Mouth-Watering Arroz Con Gandules Recipe Made Easy

My dear friends, I have the pleasure of presenting to you a dish that will transport your taste buds to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. The dish is Arroz con Gandules, also known as Rice and Pigeon Peas. It is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine and considered the national dish of the island.

I must confess that this recipe holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen and the delicious aromas that came out of her stove. Every time she made Arroz con Gandules, our entire family would gather around the table, eager to enjoy this mouthwatering rice dish.

But let me tell you more about what Arroz con Gandules actually is. This flavorful recipe combines medium-grain rice simmered with tender pigeon peas, tomato sauce, green olives, and sazon goya con culantro y achiote seasoning. It has just the perfect amount of black pepper and salt to enhance all these flavors.

The results are simply spectacular! The vibrant colors and scents of this dish are a feast for the eyes and nose. And once you try it, I guarantee that your taste buds will be dancing with joy!

So, come along with me on this culinary adventure, grab your apron, and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

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

My dear friends, I implore you to indulge in the tantalizing taste of my Arroz Con Gandules recipe. This dish, originating from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, holds a special place in my heart and has become a staple in my own kitchen.

Allow me to paint you a picture – think plump morsels of pigeon peas nestled within a bed of perfectly cooked medium-grain rice, bathed in a savory tomato sauce and kissed with the flavors of sazon goya con culantro y achiote. Every bite is a burst of flavor, punctuated by the briny sweetness of green olives and the warmth of black pepper and salt.

This dish has been hailed as Puerto Rico’s national dish and for good reason. Its popularity has spread far beyond its homeland’s shores, becoming beloved by many across various cultures. The combination of tender pork chunks and the delectable gandules (pigeon peas) create an undeniable symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds, leaving you yearning for more.

But why Arroz con Gandules specifically? Well, medium-grain rice is known for its superior ability to absorb liquids while still maintaining its architectural integrity – which makes it perfect for this dish. With each plateful comes an explosion of flavor, set off by the seamless marriage between rice and pigeon peas that have been simmering together to perfection.

The mere thought of how one spoonful after another comes together in perfect harmony redoubling the joy on your taste buds makes my mouth water! Trust me when I say your family and guests will not believe their taste buds once they try this dish; it is simply divine. Whether you’re looking for a new addition to your dinner table or want to impress at your next party, this dish certainly deserves a spot on your menu. So go forth, gather your ingredients, and let’s begin!

Ingredient List

 Steaming hot and ready to eat!
Steaming hot and ready to eat!

The following ingredients will be needed to make this delectable arroz con gandules dish, the national dish of Puerto Rico:

  • 3 cups of medium-grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans of pigeon peas (con gandules)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup sofrito (a blend of onions, bell peppers, garlic, and cilantro)
  • 1 packet sazon Goya con culantro y achiote seasoning
  • ½ cup green olives stuffed with pimientos
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups hot water
  • Olive oil

Note that you can find most of these ingredients in the Latin section of your local grocery store.

The Recipe How-To

 A taste of Latin America in every bite.
A taste of Latin America in every bite.

Once you have gathered all of the required ingredients for this Puerto Rican Rice and Pigeon Peas recipe, it’s time to start cooking. Follow these simple steps to create a delicious and authentic dish that will keep everybody asking for more.

Step 1: Rinse 3 cups of medium grain rice until the water runs clear. After that, let the rice dry on a paper towel.

Step 2: In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and let it warm up.

Step 3: Add 1/2 cup of sofrito flavoring to the pot and sauté it for about 2-3 minutes.

Note: If you don’t have sofrito, you can substitute with a mixture of finely chopped onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, and culantro.

Step 4: Add 1 can of pigeon peas (gandules) drained and rinsed to the pot along with 1/4 cup of sliced green olives, a packet of sazon goya con culantro y achiote, and one tablespoon of tomato sauce. Stir well until all the ingredients are evenly combined.

Step 5: Now add the rice to the pot along with 3 cups of hot water. At this point, add some additional salt according to your preference (around 1 teaspoon), and some black pepper (around 1/4 teaspoon). Gently stir so everything is even in the pot.

Step 6: Bring everything to boil then reduce the heat down to low, cover it with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for approximately 25 minutes, without stirring or uncovering until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.

Step 7: Fluff up the rice using a fork to loosen it and serve hot. garnished with some additional sliced green olives, coriander or scallions to taste.

This authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Pigeon Peas recipe is one of the most popular dishes in the country, and with good reason. It is a rice dish made with the unique flavor of pigeon peas and mixed with more ingredients to make it even more delicious.

Substitutions and Variations

 Making a pot of comfort food.
Making a pot of comfort food.

Dear readers, if you’re feeling adventurous and would like to experiment with different ingredients, here are some substitutes and variations that can be used for Arroz Con Gandules recipe.

For those who want a vegetarian or vegan option, you can replace the pork with tofu or meatless chicken strips. You can also add vegetables like carrots or bell peppers to provide a sweeter taste to the recipe. This modification will upgrade this already delicious recipe into something new and exciting.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, you can substitute medium-grain rice with brown rice. Brown rice has a firm texture and nutty flavor that brings diversity to the traditional recipe. Moreover, it’s an excellent source of dietary fiber.

A popular variation of this dish is ‘Arroz con Guandules’ – the Dominican version of the dish. It uses green pigeon peas instead of pigeon peas, and the technique employed in cooking varies slightly. Similarly, National Goya Rice offers a premixed pack called ‘Sofrito de Gandules,’ which provides another way of preparing this staple Puerto Rican dish.

We hope these suggestions have inspired you to explore and create your versions of Arroz Con Gandules. Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore new flavors to make this classic rice dish unique!

Serving and Pairing

 Arroz con gandules is always a crowd-pleaser!
Arroz con gandules is always a crowd-pleaser!

As a Puerto Rican rice dish, arroz con gandules pairs exceptionally well with grilled meat and vegetables. The savory flavors of the pork and the peas are bound to be a hit at any summer cookout, as they perfectly complement the smokiness of grilled chicken or steak.

If you want to keep things simple, you could serve arroz con gandules as a side dish alongside grilled veggies like asparagus, bell peppers, and zucchini. The combination of the fluffy medium-grain rice with seasoned beans makes for a satisfying yet hearty accomplice to lighter meats, such as fish or shrimp.

Suppose you’re looking for a welcomed twist of flavors. In that case, it’s also possible to transform this Puerto Rican national dish into an egg scramble or fried rice dish. Swap white rice for fried rice, mix in some scrambled eggs and top it off with crispy bacon bits for an excellent breakfast option.

For those who prefer healthier alternatives, omitting the pork or replacing it with turkey sausage is a great way to cut down on fat while keeping the heartiness of this iconic Caribbean meal.

Overall, the versatility of arroz con gandules makes it perfect for any mealtime or occasion- whether served alone or paired with other ingredients, this sumptuous rice and pigeon peas recipe is sure to tantalize anyone’s taste buds!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A dish that never goes out of style.
A dish that never goes out of style.

One of the things that make arroz con gandules such a great dish is how well it holds up to being made ahead and reheated later. This makes it perfect for meal planning, meal prep, or as a side dish for big family gatherings. Once made, the arroz con gandules will last in the refrigerator for up to four days.

To store leftover arroz con gandules properly, transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge right away. When you’re ready to reheat it, add a few splashes of water, mix well, and then heat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Be sure to stir frequently until heated through.

If you plan on making this dish ahead of time, cook the rice separately from the peas and sofrito sauce. Mix them together right before serving to keep your rice fluffy and prevent it from getting mushy. You can keep them in separate containers in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

When reheating arroz con gandules that has been stored overnight or for a few days, add a few spritzes of water before heating to bring back some of its moisture. This technique keeps your rice just as flavorful and tender as when freshly cooked.

So go ahead, prepare this traditional Puerto Rican de guandules recipe beforehand and savor every mouthful later!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Vibrant colors and unique flavors in every bowl.
Vibrant colors and unique flavors in every bowl.

To achieve a perfect result for the Arroz Con Gandules recipe, one must pay attention to different factors such as the quality of ingredients, cooking process, and some techniques that can make a significant difference. Here are some tips that will secure you the most delicious Arroz Con Gandules:

Firstly, consider using freshly made Sofrito, as it enhances the recipe’s flavor. It’s better to prepare your Sofrito, even though ready-made options are available at stores. Cooking with an artificial cut of Sofrito can negatively impact the taste of the dish.

The rice can make or break your Rice and Pigeon Peas dish; thus, it is vital to choose medium-grain rice over any other grain size like Basmati or Jasmine. The medium-grained variety is stickier, which works wonderfully for the Arroz Con Gandules.

Another important tip is to rinse your Rice and Pigeon Peas before cooking them. This removes excess starch and prevents sticking during cooking.

While cooking, always maintain a medium heat (neither too high nor too low) to prevent burning or under-cooking the ingredients.

Next, placing a tight-fitting lid on top of the pot is crucial as this traps all moisture within the pot, allowing the rice to cook well without burning or sticking.

When adding spices like Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote into your dish, do so in moderation; otherwise, it can overpower other flavors and ruin the dish’s balance.

Lastly, be careful not to over-stir your Arroz Con Gandules recipe after adding in Pigeon Peas during cooking. This could smash down the peas and ruin their structure instead of keeping them intact.”


Before we conclude this recipe article, let’s take some time to address the frequently asked questions about Arroz Con Gandules. Whether you’re new to Puerto Rican cuisine, or you’ve been making arroz con gandules for years, these questions and answers will help ensure that your dish turns out perfectly every time.

Why does my arroz and gandules keep coming out soggy?

To avoid mushy or soggy rice, it’s important to ensure that the rice grains are cooked just right – not too much and not too little. Overcooking rice can lead to the grains splitting open and absorbing too much water, resulting in a gummy, starchy texture that is less than ideal.

Are pigeon peas the same as gandules?

For those unfamiliar with Caribbean cuisine, gandules (also known as pigeon peas) may seem like an exotic ingredient. These small, oval beans with a nutty taste are a staple in the Caribbean West Indies and can be purchased fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.

Why does my arroz con gandules come out sticky?

One common issue when cooking rice is achieving the right consistency. One such problem is when the rice becomes sticky. You may end up with sticky rice if you add too much water during the cooking process. By using the right ratio of medium grain rice to water, you can avoid this issue and cook fluffy rice consistently.

What are Puerto Rican arroz con gandules made of?

Arroz con gandules is a mouth-watering dish that brings together an assortment of ingredients such as rice, pigeon peas, and pork, all slow-cooked to perfection in one pot along with the flavorful sofrito. It is considered to be Puerto Rico’s signature dish, and is often accompanied with succulent roasted pork.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Arroz Con Gandules is a dish that has been passed down for generations and symbolizes the essence of Puerto Rican cuisine. This delicious rice dish is the perfect representation of the beautiful blend of flavors and ingredients that make up both Puertorican and American cuisine.

From the harmony of pigeon peas, tomato sauce, olives, and spices to the fragrant aroma that fills your senses as the rice cooks with all its flavors. Arroz Con Gandules is a must-have on your dinner table. In just a single bite, you’ll taste the warmth and love that goes into making this traditional dish.

So, if you’re looking for a genuine culinary experience and an explosion of flavors in your mouth, try out this recipe! I guarantee you will love it. And for those who have already tasted its magic, it’s time to bring back those cherished memories.

In essence, Arroz con Gandules is more than just a dish; it’s a sense of pride and joy for every Puerto Rican living in America. It represents the cultural richness and diversity that our ancestors brought with them when they migrated from their homeland.

So let us continue to celebrate our rich cultural heritage by cooking this delicious rice dish at home with family and friends gathered around us. All you need is a pot, some sofrito, gandules con arroz (rice and pigeon peas), pork, and voila! A warm hearty meal that will keep you satisfied for hours.

Remember, food is not only meant to be enjoyed but also to create unforgettable memories shared with our loved ones. So let’s cook together with love and passion!

Arroz Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas)

Arroz Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas) Recipe

Got this recipe from El Boricua.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Calories 597.6 kcal


  • 2 cups medium grain rice (rinsed)
  • 1/4-1/2 lb pork
  • 4 -5 cups hot water, approx
  • 1/2 cup ready made sofrito sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of cooked green pigeon peas (gandules, undrained)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 20 green olives
  • 1 sazon goya con culantro y achiote
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • salt & pepper


  • Cut pork into biting sizes and season with adobo, sazon, salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a medium size caldero (rice pot) add the oil and heat on medium heat.
  • Add the pork and fry until almost done.
  • Add tomato sauce, olives, sofrito, sazon, salt and pepper.
  • Cook over for 4 minutes.
  • Add all other ingredients, and enough water to cover the rice 1" above the rice line. Stir.
  • Bring to a boil and cook over med/high heat until most of the water is absorbed.
  • Once the water has been absorbed, stir gently from bottom to top - once or twice only, cover and turn the heat down to low.
  • You can cover the rice with aluminum paper or better yet a banana leaf and then put on the cover.
  • Cook for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 367gCalories: 597.6kcalCarbohydrates: 98.5gProtein: 25.5gFat: 11.4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15.9mgSodium: 755.1mgFiber: 12.4gSugar: 1.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Medium-Grain Rice, 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.