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What To Serve With Pernil – 11 Delicious Side Dishes

If you’re wondering what to serve with your pernil, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I list 12 of the most popular side dishes for pernil.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The most traditional side dishes to serve with pernil are tostones (fried plantains) and arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas). For something lighter, you could go for a Cuban salad, pickled onions, or a grilled corn salad. Less traditional sides include buttery mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

Tostones (fried plantains)

Plantains a traditional Puerto Rican side for Pernil, and it’s easy to see why.

They’re twice-fried, so super crispy and provide the perfect base for your tender pork.

Can’t get plantains?

Yuca works well too, and failing that, jackfruit or sweet potato can be used as a substitute. 

Fried plantains are also great for breakfast, so make extra!

Pickled Onions

Too much meat can leave your mouth feeling greasy pretty quickly, but pickled onions will fix that.

They make great palate cleansers and their bright, tangy flavor will cut through the fatty pork.

These easy pickled onions last for up to two weeks in the fridge, so you can save time by making them in advance.

Rice and pigeon peas (arroz con gandules)

If you’ve ever been at a Puerto Rican celebration you’ll have probably seen this dish served alongside pernil. 

The beans have a nutty flavor that works really well with the smokey, garlicky flavor of the meat. 

Tip: if you can’t find pigeon beans, use pinto beans in their place. 

If you haven’t tasted this dish before, you’re in for a real treat. The Novice Chef has an amazing recipe.

Cuban Salad

Pernil can be quite rich and filling, so to keep things light why not try a Cuban salad?

The acidity from the dressing will help balance out the heavier meat.

And the best part?

Cuban salads are super quick to make, so you can spend less time cooking and more time entertaining!

This Cuban Salad from allrecipes uses easy-to-get ingredients and only takes 15 minutes from start to finish (I timed it).

Spicy BBQ baked beans


The perfect blend of spicy and sweet, these beans pair well with the savory flavors pernil.

And the kick from the jalapenos will keep everyone from getting too sleepy because they’re too full!

Add some crusty bread rolls to the plate to mop up all the sauce and you have a winning dinner. 

These spicy beans with bacon are definitely not bland.

Sauteed Spinach

Every great cut of meat needs a vegetable side to go with it.

Why spinach? 

Spinach is full of nutrients and its earthy flavor compliments the smoky flavors of pernil. 

And with some simple additions like lemon zest and oregano, your sauteed spinach will impress your guests. 

And if you want something even more interesting, why not try creamed spinach?

Creamy Coleslaw

Pulled pork is rarely seen without coleslaw, and it also makes a great side for pernil.

The crunchy veggies add some texture, and the vinegar gives the pork a little pick-me-up so it’s not too rich.

And if you have leftovers, you can make a pork and coleslaw sandwich the next day (yum!). 

Thisolemom has a great guide on the best way to make homemade creamy coleslaw.

Grilled Corn Salad

A light, fresh and colorful side dish for pernil.

Just what you want if you’re serving your meat at a summer party or potluck.

Put some wraps on the table as well, and people can make their own tacos!

This corn salad from the wellplated is filled with crunchy vegetables with avocado.

Buttery mash


Pairing your pernil with a buttery, creamy mashed potato will turn it into the ultimate comfort food. 

You could flavor the mash with cheese, mustard, or garlic but I think plain is best for the complex flavors of pernil.

The mash is there to act as a supporting actor, and will really allow the adobo seasoning to shine.

This French-style mashed potato has a super fluffy texture. 

Garlicky steamed broccoli

This isn’t a traditional side for pernil, and it might seem boring at first… but with a few simple tweaks, it tastes amazing!

It’s healthy, clean, and easy to cook too.

Try this garlicky steamed broccoli for something a little different, it’s rolled in panko breadcrumbs and lemon-butter sauce.

Psst… steaming vegetables is the best way to keep them crunchy, but if you prefer a deeper flavor you can roast the broccoli too.

Chipotle-citrus mayo

Chipotle-citrus mayo is what you need to take your pernil to the next level.

I’ve gone a little off track because this is a sauce, not a side. 

But I want everyone to know about this!

Mayonnaise mixed with chipotle peppers, orange juice, and lime juice – once you’ve dipped your penril in it you won’t be able to stop.

Get the recipe here: foodandwine.

Best side dishes for pernil

  • Tostones (fried plantains)
  • Pickled Onions
  • Rice and pigeon peas (arroz con gandules)
  • Cuban Salad
  • Spicy BBQ baked beans
  • Sauteed Spinach
  • Creamy Coleslaw
  • Grilled Corn Salad
  • Buttery mash
  • Garlicky steamed broccoli
  • Chipotle-citrus mayo

What To Serve With Pernil

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your pernil.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Keyword: pernil side dishes, what to serve with pernil
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 145kcal


  • 1 portion pernil


  • Prepare your bulgogi according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: tostones (fried plantains), pickled onions, rice and pigeon peas (arroz con gandules), Cuban salad, spicy bbq baked beans, sauteed spinach, creamy coleslaw, grilled corn salad, buttery mash, garlicky steamed broccoli, chipotle-citrus mayo,
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 145kcal

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