Fruit and Desserts

Information on popular desserts and fruits in Costa Rica...


Sugar is used a lot in Costa Rican cooking and common desserts include rice pudding (arroz con leche), meringues (suspiros), orange pound cake (queque seco) and tres leches, a three layered custard flan which is the national dessert. Other popular choices include dulce de leche, a sugar and boiled milk syrup, torta chilena, a cake filled with dulce de leche and cono capuchino a chocolate topped ice cream cone.


Fresh fruit is in abundance in Costa Rica, it is either eaten raw or as an iced drink known as a refresco. Some of the more familiar fruits eaten in Costa Rica include mango, pineapple, papaya, melons, lemons, blackberries guava, passion fruit and avocados. There are also a number of less familiar fruits:

  • Starfruit (carambola) is a juicy and sweet yellow-green fruit
  • Marañon is the fruit of the tree that seeds the cashew nut. While its skin is bitter the flesh is sweet and it is a popular fruit
  • Guanábanas are large green fruits with a fibrous white flesh that is often made into a juice
  • Zapotes look like large brown avocados but are very sweet and have a bright orange pulp
  • Green coconuts (pipas) are very popular in Costa Rica. The top is removed and the milk drunk with a straw
  • Pejibaye is related to coconut and has a thick fibrous flesh, which tastes similar to pumpkin or chestnut. They are usually eaten after being boiled and peeled
  • Palmito is the inner core of a species of palm tree and is a luxury cocktail ingredient
  • Tamarindo is the fruit of the tamarind tree; it has a slightly tart flavor