Mouthwatering Arroz con Gandules Recipe for Foodies

Welcome, food enthusiasts! Today, I’m excited to take you on a taste journey to Puerto Rico with a classic arroz con gandules recipe. If you haven’t experienced the warm and aromatic flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine yet, get prepared because your taste buds are in for a treat!

Arroz con gandules is the national dish of Puerto Rico and is known for its flavorful rice cooked with tender pigeon peas. This dish has been passed down from generation to generation and is a staple at holiday celebrations and family gatherings. The dish itself is made up of a few simple but flavorful ingredients including long-grain rice, water, pigeon peas, tomato sauce, olives, sofrito, and other seasonings.

What I love about this recipe is its simplicity and versatility. It’s perfect as a side dish or main course and pairs beautifully with grilled chicken or pork chops. And if you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal option, make it ahead of time or even use a rice cooker to save time in the kitchen!

So come along with me as we celebrate Puerto Rican culture and try out this delicious arroz con gandules recipe. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Easy Rice With Pigeon Peas/Arroz Con Gandules
Easy Rice With Pigeon Peas/Arroz Con Gandules

Why settle for boring rice when you can indulge in the flavorful goodness of Arroz con Gandules? This Puerto Rican national dish is a true celebration of flavor, and my Easy Rice with Pigeon Peas recipe puts a modern twist on this classic recipe.

With just a handful of basic ingredients such as long grain rice, pigeon peas, chicken bouillon granules, tomato paste, and adobo seasoning, you can create an explosion of delicious taste that your friends and family will love. This easy-to-follow recipe is perfect for those who want to explore new and exciting flavors without the hassle of complicated cooking.

One thing that makes this recipe stand out is that it is completely customizable. You can choose to cook it in a rice cooker, Instant Pot or stove-top. Additionally, you can substitute any ingredient to make it vegetarian or vegan, adjust the spice levels to your liking or even use brown rice instead of white rice.

The combination of rice and pigeon peas cooked in sofrito sauce gives this dish its unmistakable savory flavor. This tasty side dish pairs great with almost anything but if you want to go full Puerto Rican style – pair it with Moro de Guandules or even some crispy fried chicken.

So if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add some flavor to your daily meals, try out my Easy Rice with Pigeon Peas recipe – trust me, once you take your first bite, there’s no going back!

Ingredient List

 A colorful and flavorful dish perfect for any occasion.
A colorful and flavorful dish perfect for any occasion.

Ingredients you will need:

  • 2 cups of long-grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of adobo seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of recaito
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 chicken bouillon granule
  • 3 cups of water
  • 15 ounces can of pigeon peas (rinsed and drained)

This recipe features the classic Puerto Rican dish, Arroz con Gandules, a bounty-rich concoction known for its full-bodied flavors. To make this rice and pigeon peas version authentic, you will need several key ingredients that bring depth and aroma to the mix. Chief among these is adobo seasonings, a savory blend of garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, pepper, turmeric or saffron that pulsate with every bite. It is also essential to use Recaito or sofrito in the dish as they add vibrant colors and a sharp pop while roundly rounding out the spices’ intensity. Lastly, if you’re concerned about the chicken bouillon cube’s sodium content in your cooking or need to avoid them for whatever reason, use low-sodium chicken stock instead.

The Recipe How-To

 A simple twist on a classic rice dish.
A simple twist on a classic rice dish.

Now it’s time to dive into the main course! Get ready for a delicious and easy Arroz Con Gandules recipe that will leave your taste buds thanking you. This recipe is a Puerto Rican classic and national dish, often served during special occasions and family gatherings.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons recaito (cilantro-based seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granule
  • 15 ounces of drained pigeon peas (gandules)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of long grain white rice


  1. Start by heating up the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the recaito to the pot, followed by the adobo seasoning, tomato paste, and chicken bouillon granule. Mix everything together until fully combined, creating a flavorful base for the rice.
  3. Stir in the pigeon peas and let everything cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add in the water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Once boiling, stir in the rice and lower the heat to low.
  6. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let it cook undisturbed for around 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  7. Lastly, remove from heat and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Enjoy this dish on its own or as an excellent side dish to complement any protein such as chicken or even pork. Your friends and family will rave about this delicious arroz con gandules recipe!

Substitutions and Variations

 Packed with protein and fiber, this dish is both delicious and nutritious.
Packed with protein and fiber, this dish is both delicious and nutritious.

As a chef, I know that sometimes you don’t have all the ingredients on hand or may just want to switch things up. That’s why in this section, I will provide some substitutions and variations that will give your Arroz con Gandules recipe a unique twist.

If you do not have pigeon peas or cannot find them at your local grocery store, there are some options available for substitution. You can use black beans, kidney beans or chickpeas as they will provide a similar texture and flavor. You can also try using green peas as an alternative, although it may not be traditional, it will still give a delicious taste.

For those who prefer a healthier version of this dish or are watching their carb intake, swap long grain rice for brown rice to add more fiber and nutrients to the dish. Another tasty subsituation is Basmati rice, a fragrant rice variety that contributes with its aromatic texture for the dish.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something outside of the traditional Arroz con Gandules recipe, consider making fried rice. To do so, use leftover brown or white long-grain rice and mix it with scrambled eggs, soy sauce and stir-fry vegetables such as carrot, scallion or broccoli.

Finally, experiment with different types of sofrito (a Puerto Rican seasoning mix) by mixing various herbs and vegetables such as cilantro, bell pepper or banana pepper to make your own flavorful sofrito recipe.

Remember, cooking is all about trying new things and enjoying the creative process in the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different substitutions and variations in the Arroz con Gandules recipe and create your unique twist on this beloved Puerto Rican national dish!

Serving and Pairing

 A taste of the Caribbean in every bite.
A taste of the Caribbean in every bite.

Now that your delicious arroz con gandules is ready, let’s talk about serving and pairing it with other dishes. This flavorful rice is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine and pairs well with a variety of dishes.

The most traditional way to serve arroz con gandules is as a side dish to meat, chicken, or fish. It complements these protein-rich dishes perfectly with its hearty texture and savory flavor. In Puerto Rico, it’s not uncommon to see arroz con gandules alongside some roasted pork or chicken, served together on a plate. The tender meat combined with the flavorful rice makes for an unbeatable combination.

If you’re vegetarian or prefer plant-based dishes, try serving arroz con gandules with some fried plantains or yucca on the side. These starchy sides are common among Latin American cuisines and complement the filling nature of the rice perfectly.

In addition to pork and chicken, arroz con gandules also goes well with seafood dishes. Try pairing it with some grilled shrimp or pan-seared tilapia for a lighter meal that’s packed full of flavor.

To truly embrace the Puerto Rican culture when serving arroz con gandules, try pairing it with a cold Medalla beer or a refreshing piña colada. These drinks will transport you to the island itself and complete your meal perfectly.

Overall, there are endless possibilities when serving and pairing arroz con gandules. Whether as a side dish or the main event, this flavorful rice is sure to impress anyone who tries it.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This recipe is a family-favorite and has been passed down for generations.
This recipe is a family-favorite and has been passed down for generations.

There are many ways to save time when it comes to cooking. One of the best techniques is making meals ahead of time, which is especially useful for busy weeknights. Fortunately, this recipe for Easy Arroz con Gandules is perfect for meal prep and reheating.

To make ahead, prepare the rice and peas as instructed and let cool completely. Once it’s fully chilled, you can store the arroz con gandules in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or freeze it for up to three months.

When ready to reheat, there are a few ways you can do so. The easiest method is microwaving it in a covered dish with a splash of water until heated through. Alternatively, you can add a tablespoon or two of water to a pan and heat over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally until heated through.

Additionally, if you have a rice cooker or Instant Pot, you can keep the cooked arroz con gandules warm until ready to serve. This will help retain the moisture in the rice and peas.

One thing to keep in mind is that as with any reheated dish, you should be careful not to overheat it or else the rice may dry out. It’s better to slowly reheat until warm than trying to rush it and ending up with dry rice.

By keeping this easy arroz con gandules on hand, you’ll always have a flavorful rice dish ready when you need it. Whether you’re meal prepping for the week or just trying to get dinner on the table quickly, this Puerto Rican rice dish has got your back.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The perfect side dish to accompany any protein.
The perfect side dish to accompany any protein.

To ensure the perfect results for your arroz con gandules dish, there are a few tips I would like to share with you. With these tricks, your rice and pigeon peas will have a perfect texture and consistency.

Firstly, you can try to make your rice with basmati or medium-grain rice instead of long-grain rice. This adjustment will give the rice excellent texture and aroma that’s beyond comparison.

Another tip is about how much water to use for the recipe. Always remember that the ratio should be 1:2 (rice to water). Any less water will result in dry or uncooked rice, while any more water than necessary will create mushy and oversized grains of rice.

Furthermore, add a tablespoon of olive oil at the beginning of cooking your arroz con gandules. Doing this will ensure that the grains of rice remain separate and not stick together when cooked.

Additionally, If you don’t have all the ingredients mentioned in my recipe, you can swap some ingredients to customize the flavor according to what you prefer. For instance, feel free to replace adobo seasoning with cumin which gives a lovely earthier taste.

Lastly, when dealing with pigeon peas or any canned ingredient in general, always drain them before using them in your arroz con gandules recipe. Excess liquids from canned goods may alter the taste or texture of your cooked dishes.

By following these guidelines, you’ll get an authentic Puerto Rican arroz con gandules dish which is full of flavor and nutrition enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike!


As we near the end of our recipe article, it’s important to address any lingering questions you may have. Below, I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you navigate this recipe with ease. From ingredient substitutions to cooking methods and everything in between, I hope to provide you with all the information you need to make this arroz con gandules recipe a success.

Why does my arroz and gandules keep coming out soggy?

Getting the perfect consistency for rice can be a bit tricky as it is easy to end up with mushy or soggy rice that has absorbed too much water. Overcooked rice tends to split open, which completely ruins the texture and leaves a starchy and sticky final product.

Why does my arroz con gandules come out sticky?

Have you ever wondered why your rice turns out sticky instead of fluffy? One of the reasons for this is using too much liquid. To avoid this problem, it’s recommended to use an equal amount of medium-grain rice and water. By following this simple rule, you’ll have consistently perfect fluffy rice.

Are pigeon peas the same as gandules?

Not many people outside the Caribbean are familiar with Gandules, also known as pigeon peas. These small, oval beans with a nutty taste are widely consumed across the Caribbean West Indies. They are available fresh, frozen, canned and dried.

What type of rice do they use in Puerto Rico?

For yellow rice, many Puerto Ricans prefer the traditional Canilla brand of long grain rice or the medium grain rice from Goya. However, in my experience, I find that long grain or basmati rice works best when making yellow rice or pilaf.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, this Easy Rice with Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules) recipe is a must-try for anyone looking to explore Puerto Rican cuisine or even just seeking a flavorful and easy-to-make dish that will impress their taste buds. This classic dish is a staple in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, in fact, it serves as the national dish of Puerto Rico. However, with the help of accessible ingredients like pigeon peas, tomato paste, chicken bouillon granule, and adobo seasoning, you can make this dish anytime and anywhere.

I hope you enjoy making this delicious arroz con gandules recipe as much as I do. Remember to use the right rice type (long-grain white rice, medium-grain rice), and follow the steps carefully for perfect results. You can serve this dish with roasted chicken or baked pork chops or just eat it alone as well because it is flavorful enough. Get creative and experiment with different variations of this dish.

Lastly, I urge you not to shy away from trying out new recipes and exploring new cultures through food. Cooking always has the potential to be a fun adventure, so why not start with this easy arroz con gandules recipe? Whether you’re cooking for yourself or someone else, it’s never too late to try something new!

Easy Rice With Pigeon Peas/Arroz Con Gandules

Easy Rice With Pigeon Peas/Arroz Con Gandules Recipe

We usually dont measure our stuff out. Most puerto rican chef's cook from memory, adding ingredients until we get the taste we prefer. I tried to get this as close as I possibly could. Enjoy! Por lo general dont medida de nuestras cosas. La mayor parte de Puerto Rico del chef cocción de la memoria, añadiendo ingredientes hasta obtener el sabor que prefiera. Traté de hacer esta tan cerca como yo podía. Disfrutar!
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Calories 464.5 kcal


  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups long grain rice
  • 1 (10 ounce) can pigeon peas, gandules
  • 2 (1 ounce) packages sazon goya
  • 3 tablespoons recaito
  • 3 tablespoons adobo seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granule
  • chopped olive (optional)


  • *Rinse the rice in a bowl with warm water.
  • *In a large pot, add water and all items except rice.
  • *Bring to boil, and let it boil for about 3 minutes. (I usually taste it and add more seasoning to taste if needed).
  • *Add rice and let it continue to boil for about 2 minutes.
  • *Turn heat to low, and place tight fitting lid over pot.
  • *Check periodically, cook until liquid is absorbed. Stir once, remove from heat, replace lid and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
  • This usually serves our household of seven.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 254gCalories: 464.5kcalCarbohydrates: 97.1gProtein: 14.6gFat: 1.3gSaturated Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 0.1mgSodium: 183.4mgFiber: 6.7gSugar: 0.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Beginner Cook, Caribbean, Cuban, Easy, Honduran, Inexpensive, 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.