Recipe: Pabellón Criollo

14 Dec

The “Pabellón Criollo”, it the most traditional Venezuelan dish after the Arepas.  Pabellón is a word for “pavilion”, but it can also mean the national flag, an ensign, or even a tent.   The Pabellón Criollo, the traditional Venezuelan dish is made up of shredded (or pulled) beef, black beans, rice and fried plantains, as the most basic version of it.   Some people, depending on the part of the country, also add a plain arepa on the side, some avocadoes, some delicious grated white cheese and even a fried egg.  When fried plantains are added, it is known as the “Pabellón con Baranda”.

This dish is our national dish, but it originated in Caracas, the capital city.  People believe this dish is closely related to Venezuelan history and our miscegenation.  This is reflected on the colors of each main component in the dish, black beans, white rice and brown beef.  These three colors symbolize the union of the three races: African, European and indigenous.

We can find Pabellón Criollo in any part of the country, and we even use it to fill our empanadas and arepas.  But we only use the black beans, beef, and plantains to fill those.

Recipes for main components:

Carne Mechada (Venezuelan Shredded/Pulled Beef)
Caraotas Negras (Venezuelan Black Beans)
Arroz Blanco (Venezuelan White Rice)
Tajadas (Venezuelan Fried Plantains)


1. Make sure you soak the black beans overnight!
2. Prepare the shredded/pulled beef first, as this will take the longest to cook (4 hours).
3. When the beef has been cooking for about 1½ to 2 hours already, begin to cook the black beans (this will take 2 hours).
4. Proceed to remove the beef from the boiling water.  Shred/pull the beef and continue cooking as directed on the recipe (adding the sofrito and stir frying it).
5. Proceed to finish the black beans recipe as well.
6. Set the beef and beans aside, and begin cooking the rice.
7. Make the plantains while the rice is cooking.
8. Finish the rice and the plantains.
9. Serve all together.

Pabellón Criollo Venezolano

Pabellón Criollo Venezolano

Pabellón con Baranda

Pabellón con Baranda


– For a fancier presentation of this delicious dish, you can create a Pabellón Criollo tower:

1. Place an oiled pastry ring in the middle of the plate.
2. Add a layer of rice, a layer of black beans, and a layer of beef in equal parts (about one third of the rings height).
3. Top with plantain circles, alternated with cheese or avocado.
4. Decorate with herbs.

Pabellón Criollo Tower

Pabellón Criollo Tower

Pabellón Criollo Fancy

Pabellón Criollo Fancy

¡Buen Provecho!

21 Responses to “Recipe: Pabellón Criollo”

  1. IamSimplyTia December 14, 2011 at 14:09 #

    I love this! I would gobble this up!!!!

    • mwolowicz December 14, 2011 at 14:24 #

      Thank you Tia. It is definitely the most delicious Venezuelan dish !!! 🙂

      • Gloria April 9, 2016 at 08:29 #

        Did you make this dish?

        • mwolowicz April 9, 2016 at 10:22 #


          Thank you for visiting the blog. Yes, I did make this dish.


  2. Administrador del Site February 5, 2012 at 13:31 #

    Linda presentación la del pabellón “fancy tower”.
    Prueba cambiar el orden, primero la caraota, luego el arroz y por ultimo la carne. Visualmente funciona mejor, creo.

    • mwolowicz February 5, 2012 at 16:57 #

      Gracias, lo tomaré en cuenta para la próxima vez. 🙂

  3. Hailey February 27, 2012 at 12:51 #

    This looks great!! I’m so happy to have found some autentico Venezuelan recipes!! I’ve been wanting to try to make the pabellon criollo for a wihle now, but I haven’t seen anything “good enough.” Hopefully I can make this soon for my husband and give him a little taste of growing up in Caracas.

  4. Carolina N. July 26, 2013 at 20:55 #

    How pretty the “Pabellon Criollo Tower”. Copying that for any future dinner introducing Venezuelan food to Americans! Also love other version I found years ago made with a “patacon” (Fried Plantain) molded as a little bowl. Will give it to you if interested. Thank you so much for such a great blog with clear and simple recipes to follow. You are my reference when any Non-Venezuelan guest at home wants to repeat a Venezuelan recipe.

    • mwolowicz July 27, 2013 at 15:59 #


      Thank you for visiting the blog, and thank you for your comment. I am glad you liked the Pabellon Criollo Tower, if you ever make it, please share a photo. I would love to check out the patacon version you are talking about.


      • Carolina N. August 14, 2013 at 07:12 #

        Hey there! Returning from vacations…did not forget my offer, but….what email do I use to send you the recipe and/or any pics from my cooking adventures inspired in your blog? 😉

        • mwolowicz August 14, 2013 at 07:48 #


          Thank you for the offer again… If you are unable to post them on the blog directly, as a comment, then you can email them to me at:


  5. TheGreat Zambini April 23, 2014 at 16:15 #

    This dish is one of my favorite dishes from one of my favorite cuisines. I think only fried yucca can rival how good it is, and I’m so happy I can make this at home! The tower is a very pretty presentation and looks even yummier than the dish I get at my favorite restaurant, I can’t wait to add this to a dinner party!

    • mwolowicz April 23, 2014 at 16:51 #

      The Great Zambini,

      Thank you for visiting (and subscribing) to the blog, and thank you for your comment as well. I am glad you enjoyed the recipe, please post a photo when you are able to make it yourself as well… Creating the tower is really fun. I also have the recipe for fried yucca, which is also easy to make. Which is your favorite restaurant? and where is it located?


      • TheGreat Zambini April 24, 2014 at 21:02 #

        La Caraquena of Falls Church (near DC) is my go-to for Venezuelan food, though when I want something from the suburbs I go to Delia’s in Springfield. I will try to take a photo, but food disappears before cameras can capture it around these parts… 🙂

        • mwolowicz April 25, 2014 at 08:55 #

          The Great Zambini,

          Thank you for the tip.



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