The Caribbean is known for having delicious and savory food. There’s oxtail in Jamaica, mofongo in the Dominican Republic, and goodness knows the Cubans do not play when it comes to pork. In addition to meals, the islands offer equally decadent desserts. Cakes, cookies, puddings, and more are made using spices and other ingredients native to the islands. The Caribbean flavor is evident, but because of colonization, the European mark is also there.

Churros for example, popular across many Spanish-speaking countries, originated in Spain and Portugal. Some historians say that churros are closely linked to a Chinese pastry called youtiao. The visual similarities are definitely there; both are long strips of deep-fried dough.

How many of these Caribbean desserts have you tried?



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Pastelitos: Amigo Foods compares pastelitos to strudel. The crust is sweet and buttery, and the inside is loaded with sweetness.

“Guava,  coconuts, pineapple; custards and cream cheeses – these are the main things that make up the Cuban Pastry.”

Flan: This dessert is popular across Latin America and beyond. Cubans tend to use condensed or evaporated milk, which gives the dessert a creamy consistency. Pair this with some fruits and you’re good to go.

Arroz Con Leche: Heaven. There’s no other way to describe this dessert. It’s also made with condensed milk with a touch of vanilla and cinnamon.

Churros: There are a few theories about who invented churros, but most believe it came from Spain and was passed down to the Americas. The fried dough is rolled and then covered in sugar. Some dip it in chocolate or a hot drink.



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Gizzadas: You’ll find this treat at markets and shops across the island, and some Jamaican businesses in the US. The crust has a consistency similar to shortbread, and it’s filled with coconut, ginger, and brown sugar. Another name for it is “Pinch-Me-Round.”

Rum Cake: This dessert is popular at Christmas, but you don’t have to wait till then to enjoy it. Rum has many uses in a Jamaican home that go beyond drinks and cooking. It’s also used to clear stuffy noses.

Tamarind Balls: These guys are the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, and are a popular childhood treat. Preparation is simple. The tamarind is removed from the shell, rolled into a ball, and covered in sugar.

Bulla Cake: This is made from an egg-less doughy batter. It can be enjoyed alone or paired with cheese or avocado.

Festivals: Some wouldn’t consider these to be desserts in the traditional sense, but we’ll add them to the list anyway since they are sweet. The fried dough is rolled and served as a side for meals.


Doukounou: Haitian desserts have French, African, and Caribbean influences. This cornmeal pudding isn’t savory or sweet by itself, so it’s sometimes paired with a sweet sauce.

Taste Atlas notes, “for the sweet version, the combination of cornmeal, milk, sugar, cinnamon, raisins, vanilla extract, beaten eggs, and raisins is traditionally wrapped in fresh banana leaves, then steamed.”

Dous Makos: This dessert dates to the 1930s and according to Taste Atlas, was invented by Fernand Macos of Belgium. This Haitian version of fudge is cut into squares and has different layers, which vary in color and flavor.

Pen Patat: This dessert has a consistency similar to banana bread or pudding. The main ingredient is sweet potato, mixed with various spices, raisins, and sometimes topped with powdered sugar.

Dominican Republic


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Habichuelas Con Dulce: Dominicans usually have this on Easter. It’s made with coconut milk, regular milk, beans, sweet potatoes, raisins, and spices. It’s paired with galletas de leche.

Cakes: Dominicans absolutely love their cakes. The spongy Tres Leches is always a  hit. Bizcocho Dominicano is light, filled with pineapple, and topped with meringue.

Paletas de Coco: What could be more refreshing on a hot day than a coconut popsicle?  Popular with kids and adults alike.

Trinidad and Tobago

Soursop Ice Cream: This is consumed on other islands as well, but it’s really popular in Trinidad and Tobago. Soursop is mixed with cornstarch and condensed milk.

Taste Atlas states, “after the combination has been churned, it is then stored in the freezer until firm in texture.”

Sawine: If you thought noodles couldn’t go in a dessert, think again! Sawine is made with vermicelli (fine noodles), milk, ginger, cinnamon and other spices. It can be enjoyed hot or cold and is traditionally prepared for the Muslim holiday of Eid.

Benne Balls: You’ll find these at stalls along the beach. They are sweet and crunchy.

Taste Atlas notes, “benne balls are popular Tobagonian treats made with brown sugar and benne (sesame seeds). These treats are extremely simple to prepare – brown sugar is heated, combined with sesame seeds, and then the concoction is rolled into a ball and left to set.”

Related: Visiting Mexico? Try These Traditional Mexican Desserts