Delicious Arroz Imperial Recipe for a Perfect Meal

You know what they say about finding the perfect comfort food dish – it’s like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Well, I’m here to introduce you to what could be your next pot of gold – the Arroz Imperial.

Originating from Cuba, this dish is a true comfort food that has become popular across Latin America and beyond. It’s essentially made up of layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken, mayonnaise, melted cheese, and other ingredients that come together perfectly to give you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

In this recipe article, I’ll guide you through the steps to make an easy Cuban arroz imperial from scratch. Even if you’re not a seasoned chef, don’t worry – this dish is simple enough for anyone to cook up. And trust me when I say the end result will be worth it. So grab your ingredients and let’s get started on this culinary adventure together.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Arroz Imperial
Arroz Imperial

Picture yourself surrounded by friends and family, laughter and good conversation filling the air, and nothing but a delicious, comforting meal on the table. That’s exactly what the Arroz Imperial recipe offers- a hearty, flavor-packed dish that will leave everyone wanting more.

Originating from Cuban cuisine, this easy Cuban arroz imperial recipe is a dish made in layers. As its name suggests, the “Arroz Imperial” is truly imperial! It’s almost like you’re royalty when you get to indulge. Made with layers of yellow rice and shredded chicken mixed with mayonnaise and melted cheese, this classic Cuban comfort food dish also features flavors of cumin, oregano, and turmeric.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is any regular chicken and rice dish – this recipe takes things up a notch! The chicken is very finely chopped so it blends with the ingredients almost like a paste. The addition of stuffed green olives gives every bite of the dish an irresistible tanginess while also adding texture to the impeccably cooked grain. The tomato sauce infuses it all with a deep savory sweetness while diced bell peppers offer up some crunch. The subtle hints of garlic powder give the dish an enticing aroma that’ll have you drooling as soon as it hits your nostrils.

What’s more? This dish is pretty versatile- perfect for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. It can be paired with other Cuban specialties such as plantains or fried yucca for a complete experience or served alone on its own accords for what will soon become your go-to comfort food.

In short, from its origin Arroz Imperial to its origin Arroz Imperial Classic Cubano, this Miami-style Cuban Arroz Imperial recipe is definitely one you’ll want at home in your collection. So why not give it a try? You’ll find that it’s one of those dishes that’s just too easy to love.

Ingredient List

 This cheesy and creamy Arroz Imperial will leave you speechless!
This cheesy and creamy Arroz Imperial will leave you speechless!

Here are the ingredients you will need to make Arroz Imperial, a classic Cuban comfort food dish made with layers of yellow rice, chicken, mayonnaise, melted cheese, and stuffed green olives. This easy Cuban recipe is perfect for family dinners and special occasions.


  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 lbs white rice
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (con pollo)
  • 1 bell pepper (green or red), finely chopped
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or mozzarella)
  • ½ cup stuffed green olives, sliced

Note: You can also add diced ham or bacon to the chicken-arroz filling for an extra burst of flavor!

The Recipe How-To

 A dish that would make any emperor proud.
A dish that would make any emperor proud.

Now that we have covered the ingredients, let’s put them all together to make this delicious Arroz Imperial. This Cuban comfort food dish made with layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken mixed with mayonnaise and melted cheese is sure to impress your guests at your next gathering.

Step 1: Preheat and prepare ingredients

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 small diced yellow onion, 1 diced green bell pepper, and 3 minced garlic cloves. Once the onions become translucent add 3lbs of chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp cumin, and 1 tsp oregano.

Step 2: Cook rice

Rinse 2 cups white rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Place it in a pot with enough water to cover it (about 2 cups) and add 2 chicken bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Step 3: Shred chicken

Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pot and shred it using two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, mix well with the vegetables, add 3/4 cup mayonnaise, and stir until well combined.

Step 4: Layering

In a greased baking dish (use butter or olive oil) spread a single layer of rice on the bottom (about half of the cooked rice) and pack it down lightly. Using a slotted spoon, spread half of the shredded chicken evenly over the layer of rice. Add a layer of stuffed green olives (about 5 oz) in between or covering half of the chicken. Repeat the process again with layers of rice and shredded chicken until you have used up all the ingredients or reached the end of the dish.

Step 5: Bake

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375°F or until it is heated through. Then remove the foil and top with shredded cheese (about 1 cup) on top, put back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes until melted and bubbly.

Serve hot and enjoy your homemade delicious Arroz Imperial!

Substitutions and Variations

 An impressive dish that you'll want to share with family and friends.
An impressive dish that you’ll want to share with family and friends.

If you’re looking to switch things up with this Arroz Imperial recipe, there are plenty of variations and substitutions you can make. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Vegetarian Option: For a vegetarian version of this recipe, simply omit the chicken and substitute chicken bouillon cubes with vegetable bouillon cubes to keep the flavor profile intact.

2. Seafood: You can swap the chicken for shrimp or crabmeat to create a seafood twist on this classic comfort food dish.

3. Spices: To add some heat or customize the flavor, experiment with different spices like smoked paprika or chili powder to give it a southwest style flare.

4. Vegetables: Instead of just green bell peppers, try using other vegetables like mushrooms, roasted red peppers or spinach.

5. Rice Substitutions: If your preference is not white rice, replacements such as yellow rice or brown rice can be used.

6. Dressing: Instead of mayonnaise, use sour cream or Greek yogurt for a tangy taste.

7. Cheese Variations: For cheese lovers, experiment with swiss cheese and cheddar as it gives extra flavor and texture to the dish.

The possibilities are endless! Feel free to mix and match these substitutions and variations according to what’s available in your pantry and what flavors you prefer. No matter how you choose to make your Arroz Imperial, one thing is certain—you’ll end up with a delicious and satisfying meal that will absolutely leave you coming back for seconds!

Serving and Pairing

 Say hello to your new favorite comfort food!
Say hello to your new favorite comfort food!

Once your arroz imperial is ready to serve, it’s time to take a moment and appreciate the magnificent aroma coming from this delicious and hearty dish. This Cuban-style food is a true comfort dish that includes layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken blended in mayonnaise and melted cheese, creating amazing flavors that truly capture the essence of its origin—Arroz Imperial.

One great thing about Arroz Imperial is its versatility when it comes to serving options. It makes the perfect main course for a family dinner or a cozy night in with friends. You can offer some Cuban-style black beans as a side dish to balance the richness of the arroz imperial.

If you plan on throwing a big party, a tray of arroz imperial is an excellent option because it easily feeds large groups of people. Just slice it into serving portions, arrange them on a platter, and watch your guests enjoy this classic Cuban comfort food dish.

A robust red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec pairs particularly well with the arroz imperial. The earthy and fruity notes of the wine complement the chicken and spices perfectly. For those who prefer lighter drinks, mojitos or margaritas with summer fruits like mangoes, pineapples, or passion fruits will also work wonders with this dish.

As decorative garnishings made from bell pepper, tomato sauce or stuffed green olives will not only add color but also some nice additional flavors to your served Arroz Imperial. So get creative and experiment with these ingredients to make your Arroz Imperial as bright and flavorful as possible. Once you try this comforting and delicious food dish made in layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken blended in mayonnaise and melted cheese, there’s no going back!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Melted cheese and chicken, what's not to love?
Melted cheese and chicken, what’s not to love?

Arroz Imperial is best served immediately after baking, but you can prepare it ahead of time and store the dish in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Simply cover the dish tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate. It can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To reheat, remove the cover from the dish and place it in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 20-25 minutes, or until it is heated through. You can also microwave small portions of individual servings for quicker reheating.

If you have some leftover Arroz Imperial that cannot be consumed within 3 days, you can freeze it for later. Simply cut it into individual portions and wrap each piece tightly with plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Label each package with a date and place them in the freezer. The frozen Arroz Imperial will stay good for up to three months.

To thaw the frozen Arroz Imperial, simply remove it from the freezer and allow it to defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating using either of the methods explained above.

Once reheated or thawed, you could sprinkle some fresh chopped green onions or freshly chopped cilantro on top to add freshness to this comfort food dish. Enjoy!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Your taste buds will thank you for this flavor explosion.
Your taste buds will thank you for this flavor explosion.

Cooking rice perfectly can seem daunting, but with the proper tools and techniques, it can be a breeze. That being said, here are a few tips for achieving delicious and aromatic Arroz Imperial every time:

1. Measure Your Rice Carefully: Measuring your rice is essential when cooking arroz imperial. For optimal results, you need to ensure that you’re using the right ratio of water to rice. Generally, you’ll want to use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. Therefore, it’s important to measure your rice carefully if you want to end up with a perfect texture.

2. Add More Flavor: One of the keys to making great Arroz Imperial is adding plenty of flavor. You can do this by seasoning the chicken filling with herbs and spices such as cumin, oregano, and pepper. You can also add other ingredients like diced bell peppers or onions to give the dish an extra boost of taste.

3. Be Patient: Cooking arroz imperial requires patience as there are many layers involved in the recipe. Don’t try to rush or skip any steps; otherwise, the flavors will not have time to meld together properly.

4. Use High-Quality Chicken Broth: Using high-quality chicken broth will make your Arroz Imperial taste richer and more flavorful. Instead of using bouillon cubes only, try substituting some or all of the water required in the recipe for chicken broth.

5. Don’t Overcook The Rice: Overcooked rice will ruin the texture of your Arroz Imperial. When cooking the rice with the chicken broth mixture, it’s important to keep a close eye on it and make sure that it doesn’t get overcooked or burnt at the bottom of the pot. Fluffing the cooked rice with a fork and letting it rest for about 10 minutes off heat will help achieve fluffy and tender grains.

By following these tips, you’ll have a mouth-watering Arroz Imperial dish that’s sure to impress your guests whether you’re serving it at a formal occasion or as a comforting weeknight meal.


As we wind up this recipe article, I anticipate that you’ll have some questions or concerns about making Arroz Imperial. That’s precisely what this section is for: to answer any potential queries and resolve any issues that may arise while you prepare this dish. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the frequently asked questions regarding this Cuban comfort food dish:

What is arroz imperial cubano in english?

Arroz Imperial, also known as Imperial Rice or Cuban comfort food, is a traditional dish consisting of layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken, melted cheese, and mayonnaise, popular in Cuban cuisine.

Who invented Arroz Imperial?

The historical roots of arroz imperial are not entirely clear. Some contend that it is a Cuban dish, while others believe it to be a product of Cuban-American culture, created by Cuban immigrants living in Miami.

How many calories are in arroz Imperial?

This dish provides a moderate amount of calories at 241.2 per serving. The cholesterol content is low at only 15.0 mg, while the sodium level is relatively high at 821.1 mg. If you’re watching your potassium intake, each serving provides 298.4 mg. The total carbohydrate count is 24.9 g.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Arroz Imperial recipe is an exquisite blend of Cuban and American flavors. This dish is perfect for those who crave a comforting taste of home. The layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken, mayonnaise and melted cheese make this dish nothing less than irresistible.

I highly recommend trying this recipe for your next family dinner or special occasion. If you’re feeling adventurous, play around with substitutes and variations to suit your palate. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, this recipe is easy to follow and will surely impress your loved ones.

So go ahead and indulge in this classic cuban comfort food dish made with layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken, mayonnaise and melted cheese. I can assure you that this Arroz Imperial recipe will become a staple in your household once you try it!

Arroz Imperial

Arroz Imperial Recipe

This is a fabulous Cuban Chicken and Rice Dish! This recipe originally asked for a full frying chicken but I've changed it to include just two chicken breasts so my small family can eat it and still have leftovers for lunch.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Calories 522 kcal


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 1/4 chopped bell pepper
  • 1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 14 -16 chopped spanish stuffed green olives
  • oil
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • salt
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • garlic salt
  • turmeric
  • pepper
  • mayonnaise


  • Broth: With 4 1/2 cups water, add chicken breasts, chicken bouillon, 4 ounces tomato sauce, 1/2 of the chopped onion, 1/2 of the chopped bell pepper, 1 tablespoon olive juice and 3-4 shakes of each seasoning. Cook until chicken is done. About 20 minutes. Remove chicken, cut it into pieces and place in the following skillet.
  • Meat: While broth is cooking, place in large skillet 1 tablespoon oil, the rest of the onion and bell pepper. Saute until tender. Add rest of tomato sauce, chopped olives, 1/2 tablespoon juice from the olives, 1-2 shakes of each seasoning (except turmeric) and chicken. Cook on low covered while the rice cooks.
  • Rice: Strain broth and discard onion and bell pepper. Cook 2 cups rice in 4 cups broth by bringing broth to a boil and then adding rice, cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.
  • Final Preparation: When done, place 1/2 rice on a serving platter or in a 8x8 square pan, pressing the rice together. Spread all chicken on top and top with remaining rice. Press so rice and chicken is compacted. Spread a light layer of mayonnaise on top. (I know the mayonnaise sounds strange, but try it once. Some love it and want more on top, others don't care for it as much but still want a little on top.).

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 300gCalories: 522kcalCarbohydrates: 87.2gProtein: 23.5gFat: 7.8gSaturated Fat: 2.2gCholesterol: 46.7mgSodium: 1017.7mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 5.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Caribbean, Chicken, Cuban, Meat, Poultry, 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.