In short – ‘qué rico’ literally translates to ‘how delicious’ in English, but it’s a very common expression in all Spanish-speaking countries that can have different meanings according to context.
In reggaeton music and culture the phrase ‘qué rico’ is often used within a sexual context, so non-natives may be led to believe that it always has sexual overtones …
… and if you look at the number of songs with ‘qué rico’ in their title and/or lyrics, it’s not really that surprising!
But if you’re around native Spanish-speakers, you’re sure to hear this phrase thrown around quite a bit in everyday conversation with no sexual hint in sight.
Well, stick around and let’s find out all there is to know about the phrase ‘qué rico’!
Uses / Meanings of ‘qué rico’
‘Qué rico’ can be used in the following ways –
- As a synonym of ‘how tasty’
- To indicate that someone is very wealthy
- As a synonym of ‘how bountiful’
- To express delight
As a synonym of ‘how tasty’
‘Qué rico’ is by far the most common way to say that something is tasty, whether it be food or drink.
¡Mamá! ¡Pero qué rico te quedó el pozole!
Gracias, mija; es la receta de tu abuelo.
Mom! The pozole you made is so good!
Thank you, sweetheart; it’s your grandfather’s recipe.
You can also use it to describe delicious smells –
Leticia – ¡Qué rico hueles! ¿Es un perfume nuevo?
Blanca – ¡Sí! Me lo compré el fin de semana; es* de jazmín.
Leticia – You smell so good! Is that a new perfume?
Blanca – Yes! I bought it on the weekend; it’s jasmine.
Erika’s top tip – ‘es’ (NOT ´está´) is used here because we’re talking about a permanent quality. Be sure to check out our article on ‘es’ vs ‘esta’ if you want to know more.
To indicate that someone is very wealthy
‘Rico’ also translates to ‘rich’ or ‘wealthy’ in English, so the expression ‘qué rico’ can also mean that someone is rather affluent.
¡Pero qué rico es ese Bill Gates! Su fortuna durará para muchas generaciones.
How incredibly wealthy that Bill Gates is! His fortune will last for many generations.
It can also apply to things or objects that are particularly beautiful or ostentatious –
Invitados en una boda
Mira, qué rico el ajuar de la novia.
Ya sé, ¡se ve divina!
Guests at a wedding
Look how gorgeous the bride’s dress is.
I know, she looks divine!
As a synonym of ‘how bountiful’
‘Qué rico’ can also be used to refer to abundance.
From fertile soil to a deep, meaningful conversation, anything bountiful in nature could be defined as ‘rico’.
México es rico en flora y fauna, debido a sus muchos ecosistemas.
Mexico is rich in flora and fauna, due to its many ecosystems.
To express delight
‘Qué rico’ is also commonly used to describe something thoroughly delightful or pleasurable.
Of course, ‘qué rico’ as used in reggaeton or other Latin music genres falls into this category as well!
Toño – ¡Qué rico es platicar con Raúl!
Pamela – ¿Verdad? Es el compa más culto que he conocido en mi vida.
Toño – How thrilling it is to talk with Raúl!
Pamela – Right? He’s the most cultured dude I’ve ever met.
Sofía – ¿Saliste de vacaciones?
Helena – Sí, me fui con la familia a Playa del Carmen.
Sofía – Uy, ¡qué rico!
Sofía – Did you go on holiday?
Helena – Yeah, I went to Playa del Carmen with my family.
Sofía – Oof, how lovely!
‘Qué rico fuera’, canción de Paloma Mami y Ricky Martin
Regálame una noche entera, que yo te doy lo que tú quieras
A cambio de un tour por tus caderas. ¡Qué rico fuera!
‘Qué rico fuera’, a song by Paloma Mami and Ricky Martin
Give me a whole night, I’ll give you anything you want
In exchange for a tour of your hips. How amazing that would be!
‘Qué rico‘ pronunciation
To pronounce ‘qué rico’ correctly, divide it into three syllables:
- ‘Qué’ sounds like ‘keh’
- ‘Ri’ sounds like ‘rree’ (don’t forget to roll that ‘r’!)
- ‘Co’ is said like ‘koh’.
/ keh rree koh /
Similar expressions to ‘qué rico’
‘Sabroso’ means ‘delicious’ as well, and the expression ‘qué sabroso’ can be used interchangeably with ‘qué rico’ when you want to say that something is tasty or to express delight.
¡Qué sabroso quedó el coctel de camarón!
This shrimp cocktail is so tasty!
Guácala, qué rico
This phrase means something along the lines of ‘yikes, that’s yummy’, which may seem contradictory (and it is … but that’s kind of the point).
This one DOES often have sexual overtones, but you may also hear it used in the context of food.
Martha – Como que tengo antojo de una gomichela …
Paco – ¡Guácala, qué rico! Vamos por una.
Martha – I think I’m craving a ‘gomichela’ …
Paco – Yikes, so yummy! Let’s go get one.
A ‘gomichela’ is a cocktail made with beer, tamarindo and chamoy candy sauce and gummy bears.
That’s all folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about ‘qué rico’!
Next time you wanna show appreciation for a flavor, fragrance, sensation or just something downright pleasurable, be sure to whip out an enthusiastic ‘qué rico’ and surprise your Spanish-speaking friends!
By the way, if you want to learn all about another Spanish phrase beloved of Reggaetoneros, be sure to check out our article on ‘ya tú sabes’.