The 25 Best Latin Songs To Play At Your Next Cookout

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Photo credit: YouTube
Photo credit: YouTube

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We’ve entered peak cookout season, and if there’s anything that’s going to motivate you to sweat over a huge spread, it’s a good playlist. According to recent Spotify data, the top songs people like to listen to when they’re cooking fall mostly within jazz and blues genres (think Otis Redding, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald). While a soulful playlist can be just what we need to bliss out when cooking after a long day, we would argue that Latin music—with its highly danceable rhythms and melodic percussion—is the best mood for a summer party.

Latin music is a catch-all term that combines a variety of styles from across Latin America, as well as Spain, Portugal, and the United States. Within those styles are influences from other kinds of music too, like hip-hop, reggae, rock, jazz, and more. When you add Latin songs to your cookout playlist, there’s a little something for everyone.

Then there’s the dance factor. Show me someone who doesn’t at least tap their foot while to Latin music and I will show you a liar! Just kidding—kind of. Latin songs can be as soulful and romantic as other genres of music, but more often than not, they’re your go-to for a burst of energy to help you power through anything, especially cooking. Fast-paced songs can make recipe prep more enjoyable, and it keeps your guests entertained in between courses.

If you’re new to Latin music, don’t worry—we have some of the best songs to start with below, from classic salsa to bachata and more modern styles, like Latin pop and reggaeton. We’re telling you now, you won’t find “Despacito” on this list. We know you know it’s a hit, and we wanted to throw some fresh ideas your way.

"Aguanile" — Marc Anthony

Get the family out of bed and into the kitchen to help you cook when you put on this cover of Hector Lavoe’s popular salsa songs. While you can’t go wrong with either version, Marc Anthony slightly ups the tempo for maximum fun.

"Mi Tierra" — Gloria Estefan

Fans of the 90s rom-com Fools Rush In will recognize this song by Gloria Estefan. It plays when Salma Hayek’s character Isabel dances around the kitchen while chopping cilantro, which is the exact energy we’re trying to channel.

"Dos Locos" — Monchy & Alexandra

Picking just one song from this Bachata duo is like picking a favorite child—but “Dos Locos” is arguably one of Monchy & Alexandra’s best. It’s also a block party favorite if you just happen to be the one with the aux cord.

"Propuesta Indecente" — Romeo Santos

Keep the bachata going with the prince of the genre: Romeo Santos. Bachata is an eight-beat dance, so you can keep your legs from getting tired while slicing and dicing by dancing in place.

"La Rebelion" — Joe Arroyo

Colombian salsa singer Joe Arroyo was dedicated to telling the stories of Afro-Latinos, who are too often erased from the narrative. The hook in the song, “no le pegue a la negra,” translates to “don’t hit the Black woman”—and the song is an irresistible party anthem.

"El Tiburón" — Proyecto Uno

Another party favorite is this song from merengue hip-hip group Proyecto Uno. The lyric, “no pare, sigue sigue!” means, “don’t stop, keep going!” And if ever you need a reminder to not quit, it’s when you’re parked in front of a grill on a hot sunny day.

"Del Mar" — Ozuna

This song off Ozuna’s latest album Enoc features Doja Cat and SIA—with English and Spanish lyrics—and it's all about living your best tropical life. It's guaranteed to make your hips move.

"DAKITI" - Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez

You could play any one of Bad Bunny’s albums for your cookout and be good, but we’ll settle for this song off his recent album El Último Tour Del Mundo with fellow Puerto singer, Jhay Cortez. Buena vibras only.

"Relación (Remix)" — Sech

Panamanian singer Sech made waves when he joined Bad Bunny on his song "Ignorantes," but he’s a powerhouse in his own right. And the remix of his song “Relacion” brings on the greats.

"Baila Conmigo" — Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez teamed up with emerging artist Rauw Alejandro to make a song that everyone could dance to, she told Billboard. It has an after-party feel to it, when the sun sets and it’s time to top off everybody’s drink.

"Telepatía" — Kali Uchis

While you may recognize Kali Uchis’ single from TikTok, it’s actually one of the most-played songs in recent months, helping the Colombian artist earn her first number one on the Hot Latin Songs chart.

"Me Gusta" — Anitta

We love the way Anitta weaves Brazilian funk beats and Latin pop sounds into her songs. It’s like taking a trip to Rio de Janeiro, where the streets often come alive with music, without boarding a plane.

"La Romana" — Bad Bunny

Seriously, you can’t go wrong with Bad Bunny! This collaboration with Dominican dembow artist El Alfa brings the literal heat (“fuego! Fuego!”) and evokes summer’s simplest pleasures, like fresh fruta and a round of dominoes.

"Qué Más Pues" — J Balvin and María Becerra

Like a lot of J Balvin’s songs, this one pulls you right in. Rolling Stone describes this steamy collaboration with Argentinian singer María Becerra as light and swift with just a little bit of drama.

"Hawái" — Maluma

Maluma can write the hell out of a break-up song. The Colombian reggaeton artist is known for a more romantic take on the genre, but it still makes you want to dance.

"Dura (Remix)" — Daddy Yankee

A year after “Despactio” peaked at number one on the Billboard chart, Daddy Yankee was back with his song “Dura.” He brought on Bad Bunny, Natti Natasha, and Becky G for the remix to make it even more flirty and fun for summer.

"Lloraras" — Oscar D’Leon

There’s usually a point during a cookout for Latin families where your tíos and tías take back the playlist from the younger folks—and it heads back to classic territory, like this salsa smash from Afro-Venezuelan artist Oscar D’Leon.

"Vivir Lo Nuestro" — LA INDIA

LA INDIA is joined by Marc Anthony to sing this triumphant song about love. It’s just so classic, like the rice and beans you’re sure to see at a Latin cookout.

"Usted Abusó" — Celia Cruz and Willie Colon

The Afro-Cuban queen of salsa collaborates on this soulful and rhythmic song with one of her Fania Records label mates, Willie Colon. Fania has since shuttered, but its influence can still be heard in salsa music today.

"Entre Tu Cuerpo y el Mio" — Milly Quezada

Speaking of queens, Dominican merengue singer Milly Quezada is one of the artists who helped the genre achieve global popularity. Though it can be a more intimate way to dance, you shimmy and sway just the same.

"Ojalá Que Llueva Café" — Juan Luis Guerra

When it’s time for something sweet, say, a piece of flan, it’s also time for the soothing sounds of Juan Luis Guerra; I don’t make the rules. This song in particular wishes for crops, like coffee and cassava, to give the people a break.

"Azuquita Pa’l Cafe" — El Gran Combo

Same deal—when the plates are cleared and the heat of the sun has cooled, make room for dessert with the sounds of the iconic salsa band El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.

"Pareja del Año" — Sebastian Yatra and Myke Towers

Sebastián Yatra tends to fly under the radar compared to his peers, J Balvin and Maluma, but his music is such an interesting blend of pop and reggaeton...with a hint of romanticism that feels especially timely.

"Calma (Remix)" — Pedro Capo

Steal a moment of calm with this song from Pedro Capo featuring Farruko. It perfectly captures a Caribbean vacation: sandy beaches, palm trees, and bottles of Medalla—a beer made in Puerto Rico.

"Vivir Mi Vida" — Marc Anthony

And so we’ve come full circle with this absolute banger from Marc Anthony. In all seriousness, it feels only right to end this list of sings with an anthem that not only celebrates Latin people, but life and dance and joy. Pa’lante.

Listen now on Spotify.

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