Papas Arrugadas

with mojo verde and a spicy mojo picón

Small earthenware dishes filled with papas arrugadas, green mojo, and red mojo sauces.

Papas arrugadas, or Canarian wrinkly potatoes as they are also affectionately known, originate from the Canary Islands and are one of the easiest tapas dishes to make. This super-tasty and 100% vegan-friendly recipe involves boiling down potatoes in salt until the water evaporates, creating a lovely, salty wrinkled skin that’s ideal for dipping in spicy ‘mojo’ sauces.  

The sauce is where the fun begins and Canarian mojo sauces have three varieties, mojo verde, mojo rojo, and mojo picón (Green, red, and spicy red for us English speakers). This recipe takes around 45 minutes to make and includes time to make the mojo verde and mojo picón dipping sauces. Serves 4 people tapas.

Easy Recipe | Tapas Recipe | Vegan | Canary Islands Recipe | Mediterranean | Dips and Sauces | Healthy Recipe | 30-Minute Recipe | Mojo Sauce Recipe | Canary Islands Cuisine

Serving:

Tapas for 4

Ready in:

30-45 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Mojo sauce

ingredients for papas arrugadas and mojo sauces are laid out. on a dark granite counter top.

Ingredients you’ll need

Serves 4 – Tapas

    For the potatoes

    • 1kg/35oz. Baby potatoes (We used the Lucinda variety from Spain) 
    • 6 tablespoons coarse salt 

    For the green mojo (mojo verde)

    • 2 large green bell peppers roughly chopped
    • ½ cup fresh chopped coriander (or parsley)
    • 4 cloves of garlic minced
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
    • 4 small chilies (for some spice)
    • ¼ old baguette (or breadcrumbs) 

    For the spicy red Mojo (mojo picón)

    • 2 large red bell peppers roughly chopped
    • 6 cloves of garlic minced
    • 8 small chilies (add more for more spice)
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
    • ¼ old baguette (or breadcrumbs)

            Equipment needed

            • A blender or food processor
            • 2 200ml/7fl. oz. jars (for storing the mojo sauces)
            • 1 large 10-inch/25cm pot
            Small earthenware dishes filled with papas arrugadas, green mojo, and red mojo sauces.

            Where does papas arrugadas originate?

            Papas arrugadas is a signature recipe of the Canary Islands. Anyone who has ever frequented any of the tapas bars or restaurants on any of the 8 main Canary Islands will have found papas arrugadas on the menu. 

            It is commonly served as a small side or tapas dish, or served alongside a main meal such as the equally famous Conejo en salmorejo, Canarian rabbit stew. 

            How to make papas arrugadas with mojo verde and mojo picón

            As far as tapas recipes go, papas arrugadas is pretty much one of the easiest to make out there. Simply boil some small new potatoes with a load of salt and wait for the water to evaporate, leaving the potato skins to deliciously shrivel, capturing morsels of salt in each wrinkle. 

            How long do Papas arrugadas take to make?

            Be mindful though, that while this recipe is very easy to make, it’s a touch more time-consuming than other popular tapas recipes

            Allow at least 45 minutes to make this recipe, and if you’ve only got larger potatoes on hand, allow even more time. The trick is that you must fill the saucepan with enough water to cover the potatoes, and then boil it down until the water evaporates. 

            The water evaporates reasonably quickly with small baby potatoes around an inch in diameter, but the day I made this recipe, a kilo bag of small Lucinda potatoes was all I could find. Most potatoes were around 1.5-2 inches, and I clocked the cooking time in at 45 minutes to evaporate all the water. 

            The good news is, while your potatoes are cooking, you’ve got ample time to make the mojo dipping sauces and perhaps even enjoy a tipple of sherry while you’re at it! Or if you’re more studious than I, you could whip up a few other tapas dishes while you’re waiting for the papas arrugadas to work their magic.

            Looking for more tapas inspiration? 

            Check our awesome tapas recipes here. You’ll find super-easy authentic Spanish Tapas recipes, all with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

            Best of all, many of these tapas recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less!

            A large pot sits with some potatoes and salt

            Best potatoes to use

            There are literally hundreds of potato varieties available throughout different times of the year, so choosing your preferred spud is going to depend on what’s seasonally available in your area. 

            For this recipe, we used the Lucinda variety of potatoes from Spain, simply because it was what was seasonally available in summer. Lucinda potatoes are known as a ‘general purpose’ potato and are most suited for boiling making them ideal for making papas arrugadas.

            As more varieties of small(ish) potatoes become available, I’ll experiment more about what variety works best for the ultimate papas arrugadas. If you’re looking to make the ultimate authentic papas arrugadas and want to use a potato variety from the Canary Islands, keep an eye out for one of these potato varieties;

            • Colorada de Baga
            • la Bonita, la Borralla
            • la Negra Yema de huevo

            Here are some common general-purpose potatoes you’ll come across in most fresh food markets or supermarkets;

            • Russet
            • Yukon Gold
            • Vivaldi
            • Monalisa
            • Eros
            • Sifra
            • Colomba
            • Lucinda
            • Melody
            • Agata
            • Carrera

            Use waxy potatoes

            One tip is to use a potato variety with a waxy skin. They will hold together better when boiled and are also low in starch

            One word of caution, be careful not to break the skin of your potatoes when stirring. We found using a tablespoon and gently ‘rotating’ each potato worked pretty well while boiling

            Potato size

            When it comes to potatoes, the smaller the better, so they’ll always be considered ‘new’ potatoes. Try to use small new potatoes around an inch in diameter and you’ll be good to go with optimum cooking time. The bigger your spuds, the longer it will take to cook them, and the less likely they’ll wrinkle up as they should.

            some papas arrugadas sit in a pot with lots of salt

            Canary Mojo sauces

            Ah yes, the good bit! While your potatoes are gently bubbling away in a bath of salty water, it’s time to make perhaps the most addictive sauce you’ll ever taste, Canarian mojo. It’s typical to be served one or two mojo sauces with your papas arrugadas in the Canaries, but there are actually three versions made on the Islands. 

            Mojo Verde 

            Mojo verde is typically a milder sauce that’s made with green peppers and lots of coriander and garlic (although you can substitute coriander with parsley if you prefer). Most of the time, mojo verde doesn’t contain chili, or has very little spice. For this recipe, we added a little chili for a kick and it worked really well! 

            Mojo Rojo

            Those paying attention in Spanish class will immediately know this catchy little sauce name simply translates to red sauce, and no surprise uses red bell peppers instead of green peppers. Other than the use of red pepper, it is identical to mojo verde. Mojo rojo can be served with just a hint of spice, often added with cayenne pepper or a mild chili variety. 

            For this recipe, we’ve kept the spice level civilized and used 8 small dried cayenne chilis that have some heat straight up, but the spice doesn’t linger too long. 

            Mojo Picón

            Mojo picón is pretty similar in appearance to mojo rojo, but don’t be fooled, there is one giant difference! Mojo picón is where the spice level really steps up, and mojo picón can be found with anything from a mild chili buzz, to an eye-watering taste sensation that requires several gallons of milk to quench the fire.

            Small earthenware dishes filled with papas arrugadas, green mojo, and red mojo sauces.

            Other uses for Canarian Mojo sauces

            Mojo sauces are very versatile and can be used as marinades or dips for pretty much anything. The best thing about this mojo sauce recipe is you can make a bigger batch and store it in the fridge for up to 1 month. In the meantime, here’s some ‘mojospiration!’

            • A spicy red mojo sauce is an ideal dipping sauce for grilled or fried shrimp.
            • Green or red mojo sauce can be used as a marinade for meats and chicken.
            • Mojo sauces also work great as a dipping sauce for roasted carrots or tempura veggies. 
            • Drizzle some mojo rojo onto a baked white fish fillet.
            Small earthenware dishes filled with papas arrugadas, green mojo, and red mojo sauces.
            Small earthenware dishes filled with papas arrugadas, green mojo, and red mojo sauces.

            Papas arrugadas with mojo verde and a spicy mojo picón

            Byron
            Papas arrugadas, or Canarian wrinkly potatoes as they are also affectionately known, originate from the Canary Islands and are one of the easiest tapas dishes to make. This super-tasty and 100% vegan-friendly recipe involves boiling down potatoes in salt until the water evaporates, creating a lovely, salty wrinkled skin that’s ideal for dipping in spicy ‘mojo’ sauces. 
            The sauce is where the fun begins and Canarian mojo sauces have three varieties, mojo verde, mojo rojo, and mojo picón (Green, red, and spicy red for us English speakers).
            This recipe takes around 45 minutes to make and includes time to make the mojo verde and mojo picón dipping sauces. Serves 4 people tapas.
            5 from 7 votes
            Prep Time 10 mins
            Cook Time 35 mins
            Total Time 45 mins
            Course appertizer, Snack, tapas
            Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Canary Islands, Islands, spanish
            Servings 4 tapas
            Calories 543 kcal

            Equipment

            • blender or food processor
            • 2 sealable jars For storing the extra mojo sauces
            • 1  large 10-inch/25cm pot For boiling the potatoes

            Ingredients
              

            For the potatoes

            • 1 kg/35oz. Baby potatoes We used the Lucinda variety from Spain
            • 6 tablespoons coarse salt

            For the green mojo (mojo verde)

            • 2 large green bell peppers roughly chopped
            • ½ cup fresh chopped coriander or parsley
            • 4 cloves of garlic minced
            • 1 teaspoon sea salt
            • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
            • 4 tablespoons olive oil
            • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
            • 4 small chilies for some spice
            • ¼ old baguette or breadcrumbs

            For the spicy red Mojo (mojo picón)

            • 2 large red bell peppers roughly chopped
            • 6 cloves of garlic minced
            • 8 small chilies add more for more spice
            • 1 teaspoon sea salt
            • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
            • 4 tablespoons olive oil
            • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
            • ¼ old baguette or breadcrumbs

            Instructions
             

            • Add the salt and potatoes to a large 10-inch saucepan and add enough water to just cover the potatoes.
              1 kg/35oz. Baby potatoes, 6 tablespoons coarse salt
              a large pot sits with potatoes and salt
            • Bring to the boil then turn down to medium-high heat and boil potatoes uncovered until the water evaporates (this time will vary depending on your potato size - expect anything from 20-45 minutes).
              a pot of potatoes boils on a stove top
            • Meanwhile, prepare the mojo sauces.
              For the green mojo (mojo verde), add all ingredients except the bread into a blender and buzz for around 3 minutes. To get the desired consistency, add some small pieces of bread to the blender and continue to buzz for another minute. Pour into a sealable jar for use later.
              2 large green bell peppers roughly chopped, ½ cup fresh chopped coriander, 4 cloves of garlic minced, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 4 small chilies, ¼ old baguette, 4 tablespoons olive oil
              ingredients for green mojo sauce sit in a blender
            • For the red mojo (mojo rojo), add all ingredients except the bread and repeat the same steps as with the green mojo. Pour into a sealable jar for use later.
              1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 2 large red bell peppers roughly chopped, 6 cloves of garlic minced, 8 small chilies, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, ¼ old baguette
              ingredients for red mojo sauce sit in a blender
            • Once all the water has evaporated from your saucepan, you’ll be left with a pool of salt in the bottom of the pan. Remove this salt pool, and scrape off any excess salt on the potatoes then return to medium-low heat for around 5-8 minutes. The potatoes will start to shrivel slightly.
              some papas arrugadas sit in a pot with lots of salt
            • Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before serving. Serve with a few small bowls of red and green mojo sauce for dipping.
              Small earthenware dishes filled with papas arrugadas, green mojo, and red mojo sauces.

            Video

            Notes

            Storage

            Store your mojo sauces in a sealable jar in the fridge. When refrigerated, they'll keep for up to 1 month. 

            Notes on salt

            If you would prefer to remove some of the salt that has collected on the skin of your potatoes, use a paper towel to gently rub the salt from the skin.

            Nutrition

            Serving: 250gCalories: 543kcalCarbohydrates: 67.7gProtein: 11.5gFat: 30.2gSaturated Fat: 4.4gSodium: 4534mgPotassium: 282mgFiber: 8.5gSugar: 10.2gCalcium: 136mgIron: 6mg
            Keyword Canarian wrinkly potatoes, Mojo picon, Mojo sauce, Mojo verde, papas arrugadas, potato, Spanish tapas, tapas
            Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

            Papas Arrugadas – Cooking Tips and FAQs

            Are Papas arrugadas healthy?

            Potatoes are naturally fat-free, however, this recipe uses a lot of salt during the cooking process and is high in sodium. 

            Is Papas arrugadas vegan?

            Yep, Papas arrugadas is 100% vegan. There are no animal products used in any way in this recipe making it an ideal vegan-friendly starter dish or snack!

            Do you need to peel the potatoes first?

            Nope, use the smallest potatoes you can find and keep the skins on. The salt will cause the skins to shrivel up and give them an incredible flavor. 

            How do you know when the potatoes are cooked?

            This depends on the size of your potatoes, but for potatoes around an inch to an inch and a half, allow 25 minutes for them to cook properly. You will notice a lot of the water will evaporate and the potatoes will be soft and squishy to touch. 

            Can I make Canarian potatoes in advance?

            Absolutely, both the spicy mojo sauces and the potatoes can be made in advance. Reheat the prepared potatoes in the oven for around 15 minutes at 180°C/ 350°F. The mojo sauces can be made in batches and will store when refrigerated in airtight containers for up to 1 month.

            How much salt should I remove from the potatoes?

            This recipe calls for a very high amount of salt to be used to cook the potatoes. Don’t worry, you can remove most of this salt from the pot once the watr has evaporated. Your potatoes should have a light dusting of salt remaining once cooked. Any more and they’ll be far too salty.

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            Small earthenware dishes filled with papas arrugadas, green mojo, and red mojo sauces.

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