Delicious Arroz Con Gandules Recipe: A Taste of Tradition

Hark! Hear ye, hear ye, all lovers of hearty and exotic dishes! For today, I bring you a recipe that will surely satisfy your cravings for something delectable and unique. Behold, the Arroz Con Gandules, a delectable Puerto Rican rice dish that is rich in flavor and history.

For centuries, the Arroz Con Gandules has been an essential part of Puerto Rico’s cuisine, hailed as its national dish with pride. Made from medium-grain rice, a variety of herbs and spices like garlic, fresh cilantro, and ground cumin, and mixed with the goodness of con gandules or pigeon peas – this dish is a perfect combination of flavors that will send your taste buds into a frenzy.

But it’s not all about its palatable taste. The Arroz Con Gandules represents Puerto Rican culture and tradition – a symbol of unity and coming together. The dish is often served at family gatherings, festivals, and celebrations – bringing people closer through the love of food.

As a chef who specializes in both Brazilian and American cuisine, I have prepared countless renditions of this famous Puerto Rican dish. And believe me when I say it’s worth trying. So gather your friends and family around the table, and let’s prepare this easy yet hearty dish together.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

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

Ladies and gentlemen, let me take a moment to talk with you about a dish that will make your taste buds dance in delight. I am talking about the classic Puerto Rican dish, Arroz Con Gandules (Rice With Pigeon Peas), which is widely regarded as the national dish of Puerto Rico. This dish has been served on tables around the world, and once you try it, you’ll understand why.

The combination of rice, pigeon peas, garlic, green pepper, onion, and fresh cilantro creates an explosion of flavors that leave you begging for more. The addition of salt pork adds a rich depth of flavor and makes this dish comforting and satisfying. And that’s not all; it’s then seasoned with cumin, stuffed green olives, capers, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce.

What really sets this dish apart is the use of pigeon peas (or “con gandules” in Spanish). These small beans bring a unique texture and nutty flavor that makes this dish stand out from any other rice dishes out there.

But wait! Let’s not forget how easy it is to prepare! All it takes is a pot, some oil, sofrito (a mixture of garlic, onion, green pepper), sazon (a seasoning mix), gandules (pigeon peas), rice and water. You can use a regular pot or even a rice cooker for an easier option.

So why should you love this recipe? Because it’s versatile – whether as a side or main dish – it works well at any mealtime. And with variations like “morro de guandules,” “arroz con coco” or “arroz con guandules,” there are so many ways to enjoy this dish!

So go on ahead and give this recipe a try! It’s no wonder Arroz con Gandules is beloved all over the world – it has everything needed to get your taste buds dancing!

Ingredient List

 A comforting bowl of Arroz Con Gandules, a classic Latin American dish
A comforting bowl of Arroz Con Gandules, a classic Latin American dish

Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make arroz con gandules:

Sofrito seasoning:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Rice and Pigeon Peas:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound salt pork, cut in small pieces (optional)
  • 1 can of pigeon peas (15 oz)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 12 stuffed green olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Salt to taste

Sazon seasoning:

  • 1 sachet Sazon seasoning with achiote
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • 3 cups medium-grain rice
  • 3 cups warm water

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect side dish for any feast, Arroz Con Gandules is flavorful and filling
The perfect side dish for any feast, Arroz Con Gandules is flavorful and filling

Step 1: Prep the Rice

To create a delectable Arroz con Gandules recipe, one must first prepare the rice. Rinse 2 cups of medium grain rice thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. Then, soak the rice in cold water for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Step 2: Saute the “Sofrito”

As with most Puerto Rican rice dishes, sofrito is a key ingredient. First, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup of finely chopped green bell pepper, and 3 minced garlic cloves. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes till it gets tender.

Step 3: Seasoning the Sofrito

Add 8 ounces tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, and 8 ounces diced tomatoes. Stir well and sauté for about another 2-3 minutes or till it becomes a bit thicker. Then, add 1 pork crackling or salt pork and mix well.

Step 4: Add Pigeon Peas and Rice

Stir in the soaked rinsed rice until every grain is coated with seasoned sofrito. Keep stirring occasionally for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add to that 1-15 oz can of Pigeon Peas (Con Gandules) along with 1 cup of stuffed green olives, and 1/4 cup drained capers. Also, add seasoned salt to taste here.

Step 5: Cook Your Arroz Con Gandules Perfectly

Pour in around 5 cups of water or use Goya rice seasoning pouch (sazon) with two cups of bottled water instead of adding regular water. Bring everything to a boil and start mixing right away. When you see the water level reaching the rice level, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer.
Make sure you do not lift the lid in between during the first 10-15 minutes, otherwise, your Arroz Con Gandules will come out crunchy. Keep it simmering for another 20-25 minutes till the rice is cooked through.

Step 6: Let’s Eat!

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro leaves before serving. You can have this dish with fried chicken or pork chops, or some fried plantains on the side. Enjoy this Puerto Rican national dish made with love and care at home.

Note: You can also cook your Arroz con Gandules Puerto Rico-style using a rice cooker. If you wish to use long grain brown rice instead of medium grain white rice, add a cup more of water and cook for 40 minutes over low heat.

Substitutions and Variations

 This dish may look simple, but the taste is anything but
This dish may look simple, but the taste is anything but

Thou mayest adapt this recipe to suit thy preferences and stay true to thy inner chef. An ingredient swap could quite possibly make the difference in the final outcome of your dish. Here are some suggested substitutions and variations for thee to consider:

– Instead of salt pork, try bacon or ham hock for added flavor.

– If thou dost not have pigeon peas readily available, use black beans or kidney beans to enhance the flavor of thy dish.

– For a savory twist, add sliced stuffed green olives and capers into thy hot pot. This will offer an excellent depth of taste to the meal.

– Enhance the flavors with tomato sauce by adding diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and green pepper into the mix.

– Thou couldst also incorporate coconut milk and sautéed veggies into the seasoning sauce mix. This will give it a twist of sweetness and turn up the volume on flavor.

– For a healthier option, substitute regular rice with brown rice or even quinoa. Both grains have nutritional value that can add health benefits while allowing you to indulge in this scrumptious dish without any guilt.

Remember that these changes may affect the consistency of the cooked rice; ensure that thy balance remains correct by test-tasting as you go along. Experiment with different variations until thou hast found one that matches thy tastes perfectly.

Serving and Pairing

 The aroma of this dish is enough to make anyone's mouth water
The aroma of this dish is enough to make anyone’s mouth water

When it comes to serving and pairing this delightful arroz con gandules dish, there are many options and suggestions to consider. First and foremost, it is important to note that this delicious Puerto Rican rice dish can easily serve as the centerpiece of any meal. However, it also makes a great side dish for a variety of entrees.

One recommended pairing option is to pair arroz con gandules with roasted or baked meats such as roasted chicken, pork shoulder or even beef brisket. This combination works wonders as the savory flavors from the roasted meats complement the tasty pigeon peas and flavorful sofrito of the arroz con gandules.

For seafood lovers, arroz con gandules can be paired nicely with seared scallops or pan-fried shrimp. The combination of these delicate seafood flavors pairs beautifully with the robust flavors from the rice dish.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, arroz con gandules can be an excellent side dish to many vegetable based entrees including grilled vegetables and salads. Another interesting way to enjoy this popular Puerto Rican dish is to include it in various types of burritos or tacos.

When serving arroz con gandules, you can always pair it with some plantains, avocado slices or a fresh salad for a well-rounded meal. In general, there are many wonderful pairing options for this recipe depending on your personal preferences and dietary restrictions.

Whatever the pairing may be, Arroz Con Gandules remains one of Puerto Rico’s most beloved culinary delicacies, so experimenting with different ways to enjoy it is highly encouraged!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get ready to savor the delicious flavors of Latin America
Get ready to savor the delicious flavors of Latin America

Ah, storied sustenance, how doth one preserve thy deliciousness even in the face of time? Fret not, for I have thee covered. For those who desire to prepare this glorious arroz con gandules beforehand, I recommend simply refrigerating it within an airtight container up to two days prior to reheating it.

To reheat your rice dish to perfection, gently and slowly warm it through in a large saucepan or Dutch oven with a splash of water (about ¼ cup per cup of rice) over low heat whilst stirring regularly until the rice reaches the desired temperature. This will ensure that your precious meal remains moist and does not dry out.

If thou art making arroz con gandules ahead in preparation for a gathering or event, and shalt require to make two batches at once, consider freezing one of them instead of storing them in the fridge. When reheating from frozen state, thaw first before following the same reheating procedure as above.

And let me tell thee, this delectable dish also fares well in storage once it has been cooked. Thou canst store leftovers in an airtight container tallowing upto four days within thy cold cupboard enclave.

Fear not to revisit this glorious arroz con gandules dish again and again by warming thy leftovers from the icebox through with thy stovetop flames yet again!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Ready to add some spice to your dinner table? Look no further than Arroz Con Gandules
Ready to add some spice to your dinner table? Look no further than Arroz Con Gandules

As a chef, I have prepared countless of dishes in my kitchen. I have learned a few tips and tricks that can make all the difference in achieving perfect results. Here are my top tips for making the perfect Arroz Con Gandules every time:

1. Toast the Rice: In order to achieve flavorful and fluffy rice, it is important to toast the rice grains before cooking. This will give the rice a nutty flavor and help prevent clumping.

2. Use the Right Rice: Arroz Con Gandules is traditionally made with medium-grain rice. The grains are shorter and plumper than long-grain rice, resulting in a creamier texture.

3. Don’t Skip Sofrito: Sofrito is a blend of aromatics like garlic, green pepper, and onion that is used as a base for many Puerto Rican dishes. It adds depth of flavor to the dish and cannot be substituted.

4. Add Salt Pork: Salt pork is another essential ingredient in Arroz Con Gandules. It provides rich flavor to the dish and can be found at most Latin American or Caribbean grocery stores.

5. Seasoning Sauce: My secret ingredient for elevating any dish is Sazon, a seasoning sauce in Puerto Rican cuisine. It’s best described as an umami bomb, adding depth, color, and flavor to the dish.

6. Let it Rest: After cooking, let the Arroz Con Gandules rest for 10 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and ensures perfectly moist rice.

By following these tips, your Arroz Con Gandules will turn out perfectly every time – deliciously seasoned with fluffy grains of rice and tender pigeon peas in every bite!


But wait, there’s more! We know you might still have some questions about making this delicious Arroz Con Gandules recipe. Don’t worry, we have anticipated the most frequently asked questions and answered them below in item (9) of this article. So keep reading and let us guide you through any remaining doubts you may have.

Are pigeon peas the same as gandules?

Gandules, also known as pigeon peas, might not be a familiar ingredient for those who are not accustomed to Caribbean cuisine. These small, oval beans with a delightful nutty taste are commonly used in the West Indies and can be obtained fresh, frozen, canned or dried.

Why does my arroz and gandules keep coming out soggy?

Cooking rice for too long or adding too much water can lead to a mushy and unappetizing texture. This is because the excess water that the rice absorbs causes the grains to split open and become gummy and starchy.

Why does my arroz con gandules come out sticky?

Have you ever noticed your rice turning out sticky and clumpy? It’s a common problem that can be avoided with the right ratio of rice to water. By using an equal amount of medium grain rice and water, you can achieve consistently fluffy rice with each cooking.

What are Puerto Rican arroz con gandules made of?

One of Puerto Rico’s most famous dishes is arroz con gandules. It’s a delicious blend of rice, pigeon peas, sofrito, and pork that’s cooked together in one pot. It’s often served with roasted pork, making it a beloved national dish.

Bottom Line

Thou art now equipped with the insights and knowledge to make an extraordinary Arroz Con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) recipe. With its rich blend of herbs and spices and the unique flavors of pigeon peas, this Puerto Rican dish is a must-try for any food enthusiast.

Whether you wish to switch up your daily routine or are eager to impress your guests with an exotic dish, the recipe for Arroz Con Gandules has got you covered. With just a few ingredients and some simple steps, anyone can whip this delicious rice dish in no time.

So get ready to experience the Puerto Rican cuisine like never before with the Arroz Con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) recipe. With its delectable taste and aroma that will fill your home, this dish is bound to become your new favorite. So why wait? Gather the ingredients, head to the kitchen and begin cooking – thou wilt not regret giving it a try!

Arroz Con Gandules (Rice With Pigeon Peas)

Arroz Con Gandules (Rice With Pigeon Peas) Recipe

This is a recipe that my mother-in-law taught me how to make. It is from Puerto Rico and is a traditional dish for many meals. Gandules (or pigeon peas) is a type of bean and can be found in most Spanish or Latin stores; they are distributed and labeled by Goya. Bijol can also be found in Spanish stores, in a small yellow round container. It is a yellow food coloring spice, something like paprika or turmeric. This is a great recipe…everyone who tries it raves about it. It’s worth hunting for the ingredients…I guarantee it!
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Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Calories 633.3 kcal


  • 4 ounces salt pork, cut into small cubes
  • 4 ounces cubed ham
  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can pigeon peas (Gandules)
  • 1 tablespoon food coloring (Bijol)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 10 -15 stuffed green olives
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper

1 cup sofrito sauce (See Step 7)

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 head garlic


  • In a large pot, fry salt pork in olive oil until halfway done; add ham and continue frying.
  • Add rice and sauté until rice is browned.
  • Add about ¾ cup to 1 cup sofrito (more or less to taste), tomato sauce and canned tomatoes.
  • Add gandules (drained and rinsed) and 4 cups of water.
  • Add olives and capers, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper to taste and bijol (for color).
  • Cook uncovered over medium-high heat 10 minutes, then cover, lower heat and continue cooking 15—20 minutes until done.
  • Sofrito: Blend 1 Bunch Cilantro, 1 red pepper, 1 onion, 1 green pepper and 1 head garlic in blender until smooth. (Leftover Sofrito can be freezed and used in beans, soups, etc.).

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 329gCalories: 633.3kcalCarbohydrates: 104.7gProtein: 22.7gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4.8gCholesterol: 22.3mgSodium: 755.1mgFiber: 12.2gSugar: 5.6g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Long-Grain Rice, Mexican, Rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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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.