There aren’t many things that can instantly trigger the nostalgia in me like a bowl of my mom’s Puerto Rican pollo guisado. This delicious, one pot Puerto Rican chicken stew was a weekly staple in my home growing up, because it’s a simple recipe that comes together in no time, without a lot of drama. Toss chicken and bunch of simple, yet flavorful ingredients into a pot, cover and cook until the chicken is done. It’s really that simple, using some basic Latin pantry staples!
What Ingredients Are In Pollo Guisado?
The quintessential flavor profile of Puerto Rican stews is sofrito. Spices like adobo and sazon give the pollo guisado the salty, umami flavor that keeps you coming back for more! Pollo guisado is an extremely budget friendly dish, as it utilizes the cheapest cuts of chicken, like legs and thighs, to make an ultra flavorful meal. It’s even better the next day, if it lasts that long (it never does in my house). You can also easily adapt this recipe for the slow cooker, just reduce the liquid amount to 2 cups since you won’t have any evaporation.
What To Serve With Pollo Guisado?
I like serving pollo guisado with steamed white rice, but you can also serve it with mashed potatoes or just some crusty bread for dipping. Make some tostones and you’ve got yourself a full blown Puerto Rican meal.
More Puerto Rican Recipes
- Carne Bif (Puerto Rican Stewed Corned Beef)
- Carne Guisada (Puerto Rican Beef Stew)
- Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice with Pigeon Peas)
- Habichuelas Guisadas (Puerto Rican Stewed Beans)
- Gazpacho (Puerto Rican Salt Cod Salad)
- Bistec Encebollado (Puerto Rican Steak and Onions)
- Slow Cooker Pernil (Puerto Rican Roasted Pork Shoulder)
Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs or legs if using breasts, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon Adobo all purpose seasoning Recommended brand: Goya
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons sofrito homemade or storebought
- 2 packets Sazon seasoning with annatto Recommended brand: Goya
- 1 tablespoon powdered chicken bouillon or more according to your taste
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 cup diced potatoes
- 3/4 cup baby carrots
- 2 bay leaves
- 10-12 pimento-stuffed olives
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, for garnish optional
Heat a Dutch oven on medium heat.
Season the chicken with the Adobo seasoning, then add the olive oil and chicken to the pot. Let the pieces brown for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside.
Add the sofrito, Sazon, tomato paste, powdered chicken bouillon, oregano, water, potatoes, carrots, bay leaves and olives into the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the chicken back into the pot.
Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the pollo guisado for 40-50 minutes with the lid on* or until the chicken is cooked through.
If your stew is too watery. cook with the lid off to reduce the liquid to your desired level.
Check for seasoning and add a bit more chicken bouillon if the pollo guisado needs a bit more salt.
Sprinkle the finished stew with the chopped cilantro, if using, and stir.
Serve with white rice, mashed potatoes or some crusty bread for dipping!
Help! I think i put in too much chicken trying to make enough for dinner and husbands lunch.i put 8 small leg quarters.will it turn out ok?
I always make extra lol. I use all chicken thighs. I have 2 teens a near 6 year old and have to make sure he has lunch and dinner just in case he has to work late which is frequently. I used a ten pack of boneless thighs today because it’s what I had. I usually use regular thighs. This is a super easy recipe to adjust. I basically just eye ball it. I cut my veggies while my meat marinated in adobo, Sazon and Badia complete. For a big amount I generally use 3 or 4 cubes frozen sofrito. I add about 4 cups heated water to start to dissolve the boullion then add my veggies. From there a you can see how much more water you will need. Generally on can of tomatoe sauce is enough. I usually do everything in my big caldero. This is a recipe you can’t really mess up unless you add too much salt which my husband tends to do ♀️ I can’t follow instructions. I have so many good recipes and I would love to share them but measuring just isn’t my thing unless I’m baking lol
My sister first pass this for us and everyone loved it! I have made several times now and it’s always delicious! Thank you!
What if I don’t have dry chicken bullion?
You can substitute with salt.
Is it suppose to stay very liquidity? I used chicken breast followed the recipe but it never thickened. I cooked it with out the lid on it. What can I do to thicken it up? It smells wonder and taste great but it was as thick as I though it was going to be. Thanks
Pollo guisado doesn’t have a thick sauce. You can add cornstarch (dissolve in a bit of water before stirring into the stew) to thicken if desired.
@Christine With the back of a spoon smush one or two of the potatoes which will thicken it up!! My Puerto Rican mom taught me this ❤️❤️❤️
My mother-in-law taught me to use plantain. Sheed it into a masa and make into little balls. Drop them in and it adds flavor and thickens the sauce, along with the potatoes.
I like Holly’s idea of masa plaintain balls. how to you make them?
You simply shred on a cheese/box grater, roll into balls by hand and drop in just don’t let them touch right away when you drop them in kind of space them out for a moment or two
This was soooo good! I didn’t have any bay leaves or olives, my sofrito only consisted of cilantro, garlic and an Italian green pepper but it still came out very tasty, can’t wait to try it again with all the ingredients.
I would say just add the chicken powder little by little as it was slightly on the salty side (might be my seasoning ) but definitely worth the try.
Yea you are right. Next time I will pour only half.
I just made this recipe and it was amazing. My family kept going back for more
I’ve made this 3 times using your recipe. I’m not Puerto Rican, but my boyfriend is and every time I make it, he gobbles it down and is so impressed with how it comes out. He says it reminds him of his grandma’s recipe. Thank you!
Any suggestion what to do with the left over sauce/liquid?
First time to do it and it is amazing!!
I love using it to make arroz con gandules.
This POLLO GUISADO was amazing thank you for the recipe. I see you said I can make arroz con gandules with the left over liquid. How do I use the liquid from the POLLO GUISADO meal to make arroz con gandules?
Thank you! Use it just like chicken broth.
Oh my gosh, adding this to arroz con gandules must heighten the flavor so much!!!!!!!! I can’t wait. Although, knowing my family, there won’t be any caldo left. Lol.
Reminds me of my Grandma’s cooking!
Haven’t made this in ages as hubby was Puerto Rican. If I don’t have homemade sofrito then I usually use a blend of the goya sofrito and recaito equal amount from both. I have a pot on now and it smells so wonderful, will probably have to be extra bad and do a pot of rice and gandules using the juice from the stewed chicken 🙂 TO DIE FOR!!!!
I’m making it right now. On a Sunday and for lunches for the week. And I know the leftovers taste better because its on marinating. Buen Provecho!!!
I tend to use 1pound of bone in chicken, how long do you think I should simmer the chicken? 40-50 seems too long.
I make this all the time. Put water in the pot and start adding ingredients immediately. Then cook until potatoes are done. That should be it
And I add kidney beans (don’t drain) , green peppers too
I also add ham cubes or ham bouillon.
First time making Puerto Rican food. This made my house smell wonderful and the taste is even better!
Excelent recipe. I would add recao if I had some available.
I feel like I remember my mom adding corn on the cob to this! Anyone else?
Yes, my mom does that sometimes as well.
Yes that is the way my mother-in-law taught me how to do it also
I have been looking for a good puerto rican stew. Made this 2 days ago for the first time and used the slow cooker. I have alot of liquid with little chicken left. What can I do with this delicious stew? I doo not want to throw it away.
Use the broth the same way you would chicken broth. I use it to make delicious Arroz con Gandules! https://www.delishdlites.com/recipe-index/holiday-recipes/arroz-con-gandules-puerto-rican-rice-with-pigeon-peas-recipe/
I had a lot of the juices/stew left b4 and i froze it until the next time. My boys say its “On Fire”…lol I took it as they loved it when i first made and when i used the stew for my next time. Delicious!
Would i use 4 pounds for 8 people and double everything else since the recipe says 4 servings 2 pounds
Yes, you can double the recipe as indicated. Note that doubling the recipe will probably lead to a longer cooking time, so plan ahead.
How much longer
Until the chicken is fall off the bone tender.
Was looking at your recipe to see what the difference between this and Cuban fricase de pollo is and the only thing I notice is the carrots. Maybe you could explain the difference to me?
Pollo fricasé usually contains wine. That’s the main difference.
I made this last night, it was a hit! thanks
What lind of sofrito do you use? I seen a red one and green one by goya.
I make my own! https://www.delishdlites.com/recipe-index/latin-recipes/puerto-rican-sofrito-recipe/
I know homeade is best but if Im not going to make my own sofrito this one time, which of the Goya sofrito should I purchase the red or green? Thank you
I like using their frozen version if you can find it, if not, either jarred version works.
I ended up making the homeade sofrito and it turned out delicious. Btw, I also made Pastellon yesterday using frozen platanos just like you mentioned and it was so sweet and probabaly the best one I’ve had. My family loved both of these recipes. Thank you very much!!
Thank you Vivian! Glad you enjoyed the recipes!
Made this tonight. Delicious!! I am Puerto Rican and can cook but not the greatest and this came out yummy! Thanks for the recipe!
Should I simmer with the pot covered or uncovered? In the directions you say covered and in the ingredients you say uncovered. Thanks!
It depends on how quickly your liquid is evaporating. If it’s too watery, cook with the lid off until it reduces to your desired consistency. Otherwise, simmer using a lid.
Hi, should I leave the skin on chicken or take it off? I’m using legs and thighs. Thank you so much!
It’s up to your individual preference, I’ve done it both ways with delicious results.
Thank you for sharing your recipe! It was delicious! My husband and kids aren’t fans of fricase de pollo, and weren’t very excited when I told them what I was making tonight, but they loved it! Your pollo guisado recipe is delicious!!! Thanks again!
Thank you so much! Glad you and the family enjoyed the recipe!
This is the third time I’ve made this dish using your recipe. It is always a huge hit!
Thank you Joe!
I dont see the amount of water. Can you help me with that?
Hello, the ingredient list indicates 3 cups of water.
Delicious! Instead of adding 3 cups of water, I added 2 and 1 cup of Modelo beer, suggested by another cook. So awesome 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe – and I have tried several Pollo Guisado recipes in my lifetime!
I Love that idea, I’m going to try it! Sometimes I add some red wine; but then technically that makes it a fricasee.
I bought some sazon but its not in packet form. How much should I use?
Use 1.5 teaspoons for each packet called for in a recipe.
Can you substitute water with chicken broth (low sodium)? Thank you.
Hi Kim. Did you end up making it with chicken broth instead of water, if so, how did it turn out?
Yummy recipe hubby loves when I make this for him one of his fav dishes. Thankyou for sharing so flavorful ♥️
Hello, how do you make this in a slow cooker? I made it on the stove but would prefer it in the slow cooker. It was also delicious. Thank you.
Place the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours.
Do you brown the chicken first before putting it into the slow cooker?
Just made this today and OMG the house smells amazing!!!! I added chick pea to mine just because, chopped up onions (sauté in the same pot i browned the chicken) and i also put the carrots and potatoes in at the 2nd 20 minute mark. It’s perfect.
Sooooo good! I don’t consider myself a cook. I make easy dishes that don’t require a lot of ingredients or time. I’m Puerto Rican, but don’t really cook any Puerto Rican dishes. This dish was so good. Never imagined I would be cooking latin food and this recipe made it easy. Thank you!
Do you think this would be good if I used Yuca instead of potatoes?
Absolutely, yuca would be amazing!
This is the best dish ever. I always use the recipe for my base, then add on to make it my own. Thank you so much for having your recipe for those who don’t know how to cook traditional Spanish food
So glad you like it! Sharing my family recipes makes me happy, it reminds me of home and simpler times. Enjoy!
I have made this in a Dutch oven several times. Sooooo good. Trying the slow cooker today. Muchísimas gracias por esta receta. Deliciosa!
Gracias Carol! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
How did it come out?
Oh my god this is the most delicious dish ever. Thank you so much!!!!!
Can I use a caldero?
I love making this! It’s my second time and it tastes so good! But my potatoes ALWAYS overcook and it becomes slop. So I would suggest adding the potatoes and carrots 20 minutes in from the simmer time. Other than, awesome recipe!
Do you have the instant pot instructions?
If not, do you still brown them first and then throw everything else in? Is it high pressure and how many minutes? Thank you. 🙂
Hi, I haven’t made this in the instant pot yet, so I can’t provide instructions. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
Is a 4 quart Dutch oven big enough for this recipe? Thank you!
Sooo delicious! I didn’t have bone in chicken, just boneless breast. Turned out great either way, added about 1 1/2 cups of chopped spinach and celery for more veggies. Yummy! Thanks
All I can say is sabroso. Excellent recipe.
I am from Spain. This is the best pollo guisado I have ever tasted. Viva Puerto Rico. Gracias por la receta.
This dish is delish! I made it over the weekend! I just wanted to check on 1 ingredient! On your ingredient list, you have tomato “paste”, but in the instructions, you have tomato “sauce”. I’m assuming that you meant sauce, but because I opened the can of paste going by the ingredients list, that’s what I used.
Hi Darlene, you’re right, it’s tomato paste! I’ve updated the recipe card to reflect that. Thanks for the head’s up.
Well traditionally we used tomato sauce, but hey I guess I should try it with the paste on of these days.
You can also use tomato sauce, either one works!
Using tomato sauce will that be half a can for this dish or whole? Can you use cumin on this or will it be too much?
This dish is very forgiving. You can absolutely use a whole 8 oz can. Watch out with cumin, use sparingly, as it quickly takes over a dish.
What if I don’t have a Dutch pan?
Any large soup pot with a lid will work.
Delish! I have struggle to made this dish and now I have a go to recipe.
OMG. DELISH…… I was lucky enough to have a friend to give me some homemade
Sofrito and it made this even more yummy. This is absoultely a keeper…..
Thank you Lorraine! How lucky are you to have a sofrito hookup!
You could make the sofrito your self. You can google it and then freeze it when it’s done
Sounds very yummy. I loved my Abuela’s Pollo Guisado and cant wait to try this recipe. I read that you can use the crockpot instead, but what are the instructions in how to make it in a crockpot instead.
Hi! To make the recipe in a crockpot, brown the chicken, then add everything to the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6.
I make my pollo guisado but Never with water. My mom used and teach us to make with beer or red wine; not cooking wine, Red wine the ones you drink during of after dinner and believe me nobody going to get drunk with that pollo guisado. Have made like this since I learned how to cook.
I love this recipe. I have made it a number of times, and found that it is very easy to adjust for different quantities. It is also very forgiving in that I don’t always have exact measurements, but as long as I follow the general proportions of the ingredients, it will still turn out tasty. It is now one of my go-tos. Thank you so much for sharing!
Luuuuv, I mean absolutely luuuuuv the pollo guisado! Ingredients are great but I always use my own sofrito. Do you have a sofrito recipe? Mine is very basic. I would love to see what other people put in theirs.
Thank you! Yes I do, check it out here! https://www.delishdlites.com/latin-recipes/puerto-rican-sofrito-recipe/
Going to try this recipe out this weekend for my friend Bday Party wanted to see if Mofongo will go with the Pollo Guisado instead of steam Rice.
Absolutely, mofongo is a great accompaniment to pollo guisado!
It’s simmering now and smells so amazing. Thank you for this recipe!!!
Awesome, can’t wait to hear how it came out!
I have been waiting for this recipe! I’m Puerto Rican and my mom was an excellent cook, but she did everything with a pinch of this, a pinch of that so no recipes survived her. I found your site looking for arroz con gandules, made them.. GREAT! Made your carne guisa… GREAT! So I’ve been waiting for the 3rd in my trio of favorite recipes, and this is it. Can’t wait to try it! BTW your recipes are very much in line with the way mom cooked so for me, so far, your recipes are perfection itself.
Thank you so much Tami, this makes me so happy!
I agree with you! The recipes are amazing. Some people attempt to imitate Spanish cooking and somehiw always miss the mark BY LARGE but this cook definitely knew what spices to use!
Buenas tardes. Si no tengo Italian Seasoning que puedo usar?
Puedes usar oregano seco.
thanks for the recipe made this today with chicken thighs added onion and garlic powder to season the chicken as well as the stew came out so good!
Thanks so much Melissa! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Made it for the first time and hunny loved it so much, he wants me to make it tonight for Christmas!
Can you make this using a slow cooker?
Yes you can!
Any recommendations if I don’t have a Dutch oven?
Any heavy bottom pot will work.
how many pounds of chicken should I use to serve about eight people?
I’d make about 1 pound per person, that will be plenty of leftovers that you can send people home with!
Sonia how did it come out doubling all ingredients
Hi I’m so excited to cook both carne and pollo guisada! I’ve never cooked it but I remember being 13 and my friends mother cooked carne guisada I’m 37 so I’m craving this dish. My husband doesn’t eat beef so that’s why I’m cooking both lol. Is it ok to make arroz con gandules instead of white rice??
White rice or arroz con granules are a perfect complement to either dish, they are perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce. Enjoy!
Yum! I just got back from PR and I’m excited to find your website!! For sofrito, are you making your own? If so, could you share your recipe? Otherwise are you using the red or green?
Hi Michelle, I have a sofrito recipe on my blog, just search in the Puerto Rican recipes section. Thanks!
What is sazon and sofrito? I’m Asian.
Feel free to search those terms on my website, you’ll find recipes for both.
How many does this serve approximately? I’m cooking for my daughters Quinceanera and need to serve about 50.
25 lbs of chicken would feed 50 people.
Tastes delicious! I added some flour to make the stew a little thicker but the flavors were amazing! Thank you!
Hi I’m excited to ry this dish tonight. I’m going to use chicken wings and drum sticks, good idea? Also I’m hoping for fall off the bone chicken am I still only simmering for 20 to 30 mintues?
I’m sorry it took so long to comment. I made this recipe a while ago and my wife told me she didn’t like pollo guisado. I am still laughing about that comment because I got to eat the whole thing all by myself. it was delish….. muchas gracias
That’s awesome Ricardo!
Made it last night and it was a hit!!!
I made it of course with the white rice
So so delicious my kids and boyfriend loved it
Thanks for the easy recipe
Easy and delicious.
Made this last night! It was delicious! Thank you so much!
Just made this dish and must say it replaces my old recipe ten fold! Followed your recipe to the letter and “que sabroso!” Gracias
That’s awesome JC! I’m glad you loved it!
Can i make it with noodles as well?
Hi Jazmin, that sounds ymmy!
This recipe looks delicious! I am white and my husband is Puerto Rican, and I can cook pretty good but am always looking to better my Puerto Rican dishes. My mother in law is Dominican so they usually have that touch from her teaching me. : )
I’ll be making this tonight, with rice of course.
Thanks so much for the recipe.
That’s awesome Mandy, good luck!
Thank you for refreshing my memory with this amazing recipe.
Do you have any recipes for Yuca? My mother in law gave me a recipe a long time ago but has since passed away and I lost my recipe book when I moved. My husband has been craving Yuca for months now and I would love to make it for him. I just found your site and thought you would be the best person to ask!!
Hi Maggie what kind of yuca recipe are you looking for? Boiled, fried, etc?
I new to cooking and I will be attempting this tonight but with chicken breasts. Do I have to brown them first aswell ?
Yes Anna, brown the chicken breasts.
Being Puerto Rican Myself and cooking since I was 10 yrs, I find nestled at this golden age of 46 going to the Internet to refresh myself with recipes from my past, and our recipes is on point… thank you for sharing and made my life easier…
Hi Jose! Thanks so much for stopping by! Buen provecho!
THANK YOU! JUST COOKED THIS RECIPE IS DELICIOUS:)
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it!