This tapas recipe collection has something for everyone from fried potatoes to spicy seafood and delicious desserts, this list will rival even the best tapas bar!
Scroll Down for the Easy Tapas Recipes ⬇
What I’m sharing with you guys today is my favorite way to entertain. Simple Spanish tapas dishes, some good wine, and a handful of great friends.
Spanish tapas dishes are perfect for easy entertaining. Everyone can have just enough of everything to enjoy throughout the evening without the need for a big sit-down meal. When I entertain, I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen; I want to be laughing and enjoying the time with my guests.
I typically throw together two to three dishes that couldn’t be simpler (no, really): Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp with Garlic), Patatas Bravas (Fried Potatoes with Tomato Sauce or Aioli) and depending on the weather, Gazpacho (Spanish cold tomato soup). All have minimal ingredients, come together quickly and are still delicious at room temperature.
What are Spanish Tapas?
Spanish tapas, pronounced taa·puhz, “tapa” means snack, cover, top or lid in Spanish. Tapas, or tapa if we are talking about one, can be described as small plates or dishes, or basically a smaller portion or snack-size of any dish.
Some describe tapas as similar to appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, starters, or mezze but those are served before the main course of a meal. Tapas can be eaten as a snack or many small plates can be grazed upon as an entire meal. Tapas can include small plates of appetizers, soups & salads, main course meals and desserts.
Tapas can be hot or cold dishes and can include practically anything. Here are popular tapas:
- Albondigas (Spanish meatballs)
- Calamari or Chopitos (fried squid)
- Cheese and charcuterie
- Croquetas (croquettes)
- Escalivada (roasted vegetables)
- Pinchos/Pintxos (slices of bread with different toppings)
- Tortilla Espanola (potatoes and eggs)
What to Drink with Tapas
I always like to pair beer or wine with tapas. Margaritas and tequila are a great choice too, but you don’t have to order an alcoholic beverage to enjoy tapas.
Tapas & Wine
What’s great about tapas and wine is that there’s such an array of flavors that almost any wine will match with any of these recipes.
To make better wine pairings, start out with lighter foods and lighter wines and then build up to heavier foods and meats with fuller-bodied wines.
- Sangria – Refreshing and fruity, make a pitcher of red wine sangria and white wine sangria.
- Cava – Spain’s sparkling wine with aromas of tropical fruit and citrus.
- Spanish Rosada – A darker, fruitier, and fuller rosé wine that has a foot in both red and white wine.
- Albariño – A white wine with fruit flavors of lemon, grapefruit, and nectarine and makes a great pairing with seafood dishes.
- Tempranillo – A red wine and the most famous red variety in Spain. Look for wines labeled Joven or Crianza for more fruit flavors and less oak.
- Mencia – A red wine that is aromatic and much lighter in body.
- Garnacha (Grenache)– A Spanish red wine with berry flavors of bright strawberries and raspberries and notes of white pepper.
- Riojas – A less expensive wine that is full-bodied, with high tannins and rich flavors of dark berries, plums, and herbs. This one is so popular with tapas that there are even Rioja Wine & Tapas Festivals throughout the U.S.
For American wines try a rosé, a well-chilled sherry or Fino, champagne, chardonnay or Syrah. Tempranillo is most like a Cabernet Sauvignon and Mencia wines are similar to a Pinot Noir.
Tapas & Beer
Spain is better known for its wine than its beer but tapas and beer are two tastes that match really well. Beer does a great job of cleansing and refreshing Many tapas are at the saltier end of the spectrum, and beer is absolutely perfect to go along with that.
A fun way to enjoy tapas and beer is by matching Spanish beers with the same region they originated from.
Similar to wine, start out with lighter foods and lighter, fruitier beer and then build up to heavier foods and meats with fuller-bodied beers.
Tapas & Beer Pairings
- Sours: Cheeses and charcuterie
- Light lagers: Seafood, salads, spicy tapas
- Wheat beers: Scallops, shrimp
- India pale ales (IPAs): Sausages, spicy, salty, heat-charred, smoky, or aromatic plates, sweet desserts
- Amber ales: Paella, aromatic, spicy and smoked meats
- Dark lagers: Smoked or caramelized dishes
- Brown ales: Pork, smoked sausage and hearty dishes
- Porters: Smoked meats, especially bacon, coffee, and soft, creamy cheeses
- Stouts: Nuttiness and braised, caramelized integrity of dishes, chocolate, coffee, oysters
Spanish Beers to Pair with Tapas
- Mahou Cinco Estrella (Madrid) – A blonde beer with a light taste
- La Virgin (Madrid) – A full-bodied fruity taste
- Estrella Damm (Barcelona) – A rich, malty taste
- Estrella Galicia Especial – A balance of pilsen and roasted malts
- Moritz (Barcelona) – A pale pilsner made with mineral water
- Ambar Especial Lager (Zaragoza) – A signature bright amber color with soft, balanced, refreshing taste
- Cruz Campo (Seville) – Their pilsner lager is the most popular but there are several types
What tapas recipes have you made? Share in the comment section (feel free to link to your favorites)!