Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo is classic Latin comfort food. With easy, one-pot prep, this simple chicken and rice recipe makes a delicious, well-balanced meal the whole family will love. Ready to serve in about an hour.
What is Arroz con Pollo?
Arroz con Pollo is classic comfort food in Latin cuisine; made with white rice, chicken, vegetables, and savory adobo seasoning. There are many variations, depending on the region; and like homemade spaghetti sauce, every family has their own recipe.
Our Arroz con Pollo recipe honors the traditions of Puerto Rico, and includes a Puerto Rican-style adobo seasoning and sofrito as its foundation for flavor.
One-pot prep makes this dish very easy to make. It's a well-balanced, complete meal that the whole family will love.
Arroz con Pollo Ingredients
- Chicken: Chicken thighs work best for this dish, based on cooking time. Remove the skin from bone-in thighs for the best outcome. You can also use chicken tenders, bone-in chicken legs, or even chicken breasts if they are cut up in smaller pieces.
- Chicken broth: Use a good quality canned or boxed chicken broth. You can also use homemade chicken stock; however, if it is very hearty, you will want to water it down a little.
- Peppers: Y'all know I don't like green peppers, so I always use red, yellow, or orange peppers. Use the sweet peppers you like best!
- Adobo: Making this savory seasoning mix at home is easy, but if you don't have all the spices on hand, you can use a store-bought adobo seasoning instead.
- Onions: Use any kind of onion. (We prefer using yellow onions.)
- Canned tomato sauce: We usually use a sauce with some garlic and onions, but plain tomato sauce works fine.
- Corn: Like green peppers, I do not love cooked peas. (They taste bitter to me.) So I sub in corn in almost every recipe that calls for them. If you love peas, go ahead and use them; or use a combination of both.
- Cilantro: Cilantro brightens the flavor after cooking, and is a delicious addition and an eye-catching garnish. However, if you plan to serve this dish to company (especially folks you don't know well) leave the cilantro off and serve it on the side instead. Some people have a genetic variation in a group of olfactory-receptor genes that make cilantro taste like soap to them. The Arroz con Pollo will taste fabulous even without the cilantro.
- Chili flakes
- Bay leaves
Adobo can refer to a seasoning mix, sauce, or entire dish. In this case, we are using an all-in-one spice blend common to Puerto Rican cooking.
If you want to skip making the adobo, you can use a store-bought adobo seasoning instead.
How to Make Puerto Rican Chicken & Rice
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
Combine adobo seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl: paprika, cumin, turmeric, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt.
Cut two or three shallow slits across the top of each chicken thigh. Sprinkle one tablespoon of the seasoning mix over the chicken thighs and dry rub onto front and back of each one.
Reserve the remaining seasoning mix for later.
Heat vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until oil glistens.
Add dry-rubbed chicken pieces to skillet "good side" down and brown for 4-5 minutes. Turn the chicken thighs over and brown on the other side for 4-5 minutes. Use tongs to remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
Sofrito & Rice
There should be ample seasoned oil left in the bottom of the pan for the next step; however, if there is not enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, add another tablespoon.
To the same skillet, add the chopped onion, peppers, and corn, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; until the onions are translucent. (If you are using peas instead of corn, do not add them at this time. Add them with the tomato sauce.)
While the vegetables are cooking, rinse the rice in a sieve under cold water until the water runs clear. Shake out as much water as you can from the rice. (Do not rinse the rice too early or it may get mushy when it is cooked.)
Add the rinsed rice and chopped garlic to the sautéed vegetables, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add remaining seasoning mixture and the chili flakes to the vegetable and rice mixture, and stir to combine.
Cook the spices for just a few seconds, and then add the chicken broth and tomato sauce stir to combine. Remove skillet from heat.
Add the browned chicken thighs on top of the rice mixture. Add the bay leaves.
Bake & Serve
Cover the skillet and place in preheated oven. Bake at 350°F | 177°C for 30 minutes.
Remove Arroz con Pollo from the oven.
When you take the chicken out of the oven, the internal temperature at the thickest part of the thigh should be at least 165°F | 74°C.
Remove the skillet cover and sprinkle a handful of cilantro on top. Replace the cover and allow the chicken and rice to set for 10 minutes or more before serving.
Garnish with additional fresh cilantro and serve warm.
Chicken broth: Don't have any chicken broth? Sub in an equal amount of water and three teaspoons of Better than Bouillon or three bouillon cubes. (In this case, dissolve the bouillon in hot water before adding to the mixture.)
This Arroz con Pollo recipe is very mild. If you want to spice it up a bit, add a chopped jalapeño or two when you add the chopped peppers.
You can make Arroz con Pollo in any heavy, oven-safe covered skillet. We always make this dish - start to finish - in our 3.6-quart covered cast iron casserole. (A "casserole" is simply a skillet with loop handles on both sides.) Our cast iron casserole pan is my favorite kitchen purchase of the last few years. It goes easily from stovetop to oven to tabletop for serving, and I use it almost every day. (I love this pan so much that I ended up giving one to each of my daughters.)
If you are looking to invest in a versatile, functional, beautiful pan to add to your kitchen, you can't beat a good-quality enameled cast iron skillet/braiser/casserole. Le Crueset, the French cookware company, is known as height of craftsmanship and style when it comes to enameled cast iron; however, we've found the Lodge casserole to be a well-made, reasonably priced, dependable alternative.
Top Tip: Stovetop Prep
We prefer to finish this recipe in the oven so we don't have to babysit it; it can easily burn on the bottom if the heat is even a little too high. However, you can successfully cook it - start to finish - on the stovetop.
To cook on the stovetop, simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Then cover and reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Check occasionally to make sure that it isn't cooking too quickly.
Sofrito is a fragrant blend of herbs, spices, and chopped vegetables that is used to season stews, soups, rice, beans, and meats. Used much as French mirepoix is used in European cooking, sofrito is an integral part of Latin and Caribbean cooking, and the heart of many Puerto Rican dishes.
More Cozy Chicken Recipes
What to Serve with Arroz con Pollo
Arroz con pollo is a warm, hearty, comforting dish that is a complete meal in itself. We enjoy it with slice of lime and some fresh fruit, or a simple mango-avocado salad on the side. For a heartier meal, you can add a big green salad with cilantro-lime dressing, corn on the cob, black beans, and homemade tortillas.
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Arroz Con Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken & Rice)
- 1 Enameled Cast Iron Skillet or Dutch oven
- 1 Tongs
- 1 small sieve
Seasoning Mix (Adobo)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Chicken & Rice
- 2½ pounds skinless chicken thighs about 6 thighs; boneless or bone-in
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 whole sweet red or yellow pepper chopped; about 1 cup
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn or peas; room temperature
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 cup long-grain white rice or medium-grain
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ¼-½ teaspoons chili flakes
- 2 whole bay leaves
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- Preheat oven to 350°F | 177°C.
- Combine seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cut two or three shallow slits across the top of each chicken thigh.Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix over the chicken thighs and dry rub onto front and back of each one. Reserve the other half of the seasoning mix for later.
- Heat vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until oil glistens.
- Add dry-rubbed chicken pieces to skillet "good side" down and brown for 4-5 minutes. Turn the chicken thighs over and brown on the other side for 4-5 minutes. Use tongs to remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
Sofrito & Rice
- There should be ample seasoned oil left in the bottom of the pan. To the same skillet, add chopped onion, peppers, and corn, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; until the onions are translucent.
- While the vegetables are cooking, rinse the rice in a sieve under cold water until the water runs clear. Shake out as much water as you can from the rice.Do not rinse the rice too early or it may get mushy when it is cooked.
- Add rinsed rice and chopped garlic to the sautéed vegetables, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining seasoning mixture and the chili flakes to the vegetable and rice mixture, and stir to combine. Cook the spices for just a few seconds, and then add the chicken broth and tomato sauce stir to combine. Remove skillet from heat.
- Add the browned chicken thighs on top of the rice mixture. Add the bay leaves.
- Cover the skillet and place in preheated oven. Bake at 350°F | 177°C for 30 minutes. (Internal temperature of chicken should be at least 165°F | 74°C when you take it out of the oven. For more tender chicken, bake until the temperature reaches 180°F | 82°C.)
- Remove Arroz con Pollo from the oven. Remove cover and sprinkle a handful of cilantro on top. Recover and allow to set for 10 minutes or more before serving.
- Garnish with additional fresh cilantro and serve warm.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Originally published June 10, 2015. This post has been updated with new content, images, and recipe instructions.
Tayler Ross says
We had this chicken and rice for dinner last night and my whole family loved it! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
Glad to know you loved it as much as we do!
What a hearty and satisfying dinner! Can't wait to try it soon!
Easy and delicious, this one is a keeper. I know I’m going to make it over and over again!
"What's for dinner?" can be the most exhausting question ever. This is one of our go-tos, especially on those days.
This is absolutely delicious! I love that it’s such a crowd pleaser for the whole family
Even the little kiddos in our family like it. That makes it a definite keeper!
Prajakta Sukhatme says
Made it last night. Such amazing flavors. My family enjoyed it. Plus we had some leftovers for lunch. Totally adding it my dinner menu planning.
The leftovers are the best! We like to have them for breakfast topped with a poached egg.
Such a flavorful meal, will definitely be making this again!
So glad you liked it! It makes for great leftovers, too!