.


From Spanish tradition puchero, Uruguayan puchero differs not much from others of the region, it is like a rough soup where dry ingredients are separated from broth after cooked to make two separate preparations, a new soup that is first consumed, and later the soup all the other succulent ingredients are consumed with bread.

A typical puchero may contain all type of cuts with bones, skirt steak, ossobucco, bacon, cabbage, sweet corn, rape, onions, celery, carrot, sweet potato, squash and potatoes.

All these ingredients cut in big pieces are cooked and served, with the broth are made different soups containing small noodles, rice or any cereal of predilection.

It is usual that each commensal make their puree on his dish with all the cooked vegetables that have been served, aligning it with oil if desired, and also to take off the caracu (bone marrow) from the ossobucco bone and spread it over pieced bread.

Moustards of the brand Savora and also La pasiva are used for garnishing puchero meat.


A dish for summer days and popular on rural areas, consisted on broth, noodles and gross slices of meat, chorizo sausage. and tocino bacon boiled together.[13]

It's vegetable composition is reduced due is pretended to not ferment on hot days, so it only has few onions and squash.

Its name comes from verb ensopar (to moist, to soup), participle ensopado (being souped).

Guiso carrero

Sometimes is hard to say what is argentinian and what is Uruguayan (history links people hardly), all that sayable is that guiso carrero is part of, not only cuisine, but, Uruguayan folklore, it is a succulent meal consistent of meat, butterbeans, and noodles.

Popular fonts can asure that it is a delicious straw containing potato, sweet potato, noodles, squash, onion, tomato, beans, and the best meat.

Guiso carrero is served with red wine, bread and grated cheese.

When guiso carrero does not contain noodles is called guiso de porotos, and when it does not have beans is called guiso de fideos or ensopado.


Buseca or also cazuela de mondongo, a dish from the Spanish tradition of sopa de mondongo.

Its main ingredient is the mondongo, that is a tripe from the cow stomach, it is pre cooked, and boiled along meat, chorizo, peachick, tomato and potato.


A dish originating from Portuguese Brazilian influence that takes a bit from the main Rioplatense culture.

Very popular all over Brazil, feijoada also is popular in Uruguay (though not in Argentina). Consumed not only on the northeast but also all along the country, it is a black bean stew that, unlike the Brazilian feijoada, comes with potatoes (besides bananas and fariña), and made with beef more often than pork. It is also common to find chorizo and chorizo Colorado in Uruguayan feijoada.


Bacalao is a dry fish stew made from dried and salted cod, chickpeas, onions, potatoes, tomato sauce and parsley, it is usually consumed on Uruguay over easterns, as it is a Spanish catholic tradition.

Italian style stews

Also very popular on Uruguayan cuisine, ragu styled stews still are very popular, such as albondigas con papas and estofado.

Niños envueltos

Literally meaning wrapped children, a stew consisting of small wraps the length of a human finger. They are made of loin slices that are filled with bacon, spinach and carrots, and later boiled in a tomato sauce and served with peas and boiled potatoes.


Made from poultry or cow meat, it is called estofado de pollo when made with poultry and estofado de carne when it has cow meat. It is a dish that contains meat and chorizo or chicken, stewed in tomato sauce, and sometimes served with a side of boiled potatoes or pasta.

Albondigas con papas

Spanish for meatballs with potatoes, albondigas con papas is a dish made from meatballs boiled in tomato sauce with potatoes and peas.

Albondigas con papas are eaten with cheese and parsley.


Minuta is the denomination for Río de la Plata's fast food, though that more than real fast food, the term mostly refers to the main ingredients of what would be fast food such as in America would be sausages to hot dogs.

Common sidings can be fried eggs, croquetas, french fries, purée, and salads.

Most notable minutas are milanesas, refuerzos such as choripanes, chivitos and pizza and faina, also bauru is common along the Brazilian border.


A Choripan sandwich

Choripan, Spanish portmanteu for sausage (chorizo) and bread (pan) also called chorizo al pan (sausage on bread), is a sandwich made with barbacued chorizo (that is sliced in half to fit), mayonaise, ketchup, tomato, lettuce, onions, etc.


Hungaras are like panchos, boiled sausages but more spicy and thinner and longer; like panchos also they come served on bread and they are found on the street served as fast food and also sold apart in supermarkets.


Milanesa (from Italian cotoletta alla milanese) is a thin breaded cutlet that can be veal, chicken or fish.


Breading consist on three successive steps that its order defines mostly the character of the milanesa, most of Montevideo's bars and old style restaurants make breading starting with egg so that the latest dip is also egg, this method generated by galician and Spanish barists leaves a coat of egg that turns into a film at frying, it is a curious variation that is often served on those restaurants because the main breading has inverse order and is the type of milanesa that is served everywhere else including homemade milanesas.

Also milanesas are saled on butcher shops on every step previous to frying: slized, tendered or breaded and ready to fry.

Milanesa a la napolitana does not come from Naples.

A typical dish of milanesa is sided with fryed eggs (or "a caballo" -horse riding- when egg garn besides siding), french fries or salad, The way that milanesa is served determinates the name of the dish that can be served "a caballo" or "a la napolitana" (Naples style) or "al pan" (milanesa sandwich).

A milanesa a la napolitana, not original from Naples, consists on a milanesa garned with tomato sauce, ham and mozzarella cheese slices (on that order) that is finally grated.

Milanesa al pan consists of a sandwich made with milanesa, felipe bread (a type of bread roll), tomato slices, lattuce, mayonaise, bacon, ham, cheese and olives, when a milanesa al pan is mayor in size it is cut in half and called milanesa en dos panes (double bread), home made and street versions of this dish are called refuerzo de milanesa and it differs that is made with baguette besides felipe bread.

Postas de pescado a la marinera

Often served on portuary sides of the country, pescado a la marinera battered fish fry that it is commonly served sided with lemon slices.

Battering is made from beer (preferably from brand Patricia), flour and salt.


Hot dogs are referred as panchos, coming in two sizes: cortos (short ones) and largos (longer ones).

La Pasiva is a restaurant chain in Uruguay that specializes in serving panchos and with time, was renowned by its La Pasiva moustard sauce for panchos that comes among every pancho order and also serves local specialities as panchos con panceta (panchos with bacon) and panchos porteños.

  • Panchos con panceta. Grilled frankfurter that is previously wrapped on a spiral with sliced bacon and served on bread.
  • Panchos porteños. frankfurter wrapped with mozzarella cheese and served on bread.


Croquetas are croquettes made with potato and ham, rice and ham, béchamel and ham.


Empanada de pino frita

Empanadas are a kind of pastry that originated on Spain, in Uruguay are more commonly fried, more common varieties are those such as empanadas de carne, filled with ground meat, chopped boiled eggs, garlic and onions, empanadas de carne may be dulces (sweet ones with raisins) or saladas (salty ones because of olives), empanadas de pollo (made with grounded poultry meat), empandas de jamon y choclo or humitas (ham and corn), empanadas de queso y cebolla (onion and cheese), empandas de dulce, or empanadas de membrillo (filled with quince cheese).

Not to confuse empanadas with pasteles that though similar are a kind of bakery.


Buñuelos are fried dough balls of different types, the most common one are buñuelos de acelga, buñuelos de sesos (doughs that contains brain), buñuelos de manzana (apple dough) and buñuelos de banana (banana dough).

Sweet buñuelos are served powdered with cane sugar.

Pizzas, pastas and breads

Brought by Italian tradition and spread all over the world this case is not an exception, far from being it pizza like breads and pasta are part of everyday food since long time ago.


 Uruguayan style pizza is like that of the image, though portions are longitudinally half as such.

Uruguayan style pizza is a taller than Neapolitan pizza and squared, resembling pizza al taglio or sicilian pizza if not the same of one of those, taller pizzas are often called "pizza de cumpleaños" (birthday party pizza) because it is a must be food for such situations.

Pizza can come with lot of ingredients but most common are pizza and pizza-muzzarela


La Farinata di ceci.jpg

Fainás are often served in pizza bars and restaurants from all over the country.

It consist on a thin, round cheakpea flour baked crepe paste than can be ordered as "fainá de orilla" (fainá from border) when is the thinnest part of the border. that is desired or "fainá del medio" (faina from the middle) when it is referred to the taller middle part of a fainá.

Unlike the common use in Italy that fainá is peppered on the plate by the crust, Uruguayan use implies peppering on the plate with white chopped pepper by the other side.

When fainá is served upside a pizza it is called "pizza a caballo" that may be translated as horse-riding pizza.


A figazza is a pizza bread not containing tomato sauce, topped with onions and often also muzzarella.[14] It is probably descended from the Genoese focaccia (where it is known as fügàssa (it)), and it is also consumed in Argentina under the name fugazzeta.

Typical ingredients of a figazza are onions, peppers and olives.

Fideos con tuco

Tuco is an Uruguayan tomato sauce made with chopped meat, tomato sauce, onions, oreganon and garlic, fideos mening noodles.

Tuco can be served with any pasta, fresh or dry, but most common are tallarines con tuco (spaghetti with tuco), ñoquis con tuco (gnocchi), moñitas con tuco (farfalle), ravioles con tuco (ravioli), and canelones con tuco (cannelloni).

Canelones con tuco are covered with bechamel and later covered with tuco.

Fideos con estofado

Estofado and tuco are interchangeable for any of the mentioned noodles though estofado can serve also as a dish by itself when served alone or with potatoes.

Estofado is made by cooking meat pieces in tomato sauce by long coctions.

Capeletis a la Caruso

Macarrones con salsa caruso.jpg

Caruso sauce was invented by chef Raymundo Monti and takes its name from the famous tenor Enrico Caruso. It is a warm sauce that is made of cream, sliced onions, ham, cheese, nuts and mushrooms and is seved with cappelletti.


  • Pan de chicharrones Literally meaning rind bread, also rosca de chicharrones, is a leavened bread made of cow lard and added with small rinds made of cow fat, commonly found on local bakeries among with sweet variations without rinds such as rosca de membrillo, (quince (cheese-filled) bread) and rosca de dulce de leche (dulce de leche (filled) bread).
  • Flauta

Pan flauta (trumpet bread) is an elongated bread that is a variant of Baguette.

  • Tortuga

Pan tortuga it is a small round shaped bread with soft crust, thus itś name tortuga (Spanish for turtle). Felipe

  • Felipe is a hard crusted small bread.

Porteño Porteño is called after the eponym of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires and is similar to Felipe but with a smaller crumb .

  • Marsellés

Marsellés are called after the city of Marseille and resembles a pair of twin Vienna bread with harder crust and covered with maize flour.

  • Pan de sándwich

Pan de sándwich is a soft crumb mold bread specially made for making sandwiches.


There is a wide variety of sandwiches in Uruguay which are locally classified in two types called refuerzo (reinforcement) and sándwich (sandwich) respectively. Sandwiches in Rio de la Plata are particular and different of those from other parts of the world because of the bread with which are made that is pan de sándwich, this type of sandwiches are simply called sándwiches and are commonly sold on local bakeries. Also note that the Spanish distinction between refuerzo and sándwich which is also present in Mexico with torta and sándwich, which differentiates common bread sandwich from others similar to the British train sandwich, is not so pronounced on the Argentinian dialect where difference is simply made by adding de miga (crumby) to the latter. Notable types of refuerzos are chivito, choripán and milanesa al pan.


A complete chivito

Chivito meaning literally small goat is a popular type of sandwich originated in Uruguay, its name comes from an unaccomplished desire from a client that literally wanted a beef of small goat or a chivito, being that goat is not consumed in Uruguay client had to be satisfied anyway with this now popular dish.

Platted chivito with russian salad, ensalada criolla and heart of palm.

Hence a thin slice of filet mignon substituted the beef of small goat, nowadays it is uncertain if bacon, mozzarella, ham, onion, Hard-cooked eggs, tomato slices, mayonaise, olives and bread really complement a goat flavour.

Variants from chivito are, as milanesa en dos panes, chivito en dos panes, chivito canadiense (added with Canadian bacon), chivito canadiense al plato and chivito al plato (platted chivito).

A complete chivito is served with french fries and when is dished is also sided with ensalada rusa and ensalada criolla.



Choripán, Spanish portmanteu for sausage (chorizo) and bread (pan) also called chorizo al pan (sausage on bread), is a sandwich made with barbecued chorizo (that is sliced in half to fit), mayonaise, ketchup, tomato, lettuce, onions, etc.

Sándwich Olímpico

Sándwich Olímpico (Olimpic sandwich) is a very popular sandwich in Uruguay made with three slices of pan de sándwich filled with ham, cheese, olives tomato and lattuce.

Sándwich caliente

Sándwich caliente (hot sandwich) or "tostado" (toasted) as it is called in Argentina is a variant of the croqué monsier made with two slices of pan de sánguche filled ham and cheese and toasted.


Jesuitas are made with two layers of puff pastry filled with ham and cheese and covered with fondant icing.

Confectioneries for mate

Tortas fritas

Tortas fritas (fried cakes) are a simple pastry, typical from Argentina and Uruguay and which has many variants along South America. The recipe for the sopaipilla, from which it descends, is argued to be from what is now Germany but they were introduced to Spain by the Arabs at the times of the invasion.


Specifically Tortas fritas are leaveaned fried thin round breads but the aspects that describes them better is the flourishing with sugar, its distinctive hole in the center and the use of cow fat, both for frying and for making the batter.

  • Within Uruguayan folklore is stated that tortas fritas are better if made and eaten on rainy days.


Assorted bizcochos, a buttery flaky pastry

Uruguayan bizcochos are small pastries different from the Spaniard spounge cake of the same name that in Uruguay is called bizcochuelo.

Bizcochos are consumed with mate, coffee and tea, they are the more common pastry of Uruguay, and commonly sold on local bakeries.

Bizcochos come in various kinds, like corazanes, margaritas and pan con grasa.


Pasteles (pastries) are triangular shaped empanadas that are made from a batter identical to such of tortas fritas with the addition of being puffed using cow fat. As tortas fritas they are also flourished with sugar after fryng. Pasteles are filled only with quince jam or dulce de leche.

  • Tortas fritas and pasteles are commonly sold on streets.


Triple layered alfajores

Alfajores consist of two round sweet spoungy dougs poured together filled with dulce de leche and covered onto two variants: ″chocolate″ and ″nieve″ (snow).

Nieve variant is called due to its white snowy aspect conferred by the meringue covering.

  • Yo-yo: Layered pastry filled with Dulce de Leche and coated with chocolate on the upper half. It is shaped like a yo-yo.



  • Chajá (postre) (es): a dessert with meringue, sponge cake, "Chajá" cream and peaches. It is created by a well known firm in the city of Paysandú.[15]
  • Isla Flotante, made with egg white and sugar, and served with zabaione.
  • Massini: Made of two layers of pionono (a thin sponge cake), filled with whiped cream and topped with caramelized sabayon.
  • Bizcocho borracho: a dessert from Spanish origin, it's a spongy dough dipped with a syrup made of liquor


  • Garrapinyades: a very popular treat, made with peanuts covered with cocoa, vanilla and sugar, resembling whole-nut pralines. It is sold in little bags in the downtown's streets.
  • Damasquitos: Jelly apricot candies, delicacy from the city of Minas.
  • Yemas acarameladas: Egg candy made mainly with egg yolks, vanilla and sugar. It has a spherical shape of about one inch diameter, and covered with a thin layer of hard, transparent, caramelized sugar coating.
  • Zapallo en almíbar: Squash in syrup.


  • Churros: came from Spain, and are just like those, except some have fillings, like custard cream or Dulce de Leche.

Custards and ice creams

Homemade oven steamed Crème caramel
  • Dulce de leche: a sweet treat made of milk and sugar. It is used in many Uruguayan desserts.
  • Dulce de membrillo: a sweet quince jelly-like preserve.
  • Budín inglés: in English: "English pudding". A pudding with fruits and nuts, very popular in Christmas and New Year's Eve.
  • Flan: a kind of rich custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top. as opposed to crème brûlée,
  • Martín Fierro: a slice of cheese and a slice of quince preserve (dulce de membrillo).
  • Ricardito: Also as popular, this is a cream filled treat, covered with chocolate on a waffle base. It has different variants and it is sold in most kiosks in individual boxes.


  • Pastafrola: an exquisite pie made of quince paste (dulce de membrillo).

See also


  1. ^ Ferreira, Diego; Larronda, Antonio (23 August 2013). "Cócteles y mezclas retan a las bebidas tradicionales". (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Buster's friend. "Uruguayan Beef Tongue Vinaigrette (Lengua a La Vinagreta)". Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Lengua a la vinagreta". (in Spanish). Montevideo gastronómico. Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Drozd, Olga (4 February 2011). "Uruguay — Pickled Fried Fish — Escabeche De Pescado Frito". Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "Salsa criolla". (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "montevideo gastronomico. Salsa criolla - Montevideo Portal -". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-02-27. 
  7. ^ "Top 5: grapas nacionales". (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Uruguay ocupa el 12° lugar en consumo de vino a nivel mundial". Retrieved 2015-09-24. 
  9. ^ Lanzamiento (4 March 2013). "La Uvita del Baar Fun-Fun fue lanzada al consumo masivo". (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Uruguay es el país con mayor consumo de yerba del mundo". (in Spanish). 15 June 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "CABA S.A." Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "Historia del Bar "LOS YUYOS"". (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  13. ^ Maglione, Alejandro (15 June 2009). "Cocina "uruguaya": ¿Existe? (primera parte)". (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  14. ^ "Receta de figazza". (in Spanish). 16 July 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Products - :: Postre Chajá - Confitería Las Familias:: Postre Chajá". (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 May 2017. 

External links

Media related to Cuisine of Uruguay at Wikimedia Commons