My Spanish textbook it has the following examples:

(estar) bueno - tasty

(estar) rico - tasty

What’s the difference between the two? Is it like the difference between tasty and delicious (i.e. there isn’t one)?

Or is it more like the difference between ‘tasty’ and ‘yummy’ (i.e. one is a little more informal).

2 Answers 2


I agree 99% with user13560's answer: in almost all cases you would use rico and bueno interchangeably.

However, to me living in Spain, there might be subtle differences:

  • If you talk about how food looks, you will never use rico, but bueno:

    Qué buena pinta tiene esta comida

  • To some extent, rico has a plus on quality and can be a bit higher while ranking food.

  • Finally, rico is less common, specially on kids: bueno is an adjective that all would use, but rico comes later while growing.

  • My two-year old kid is learning the basics of the language. In order not to confuse him with words, he tell him about niños buenos, but also about comida rica. If we say that the food is buena he may think that the food is not behaving good. He has plenty of time to get used to words that have several meanings.
    – Charlie
    Oct 1, 2016 at 18:00

Bueno is defined as

  1. adj. Gustoso, apetecible, agradable, divertido.

while Rico is

  1. adj. Gustoso, sabroso, agradable.

So in this sense they are synonyms.

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