Mouth-Watering Arroz Con Gandules – A Must Try Latin Dish

Buen provecho (enjoy your meal)! Today, I am excited to share with you my recipe for Arroz con Gandules, the traditional Puerto Rican rice dish filled with flavor and heart. Known as the national dish of Puerto Rico, Arroz con Gandules is a staple in many Caribbean and Latin households. This flavorful rice dish is a combination of seasoned sofrito, delicious pigeon peas (Gandules), and white rice, cooked to perfection.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, I was always surrounded by rich flavors and authentic cuisines. Arroz con Gandules was often the star dish of family gatherings and celebrations, bringing everyone together over a plate of deliciousness. It’s safe to say that this dish is more than just a meal – it’s a symbol of culture and traditions.

What sets this dish apart from other rice dishes is its wonderful blend of spices and herbs like cilantro, salt, ground cumin, paprika, and chicken bouillon cubes. This recipe also calls for chorizo sausage for that extra kick of flavor. Not only does it all taste deliciously savory, but it’s also naturally gluten-free.

While this dish may seem intimidating at first glance, trust me when I say that it’s easier to make than you may think! So grab your ingredients such as green bell pepper, onion, garlic clove among others get ready to create some magic in the kitchen. Let’s cook up some tasty Arroz con Gandules together!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Arroz Con Gandules
Arroz Con Gandules

Are you tired of the same boring rice dishes? Do you want to add some flare to your meals? Then look no further than Arroz Con Gandules, the Puerto Rican national dish! This flavorful and colorful rice dish is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine, and once you try it, you’ll understand why.

First of all, this dish is packed with flavor. With ingredients such as chorizo sausage, chicken bouillon cubes, garlic, and spices like paprika and ground cumin, every bite is bursting with a savory taste sensation. And let’s not forget about the pigeon peas, or “gandules,” which add a unique texture to the rice.

Secondly, Arroz Con Gandules is a great option for those looking for a filling meal with plenty of plant-based protein. Pigeon peas are an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients, making this dish not only delicious but also nutritious.

Lastly, this recipe allows for plenty of customization. Don’t like chorizo? Swap it out for another type of sausage or eliminate it altogether for a vegetarian option. Want to make it spicier? Add more paprika or red pepper flakes. The possibilities are endless!

In conclusion, Arroz Con Gandules is a versatile and delicious dish that everyone should give a try. Whether you’re familiar with Puerto Rican cuisine or not, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household. So grab your ingredients and get cooking!

Ingredient List

 A colorful combination of rice, pigeon peas, and spices!
A colorful combination of rice, pigeon peas, and spices!

Let’s start with the ingredients that make this dish so flavorful. You will need:

  • 3 cups of medium grain rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 can of pigeon peas (con gandules)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces of chorizo sausage, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

For this recipe, I highly recommend using authentic ingredients from Goya or other Spanish or Dominican grocery stores. The right combination of these quality components will take your dish to the next level.

The Recipe How-To

 You can almost taste the explosion of flavors and aromas!
You can almost taste the explosion of flavors and aromas!

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients, let me show you how to make Arroz Con Gandules – the heart and soul of Puerto Rican cuisine.

Step 1: Preparing the Sofrito

Sofrito is a blend of herbs, spices and vegetables that is used to add flavor to many Puerto Rican dishes. To make this, combine 1 chopped onion, 1 green bell pepper, 4 minced garlic cloves, and a handful of chopped cilantro in a food processor. Blend them until they form a paste-like texture.

Step 2: Cook the Rice

In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sofrito and stir until it’s fragrant and translucent. Pour in 2 cups of long-grain rice and continue to stir until each grain of rice is coated with the sofrito mix.

Next, pour in 3 cups of water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes, then increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon paprika and ½ teaspoon ground cumin, then cover the pot with its lid.

Let it cook for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated but there is still some moisture left in the rice. Make sure not to stir until it’s fully cooked!

Step 3: Add Pigeon Peas (Gandules)

When there’s still some moisture remaining in rice add in 2 cans Goya pigeon peas (con gandules) along with their liquid. Incorporate well into rice making sure everything well combined. Cover again and finish cooking for another 10 minutes on low heat.

Step 4: Create A Crispy Base

One aspect that sets Arroz con Gandules apart from other rice dishes is the crispy layer at the bottom of the pot. To create this, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, pour in a portion of cooked rice, making sure to press down and compact it into the pan. Cook on one side for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until a crust has formed.

Final Step: Serve and Garnish

To serve, gently remove the arroz con gandules from the frying pan by flipping it onto a plate. Garnish with capers and additional chopped cilantro. You may add sliced chorizo sausages on top or serve alongside pernil (roasted pork).

Now that you know how to make Puerto Rican Arroz Con Gandules recipe, you have the opportunity to experience an authentic taste of Spanish-speaking Caribbean cuisine.

Substitutions and Variations

 A beautiful dish that represents Puerto Rican Cuisine.
A beautiful dish that represents Puerto Rican Cuisine.

Ah, the fun part! Mixing and matching ingredients to create something new is what cooking is all about. Here are some suggestions to switch things up in your arroz con gandules recipe:

– Meat: If you don’t have chorizo sausage on hand, Spanish or Dominican sausage will work just as well.

– Beans: Pigeon peas are the traditional choice for this Puerto Rican dish, but you can also use black beans or red kidney beans for a different flavor and texture.

– Rice: Yellow rice is a common substitute for white rice in many Latin dishes. You can also use brown rice for a healthier twist.

– Sofrito: This seasoning mix of onion, garlic, peppers, and herbs is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, try making your own or using adobo seasoning instead.

– Tomato Sauce: While tomato sauce is a key ingredient in arroz con gandules, you can experiment with adding other types of canned or fresh tomatoes as well. Diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or even cherry tomatoes will add a burst of sweetness to the dish.

– Garnishes: Some commonly used garnishes for arroz con gandules include sliced avocado, chopped cilantro or parsley, and capers. You could also top it with diced cooked pork (pernil) or chicken for a heartier meal.

Remember, the beauty of cooking is that you can adjust recipes to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Serving and Pairing

 The vibrant yellow rice makes an amazing bed for the peas.
The vibrant yellow rice makes an amazing bed for the peas.

Once you have mastered the art of making Arroz Con Gandules, it’s time to get your creative juices flowing and decide how you’ll serve and pair it. This dish is a perfect meal for lunch or dinner, and could also be served as a side dish.

To add color and texture, I love sprinkling chopped cilantro on top of the Arroz Con Gandules after it has been cooked. The vibrant green color of cilantro against the deep brown grains of the rice will make your dish look extra appetizing.

As for pairings, Arroz Con Gandules is already filling with its hearty portions of rice, beans, and pigeon peas. However, if you want to further elevate this dish, you can serve coleslaw or avocado salad on the side. The fresh and tangy flavors of coleslaw will complement well with the savory notes of the Arroz Con Gandules.

If you want to add some meat to this dish, I suggest pairing it with roasted or grilled chicken or pork chops. The protein in these meats will balance out the starchiness of the rice without overpowering its flavor.

Additionally, if you’re feeling adventurous in taste preference, try pairing the Arroz Con Gandules with a cold beer like Corona or Cristal. The light citrusy notes in these beers work perfectly with the spicy chorizo sausage.

Arroz Con Gandules is a classic Puerto Rican dish and is already flavorful on its own. But pairing it with complementary sides and drinks can elevate this dish into something unforgettable!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Pair it up with a juicy, succulent roasted pork for a classic Puerto Rican dish!
Pair it up with a juicy, succulent roasted pork for a classic Puerto Rican dish!

Once you’ve made your delicious Arroz Con Gandules, you may find yourself with leftovers. Fortunately, this dish is perfect for reheating or making ahead of time.

To make ahead of time, simply follow the recipe and refrigerate or freeze the dish. You can even refrigerate the dish without adding the pigeon peas until you’re ready to serve it, and then heat them up separately and mix them in just before serving. This will ensure that the peas are still tender and retain their texture.

When it comes to storing leftovers, make sure to properly store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. If you’re putting it in the refrigerator, make sure to consume within three days to ensure freshness.

To reheat, add a little bit of water or chicken broth to the rice to keep it from drying out. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pot with a lid. Heat on medium-low heat and stir occasionally until heated through. You can also add some fresh cilantro, capers or lime wedges to give it an extra burst of flavor.

This dish is perfect for meal prepping for busy weeknights or enjoying as leftovers throughout the week. You can also take it to work for lunch or serve it as a side dish at your next gathering.

Tips for Perfect Results

 This dish easily feeds a crowd and the leftovers are always delicious!
This dish easily feeds a crowd and the leftovers are always delicious!

When it comes to cooking rice, sometimes even the smallest tips can make the biggest difference. I’ve been cooking Arroz Con Gandules for many years and over time, I’ve discovered some helpful tips that can take your dish from good to exceptional.

First and foremost, before you start cooking, it is essential to rinse your rice thoroughly. This will remove any excess starch and impurities from the grains, which can make it clump together as it cooks. After rinsing, let it drain for a few minutes to remove excess water.

Another important tip is to use chicken bouillon cubes instead of regular salt when seasoning your dish. Bouillon cubes add depth of flavor and give the dish a more savory taste compared to plain salt. Be sure to also toast your spices such as ground cumin, paprika, and black pepper to create a rich flavor in the dish.

When making Arroz Con Gandules, I recommend using a heavy bottom pot with a tight-fitting lid to cook the rice evenly. A quality pot can help prevent burning at the bottom of the pot while keeping moisture inside.

To obtain fluffy and flavorful rice, always measure out three cups of water per cup of rice. And once the rice begins to boil, let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes while covered. Do not lift the lid or stir the mixture during this time as that would disrupt the steaming process.

Lastly, when the rice is cooked through, let it sit for about 5 minutes off heat before fluffing it up with a fork. This step ensures that excess moisture evaporates and that you end up with a fluffy bowl of rice.

With these few simple tips, you’ll create an authentic Puerto Rican Arroz Con Gandules that’s both flavorful and aromatic.


As you get ready to prepare this Puerto Rican specialty, you may have some doubts or questions about the recipe. To make sure that your Arroz con Gandules turns out to be a success, let’s take some time to address common concerns and inquiries in the FAQ section.

Why is my arroz con gandules mushy?

To achieve a fluffy, tender arroz con gandules, it’s important to minimize stirring as much as possible. When rice is stirred too much, it produces excess starch and gluten, which can lead to a sticky, mushy texture. By stirring less, you can also create a crispy layer of rice on the bottom of the pan, known as PEGAO, which is a delicious add-on to your rice dish.

What are Puerto Rican arroz con gandules made of?

A savory Puerto Rican delicacy that is highly regarded as the national dish consists of a medley of rice, pigeon peas, and pork. Cooked together in a single pot, this flavorful dish boasts a rich blend of ingredients made with sofrito. Roasted pork is often served alongside it for a hearty meal.

What ethnicity is arroz con gandules?

Arroz con gandules is an integral part of Puerto Rican cuisine and is often considered as the national dish, along with Pernil.

What is the Puerto Rican rice that sticks to the pan?

In Puerto Rican cuisine, the term “pegao” is used to describe the crispy layer of rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot while cooking traditional rice dishes like arroz con gandules. The word “pegao” is derived from the Spanish word “pegado,” meaning “stuck.”

Bottom Line

In conclusion, I highly recommend trying out this delicious and flavorful Puerto Rican dish, arroz con gandules. Not only is it the national dish of Puerto Rico, but it is also a staple in many Latin American countries. Its unique blend of flavors and spices will take your taste buds on a journey to the Caribbean.

It is easy to make and customizable, so don’t be afraid to add your own twist or substitutions. Whether you are looking for a side dish or a main meal, arroz con gandules is sure to impress. With ingredients like chicken bouillon cubes, capers, chorizo sausage, and pigeon peas, it packs a punch of flavor that will leave you craving more.

Additionally, the recipe is perfect for meal prep and can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use. And they say that food tastes even better when it’s reheated!

This recipe not only satisfies hunger but also celebrates culture and tradition. It brings people together and creates memories that are unforgettable. I encourage you to give this recipe a try, get creative with it, and share it with friends and family. Who knows? You might just fall in love with arroz con gandules!

Arroz Con Gandules

Arroz Con Gandules Recipe

This is one of my favorite meals. It's a meal within itself, but it's also great served as a side dish.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Calories 652.1 kcal


  • 3 cups rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can green pigeon peas, undrained (gandules)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pimento stuffed olive
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (fresh)
  • 1 cup chorizo sausage, coarsely chopped (crisp, crumbled bacon or cubed, cooked ham may be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or if you use bacon and cook the bacon in a skillet, 2 tbs of the bacon drippings may be substituted)
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 sprigs cilantro (stems and all)


  • In large, thick pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  • When hot, add the onion and bell pepper.
  • Saute for 2 minutes, then add gandules, chopped cilantro, garlic, capers, olives and chorizo.
  • Saute for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until onions are translucent and peppers are soft.
  • Add the water, bouillon cubes, cumin, salt, and paprika to the pot. Turn heat up a bit, and bring to a boil.
  • Make sure the bouillon cubes are dissolved.
  • Add rice; let boil uncovered for approximately 3 minutes.
  • Lay the sprigs of cilantro across the top of the rice.
  • Do not clump them together, spread randomly across the rice.
  • Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rice is tender, approximately 25 minutes.
  • When rice is dry and tender, remove cilantro sprigs, fluff with spoon, and serve.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 488gCalories: 652.1kcalCarbohydrates: 124.9gProtein: 22.7gFat: 6.6gSaturated Fat: 1.1gCholesterol: 0.3mgSodium: 574.5mgFiber: 12.8gSugar: 1.4g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Colombian, Inexpensive, Kid-Friendly, One-Dish Meal, Rice, South American, Stove Top, Toddler-Friendly, White 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.