Guanimos Recipe

Looking for an authentic Puerto Rican dish to try? Check out this delicious recipe for guanimos, made with grated yuca and a savory meat filling. Our step-by-step instructions and helpful tips will guide you through the process of making these mouth-watering treats, perfect for any occasion. Give guanimos a try and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills!



  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican
  • Category: Appetizer, Side dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 8 guanimos
  • Calories: 260 calories

About this recipe

Guanimos are a traditional Puerto Rican dish that are similar to tamales, but made with yuca instead of corn. They're typically served as an appetizer or side dish, and they're a great way to add some Caribbean flavor to your meal.

To make guanimos, you start by grating yuca and mixing it with achiote oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. You then add some broth to the mixture to help bind everything together.

Once you have your yuca mixture, you spoon a dollop onto a piece of aluminum foil and add some cooked and shredded meat on top. You then fold the aluminum foil to create a rectangular package, and steam the guanimos for 45-60 minutes until they're cooked through.

The result is a tasty and hearty snack that's perfect for any occasion. The yuca adds a nice texture and flavor to the dish, and the meat adds some protein and flavor as well. You can serve guanimos with a side of salsa or hot sauce to add even more flavor.

One of the great things about guanimos is that they're easy to customize based on your preferences. You can use pork, chicken, or beef for the filling, and you can adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Plus, they're a great way to introduce yourself to Puerto Rican cuisine if you've never tried it before.

So if you're looking for a new appetizer or side dish to try, I'd definitely recommend giving guanimos a shot!

Recipe origin and background

The origin of guanimos can be traced back to the indigenous Taino people of the Caribbean.

The Tainos were known to make a similar dish called "guanime" using cornmeal, which was then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. When the Spanish arrived in Puerto Rico in the 16th century, they introduced yuca, which became a staple food in the Caribbean.

Over time, the recipe for guanime evolved to use yuca instead of cornmeal, and the dish became known as guanimos.

Today, guanimos is a popular traditional Puerto Rican dish that is typically served during the holiday season or special occasions. The dish has also spread to other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, with variations in the seasoning and filling depending on the region.

Guanimos are often enjoyed with a side of hot sauce or salsa, and they're a great way to experience the rich and diverse flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine.

Why try this Guanimos recipe?

There are several reasons why you should give guanimos a try!

First, guanimos are a unique and flavorful dish that are sure to impress your taste buds. The combination of the slightly sweet and nutty yuca mixture and the savory meat filling creates a delicious and satisfying flavor that is both comforting and exotic. If you enjoy Caribbean flavors or are looking to try something new, guanimos are a great option.

Second, guanimos are a great way to introduce yourself to Puerto Rican cuisine. Puerto Rican food is known for its rich and diverse flavors, and guanimos are a classic dish that can give you a taste of this vibrant culinary tradition. Plus, because guanimos are typically served during the holiday season or special occasions, they have a special cultural significance that can make your dining experience even more meaningful.

Finally, guanimos are a relatively easy dish to make, and they're a great option if you're looking to expand your cooking skills. Although the process of making guanimos involves a few steps, the ingredients are simple and easy to find, and the end result is well worth the effort.

What does Guanimos taste like?

Guanimos have a unique flavor that is a combination of the slightly sweet and nutty taste of yuca and the savory taste of the meat filling.

The yuca mixture is seasoned with achiote oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper, which gives it a slightly spicy and earthy flavor. The meat filling, which is typically made with pork or chicken that has been cooked and shredded, adds richness and depth to the dish.

The texture of guanimos is also unique. The yuca mixture is grated and then steamed, which gives it a slightly chewy texture that is similar to a tamale. The meat filling is tender and moist, and it pairs well with the yuca mixture.

Guanimos have a delicious and satisfying flavor that is both comforting and exotic. If you enjoy Caribbean flavors, you'll love the taste of guanimos!

What is in Guanimos?

Here are the ingredients you'll need to make guanimos, along with some brief information about each one:

  • Yuca: Yuca (also known as cassava) is a starchy root vegetable that is a staple food in many parts of the world, including the Caribbean. Yuca is grated and mixed with seasonings to form the base of the guanimo.
  • Achiote oil: Achiote oil is a flavorful oil made by infusing annatto seeds (also known as achiote seeds) in oil. It is a common ingredient in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine and is used to give the guanimo mixture a bright yellow color and a slightly nutty flavor.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a pungent and flavorful herb that is used to add depth of flavor to the guanimo mixture.
  • Oregano: Oregano is a fragrant herb that is commonly used in Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine. It adds a slightly floral and earthy flavor to the guanimo mixture.
  • Salt and black pepper: These seasonings are used to enhance the flavor of the guanimo mixture.
  • Broth: Broth is added to the guanimo mixture to help bind everything together and create a moist texture. Chicken or vegetable broth can be used.
  • Cooked and shredded meat: The meat filling for the guanimo can be made with a variety of meats, including pork, chicken, or beef. The meat is cooked and shredded before being added to the guanimo.

Equipment required for this recipe

  • Large pot with steamer insert: You'll need a large pot with a steamer insert to steam the guanimos. If you don't have a steamer insert, you can use a colander or a metal strainer that fits inside the pot.
  • Grater: You'll need a grater to grate the yuca. If you don't have a grater, you can use a food processor with a grating attachment.
  • Mixing bowl: You'll need a mixing bowl to mix the guanimo ingredients together. Any size mixing bowl will do.
  • Aluminum foil: You'll need aluminum foil to wrap the guanimo mixture and meat filling before steaming. If you don't have aluminum foil, you can use parchment paper or banana leaves.
  • Cutting board and knife: You'll need a cutting board and knife to prepare the meat filling. Any cutting board and knife will do.
  • Blender (optional): If you're making your own achiote oil, you'll need a blender to blend the annatto seeds and oil together. If you don't have a blender, you can use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

How to make Guanimos

Learn how to make authentic Puerto Rican guanimos with our easy-to-follow recipe. Yuca and savory meat filling wrapped in banana leaves. Delicious!


  • 2 lbs of yuca (also known as cassava)
  • 1/2 cup of achiote oil (you can find this at a Latin American grocery store)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound of pork shoulder or chicken breast, cooked and shredded


  1. Start by peeling and grating the yuca. You can use a food processor or a grater to do this. Then, place the grated yuca in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the achiote oil, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, and dried oregano. Add this mixture to the grated yuca and mix everything together.
  3. Gradually add the broth to the mixture, stirring until everything is well combined.
  4. To assemble the guanimos, place a heaping tablespoon of the yuca mixture in the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Add a small amount of the shredded meat on top of the yuca mixture.
  5. Fold the aluminum foil over the filling to create a rectangular package. Fold the ends of the foil over the package to seal it.
  6. Place the guanimos in a large pot with enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and let the guanimos steam for 45-60 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
  7. Once the guanimos are cooked, remove them from the pot and let them cool for a few minutes before unwrapping them from the aluminum foil.
  8. Serve the guanimos warm with a side of salsa or hot sauce.

How to serve Guanimos

Once you've made the guanimos, here are the steps to serve it:

  1. Remove the guanimos from the steamer and let them cool slightly.
  2. Unwrap the guanimos from the aluminum foil or other wrapping.
  3. Serve the guanimos hot, either as a main dish or as a side dish.
  4. If serving as a main dish, you can accompany the guanimos with a variety of side dishes such as rice and beans, salad, or plantains.
  5. If serving as a side dish, guanimos are often served alongside roasted meats such as pork or chicken, or with other traditional Puerto Rican dishes.
  6. Enjoy your delicious homemade guanimos!

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 698 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Guanimos, Guanimos Recipe, Recipe, Guanimes, Top rated

What to serve Guanimos with

Guanimos can be served as a main dish or as a side dish, and they pair well with a variety of other Puerto Rican dishes and side dishes. Here are a few suggestions for what to serve with guanimos:

  1. Roasted pork: Roasted pork is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that pairs well with guanimos. The juicy and flavorful pork goes well with the starchy guanimos, and together they make for a satisfying and filling meal.
  2. Rice and beans: Rice and beans are another staple in Puerto Rican cuisine and are a perfect side dish for guanimos. The combination of rice, beans, and guanimos creates a balanced and nutritious meal.
  3. Avocado salad: An avocado salad makes a refreshing and healthy side dish to accompany the rich and hearty guanimos. Simply chop up some fresh avocado, tomatoes, and onions, and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and lime juice.
  4. Fried plantains: Fried plantains, also known as tostones, are a crispy and delicious side dish that can be served alongside guanimos. They add a crunchy texture and a sweet and savory flavor that complements the guanimos well.

My recommendations and tips

  • Use fresh ingredients: Fresh ingredients will yield the best-tasting guanimos. Make sure to use fresh yuca, annatto seeds, and other ingredients for the best results.
  • Grate the yuca finely: The texture of the guanimos is important, so make sure to grate the yuca finely. This will help the mixture hold together and ensure that the guanimos have a smooth, uniform texture.
  • Season the meat filling well: The meat filling is an important part of the guanimo, so make sure to season it well with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like.
  • Don't overfill the guanimos: When adding the meat filling to the guanimos, be careful not to overfill them. If they are overstuffed, they may fall apart or not cook evenly.
  • Wrap the guanimos tightly: It's important to wrap the guanimos tightly in aluminum foil or other wrapping to ensure that they steam evenly and hold their shape.
  • Steam the guanimos for the full amount of time: Guanimos need to be steamed for about an hour to fully cook and develop their flavor. Be patient and don't rush the cooking process.
  • Experiment with different fillings and seasonings: While traditional guanimos are filled with meat, you can experiment with different fillings and seasonings to make the recipe your own. Try adding vegetables, cheese, or other ingredients to the mixture to create your own unique version of guanimos.

How to store Guanimos

If you have leftover guanimos or want to store them for later, here's how to properly store them:

  • Allow the guanimos to cool completely before storing them. If you store them while they're still warm, they may become soggy.
  • Wrap the guanimos tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out.
  • Place the wrapped guanimos in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
  • Store the guanimos in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To reheat the guanimos, steam them in a steamer basket for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat them in the oven by preheating to 350°F (175°C), wrapping the guanimos in aluminum foil, and baking them for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
  • Once reheated, the guanimos are ready to serve.

It's important to note that guanimos are best enjoyed fresh and may lose some of their texture and flavor when stored. If you want to enjoy the best possible guanimos, it's best to make them fresh and consume them right away.

Potential ingredients substitutes

  • Yuca substitute: If you cannot find fresh yuca, you can use frozen grated yuca or yuca flour as a substitute. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor may differ slightly from using fresh yuca.
  • Annatto seed substitute: If you cannot find annatto seeds, you can use paprika or turmeric powder as a substitute. While the color may be slightly different, the flavor will still be similar.
  • Pork substitute: If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan option, you can substitute the pork filling with cooked beans, tofu, or vegetables such as mushrooms or bell peppers.
  • Banana leaves substitute: If you cannot find banana leaves, you can use parchment paper or aluminum foil to wrap the guanimos. However, keep in mind that the banana leaves give the guanimos a unique flavor and aroma.
  • Salt substitute: If you are looking to reduce your sodium intake, you can use low-sodium soy sauce or other low-sodium seasoning blends as a substitute for salt.

More Helpful Info

  • Be sure to clean and peel the yuca properly to remove any tough outer skin or woody parts. This will ensure that the guanimos have a smooth and tender texture.
  • To make the filling, you can use other types of meat such as chicken, beef, or even seafood, depending on your preferences.
  • If you do not have a mortar and pestle to grind the annatto seeds, you can use a spice grinder or a blender to achieve a similar texture.
  • When wrapping the guanimos, be sure to fold the banana leaf or parchment paper tightly to seal in the filling and prevent the guanimos from falling apart during cooking.
  • You can also experiment with different herbs and spices to season the filling, such as garlic, oregano, cumin, or bay leaves, to add extra flavor.
  • If you're making a large batch of guanimos, you can freeze them for later use. Simply wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, then steam or bake as usual.
  • Finally, be sure to enjoy your guanimos with your favorite dipping sauce, such as aji or salsa, to complement the flavors and add extra zing to your meal!


We discussed the traditional Puerto Rican dish called guanimos, which is made from grated yuca and filled with a savory meat mixture. I covered the ingredients needed to make guanimos, the preparation steps, cooking instructions, serving suggestions, and storage tips. I also provided some ingredient substitutes and additional tips to help you make the best guanimos possible.

All well said, making guanimos can be a fun and rewarding experience. Don't be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and seasonings, and take your time to ensure that each step of the recipe is done well. With a little bit of practice, you'll be making delicious guanimos in no time!

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