Delicious Arroz Con Pollo Recipe for a Memorable Dinner

Welcome! Are you ready to venture into the colorful world of Latin American cuisine and try an authentic Cuban dish? I’m excited to introduce you to my recipe for Arroz Con Pollo, a mouth-watering combination of tender chicken and fragrant rice, colored with turmeric and spiced up with chili powder and cumin.

Arroz Con Pollo is a traditional Cuban one-pot wonder that combines the best qualities of rice and chicken in a deliciously comforting meal. This hearty dish has won the hearts and stomachs of many families across Latin America, including mine. Growing up, my grandma would make this dish as a Sunday family meal, and we would all gather around the table, eagerly waiting for our plate full of flavorsome arroz con pollo.

There’s something quite special about this dish that makes it different from any other chicken and rice recipe out there. The secret behind its unique flavor and aroma is the sauteed onion, green pepper, garlic, cilantro, and bay leaf mixed in buttery olive oil that blends with tomato sauce and white wine or beer, creating a flavorful base for the rice to be cooked in. This combo produces an exquisite balance of sweetness and acidity that turns ordinary ingredients like white rice into a delightful celebration of Cuban cuisine.

Whether you are looking for an easy-to-make weeknight dinner or an impressive yet affordable meal to entertain your guests, arroz con pollo should undoubtedly be on your menu. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you! So why not give this classic recipe a try today? Join me in bringing the flavors of Cuba into your home kitchen!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Arroz Con Pollo (Cubano)
Arroz Con Pollo (Cubano)

Do you want to experience a mouthwatering fusion of Latin America and Cuban food? Look no further than the classic recipe of Arroz Con Pollo, made with traditional and authentic ingredients. This one-pot dish will tantalize your taste buds with its aromatic herbs and spices, juicy chicken pieces, and fluffy white rice.

What makes this recipe even more special is the combination of flavors from the ingredients. Turmeric, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano and fresh ground black pepper add depth to the dish without being overpowering. The addition of diced green peppers, onions, celery and garlic also adds wholesome nutrients and fiber to your diet.

The protein in this dish comes from tender chicken thighs or breasts roasted to perfection in olive oil. The chicken broth from the roasted chicken pieces mixed with tomato sauce create a delicious base for the rice. The savory salt pork or kielbasa are essential components for that extra juicy taste. To top it all off, the peas add an irresistible pop of color to each scoopful.

This recipe is perfect for large family gatherings or casual dinners at home as it is quick cheap and serves a crowd. You can prepare it ahead of time for an easy weeknight dinner or store any leftovers for a satisfying lunch at work. Not only is this dish incredibly tasty but it is also nutritious and packed with essential vitamins.

Overall, once you try out this authentic arroz con pollo recipe influenced by the Cuban cuisine, you’ll be hooked on its unique flavor profile and versatility in pairing with your favorite sides. It’s one recipe you won’t be able to get enough of- so give it a try today!

Ingredient List

 This colorful dish is a feast for the eyes and the stomach!
This colorful dish is a feast for the eyes and the stomach!

Now, let’s dive into the ingredients. Remember to get high-quality, fresh ingredients whenever possible for the best results (no one wants to eat stale food!).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 chicken thighs, skin-on
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of diced celery
  • 2 cups of long grain rice
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 1 cup of beer (can be substituted with water or chicken broth)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the sofrito:

  • Cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional ingredients:

  • Peas for added color and texture
  • Pimiento strips for garnish

These ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores so no need to worry about going on a scavenger hunt. Let’s move on to the recipe itself!

The Recipe How-To

 Who says you have to travel to Cuba to taste the country's delicious cuisine?
Who says you have to travel to Cuba to taste the country’s delicious cuisine?

Now that we have gathered all the ingredients, let’s get cooking! In this section, I will guide you through the steps on how to make an authentic Cuban arroz con pollo.

Step 1: Prep your chicken

  • 4 chicken thighs and legs with skin
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic

Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Mix the salt and minced garlic together in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the chicken pieces until they are fully coated. Set them aside to marinate while doing the next steps.

Step 2: Make your sofrito

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, green bell pepper, celery, and minced garlic into the pan. Sauté them for about five minutes or until the onions start to become translucent.

Step 3: Add your rice

  • 2 cups of long-grain rice
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 4 cups of water

Pour in two cups of long-grain rice into the skillet with the vegetables. Stir everything together so that each grain is coated evenly with oil. Add two cups of chicken broth and four cups of water into the pot. Bring it to a boil and stir a couple of times.

Step 4: Add your remaining ingredients

  • The marinated chicken pieces
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of oregano
  • A splash of vinegar
  • The juice of half a lime
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup of diced pimiento strips
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Add the marinated chicken pieces to the rice mixture. Season with turmeric, chili powder, paprika, ground cumin, bay leaf, and oregano. Add in a splash of vinegar and the juice of half a lime. Stir everything together and let it come to a boil.

Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Add in the frozen peas and diced pimiento strips, stir them in gently. Cover the skillet or Dutch oven with a tightly fitting lid and let it cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.

Step 5: Rest and

Substitutions and Variations

 This arroz con pollo recipe is sure to impress your dinner guests with its flavors and aroma.
This arroz con pollo recipe is sure to impress your dinner guests with its flavors and aroma.

Are you looking for ways to mix things up with your Arroz Con Pollo (Cubano) recipe? Here are some substitutions and variations you can try to add a special touch to your dish.

First of all, if you’re not a fan of chicken thighs, you can substitute them it with boneless chicken breasts, drumsticks or wings. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on what type of chicken you use, so ensure that the meat is cooked well by monitoring its internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer.

For some added spice, try incorporating diced chilies or hot sauce into the tomato sauce mixture. Alternatively, use chipotle sauce or smoked paprika to give your arroz con pollo a smokier and earthier flavor.

If you want your dish to be more vegetable-forward, you can add diced carrots, squash or zucchini with the onions and peppers while sautéing them. Another way to incorporate greens is by mixing in spinach, kale or Swiss chard towards the end of the cooking time.

To switch up the grains used in the dish, try substituting white rice for brown rice or quinoa. This will increase the dish’s nutritional value and provide ample dietary fiber. Also, instead of using plain water, switch things up by adding beer or wine for a boozy kick when boiling rice.

For those who prefer a vegetarian option, consider replacing chicken with Portobello mushrooms or chickpeas; both options still offer protein and unique flavors that blend well with sautéed greens and peppers. Make it vegan by eliminating any animal-derived proteins altogether.

Remember that these substitution ideas are just starting points. Feel free to experiment until you find the perfect combination that satisfies your tastes buds. Happy cooking!

Serving and Pairing

 Want to take your taste buds on a Caribbean vacation? Look no further than this dish!
Want to take your taste buds on a Caribbean vacation? Look no further than this dish!

Now that you have made this delicious Arroz Con Pollo, it’s time to enjoy it with your loved ones. This hearty dish is perfect for a family dinner or a casual gathering with friends.

Serve your Arroz Con Pollo in a big, colorful platter and garnish it with some fresh cilantro leaves for an extra pop of color and flavor. You can also add some pimiento strips on top for an even more vibrant look.

When it comes to pairings, this classic Cuban dish goes perfectly with a cold beer – try a crisp and light lager to balance out the richness of the dish. Alternatively, you could also pair it with a fruity red wine like Pinot Noir or Merlot. The acidity of the wine will cut through the flavors of the Arroz Con Pollo and enhance its taste.

For sides, I recommend serving some black beans on the side to complement the flavors of the dish, along with some sweet plantains or yuca frita for a touch of sweetness and crunchiness.

Arroz Con Pollo is easy to portion out, making it perfect for leftovers! You can store any extra servings in your fridge for up to four days, but make sure to reheat properly for best results.

Trust me when I say this – once you try this traditional Cuban Arroz Con Pollo recipe and fully experience its rich and satisfying flavors, it will quickly become one of your go-to dishes when you’re craving something comforting and delicious. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Just one bite of this arroz con pollo, and you'll be hooked for life.
Just one bite of this arroz con pollo, and you’ll be hooked for life.

Arroz con Pollo is a dish that can be made ahead of time and stored properly for later consumption. In fact, it often tastes better the next day after allowing the flavors to develop and blend together.

To make ahead, prepare the recipe as directed but do not add the peas and pimiento strips until reheating. Allow the dish to cool at room temperature before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When ready to serve, remove from storage and reheat on medium heat in a pot or skillet, stirring occasionally until hot. If the rice has dried out, you may add a splash of chicken broth or water.

For best results, avoid reheating in a microwave as it can dry out the rice and chicken. Instead, use stovetop reheating methods for a better consistency and texture.

When storing leftovers, be sure to transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

In summary, Arroz con Pollo can be easily made ahead of time and stored properly for later consumption. Its rich flavors make it a convenient dish for meal planning and leftovers can easily be reheated for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A perfect blend of savory and spicy, this Cuban-inspired dish will definitely become a family favorite.
A perfect blend of savory and spicy, this Cuban-inspired dish will definitely become a family favorite.

Let me share with you some tips and tricks to help you achieve perfect results when making your arroz con pollo recipe.

First of all, quality ingredients are the key to having a successful dish. Use fresh herbs such as cilantro and oregano, along with high-quality chicken and rice. It will make a huge difference in the taste and overall flavor profile.

When it comes to the rice, be sure to rinse it well before cooking to remove excess starch. This helps create fluffier grains that won’t clump together.

Toasting your spices before adding them in can also elevate the overall flavor of the dish. Heat up spices like turmeric, cumin, chili powder, and paprika in a dry pan for a few moments before mixing them in with the rest of the ingredients. This is especially helpful if you’re using older spices that have been sitting in your pantry for a while.

One important tip is to not disturb the rice while it’s cooking. Resist the temptation to stir the pot since this makes the rice stickier instead of fluffy. Let it simmer undisturbed until fully cooked according to your recipe’s instructions.

Another essential thing to remember is to use enough liquid when cooking. Insufficient liquid can cause your rice to burn or stick to the bottom of the pot, ruining your dish altogether. If you find that there’s not enough liquid left in the pot, add a bit more water or chicken broth until everything is cooked through.

Lastly, let your dish rest for at least five minutes after cooking so that all the flavors can meld together beautifully. Garnish with cilantro and lime juice before serving for an extra burst of freshness.

Follow these tips and trust your instincts, and you’ll undoubtedly end up with an authentic and tasty arroz con pollo that will have everyone asking for seconds!


As with any recipe, you may have a few questions before you get started. That’s why I’ve taken the time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this delicious Arroz con Pollo recipe. From ingredient substitutions to cooking times, these answers will help make sure you get the perfect results every time you make this traditional Cuban dish.

What is Cuban arroz con leche made of?

Prepare yourself for a delectable treat with Arroz con Leche, a traditional Cuban dessert consisting of creamy rice pudding infused with flavors of cinnamon and lemon zest. This recipe is simple to follow and will satisfy your craving for something sweet any day of the week. So grab your ingredients and let’s get cooking!

What is the history of Cuban arroz con pollo?

Arroz con pollo is a popular dish in Latin America with roots tracing back to colonial times. Rice, brought by the Spanish, was incorporated into the cuisine and forms the basis of this recipe. Each country puts their own spin on it, with Cuban arroz con pollo featuring a variety of spices and flavorful ingredients, without being overly spicy.

Why is my arroz con pollo mushy?

The texture of the rice may be affected by several factors, such as the duration of cooking. If the rice is overcooked, it may become excessively soft, whereas undercooking it might produce a hard grain. Another contributing factor could be using an excess amount of water, resulting in a mushy consistency.

What is arroz con pollo the national dish of?

Arroz con pollo is a famous Spanish and Latin American dish consisting of chicken and rice. Each country has its own distinctive manner of preparing this classic recipe.

Bottom Line

Arroz con pollo is a scrumptious and flavorful dish that will have your taste buds dancing with joy. This Cuban-inspired recipe combines the succulent taste of chicken with the aromatic flavors of turmeric, chili powder, and cumin, resulting in a dish that captures the essence of Latin American cuisine.

Apart from its fantastic flavor, this arroz con pollo recipe is incredibly versatile, making it an ideal meal for any occasion. Whether you’re entertaining guests or just cooking for your family, this one-pot wonder is sure to impress.

So next time you want to try out a traditional Cuban recipe or simply add some variety to your weeknight meals, give this arroz con pollo recipe a try. With its easy-to-follow instructions and mouthwatering flavors, you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for reading! I hope this recipe becomes a new favorite in your home.

Arroz Con Pollo (Cubano)

Arroz Con Pollo (Cubano) Recipe

In Cuba, “arroz con pollo” has the same status of a national dish. But even among serious cooks, the rules for constructing it are changing. The freshly made pastes (adobo and recaito), as well as the flavor-intensive olives, capers, and pimientos, still define the dish. But without the lard and the salt pork that health-conscious modern cooks have put behind them, the proud insistence on cooking the rice in plain water is yielding to the richer flavors of chicken broth or beer. Plantanos fritos (sautéed sweet bananas) are the classic accompaniment to this dish
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Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 5 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Calories 659.7 kcal


  • 1 roasting chicken, cut up as directed
  • 1 smoked kielbasa, sausage, cut in 2 inch pieces

The adobo

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar or 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

The stock

  • 1 garlic clove, smashed flat
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, cut up
  • 4 -5 sprigs cilantro
  • 4 cups water

The recaito

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 italian green peppers or 1 green bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 6 aji dulce chilies, if available, cored and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs cilantro, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup salt pork, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 2 cups medium grain white rice
  • 18 pimento stuffed olives, cut in half
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar pimiento strips
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)


  • Cut the chicken into 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, 2 wing tips, a back piece, and 4 breast pieces. Reserve the neck, back, and wing tips for stock.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the adobo and rub over the remaining pieces. Refrigerate several hours or overnight, or let sit at room temperature 1 hour to absorb the flavors.
  • Meanwhile, make the stock. Put the neck, back, and wing tips (and giblets if you like) in 4 cups of water with the garlic, onion, celery, and cilantro. Cook uncovered 2 to 3 hours, then strain out the solids and return the stock to the pot.
  • Coarsely chop the recaito ingredients, then process them together in a food processor until finely minced but not watery.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, wide, heavy bottomed saucepan, Dutch oven, or skillet. Add salt pork and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Remove any solid fat pieces but leave the meat in the pot. Add chicken thighs and drumsticks and cook 5 minutes. Add remaining chicken pieces and sausage pieces and cook another 10 minutes to brown all pieces on both sides.
  • Remove and set aside. Add the recaito and cook 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, then 3 cups hot stock (or 1 ½ cups stock and 1 ½ cups beer). Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, turmeric and bay leaf and the rice. Bring to a boil. Return chicken to the pan. Stir in the olives and some salt, if needed. Reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, until all the surface water disappears (Cuban cooks say to cook uncovered until the rice is dry). With a wooden spoon, turn up the rice from the bottom of the pot.
  • Reduce heat to very low, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour, uncovering briefly every 15 minutes to turn up the rice from the bottom of the pan.
  • Turn the rice and chicken onto a serving platter and garnish with the pimiento strips and the peas. Scrape up the pegao (the bottom crust) with a spatula (it will come off in pieces) and pass in a separate serving dish or scatter the pieces around the edges of the platter. It should be crisp and colored anywhere from gold to brown, but not burned.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 416gCalories: 659.7kcalCarbohydrates: 83.7gProtein: 22gFat: 24.3gSaturated Fat: 5.6gCholesterol: 52.7mgSodium: 1381mgFiber: 7.6gSugar: 10g
Keyword Caribbean, Cuban, Medium-Grain Rice, One-Dish Meal, Rice, Savory
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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.