How to Tell the Difference Between Tapas and Pinchos

Everyone loves tapas, and with good reason: there’s nothing better than a table full of savory appetizers and bite-size snacks. But as it turns out, not all appetizers are technically called tapas! How can this be? Read on to find out what makes a tapa a tapa—or something entirely different.

Spanish Tapas
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Tapas basics

Tapas are small preparations—a mini-meal, of sorts, ranging from something as simple and small as a selection of olives, to more complicated preparations like Patatas Bravas—that Spaniards typically eat in bars before dinner. The word tapas means “to cover,” and one story goes that bar-goers first used tapas to cover their glasses of sherry to keep fruit flies away. Today, some bars serve tapas for free with every drink you order!

What’s a pincho?

Pinchos, on the other hand, are small appetizers that are served and skewered onto bread. They’re especially popular in northern Spain, where bars display their selection on a counter. To tally the bill, waiters count up the skewers left on the plate!

Tapas and pincho dishes to try

Ready to make your own? Here are some of our favorites that feature the ingredients from the Spain Box.


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