You are here: > City info > Catalonian recipes > Tapas recipes

Lots of delicious tapas recipes

Here you will find lots of tapas recipes from Catalonia and throughout Spain

Tapas used to be served as a snack before the main course. Today they are a self-contained part of the Catalonian way of life. In Barcelona you will find lots of tapas bars where you can enjoy a drink and try the different tapas. Eating tapas has evolved to asocial event, just like eating fondue or raclette have. The tapas dishes are eaten in a relaxed atmosphere of a group of people.

While there are typical Catalonian tapas recipes, you will find tapas from all over Spain in Barcelona's many tapas bars..

Origins of Tapas

There are several legends about the origin of tapas. One of them refers to the origin of the word stem "tapa," which literally means lid, and comes from "tapar"(cover). In the Andalusian taverns, the guests used bread or cheese slices as a cover for their sherry glasses to protect the precious contents from flies and other insects. This then supposedly developed into the small appetizers.

Another legend says that in the 13th Century, the Castilian king Alfonso X spent several days in bed in order to recover from an illness. On the advice of his physician, he drank wine and only ate small bites. Because his recovery was so good, the king ordered the innkeepers to always serve some food with wine.

The third theory eventually leads to very practical reasons: In the hot climate usually you don't want to eat something heavy next to your drink, but only something small. That's how tapas evolved, as a small something next to the drink, when you don't want to eat a lot because it's so hot outside.

No one knows which theory is right. There's probably a little bit of truth in all of them ...

Tapas as a way of life

The influence of different cultures on the tapas recipes dates back to Roman times. Later the Moors had a strong impact on Spanish cooking. The tapas culture remains alive to this day, no matter if it's the French Nouvelle Cuisine, which influenced the Basques in the postwar period, or the Japanese culture today with its sushi dishes. Tapas are very international and evolve constantly. The many regional facets always come in addition: a large number of tapas are only available in certain regions with ingredients that are only found there.

Tapas are long since an indispensible part of the Spanish and Catalonian lifestyles. For a long time bars only had one or two tapas on the menu, which today is still traditionally written with chalk on slates. The tapeo, the convivial tour of a tapas bar hopping, soon developed. If you would like to take such a tour of the best tapas bars in Barcelona, you can book a Tapeo with us. Fortunately, hardly anyone gets really drunk – the small snacks and the moving in between bars help in this regard.

The menus have been getting longer over time. An almost logical consequence is that tapas portions have become larger, which are then referred to as raciones. The socializing has become more and more important: The consumption of tapas is a social event; a meeting where you sit for hours together and enjoy the variety of tapas.

Tips for making tapas

You can make a simple tapa if you put a few olives on the table, or cut a good cheese into small cubes and skewer them with toothpicks. Everything that can be served in small bite-sized portions is suitable for tapas - your imagination knows no bounds, there are no fixed rules for what can make up a tapa.

If you only want to serve one or two tapas as appetizers, the tapas preparation is quite simple. Note the specified cooking times and set up the ingredients in advance. Tapas served cold are also ideal as an appetizer: you can prepare them early and then have enough time for the main course.

If you would like to set up a tapas buffet, prepare those tapas that need to be marinated longer the day before. Do all the steps of preparation early on, and prepare the same ingredients for several tapas recipes (e.g. peeling garlic) at the same time. Start with the cold tapas, and take advantage of the time while ingredients are marinating for other preparation.

A tapas buffet with 10 courses or more is a real challenge for the organization of your kitchen. Let us help you - it's easier and more fun!

Some tapas can be bought ready-made. For example, ready-made stuffed olives are very tasty - and you gain time to prepare your other tapas dishes.

Drinks with Tapas

Actually, yes it should be called "Tapas with Drinks", as the original tapas snacks were served at the bar with a drink. However one may see it: a tapas meal fits perfectly with a glass of wine, dry sherry (Fino) - the tapas drink par excellence - or more often a glass of beer. If you prefer a non-alcoholic drink, plain water works best. The Catalans and Spaniards in general prefer non-carbonated water.

In general, the choice of the drink also varies regionally, for example drinking cider is common in the Basque Country, in Catalonia white and rosé wines can often be found next to red wine, in central Spain, red wine is more usual.

Tapas Recipes

Patatas Bravas - Potato wedges with spicy-hot sauce

Patatas Bravas - Potato wedges with spicy-hot sauce

The Patatas Bravas can't be missing on the menue of bars and restaurants. However the Batatas Bravas is not always a culinary delectation: quite a few gourmet temples produce something fatty and indefinable and call it Patatas Bravas. In contrary to that, some run down bars surprise with a real culinary delight: nice and crispy, with a homemade ailoli and a spicy sauce.

More information...

Baguette with tomato and serrano ham

Baguette with tomato and serrano ham - A tapas classic and ideal as a snack

You can actually eat Baguette with Serrano ham at any time. You should not make too many of them for a tapas buffet; otherwise your guests will already be full. Preparation time: 20 minutes.

More information...

Tapa recipe stuffed olives

Stuffed olives - Traditional side dish for tapas and other menus

Olives, plain or filled with various pastes as a snack should not be missing from any buffet. They should be served cold. Preparation time: 30 minutes, depending on the filling, rest time: about 12 hours.

More information...

Aioli - Mayonnaise dip for meat and salad

Aioli - Mayonnaise dip for meat and salad

This aioli recipe that has little in common with the snow-white mixture that is pressed from the tube as mayonnaise. And you can smell of it for at least three days afterwards.

More information...

Prunes and dates wrapped in bacon

Prunes and dates wrapped in bacon - Delicious contrast of sweet and savoury

This tapa is designed to suit the tastes of the Catalans, first only salty and savory, then pretty sweet. Plums and dates wrapped in bacon are easy to prepare and offer a taste experience full of contradictions.

More information...

Tapa recipe marinated peppers

Marinated peppers - Tasty vegetarian tapas

The bright and beautiful Catalonian national colors are presented with these tapas: marinated yellow and red peppers. Preparation time: 30 minutes.

More information...

Tapa recipe chorizo with mushrooms

Chorizo with mushrooms - Typical and popular tapa cooked in sherry

This tapa is cooked with chorizo, a paprika salami derived mostly from the black Iberian Cerdo pig, along with fresh mushrooms in sherry. Serve warm. Preparation time: 30 minutes.

More information...

Recipe Boles de Picolat

Boles de Picolat - meatballs with tomato sauce

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce - a classic tapas dish, is a staple of any tapas menu. Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes.

More information...

Chicken breast in sherry sauce

Chicken breast in sherry sauce - An easy to make Andalucian tapa

This tapas recipe comes originally from Andalusia. The chicken breasts are cooked quickly and easily in sherry sauce. Serve with a dry sherry. Preparation time: 40 minutes.

More information...

Recipe pearl onions in sherry vinegar

Pearl onions in sherry vinegar

This tapas dish is also great as a side dish with boiled or grilled meat and game meat dishes. Served cool. Preparation time: 30 minutes plus 30 minutes braising time.

More information...

Recipe flambéed chorizo and chicken

Flambéed chorizo and chicken - Tapa with spectacular preparation

Flamed chorizo (paprika sausage from the Iberian pig) is a very tasty tapa. If you directly flambé at the table it's a spectacle. Tastes good with chicken. Preparation time: 15 minutes, cooking time: about 20 minutes.

More information...

Tapa recipe moorish kebabs

Moorish kebabs - Marinated meat seasoned with cumin

Moorish kebabs should be on every tapas menu. The origin of these Moorish tapas is revealed through the cumin, which gives the meat a unique spicy flavor. Preparation time: 30 minutes. Marinate for 1 hour.

More information...

Recipe marinated fish kebabs with olive and almond sauce

Marinated fish kebabs with olive and almond sauce

The fish kebabs marinated with olive and almond sauce are not only delicious but also quite simple to make and also very healthy. Preparation time: 30 minutes, 1 hour marinating.

More information...

Tapa recipe shrimp in garlic oil

Shrimp in garlic oil - Healthy and easy to make tapas

This tapa is cooked very quickly and with little effort. The abundant use of garlic is very healthy. Preparation time: 15-20 minutes.

More information...

Tapa recipe stuffed mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms - This tapa is served warm

Stuffed mushrooms are a very tasty tapa that are served warm. Preparation time: 45 minutes including cooking time.

More information...

Tapa recipe chicken croquettes

Chicken croquettes - The preparation of this tapa is a little more complex

It is a complex recipe, in return you will get to eat a not so ordinary Tapa - it is worth the time for sure. Preparationtime: approx. 45 minutes and 30 minutes rest time for the dough.

More information...

Book here a tapas class or a tapas guided tour


Tips for tapas cuisine

Supplies that you should have at hand for your tapas kitchen

  • Sherry
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Olives in glass (deseeded, filled)
  • Spices: salt, pepper (mill), cayenne pepper, ground cumin
  • Garlic
  • Flour
  • Olive oil
  • Chorizo
  • Beer, wine (red / white)
  • Toothpicks as skewers
  • Wooden skewers
  • Table decorations, e.g. tablecloth, napkins, candles, etc.

Please refer to each specific recipe for more ingredients.

Creativity is important

There is no rule about how a Tapa has to be. Every year competitions in between the Tapas bars take place in Barcelona. A lot of exceptional Tapa creations appear every year.
So allow your own creativity full bent. Our recipes are only supposed to be suggestions.