Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito)

Puerto Rican sofrito, also known as recaito, is a potent blend of aromatics and herbs that forms the foundation of Puerto Rican dishes.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Puerto Rican sofrito, also known as recaito, is a potent blend of aromatics and herbs that forms the foundation of Puerto Rican dishes.

Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito)

A Puerto Rican without sofrito is like a day without sunshine.  Ok, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic, but there’s no denying the moment of panic that strikes me whenever my sofrito stash is running low.  Luckily, Puerto Rican sofrito is SO EASY to make, that 10 minutes of your time will yield you weeks, if not months, of flavor. 

What is the origin of sofrito?

The word “sofrito” is Spanish and means to lightly fry something, such as by sauteing or stir-frying. It’s a technique that the Spanish colonists brought with them when they settled in the Caribbean and Latin America beginning in the late 1400s. The earliest mentioned recipe of sofrito, from around the middle of the 14th century, was made with only onion and oil.

What is Puerto Rican sofrito?

Similar to the mirepoix of French cookery, sofrito is the basis for many dishes in various Caribbean cultures, including stews, soups, rice, and bean dishes. In Puerto Rico, we call it “recaito”. The pungent herb recao (culantro) and ajíes dulces (sweet chili peppers) are the main contributing flavors in recaito. These two critical ingredients can usually be found in Asian or Latin supermarkets. If you can’t find these 2 ingredients, substitute with cilantro and cubanelle peppers, respectively.

Are there different kinds of sofrito?

There’s some debate about what is and isn’t part of sofrito, and that answer will change depending on what country you’re referring to.

Spanish sofrito features onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tomato that’s cooked down until it’s soft and caramelized and is the basis for dishes like paella.

Dominican sofrito, called sazón in that country, uses vinegar for a flavor punch and annatto for color.

Cuban sofrito employs tomatoes and red bell peppers to sweeten it up and add color, as well as diced ham.  

So just to be clear, we’re making Puerto Rican sofrito, also known as recaito, in this recipe.

Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito)

How to use Puerto Rican sofrito

In most cases, sofrito is the foundation upon which the rest of a recipe is built. Essentially, we use sofrito for anything that’s cooked in some sort of liquid. You can also use it as a marinade for meats. Since it’s usually the first thing to go into a cooking pot, it can be lightly sauteed to bring out the flavors of the aromatics. Sometimes in other recipes, the sofrito isn’t added until the end of the cooking time, and it’s also sometimes used as a topping sauce for grilled meats and fish. Use a few tablespoons in your next rice, beans, stew or soup recipe! And make sure to freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray so you can have sofrito on hand wheenver you need it.

Recipes that use Puerto Rican sofrito:

Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito)
5 from 9 votes

Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito)

Puerto Rican sofrito, also known as recaito, is a potent blend of aromatics and herbs that forms the foundation of Puerto Rican dishes.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Delish D’Lites


  • 2 cups ajis dulces (sweet chili peppers), seeded substitute with cubanelle peppers
  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • 30 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bunches culantro (recao) substitue with cilantro
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (optional)


  1. Wash and chop all the ingredients into large chunks.

  2. Puree everything in a food processor or blender.

  3. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 10 days, or freeze in an ice cube tray or small cups.

Recipe Video

Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito)


What's for dinner?

Get email updates

Get new free recipes and exclusive content delivered right to your inbox.

41 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    This is almost the same as my mom’s sofrito the only thing that’s different is the fact that she also includes cilantro along with all the ingredients listed above <3

  2. Hi!
    What is the difference between
    Recaito recepie and a sofrito with cilantro?? I’m confused. Im used to sofrito with onions, cubanelle peppers, garlic, ajicito, cilantro and recao. And green bell pepper, red, yellow etc by choice. If I make a sofrito with all the ingredients I just mentioned and also this recipe wouldnt it be too much to add both to food???

      1. In areas where I cannot find ajies dulces, I found poblano peppers to be a much better substitute than bell peppers. Poblanos are very mild in heat and do not add as much sweetness as bell peppers.

      1. Thank you when I make it the color is a light green is there an ingredient that I am not adding enough of to give it that dark green color?

  3. 5 stars
    This was soooooo good. I roasted a chicken, rice and beans last night. I used the sofrito in the rice and it was so good that I added it to the beans and dipped my chicken in it. This is my new gravy! Thank you so much for the recipe. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  4. 5 stars
    I have made a few of your recipes for my family they have loved them all. I have cooked Puerto Rican food for 22 years as my hubby is Boricua. But your recipes add a little change and it’s all been delicious. Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    first of all I love your blog! Second of all, thank you for posting this! I grew up in NY and though I am not Puertorican, I was brought up by a Puertorican Trini family. Every year I would get sofrito in a container for xmas that I would keep in the freezer. Now that Im in Louisiana I don’t get the sofrito anymore and wanted to make some to go with the pernil I’m making for thanksgiving. Thank you so much! Making tonight!

  6. 5 stars
    LOVE LOVE your site, refer back to you all the time. I need YOUR version of adobo seasoning. I have a huge urge for what I called “Cuban meat pies” as a child growing up in Miami. I’m making the sofrito today but my homemade adobo tastes extremely salty…do I have it right?

  7. I am sure this is a silly question but of all the peppers in the world I cannot eat bell pepper . I have never found a substitute, can you think of one?

      1. Please help! I went to 2 different markets (a Latin market and a chain market) and I could not find cubanelle peppers nor ají dulces.
        What other kind of pepper can I use?

    1. Hi! My granny put salt in it to keep it fresh when she made it homemade. Would you suggest that? And if yes how much?

    1. Translated to “little sweet peppers”, they’re the little peppers pictured in the blog post that are native to the Caribbean. They can be found in Latin or Asian supermarkets, or can be substituted with cubanelle peppers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


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.