Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken & Rice)

Arroz con pollo is a comfort food classic and a signature Puerto Rican dish that you can make easily with just a handful of pantry staples.

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Puerto Rican arroz con pollo is a comfort food classic and a signature dish that you can make easily with just a handful of pantry staples. With just one pot, you can whip up this delish dish that your family will absolutely love!

Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken & Rice)

Arroz con pollo is one of the first dishes I learned how to make growing up in my mom’s Puerto Rican kitchen.  It’s one of those dishes that can usually be whipped up on a moment’s notice, when there’s nothing else in the fridge except some chicken.  Any kind of chicken will do, whether it’s legs, breasts, wings or thighs.  I’m partial to chicken thighs, as they hold up well to long cooking times and don’t dry out like chicken breast can.  

My fridge isn’t always well stocked, especially when life gets hectic, but at the very least, I always have chicken and rice ready and waiting, and most ingredients in this dish are pantry staples, like adobo, sazon, tomato sauce sofrito, & dried spices.  This aromatic, savory, one pot wonder is a great staple recipe to have in your culinary arsenal.  The rice absorbs the highly seasoned, herbaceous broth to produce a fragrant and fluffy rice dish that satisfies all the senses. Whether you’re feeding family, friends, or a little bit of both, everyone loves arroz con pollo!

Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken & Rice)

What Is The Origin Of Arroz Con Pollo?

Arroz con pollo is a traditional Spanish and Latin American dish that translates to “rice with chicken” in English. The exact origin of arroz con pollo is a bit challenging to pinpoint, as variations of this dish exist in many countries, each with its own unique flavors and preparation methods.

The dish likely has its roots in Spain, where rice and chicken have been staple ingredients for centuries. As Spanish explorers and settlers traveled to the Americas, they brought their culinary traditions with them. Over time, arroz con pollo evolved in different regions, incorporating local ingredients and culinary influences.

In various Latin American countries, you’ll find distinct versions of arroz con pollo with regional spices, herbs, and additional ingredients that reflect the local culinary heritage. The dish often includes a base of rice and chicken cooked together with a variety of seasonings, such as saffron, cumin, garlic, and various herbs. Vegetables like bell peppers, peas, and tomatoes are also commonly included.

While the exact origin may be challenging to trace, arroz con pollo has become a beloved and iconic dish in many Spanish-speaking cultures, each with its own delicious twist on the classic recipe.

Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken & Rice)

What Ingredients Are In Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo?

Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo, like many variations of the dish across Latin America, has its own unique flavor profile and ingredients. Here are the ingredients you’ll need.

Chicken: Usually, a whole chicken is cut into pieces, but you can also use chicken thighs, drumsticks, or a combination of pieces.

Rice: Long-grain rice is typically used in Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo.

Sofrito: A key element in many Puerto Rican dishes, sofrito is a mixture of aromatic ingredients that often includes onions, garlic, bell peppers, cilantro, and sometimes tomatoes. It adds depth of flavor to the dish.

Chicken Bouillon: Adds flavor to the rice.

Vegetables: I use chopped bell pepper, onion and garlic for extra flavor.

Cilantro and Culantro: Fresh herbs like cilantro and culantro are often used for added freshness and flavor

Sazón: A seasoning blend commonly used in Puerto Rican cuisine, it typically includes a mix of spices like cumin, coriander, annatto, and sometimes garlic and oregano.

Olives: These add a briny flavor to the dish.

Beer or White Wine: Some recipes include beer or white wine for additional flavor in the cooking liquid. I use beer in my recipe.

Keep in mind that recipes may vary, and individual cooks may have their own twists on the dish. The combination of these ingredients creates a flavorful one-pot meal that is popular in Puerto Rican cuisine.

What To Serve With Arroz Con Pollo

You can serve this up on its own, with habichuelas guisadas and crunchy tostones, sweet plantains, a fresh avocado salad…the possibilities are really endless.  Whatever you decide, one thing’s for sure, this will be delish!

Check out these popular one-pot Puerto Rican recipes from Delish D’Lites!

4.91 from 10 votes

Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)

Course Main Course
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Keyword arroz con pollo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6


Chicken Marinade

For The Rice

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup sofrito
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup light beer, like Medalla
  • 2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon powdered chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp Sazon seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 ½ cup long-grain rice


  1. Preheat a caldero on medium heat. Cut up the chicken, and season with the olive oil, adobo, sazon, garlic powder, oregano and cumin. Toss to coat. Add olive oil into the caldero, and brown the chicken pieces for 4-5 minutes per side, or until they've got some color on them. Once browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

  2. Add the chopped peppers, onions, garlic and sofrito. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the veggies start to become tender. Add the tomato sauce and stir for one minute.

  3. Next, add in the beer and water or broth, powdered chicken bouillon, sazon, bay leaves and cilantro. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it's come to a boil, taste for seasoning. If it needs more salt, sprinkle in a bit more of the powdered chicken bouillon.

  4. Once the liquid is seasoned to your liking, add in the rice, and stir to evenly distribute the rice. Nestle the chicken back into the liquid, and cook on medium, without a lid, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

  5. Once the liquid has been absorbed, use a spoon to mound the mixture into the center of the caldero, then cover and reduce the flame to a simmer. Cook for 25-30 minutes, until the rice is tender and fluffy.

Recipe Video

Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken & Rice)


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25 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    Made this recipe tonight it was so awesome. So much flavor!! I was just wondering if I was to double the amount of rice would I double the broth/water or will it be too soupy? I also didn’t know when to add the olive oil. It was listed in the ingredients, but I didn’t see it under directions. I’ve made your beef stew as well as the chicken stew and my family really enjoyed them. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!!

    1. I’m not sure if doubling will change the final recipe result, you’ll have to try it. I’ve found that using parboiled rice is usually more forgiving to changes in liquid measurements than regular long-grain or medium-grain rice is. Much less likely to be sticky or soupy. Olive oil is used to start the cooking process, updated the recipe to reflect that. Thanks for the love!

  2. 5 stars
    I am Puerto Rican and Chilena so I have made recipes from both sides of the family but I felt as though my Arroz con Pollo wasn’t a favorite among the masses in my home. Lol. I made your recipe a few weeks back and it has been requested several times so I am making it again today. It’s so flavorful and delicious. This will have to replace my own Arroz con Pollo recipe. Thank you so much!!!! I have made several recipes from your site.

  3. Can I used brown rice for this? Traditionally my mom used white rice, but if I could mak me it a bit healthier I would love to try it.

    1. I’m sure you can, but I’ve never personally tried it. Because brown rice takes longer to cook, you have to adjust the amount of liquid.

  4. Looking forward to trying the Arroz Con Pollo tonight. My husband is Puerto Rican and I’m trying to incorporate more of the traditional foods he grew up eating into our repertoire of recipes. One comment on the Arroz Con Pollo recipe – I noticed sofrito and sazon are listed in the recipe on the website, but when you “Jump to Recipe” and “Print Recipe”, they are no longer on the list of ingredients.

  5. 5 stars
    GIRL! I made this last night and it was SO GOOD! I love your recipes, especially the Latin ones. Keep up the great work!

  6. 4 stars
    My ex mother was Puerto Rican, I wished I had paid attention when she cooked. I love the food. She did make 2 dishes I wonder if you know them, one with corned beef and one with these split peas in a bag that she somehow cooked and mashed and put them over white rice ?

  7. 5 stars
    Hi janese
    I am African American and I just made this recipe. It is very delicious and it came out perfect.

  8. 5 stars
    Ever since I found your website in search for some authentic and original recipes for Spanish food… preferrably PuertoRican latino food, I have to say that I have been very impressed. My family finds that my meals are even better tasting than usual, not to say that I can’t cook, cause I can, but your flavors are awesome and creative. Its a compliment to my collection of culinary. Thank you Jannese:)

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I’m Jannese, Founder of Delish D’lites

I’m a Puerto Rican girl living in paradise (Florida), and the creative mind behind Delish D’Lites. I love sharing my family recipes and travel inspired cuisine! My favorite things include collecting passport stamps, twerking to Latin music, and kissing puppies. Follow along on social.