Mouth-Watering Arroz Con Queso Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen! As a chef specializing in both Brazilian and American cuisines, I love experimenting with international recipes that bring excitement and variety to the table. Today, I want to introduce you to one such recipe that comes straight from the heartland of South America: Arroz Con Queso, which means Rice With Cheese in English.

This dish hails from Bolivia and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The combination of short-grain rice, onion, garlic, and queso fresco – a traditional Bolivian cheese – makes this dish an unforgettable experience for your taste buds. And if you’re new to Bolivian cuisine, Arroz Con Queso is the perfect introduction – it’s easy to make and packed with flavors that will transport you straight to the land of the Incas.

But Arroz Con Queso isn’t just about its amazing taste. It’s also highly versatile – it can be served as a side dish or a main course all on its own. Plus, it’s gluten-free, making it an excellent option for those with specific dietary needs.

In this recipe article, I’m excited to walk you through the steps of making this delicious Bolivian side dish. From ingredient lists and variations to serving suggestions and make-ahead tips – we have everything you need to create an authentic culinary adventure in your own kitchen.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into the world of Arroz Con Queso!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Arroz Con Queso - Rice With Cheese (Bolivia)
Arroz Con Queso – Rice With Cheese (Bolivia)

If you are in search of a new flavorful side to add to your dinner table, then look no further than Arroz Con Queso! Originating from the heart of Bolivia, this dish consists of short-grain rice cooked with queso fresco – a semi-firm white cheese commonly used in Bolivian cuisine.

What sets Arroz Con Queso apart from other rice dishes is the unique taste that comes from combining the sticky texture of arborio rice with the salty flavor of queso fresco. Imagine biting into a warm spoonful of fluffy rice only to be met with the savory sensation of cheese. The combination is simply mouth-watering!

Not only is this recipe easy to make and versatile, but it is also gluten-free for those with dietary restrictions. In fact, the ingredients consist of rice, water, milk, red onion, garlic, and queso fresco – all natural and wholesome ingredients with no additives or preservatives.

Whether you are looking for delicious appetizers to spice up your game day, or yummy sides to satisfy your family’s cravings at dinnertime, Arroz Con Queso is sure to become your go-to dish. Don’t hesitate to try out this traditional Bolivian side dish made fresh with farmer cheese kolla, we promise it won’t disappoint!

Ingredient List

 A cheesy delight straight from the heart of Bolivia.
A cheesy delight straight from the heart of Bolivia.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients required to make this delicious Bolivian side dish:

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Short-grain rice: I recommend using Arborio or another short, plump variety.
  • Water: To boil the rice and create a sticky texture.
  • Milk: To add creaminess to the dish.
  • Queso fresco: A type of semi-firm white cheese commonly used in Bolivian cuisine. You can usually find it in Latin American or international grocery stores. If you can’t find queso fresco, you can substitute it with feta cheese or another soft, crumbly cheese.
  • Red onion and garlic: For flavor and aroma.
  • Optional: Green pepper for an additional twist.

Make sure to get the correct ingredients before starting your cooking process!

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to meet your new favorite comfort food.
Get ready to meet your new favorite comfort food.

Now that we’ve got all our ingredients ready, let’s start cooking! This recipe is easy to follow and will result in a creamy and delicious dish.

Step 1: Cook the Rice

  • Rinse 2 cups of short-grain rice until the water runs clear.
  • Place the rinsed rice into a pot with 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice becomes tender and has absorbed all the water.

Step 2: Prepare the Cheese

  • Chop 1/2 of a red onion finely.
  • Peel 3 cloves of garlic and crush them into a paste using a knife or mortar and pestle.
  • Slice 8 oz. of Queso Fresco cheese into small cubes.

Step 3: Combine Rice and Cheese

  • Pour 1 cup of milk into the pot with cooked rice along with the chopped onions, crushed garlic, and cheese cubes.
  • Stir constantly over medium-low heat until the cheese melts, and everything is well combined. The cheese will melt quickly creating creamy blobs in between sticky rice.

Step 4: Serve

  • Spoon Arroz Con Queso onto serving bowls as a side dish, topped with some green pepper or parsley for extra color.

Enjoy making yummy appetizers at home with this tasty bolivian dish made fresh from farmer cheese ‘kolla’. Buen Provecho!

Substitutions and Variations

 Say cheese! This dish is here to brighten up your day with its gooey goodness.
Say cheese! This dish is here to brighten up your day with its gooey goodness.

Looking to mix up the flavors of your next Arroz con Queso dish? There are plenty of variations and substitutions you can make to this Bolivian classic that will make it uniquely your own.

First off, if you’re having trouble finding queso fresco at your local grocery store, don’t worry! You can easily substitute it with another semi-firm white cheese like feta, panela or ricotta. These cheeses will give you a similar texture and taste, without having to go on a wild goose chase for specialty ingredients.

If you’re looking to add more veggies to your dish, try tossing in some diced bell peppers, roasted vegetables or carrots. Green pepper and red onion make great additions and lend a nice crunch and sweetness respectively.

If you want to give your Arroz con Queso some kick, try adding some spicy peppers like jalapeño or serrano. You can also swap the water with coconut milk or add some saffron threads to give it a unique flavor profile.

Another great way to mix things up is by using different types of rice. Short-grain arborio rice is traditionally used for this dish, but you can also try using sticky rice or basmati for something different. Adding other grains like quinoa or couscous is another great way to bulk up the dish and create new textures.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheeses altogether. While queso fresco is the traditional choice for Arroz con Queso, you can also use cheddar, monterey jack or any other cheese that melts well.

With these substitutions and variations, your dish will surely stand out from the rest and be the talk of the party. Let your creativity run wild while still keeping true to the heart of this Bolivian classic!

Serving and Pairing

 When rice meets cheese, the result is pure magic.
When rice meets cheese, the result is pure magic.

When it comes to serving arroz con queso, you will find that it goes well as a side dish for practically any meal. It is a delicious and hearty dish with a creamy and cheesy flavor that pairs really well with many different proteins, including chicken, beef, pork, and fish.

Arroz con queso also makes a great appetizer or party snack. You can serve it in smaller portions as finger food or use it as an ingredient in other dishes such as stuffed peppers or burritos.

In Bolivia, it’s common to serve arroz con queso alongside pan de arroz con coco, which is coconut-flavored rice bread. This combination offers a sweet and savory taste sensation that is hard to resist. You can prepare the bread by mixing coconut milk and rice flour, then baking it until it forms a light crust on the outside while remaining soft and moist inside.

For an even tastier presentation, sprinkle some finely chopped green pepper over the top of your arroz con queso to add some freshness and crunchiness to your dish.

Whether you’re hosting an elaborate dinner party or just enjoying a casual meal at home, this traditionally Bolivian dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Its versatility makes it an excellent choice for any occasion— formal or informal. With its delicious cheesy flavor, velvety texture, and scrumptious aroma, arroz con queso is certainly worth trying out!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Perfectly cooked rice loaded with melted cheese – what's not to love?
Perfectly cooked rice loaded with melted cheese – what’s not to love?

Arroz con queso is a dish that can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. To store, transfer the cooled rice and cheese mixture into an airtight container and label it with the date before refrigerating or freezing it.

To reheat, there are two easy methods you can use. The first is to heat the arroz con queso in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 1-2 minutes on high heat, making sure to stir every 30 seconds to prevent any hot spots. But if you want to retain the texture of the rice dish, use the stove-top method instead. Simply add a tablespoon of water or milk per cup of rice mixture and reheat over medium heat, stirring and tossing until heated through.

If you’re reheating from frozen, thaw the arroz con queso overnight in the refrigerator first before using your preferred reheating method. Avoid reheating multiple times as this may affect the quality of the dish.

Make-ahead tips:

– Cook the rice and cheese mixture up to 2 days ahead but wait to mix them until just before serving.

– Cut onions and garlic beforehand so that preparation time is minimized.

– Store unused cheese separately to maintain freshness.

With these tips on make-ahead, storing, and reheating in mind, you can easily enjoy arroz con queso without compromising its flavor and texture. Delve into its cheesy goodness anytime!

Tips for Perfect Results

 This dish may be simple, but it's packed with flavor that'll blow your mind.
This dish may be simple, but it’s packed with flavor that’ll blow your mind.

When it comes to making Arroz Con Queso, achieving the perfect consistency is key. Here are some tips to ensure a perfectly gooey and cheesy rice dish!

1. Use short-grain rice: Opt for short-grain rice such as arborio. This will give your dish that perfect, sticky texture that makes it so satisfying.

2. Rinse the rice: Before cooking the rice, rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch and prevents the rice from sticking together.

3. Use a heavy-bottomed pot: A heavy-bottomed pot will distribute heat evenly, preventing the rice from burning on the bottom.

4. Use queso fresco: Traditional Bolivian Arroz Con Queso is made with queso fresco. This cheese is semi-firm and has a mild flavor that won’t overpower the dish.

5. Make sure your cheese is fresh: Queso fresco can spoil quickly, so make sure to pick up a fresh batch from your local market.

6. Add milk for creaminess: Adding a splash of milk to the dish will give it a creamy texture that complements the cheese.

7. Don’t overcook the rice: Cook the rice until it is just tender and there is still some liquid left in the pot. Overcooked rice can ruin the dish’s texture.

8. Add red onions and garlic: Sauteed red onions and garlic add depth of flavor to the dish without overpowering its cheesy goodness.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a perfectly cheesy bowl of Arroz Con Queso every time!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you are looking for a tasty and easy-to-prepare side dish that will impress your friends and family, then you need to try making Arroz Con Queso. This Bolivian recipe is not only quick to make but also packed with delicious flavors that will keep you coming back for more. The combination of short-grain rice, red onion, garlic, and queso fresco creates a perfect balance of savory flavors and textures that you won’t be able to resist.

If you are a cheese lover, then Arroz Con Queso will surely become one of your favorites in no time. With its cheesy goodness mixed with short-grain rice, it’s the perfect comfort food dish. You can enjoy it as a stand-alone meal or pair it with other dishes as a side dish. And with several variations and substitutions possible, this recipe is versatile enough to customize according to your taste.

Plus, our tips for perfect results and frequently asked questions have got you covered! Just follow these simple steps and enjoy a delicious Bolivian dish right from your kitchen! So what are you waiting for? Head to your local grocery store or farmer’s market, grab some fresh ingredients and start cooking today!Trust us; once you try Arroz Con Queso, this dish will surely become a staple in all your future meals.

Arroz Con Queso - Rice With Cheese (Bolivia)

Arroz Con Queso - Rice With Cheese (Bolivia) Recipe

I used this recipe for week 32 of my food blog, "Travel by Stove." I am attempting to cook on meal from every nation on Earth, and Bolivia is my 32nd stop. Unless otherwise noted, my Travel by Stove recipes are taken from authentic or traditional sources, and this recipe has been posted without any alternations or additions to the ingredients. This Bolivian side dish is made with a fresh farmer's cheese; "kolla" (traditionally used) is saltier than queso fresco, so when making this be sure to taste and add salt according to your preferences.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Bolivian
Calories 399.1 kcal


  • 2 cups short-grain rice (I used sushi rice, which seems to be the only short grain rice going around here)
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled queso fresco (kolla cheese is traditional, but most Bolivian resources seem to agree that queso fresco is a good s)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 cups water
  • salt


  • Boil the water with the salt, then add the rice and keep boiling, uncovered, until almost all of the water has been absorbed or cooked off. The rice should still be pretty wet, but without pools of water and not fluffy.
  • Meanwhile, saute the garlic and onions in a small amount of oil for four or five minutes. Take care not to let them brown.
  • When the rice is nearly ready, bring the milk to a boil (warning, milk scalds easily so don't take your eyes off of it).
  • Add the milk, cheese and onion/garlic mixture to the rice. Cook over low heat, stirring, until all the cheese has melted.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 346gCalories: 399.1kcalCarbohydrates: 82.5gProtein: 8.6gFat: 2.8gSaturated Fat: 1.5gCholesterol: 8.5mgSodium: 41.8mgFiber: 2.9gSugar: 0.1g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Cheese, Rice, South American
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.