Delicious Arroz Con Gandules Recipe to Satisfy Your Cravings

Welcome to my kitchen! As a chef specializing in Brazilian and American cuisine, I am excited to share with you one of my favorite rice dishes: Arroz con Gandules. This flavorful Puerto Rican rice dish, also known as Rice and Pigeon Peas, is considered the national dish of Puerto Rico. It’s easy to understand why this dish is so loved by many people from Puerto Rico and beyond.

This recipe is perfect for those who want to explore Puerto Rican cuisine or try something new that’s both delicious and comforting. You will be amazed at how a humble dish made of rice and pigeon peas can be so flavorful and satisfying. The aroma of spices such as ground cumin, cracked black pepper, and kosher salt mixed with the sofrito will have your mouth watering even before it’s done cooking.

Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal or a dish to serve at your next gathering with friends and family, Arroz con Gandules should definitely be on your list. So let’s get started with the ingredients!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

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

Are you looking for a dish that is both delicious and culturally enriching? If so, you’ll love Arroz Con Gandules – a flavorful Puerto Rican rice dish that has become the national dish of this Carribean island. This dish is perfect to make when you want to impress your dinner guests, or you’re just looking for a comforting meal that will transport you to another place.

One reason you’ll love this recipe is its simplicity. With only a few ingredients, including long-grain rice, tender pigeon peas (gandules), and flavorful sofrito – an aromatic blend of onion, garlic, green and red bell peppers, tomato sauce and olive oil – you can create an exquisite one-pot meal in under an hour.

But don’t let the simplicity fool you into thinking it lacks flavor. The combination of fragrant spices such as ground cumin and cracked black pepper with beef broth and kosher salt infuses the rice with rich notes that are irresistible to even the pickiest eaters.

Plus, Arroz Con Gandules is versatile in terms of what you can serve with it. You can enjoy it as a standalone dish or pair it with some roasted chicken or grilled fish for an explosive flavor experience.

So, if you’re looking to add some diversity to your dinner table, I highly recommend trying this recipe out! Whether you’re Puerto Rican or not, once you take your first bite of Arroz Con Gandules, you’ll immediately understand why it’s considered a staple in Caribbean cuisine.

Ingredient List

 A vibrant colorful combination of rice and pigeon peas.
A vibrant colorful combination of rice and pigeon peas.

The ingredient list for this Puerto Rican dish can be found in most grocery stores. You will need the following ingredients:

  • Long-grain rice: 3 cups
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Beef broth: 1 cup
  • Olive oil: 3 tablespoons
  • Cracked black pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • Kosher salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cumin: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Tomato sauce: 8 ounces
  • Pigeon peas (Arroz con Gandules): 15 ounces
  • Sofrito (mixture of onions, garlic, bell peppers and cilantro): 1/3 cup

These ingredients form the base of this flavorful Puerto Rican dish. You can find pigeon peas under various names, including Goya Rice and Pigeon Peas or De Guandules. Long-grain rice gives a perfect consistency to the dish because of its individual grains, but medium-grain can be substituted if preferred. Beef broth adds depth and richness to the meal, and olive oil is used to sauté sofrito and add flavor. Cracked black pepper, kosher salt, ground cumin are used to enhance flavors. Tomato sauce adds color and texture to the dish.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect side dish to any Latin meal.
The perfect side dish to any Latin meal.

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Before starting to cook, gather all of your ingredients to ensure a smooth cooking process. Rinse 2 ½ cups of medium-grain rice under cold water in a fine-mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Drain the rice and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix 3 cups of water and 1 ½ cups of beef broth together and set aside. In another bowl, combine ¾ cup of Sofrito and 8 oz can of tomato sauce.

Step 2: Start Cooking Rice and Pigeon Peas

Place a large heavy pot over medium-high heat with some olive oil covering the bottom. Add 1 tsp grounded cumin, ½ tsp cracked black pepper, and 1 tbsp kosher salt into the pot, then add the sofrito mixture and cook for a minute until fragrant.

Once the sofrito has become fragrant, stir in rinsed rice and let it toast while stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.

Next, incorporate rinsed pigeon peas (20 oz can of arroz con gandules) into the pot while mixing with the rice.

Finally, pour in prepared liquid mixture (water/beef broth) into the pot then stir everything well before bringing it to a boil under high heat.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer covered with a tight-fitting lid for 25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Do not open pot lid during this time as steam will escape and may affect how smoothly rice cooks.

Step 3: Finish Cooking Rice and Pigeon Peas

After 25 minutes, turn off heat then let rice sit covered for another 10 minutes to continue cooking with its residual heat.

Using fork fluff up the rice and mix well with pigeon peas before serving hot.

Enjoy this flavorful Puerto Rican dish with your family and friends!

Substitutions and Variations

 A classic Puerto Rican dish that is guaranteed to impress.
A classic Puerto Rican dish that is guaranteed to impress.

Arroz con Gandules is a versatile dish that can be customized to your personal taste. Here are some possible substitutions and variations to try:

– Protein: Instead of beef broth, you can use chicken or vegetable broth. You can also add cooked chicken, pork, or shrimp to the dish for added protein.

– Rice: While the traditional recipe calls for long grain rice, you can use medium grain or brown rice if preferred. Some people even use fried rice or Dominican-style rice for a different texture and flavor.

– Seasonings: Experiment with different seasonings to elevate the flavor profile of the dish. Try adding saffron, adobo seasoning, paprika, or coriander. You can also adjust the amount of cumin, salt, and pepper to your liking.

– Pigeon peas: If you don’t have pigeon peas on hand, you can substitute with beans such as black beans or kidney beans.

– Sofrito: Sofrito is a key component in this dish as it produces the distinct Puerto Rican flavor profile. Alternatives to sofrito include adobo sauce or finely chopped onions and garlic.

– Vegetables: Arroz con gandules also pairs well with vegetables. You can add green pigeon peas or mixed vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell pepper to the rice.

With these substitutions and variations, you can create your own unique spin on this classic Puerto Rican dish. Remember to experiment with different combinations until you find your perfect arroz con gandules recipe!

Serving and Pairing

 A savory and satisfying dish that everyone will love.
A savory and satisfying dish that everyone will love.

After spending a bit of time in the kitchen preparing your arroz con gandules, it’s only natural that you’ll want to enjoy it to the fullest with the perfect pairing. This flavorful Puerto Rican rice dish made with medium-grain rice, pigeon peas (or gandules), tomato sauce, and spices like ground cumin and cracked black pepper makes an excellent entree that pairs perfectly with a lot of foods.

If you’re planning to serve your arroz con gandules as an entrée, consider pairing it with some mouth-watering dishes such as chicken or pork chops seasoned with Mexican spices, plantains (that could be either fried or baked) or grilled chicken. The tender meat, along with the gandules rice, will offer a perfect balance of flavors and make you want more.

Not in the mood for meat? Pairing your arroz con gandules with a simple salad consisting of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, seasoned with lemon juice or vinegar would work just as well. You can also try it as a side dish with some grilled cheese or roasted vegetables.

When it comes to beverages, a chilled glass of Sangria is the classic pairing for most Hispanic delicacies. Naturally but not exclusively, the fruity wine-based drink goes well with Spanish paella but would also complement the aromatic herbed flavors of this outstandingly delicious Puerto Rican dish.

No matter how you choose to pair it up, arroz con gandules is a dish that’s bound to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Get creative and experiment with different meal combinations until you discover what works best. Make sure everyone at your table knows that your arroz con gandules is not just another rice dish!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This dish is a celebration of flavor and impeccable aromas.
This dish is a celebration of flavor and impeccable aromas.

Arroz con Gandules is a rice dish made with long grain rice and Pigeon Peas, and it is the flavorful Puerto Rican national dish. It’s also a popular Dominican-style dish. This dish can be made ahead and reheated, making it perfect for entertaining or meal prep.

To make this dish ahead of time, prepare it as directed in the recipe. Let the Arroz con Gandules cool to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Be sure to press a plastic wrap onto the surface of the rice to prevent drying out.

When reheating, add a few tablespoons of water or beef broth to the rice, then cover it with a pot lid and heat on low-medium heat. Stir occasionally until warmed through. The rice may clump together when stored so additional liquid may need to be added to adjust consistency.

If you have a lot of leftovers or want to freeze some of your Arroz con Gandules, divide it into individual portions before storing or freezing. It will defrost more quickly and you won’t have to reheat more than what you need at a time.

To store in the freezer, let your Arroz con Gandules cool completely first then transfer into freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags, squeeze out any air possible and label each container with the date it was packed. You can store this dish in the freezer for up to three months.

When reheating from frozen state, defrost overnight in the refrigerator then microwave or reheat on low-medium heat on the stove-top adding extra liquid as needed to adjust the consistency of the dish.

Keep in mind that each time you reheat this dish it will lose some moisture content; however, the flavors will still be delicious.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A treat for both the eyes and the taste buds.
A treat for both the eyes and the taste buds.

When it comes to making a dish like Arroz Con Gandules, getting the perfect results can seem daunting. But fear not! These tips will ensure that your dish comes out flavorful, aromatic and full of texture.

First off, make sure to use long grain or medium grain rice for this recipe. Using those two types of rice will ensure that the grains stay separate when cooked rather than clumping together into a mushy mess.

It’s also recommended to rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear before beginning the recipe. This will remove any excess starch on the rice and prevent it from becoming sticky during cooking.

When it comes to seasoning, adding ground cumin, cracked black pepper, and kosher salt will give your Arroz Con Gandules the perfect amount of flavor without being overpowering. Don’t skimp on the cumin – it’s a crucial ingredient in this recipe!

For the liquid, using beef broth instead of water will provide a richer depth of flavor. Another option is to use a mixture of tomato sauce and water for added complexity.

While cooking, resist the urge to remove the pot lid to check on your rice. Doing so can release heat and steam which can negatively affect the cooking process. Instead, let your rice simmer on medium heat with the lid on for 20-25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.

Lastly, if you want to elevate your dish further, add in some fried or sautéed green pigeon peas also known as “Gandules.” This addition will give your Arroz Con Gandules a lovely texture and color that makes all the difference.

By following these tips, you are sure to impress with your version of this classic Puerto Rican dish.


Now that you have all the information you need to make an excellent Arroz con Gandules, you may still have some questions about the recipe. To help with this, we’ve put together a list of commonly asked questions and their answers. Whether you are new to cooking rice dishes or not, these FAQs will provide the necessary insight to ensure that your dish comes out perfect every time. Let’s dive into the FAQ section and clear any doubts or concerns you may have.

Why does my arroz and gandules keep coming out soggy?

When rice is cooked for too long or with too much water, it can become mushy or soggy. This occurs when too much water is absorbed by the rice, causing the grains to lose their texture and become sticky and starchy.

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 region. These small, oval beans have a delicious nutty taste and are popularly used in Caribbean cuisine. They can be purchased fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.

Why does my arroz con gandules come out sticky?

Achieving perfect fluffy rice can be a bit tricky, as using too much liquid can cause the rice to become sticky. Opt for an equal amount of medium grain rice and water, and you’ll avoid any unwanted stickiness.

What are Puerto Rican arroz con gandules made of?

One mouth-watering dish that represents Puerto Rico is arroz con gandules, which brings together rice, pigeon peas, and pork in a single pot infused with sofrito. This popular meal is often served in combination with roasted pork.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, arroz con gandules is not only a flavorful Puerto Rican rice dish made with pigeon peas and a variety of seasonings, but it is also the national dish of Puerto Rico. Its popularity transcends borders and has fans all over the world due to its unique taste and versatility. Whether you serve it as a side dish or a main course, it’s guaranteed that your guest will ask for more.

Try out this mouth-watering recipe for yourself and experience the tantalizing flavors of sofrito, tomato sauce, beef broth, and ground cumin come together in perfect harmony with medium-grain rice and pigeon peas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations or substitutions to make this dish fit your personal preferences.

Lastly, always remember to follow the tips provided in this article to ensure your results are perfect every time. With all these elements combined, there’s no question as to why arroz con gandules is one of my favorite dishes. Give it a try today and I guarantee you’ll love it too!

Arroz Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas)

Arroz Con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas) Recipe

This is a traditional Christmas Eve dish from Puerto Rico. Most people add the alcaparrado (olives and capers) at the beginning of cooking. I think this makes the dish taste "funny." I stir in the olives and capers at the end of cooking which I think makes for a cleaner flavor. This recipe is based on one by Daisy martinez. Look at recipe #244296 for the achiote (annatto) oil and recipe #444676 for the sofrito, or use your favorite or get store-bought. This recipe makes a lot.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Calories 565 kcal


  • 1/2 cup achiote oil ($notetemplate1$)
  • 1 cup sofrito sauce ($notetemplate1$)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 lbs pork neck bones
  • 15 ounces pigeon peas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups long grain rice
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 banana leaf (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons alcaparrado or 3 tablespoons pimento-stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped


  • Heat achiote oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until it ripples; stir in sofrito and season with salt, pepper, and cumin.
  • Cook until sofrito reduces and starts sizzling, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the neck bones, peas, and rice until everything is lightly covered with oil.
  • Add enough broth to cover rice and bones by the width of two fingers.
  • Cover with a banana leaf, if using, folding as necessary to fit into the pot.
  • Bring to a boil and let cook until the level of broth reaches the level of the rice (it will look like numerous volcanos).
  • Remove leaf, add in olives, give a good stir, replace leaf, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove leaf and fluff with fork; serve hot.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 234gCalories: 565kcalCarbohydrates: 116gProtein: 18.8gFat: 2.1gSaturated Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 0.6mgSodium: 2565mgFiber: 8gSugar: 0.1g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Caribbean, Long-Grain Rice, Puerto Rican, 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.