Delicious Arroz Amarillo con Gandules Recipe

Hark thee, fellow epicureans! I bequeath to thee a recipe of utmost importance and grandeur that will transport thy taste buds to the verdant isles of Puerto Rico. It is no secret that the island’s cuisine is a glorious fusion of indigenous Taíno, Spanish and African influences. Amongst its most beloved dishes is Arroz Con Gandules, a dish so cherished that it is considered the national dish of Puerto Rico.

This is no ordinary rice dish, dear friends. The grains are imbued with a vibrant yellow hue from sazon goya con culantro y achiote, and are bedecked with pigeon peas – con gandules – which add an earthy sweetness and imparts it with a rich depth of flavour. It’s an explosion of scrumptious flavours in each bite! If you’ve ever visited this island paradise, I am sure that you have already tasted this sumptuous delicacy. And if you haven’t had the chance yet, do not fret! For I have painstakingly gathered all the details to ensure that nothing stands between thee and thy magnificent plate of Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules.

From the setting to the ingredients and beyond, this recipe holds together history, tradition, and community all in one 6-quart pot simmering slowly over medium heat with olive oil and bacon grease. Dear reader, prepare thyself for an unforgettable gustatory adventure as I unveil this recipe in glorious detail for thee!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas)
Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas)

Hear ye, hear ye! Attend all those with discerning taste and a love of delectable cuisine. I come to you bearing great news of an exceptional dish that will tantalize your taste buds like no other. Allow me to present to you the Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules, famously known as Rice and Pigeon Peas – a national dish of Puerto Rico!

Do not let its humble appearance deceive you, for this rice dish packs a punch of flavor that is sure to leave an indelible impression on your palate. Its long-grain rice soaked in the savory broth infused with sazón goya con culantro y achiote, olive oil, pork, onion, garlic cloves, green bell pepper – oh, but I digress.

The reason why this rice recipe is so flavorful is because of the special ingredient: long-grain rice cooked with pigeon peas (or “con gandules” in Spanish). This unique pairing gives the dish its signature yellow tint and boosts its nutritional value by adding vitamins and minerals to your meal.

And we have not even talked about the sweet aroma that fills the kitchen while it cooks! A scent so alluring that it will entice even the pickiest of eaters to try at least a spoonful. And once they do…oh my! They will be asking for seconds and thirds.

So why arroz amarillo con gandules? For one, it’s easy to cook and can feed a crowd. Whether you’re hosting a party or just simply craving something deliciously satisfying for dinner – this recipe makes it possible without requiring too much time nor effort. Secondly, it pairs well with many other dishes such as fried plantains or green olives.

Lastly, it brings people together. The arroz con gandules is more than just a rice dish – it’s a symbol of Puerto Rican culture and family tradition. Every household has their own recipe, passed down from generations of cooks, and every region has its own unique twist. So, join us in the celebration of food, culture, and family by trying this amazing dish today!

Ingredient List

 Rich, flavorful and colorful: Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!
Rich, flavorful and colorful: Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!

Here is a list of all the ingredients you’ll need to make this traditional Puerto Rican arroz con gandules dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with the recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of bacon grease (optional but recommended)
  • A packet of Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 pounds of pork, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) of con gandules (pigeon peas)
  • 1 cup of sofrito (see instructions in the recipe how-to section)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 cups of medium-grain white rice, rinsed and drained

Get ready to impress your friends and family with this flavorful combination of ingredients!

The Recipe How-To

 Classic Puerto Rican dish: Rice and Pigeon Peas!
Classic Puerto Rican dish: Rice and Pigeon Peas!

Step 1: Preparing the Ingredients

Before starting with the cooking, it’s essential to prepare all the ingredients. Rinse 3 cups of long-grain white rice several times until the water becomes entirely clear, then set it aside. Chop 1 onion and 1 green bell pepper into small pieces, mince 3 garlic cloves, and slice 4-6 strips of pork into bite-sized pieces.

Step 2: Cook Onion, Pepper and Pork

Take a large pot, preheat it with medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once heated, start by sautéing the garlic for about 1 minute, then add chopped onion and green bell pepper. Sauté it for another 3-4 minutes until vegetables are translucent.

Next, add sliced pork and cook it for about 5-6 minutes until slightly browned.

Step 3: Add Water, Rice and Other Ingredients

Add 2 cups of water, Goya Sazon Culantro y Achiote (a spice mixture consisting of coriander and annatto), 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Stir everything together.

After that, add rinsed rice and a can of pigeon peas (15 oz) to the mixture. Mix thoroughly to make sure that everything is evenly distributed in the pot.

Step 4: Boil The Rice

Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil uncovered. When the water level starts reaching close to top of the rice (about 5-7 minutes), reduce to low heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked.

Once done cooking, let it steam covered for an additional five minutes.

Step 5: Fluff Rice

It’s now time to fluff the rice with a fork or a rice paddle gently. Add 1 cup of Sofrito to give it an extra boost of flavor and mix it in. Finally, add a tablespoon of tomato sauce, some green olives if you like, and serve hot.

Enjoy your deliciously flavored Arroz Amarillo con Gandules!

Substitutions and Variations

 My favorite comfort food: Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!
My favorite comfort food: Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!

Good sirs and gentlewomen, if perchance you find yourself in want of variations in this illustrious arroz amarillo con gandules (yellow rice and pigeon peas), I have some suggestions to offer. Doth thou desire a heartier flavor, try swapping the olive oil with bacon grease or adding more pork into the mix. If thou prefer a fiercer spice, thou may add more sazon goya con culantro y achiote, ground cumin, garlic cloves or hot sauce. Those who wish to increase the veggie count may substitute green bell pepper for red or add carrots and peas to the pot.

For similar dishes from other countries, I recommend trying moro de guandules from the Dominican Republic or arroz con pollo from Spain. If thou art feeling adventurous, experiment with different grains such as brown rice or quinoa instead of long-grain white rice.

To add a touch of sweetness and tanginess, include a handful of green olives to the pot or switch out the water for coconut milk. For a vegetarian version, omit the pork and replace it with mushrooms or tofu.

And lastly, let us not forget that this dish holds great significance as Puerto Rico’s national dish. To honor this tradition, consider using gandules de tata (pigeon peas from “grandma” Tata’s recipe) or serving it alongside fried plantains as they do in Puerto Rico.

May these alternatives open up a world of possiblities for thee in thy culinary endeavors.

Serving and Pairing

 A taste of the Caribbean: Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!
A taste of the Caribbean: Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!

Friends, lend me your ears! Let me now speak of the best way to serve this dish – the Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!

This Puerto Rican national dish is a hearty and flavorful meal that can be enjoyed on its own or pair it with a variety of tasty dishes. It makes an excellent side dish to any grilled meat, like chicken or beef. It goes perfectly with fried plantains, salad or roasted vegetables. The combination of rice and peas in this dish will surely satisfy your tummy, but for those looking for a complete meal, you can serve it with sliced avocado, grilled shrimp, or any seafood of your choice.

When I have guests over for dinner, I like to serve Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules in big bowls with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped cilantro to add a refreshing twist. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even sprinkle some crumbled bacon on top as a garnish.

For beverages, I suggest serving this classic Puerto Rican dish with a chilled Sangria or a cold beer. A beverage that compliments the richness of the recipe will balance the flavors and enhance your dining experience.

In conclusion, this delicious yellow rice and pigeon peas recipe has the flexibility to be paired with many dishes that suit your palate! Try different things and let your taste buds be the judge!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Spice up your meal with Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!
Spice up your meal with Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules!

Oh, thy stomach does grumble and yearn for the delectable Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules. Fear not, fair reader, for I shall impart upon thee the knowledge to keep your tasty dish fresh and ready at all times.

If thou art in a hurry or have not the time to make this dish fresh every time, prepare it beforehand and store it properly. When you first make it, let it cool down to room temperature before storing. It is important for the rice to be at room temperature before placing it in the fridge or freezer.

To best preserve the flavors and texture of thy Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules, place it in an airtight container or plastic wrap before putting it in the refrigerator. If you know your leftovers will be consumed within three days, you may store them in the fridge. However, if you require a longer shelf-life, freeze portions of thy dish in a freezer-safe vacuum-sealed bag.

To reheat frozen Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules after removing from the freezer, thaw them overnight in your refrigerator. Once they have reached room temperature, place them in a microwave-safe container and heat slowly until piping hot.

For those that prefer to reheat rice on their stove-top, add oil to a pan on medium heat and stir the rice until heated throughout.

Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules is perfect for meal prep too! Your family will rejoice when they open their lunch boxes and smell the delicious aroma of this savory rice dish.

Oh, how splendid that with these few tips and tricks, thy Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules will always be available to satiate your hunger pangs without losing any of its incredible taste.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Yellow rice with pigeon peas: A match made in heaven!
Yellow rice with pigeon peas: A match made in heaven!

To ensure that your Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules comes out just right, here are some tips to bear in mind:

First off, I’d recommend using long-grain white rice for this recipe. They soak up the flavors of the beans beautifully and cook perfectly in the allotted time. Bear in mind that medium or short grain rice could result in a sticky mess.

It’s also crucial to rinse your rice before cooking it. Washing it in cold water removes the excess starch, preventing the rice from turning into a clump.

Be mindful of the liquid ratio. You may need to adjust slightly depending on your rice brand as some are more absorbent than others. However, as a general rule of thumb, use a ratio of about 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of dry rice.

The sofrito paste is key to adding depth and flavor to this dish. Make sure that you sauté it for at least 5 minutes, thus allowing the vegetables to develop their flavors.

Stirring is crucial in the initial stages when you add your meat and seasonings to the pot. This process helps distribute flavors evenly and prevents burning at the bottom.

When it comes time to cook your rice, adding sazón goya con culantro y achiote is essential. It’ll infuse that classic golden-yellow hue that Arroz Amarillo is known for.

Letting your rice steam for 15 minutes off heat with a tightly sealed lid creates a fluffy texture and allows it to absorb all the delicious flavors from the beans and spices thoroughly.

Lastly, don’t forget to fluff your rice gently with a fork before serving. This process ensures an even distribution of beans without breaking up the grains of rice.

By following these tips, I guarantee that you’ll fall head over heels with this Puerto Rican national dish!


Hark! ’tis time for the FAQs, my dear ones. I knoweth that some questions may linger in thy minds at this point. Fear not, for I am here to quell thy doubts and enlighten thee with wisdom. Allow me to present thee with some answers to the most frequently asked questions. Pray tell, read on!

Are pigeon peas the same as gandules?

Pigeon peas, also known as Gandules, are a unique ingredient that may not be familiar to those outside of the Caribbean. These small, oval-shaped beans have a distinct nutty taste and are commonly used throughout the West Indies. They come in various forms including fresh, frozen, canned and dried.

Why does my arroz and gandules keep coming out soggy?

When preparing rice, it is important to avoid overcooking and adding excessive water. This can lead to the rice becoming mushy or soggy as the grains split open and absorb an excess of water. The resulting texture will be sticky and starchy, ruining the dish’s overall taste and appeal.

Why does my arroz con gandules come out sticky?

Have you ever wondered why your rice turns out sticky at times? Well, the culprit could be an excess of liquid. To avoid this, it is recommended to use the same amount of medium grain rice and water while cooking to ensure that your rice turns out fluffy and perfect each time.

What are Puerto Rican arroz con gandules made of?

A popular dish in Puerto Rico is Arroz con Gandules, which is a hearty mixture of rice, pigeon peas, and pork cooked together with sofrito in one pot. This dish is often served alongside roasted pork and is considered to be the national dish of Puerto Rico.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, I urge you to give this Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas) Recipe a try. From the first bite, you will be transported to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, where it is considered a national dish. In this recipe, aromatic long-grain white rice is combined with flavorful con gandules (pigeon peas) and a host of other delicious ingredients, such as sofrito, sazón goya con culantro y achiote, and bacon grease.

The reason why this recipe is so beloved across Puerto Rico and beyond is because it’s a true celebration of the country’s flavors and culinary traditions. With just one bite, you’ll be hooked on the aromatic spices and tender pork that make this rice dish one-of-a-kind.

Furthermore, this recipe is also very versatile and customizable to your taste preferences. Whether you want to make substitutions or variations, there are endless possibilities for experimentation. And if you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan option, simply omit the pork and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

In any case, I hope that after reading this article, you’re now eager to give this Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas) Recipe a try. Do yourself a favor and step outside your comfort zone with this delicious recipe that will leave your taste buds wanting more. Trust me; it’s worth it!

Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas)

Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas) Recipe

Arroz Con Gandules is considered a Puerto Rican dish, but we have always consumed "Arroz Con Gandules" in my household,
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Calories 632.9 kcal


  • 1 (15 ounce) can pigeon peas
  • 3 cups long-grain white rice
  • water (depends what type of rice if you use regular long grain rice it's 1 1/2 cups water per 1 cup rice, i)
  • 1/4-1/2 lb pork, cut into little cubes like 1/2 inch big (like pork shoulder or boneless leg of pork, etc.)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 5 -6 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste (through a garlic press)
  • salt, to taste at least 2 teaspoons
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground cumin (to taste don't over do it for this dish or it will over power it)
  • 1 sazon goya con culantro y achiote
  • lard (my grandmother prefers bacon grease or lard leftover from making fried pork rinds to cook this dish,) or bacon grease (my grandmother prefers bacon grease or lard leftover from making fried pork rinds to cook this dish,)


  • Wash rice really well until water runs clear, strain well, put in rice cooker and add water, set aside.
  • Heat pan on medium high heat, add olive oil or lard, let it heat up a bit like 5 minutes more or less. Be sure the oil is hot enough, you can test it by dipping a wooden spoon if it sizzles it's ready.
  • Season pork cubes with 1 teaspoon salt (trust me) and add to hot oil, let it fry in one layer underdisturbed until browned. About 5 minutes more or less. Add minced onion and bell pepper and cook down together with pork for about 5-7 minutes, add minced garlic afterwards and cook for 2 minutes or so until fragrant.
  • Turn off heat and dump this sautee into the rice cooker with the rice and water, mix well. Add drained can of pigeon peas, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon "Bijol", and 1/2- 1 teaspoon cumin. Mix well. Taste the water in there, it should be salty like ocean water, if not add more salt carefully. Increasing by 1/2 teaspoons and so on but don't use more than 3 teaspoons.
  • Cover and turn on rice cooker and set to cook, when it beeps the rice is done. Fluff it and it's ready.
  • Serve with whatever you want, I like it with a simple salad, of sliced tomato, cucumber, and onion dressed in lime and salt along with a meat dish that's grilled or pan-fried.
  • NOTE:
  • (1)You can adjust this to your stove top, fry the pork, and make the sofrito (sautee of onion, garlic, and bell pepper) add the cleaned drained rice stir well to coat with sofrito, add water, salt, cumin, bijol, and drained can of pigeon peas, bring to a boil, stir, then cover and lower heat to low to cook for about 30 minutes covered, then open to check if it's done if so turn off heat and fluff.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 161gCalories: 632.9kcalCarbohydrates: 121.6gProtein: 27.7gFat: 3.5gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15.9mgSodium: 28.9mgFiber: 12.4gSugar: 1.2g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Rice
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.