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 breakfasts!).
So what are my favorite Spanish breakfast foods? It is hard to narrow them down. Here are my top 8 breakfasts in Spain – 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 (con mantequilla y mermelada) or olive oil and tomato (con tomate y aceite). 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 flatbread called a mollete), extra virgin olive oil, crushed tomato, and Iberian ham. This tostada will set you up for a successful day.
Make it at home: Pan con tomate recipe
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.
Make it at home: Try my recipes for easy homemade churros and delicious Spanish hot chocolate
3. Pincho de tortilla
Very popular in Madrid and most of northern Spain, a heaping slice of Spanish potato omelette (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 (which recently won the award for best tortilla in Spain!).
Make it at home: Spanish tortilla de patatas
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 to my house on the weekend!
I think huevos rotos (sunny side up fried eggs served over potatoes 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.
See also: Spanish egg dishes that aren’t for breakfast!
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 most 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.
Make it at home: Spanish style café con leche recipe
More Spanish Breakfast Tips
There are many more Spanish breakfast foods to discover, though most are quite regional.
- 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 start the day?
Oh, man…. this makes me miss Iberic Ham sooooo much! It was the first thing I ate when I got off the plane in Madrid and went to the market for lunch. iiEl jamón ibérico es el mejor!! <3
Hahaha I wish I could always find bread with tomato. Outside Catalunya/València they don’t even know about it.
Very easy to find all over Andalucia. The quality of tomatoes though is enormus.
I like spanish breakfasts.
Amazing breakfast choices, having grown up in Spain from the age of eleven to 21 these dishes bring back memories for me. I love la comida espanola, no hay nada mejor! and totally de acuerdo on the filling out the chocolate with starch it goes gloopy but they all do it! thanks for your post, great read and I’ll be making cafe con leche con tostada de tomate tomorrow morning 🙂
Honestly, we usually eat cookies, cereal, or bread for breakfast.
Churros for breakfast? Yes, Please.
I write to you from the restaurant Dudua Palacio, located in the center of Madrid. Our restaurant specializes in traditional Spanish cuisine, and we have been serving customers of all nationalities
We would be happy if you got in touch with us to know us and thus be able to let us know.
The food in Spain is just….OMG cannot be described! My favourite – chocolate con churros, yummy.
Churros with chocolate are one of my favorite desserts.