Asopao is Puerto Rico’s national soup and one of the most important gastronomic recipes in Puerto Rico. This version features chicken, the most classic version of this one pot wonder.
Asopao de pollo always reminds me of home and the holidays. Perfect for cold winter nights, asopao is a somewhere between soup and a stew. Tender bits of chicken are simmered in a flavorful stock, then rice is added and cooked until tender. Unlike arroz con pollo, asopao is more similar to a risotto, where the rice becomes really plump and creamy, due to the extra liquid added to the pot during cooking. It’s meant to be eaten with a spoon, and also happens to be a classic recipe to serve to late-night guests during the holiday season (along with coquito)! Asopao de pollo is the perfect dish to make when you need something warm and delish to fend off winter’s grip.
What is Asopao?
Asopao is a hearty stew made with rice, chicken, sofrito seasoning and veggies. It’s sort of reminisoup and arroz con pollo! It’s one of those foods that instantly reminds Puerto Ricans of home. My grandmother makes it during the holiday season in Puerto Rico, because there’s always someone stopping by during the season of parrandas. I’m always amazed by how many people she is able to feed out of a single pot! Moms and Abuelas all over the island have their signature recipes for this comforting dish. It’s a staple in the kitchen, whether it’s for a family reunion, large gathering or simply a flavorful home-cooked meal.
What Ingredients Are in Asopao?
The staple ingredients for Puerto Rican asopao are chicken, rice and sofrito. You can use chicken on the bone or boneless, depending on your preference. Other ingredients include traditional Latin seasonings like adobo and sazon, along with tomato sauce, chicken broth, and veggies of your choice. Canned peas are a traditional addition, but I love the color and flavor of fresh or frozen peas, so I swap those out. My mom always added cut corn cobs to this dish, and I do! I love the way the corn soaks up the delicious guiso (broth) as it’s cooking. You can also make this with shrimp, pork, or beef.
What To Serve With Asopao?
Asopao is a one pot dish, so it’s perfect on it’s own. My abuela always serves it with tostones (fried plantains), and you can’t go wrong with some sliced rice avocado on the side as well. The tostones are a lovely, crunchy side dish to the creamy soup, and the avocado has a creamy, cooling effect on the hot soup.
More Latin-Inspired One Pot Meals
- Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)
- Carne Guisada (Puerto Rican Beef Stew)
- Arroz Con Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken & Rice)
- Bacalao Guisado (Stewed Cod Fish)
- Garbanzos Guisados (Puerto Rican Stewed Chickpeas)
- Spanish Style Chicken and Chorizo Paella
- Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef Stew)
- Sancocho De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)
Asopao De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken & Rice Gumbo)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Adobo seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup sofrito
- 1 8 oz can no salt added tomato sauce
- 1 packet Sazon seasoning with annatto
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 cup parboiled rice
- 2 corn cobs, cut into 2 inch discs (optional)
- 1 cup frozen peas Optional
Cut the chicken thighs into about 2 inch chunks, then season with adobo and dried oregano.
Heat a Dutch oven on medium heat, then add the olive oil, sofrito and chicken.
Add the tomato sauce, Sazon, cumin, bay leaves, bouillon cube, and the chicken broth.
Add the cilantro and thyme to the pot, then bring the mixture to a boil.
Add the rice and stir, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.
Cook the rice for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Then, next the corn into the rice and cook for 5 minutes.
Once the corn is cooked, add the peas and stir to combine.
Serve the asopao nice and hot!
Canned peas are a traditional garnish for this dish. If you’re not a fan, please omit from the recipe.
I love this recipe!!!
What if you don’t have parboiled rice and only regular
You can also use regular rice, just rinse before adding. You may also have to add more liquid.
This is a fantastic quick-n-easy Boricua stew. I used your recipe to the best I could the first time. It was great— even my neighbors tasted under quarantine. Today I added more back-yard traditional ingredients from the East side of the Island (PR) and swapped the chicken for beef, added potatoes, swiped the cilantro for Equal quantity of Culantro ( Shīdo). Also did the sequence you recommended except for the raw corn and peas; did those babies at the last station, right after the Sello Rojo ( short Grain) rice! Kore arigatō. Sincerely, Ricky
Thank you for these recipes. THEY ARE DELICIOUS AND EASY. THEY REMIND ME OF WHEN I WAS YOUNG IN PUERO RICO. I AM GOING TO SHARE THEM WITH MY FAMILY.
Thanks so much Bettie! Yes, please share!
Hey! I want to make this for my family. How do I measure the ingredients for a party of 12?
Hi Kelly, you can triple the recipe.
Okay, thank you so much!
Thank You so much. this is going to help me on my spanish presentation. 😉
A friend of mine recalls a recipe with chicken and white fish (Cod). Are you familiar with this variation?
Sorry never heard of it!
I really like this recipe and I have at least 6 different types or kinds of rice. I don’t or have never used parboil rice. Is this really necessary?
Hi Marlene! Parboiled rice is my favorite type because it comes out fluffy every time, but you can use regular long grain rice, just rinse before using.
Mom would serve with pan sobao and butter. Only missing ingredient were the green olives stuffed with pimiento morons..
When we were broke she would sub the chicken with cut up Vienna sausages (3 cans)
This is really down home Puerto Rican cooking.