Spanish breakfast foods can be tricky to get the hang of, but once you know where to go and what to order, you’re guaranteed the perfect start to your day!
I have a confession to make — I often skip breakfast. Well, actually, I skip the “first breakfast”. Let me explain…
It’s not that I don’t like breakfast foods, but I don’t usually get hungry for a few hours after waking up. So when I do eat breakfast, it’s often quite late (around 10am), which here in Spain is called “second breakfast”. This works quite well since lunch is at 3pm!
Spain’s eating schedule can be a bit confusing at first, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’re in for a variety of delicious meals throughout the day (and two brakfasts!).
So what are my favorite Spanish breakfast foods? It is hard to narrow them down. Here are my top 8 – and where to find them!
My 8 Favorite Spanish Breakfast Foods
1. Tostada con tomate, aceite, y jamón
One of the most traditional Spanish breakfast foods is a tostada — a piece of toasted bread. A tostada is always served at least two ways, topped with either butter and jam or olive oil and tomato. There are other regional variations too, such as the manteca colorada (colored lard) in Andalusia, perfect if you want something that will really stick to your ribs! The best breakfast in Spain for me (something I could eat every day!) achieves the perfect balance: toasted bread (I prefer a flat bread called a mollete), extra virgin olive oil, crushed tomato, and Iberian ham. This tostada will set you up for a succesful day.
2. Chocolate con churros, soletillas, or melindros
Spain is famous for its hot chocolate but there honestly aren’t too many places that do it well. Too often it’s thickened with loads of cornstarch, and low quality chocolate powder is used. This isn’t the case at my two favorite places for chocolate in Spain — Confitería El Riojano in Madrid and Granja Viader in Barcelona. Interestingly, I wouldn’t pair the chocolate with churros at either place, but instead I’d opt for the ladyfinger cookies called soletillas in Madrid and melindros in Barcelona. For churros, I love the ones found in Cadiz, which are thin and crispy, or Madrid’s chewy porras— churros thicker cousin.
3. Pincho de tortilla
Very popular in Madrid and most of northern Spain, a heaping slice of potato omelet (a pincho de tortilla) is the best way to have a second breakfast. I accompany my pincho with a strong coffee, but you’ll see plenty of people opting for a mid-morning caña (a small draft beer). I love the pincho de tortilla at Casa Dani in Madrid.
4. Croissant de almendra
You can’t find a good almond croissant (or a good croissant in general) everywhere in Spain, as many use lard instead of butter and are industrially made. But there are few gems — especially in Barcelona. If visiting Barcelona you must try the almond croissants at Pastelería Hofmann and Baluard. And if in Madrid don’t worry — Pastelería La Duquesita will not disappoint.
More of a chocolate croissant lover? Try the napoletana de chocolate at Madrid’s La Mallorquina for something similar (and just as delicious).
5. Huevos rotos con chorizo
Okay – this is cheating a bit. This is a very Spanish dish, but not typically eaten for breakfast in Spain. Unless you come over my house on the weekend! I think huevos rotos (sunny side up fried eggs served over potatos and “broken” up before eating) are the perfect brunch food. I love making them with a bit of chorizo, but you could also use jamón, or sauteed vegetables.
6. Some sort of sandwich
Every region has its version of the humble sandwich, and with good reason. Sandwiches are perfect for a quick and delicious Spanish breakfast. In Madrid, you’ll find small sandwiches called pulgas or pulgitas at most Spanish breakfast bars, and in Barcelona you’ll order an entrepan— Catalan for sandwich. There is also the famous bikini in Catalonia, a sort of grilled ham and cheese on white sandwich bread. In Andalusia you may find montaditos — mini sandwiches on offer. What do we put inside the sandwiches? Anything from Iberian ham and olive oil, to freshly made tortilla, or even tuna salad. My all time favorite is pringá in Seville, a mix of the leftover meats from a local stew that’s full of flavor.
See also: 7 Typical Spanish Sandwiches
7. Freshly squeezed orange juice
The orange juice in Spain is naturally sweet and delicious. Amazing quality oranges can be found year round, but the true season is winter — just in time for the cold weather when a hearty dose of Vitamin C is the perfect way to start the day! In much of Spain you can add on a small glass of zumo de naranja for as little as 1 euro when ordering breakfast. When in doubt, just do it!
8. Café con leche
Remember when I said I don’t really do “first breakfast”? Well, I most definitely do coffee! While I generally enjoy café americano these days (espresso with extra hot water), café con leche is perhaps Spain’s best known coffee. Steamed milk meets strong espresso, and it’s the drink of choice to accompany Spanish breakfast foods.
There are many more Spanish breakfast foods to discover, though most are quite regional. Some last tips:
- Don’t miss a homemade bizcocho (cake) in Galicia, made with local butter.
- When in Andalusia, you must try a tostada with manteca (lard) or with fresh extra virgin olive oil and honey.
- In Basque Country try a pintxo de tortilla with green pepper.
- And in Mallorca don’t miss the ensaimadas, lard-based pastries that are addictive.
What other Spanish breakfast foods have you tried? Am I missing your favorite way to sart the day?
Visiting Spain? Taste these foods and more by joining us on a delicious and informative Devour Tour! The perfect way to start your trip to Spain (stomach first!).