Delicious Arroz con Pollo Recipe: A Taste of Latin American Comfort

Fact Checked By: Macaria Valerie

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Introducing the savory world of Arroz con Pollo, a beloved Latin American classic that’s adored for its comforting flavors and heartwarming traditions. The name itself, which translates to “Rice with Chicken,” gives you a glimpse into the heart of this dish—simple yet incredibly satisfying. Arroz con Pollo is a one-pot wonder that brings together tender chicken, aromatic rice, and a symphony of spices to create a meal that’s as rich in history as it is in taste.

In this article, we’ll dive into the origins of Arroz con Pollo, explore its regional variations, uncover the secrets to achieving the perfect texture, and share tips for making this dish a cherished part of your culinary repertoire. Whether you’re seeking a comforting family meal or a flavorful journey through Latin American cuisine, Arroz con Pollo is ready to take you on a delicious adventure.

Arroz Con Pollo Recipe

Arroz con Pollo, or “Rice with Chicken,” is a classic Latin American dish known for its savory and comforting flavors. This one-pot meal combines tender chicken pieces, aromatic rice, and a medley of vegetables and spices. The chicken is seasoned, browned to perfection, and then simmered with rice, creating a delicious and satisfying dish. Arroz con Pollo is a beloved staple in many Latin American countries, offering a taste of tradition and homestyle cooking that’s perfect for family gatherings or a hearty weeknight dinner.

It features tender chicken pieces, aromatic rice, and a medley of vegetables and spices, all cooked together for a flavorful one-pot meal. Here’s a recipe to make this delicious dish:


  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (for color)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Lime wedges (for serving)


Prepare the Chicken:
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.
  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook until browned and crispy, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
Sauté the Aromatics:
  • In the same skillet, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 3-4 minutes.
Spice It Up:
  • Add the ground cumin, ground turmeric, dried oregano, and bay leaf to the skillet. Stir to toast the spices for about 1 minute.
Add the Rice and Vegetables:
  • Pour in the rice and stir to coat it with the spice mixture. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to lightly toast the rice.
  • Add the frozen peas and corn to the skillet. Stir to combine.
Return the Chicken:
  • Place the browned chicken thighs on top of the rice and vegetables in the skillet.
Pour in the Broth:
  • Carefully pour in the chicken broth, covering the chicken and rice. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Simmer and Cover:
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, and the chicken is fully cooked and tender.
Garnish and Serve:
  • Remove the bay leaf and discard it. Garnish the Arroz con Pollo with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley.
  • Serve hot with lime wedges for squeezing over the dish.

Arroz con Pollo is a delightful and comforting meal that combines the flavors of tender chicken, savory rice, and aromatic spices. It’s perfect for family gatherings or weeknight dinners, bringing the taste of Latin America to your table. Enjoy!


Here are some tips to help you make a delicious Arroz con Pollo:

  • Choose the Right Chicken: You can use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks for the best flavor and tenderness. The skin adds richness to the dish, but you can remove it if you prefer a lighter version.
  • Sear the Chicken: Browning the chicken in the skillet before cooking the rice adds depth of flavor. Make sure to get a nice golden sear on both sides.
  • Use Long-Grain Rice: Long-grain white rice works best for Arroz con Pollo. It produces fluffy, separate grains. Rinse the rice before using it to remove excess starch.
  • Sauté the Aromatics: Onions, bell peppers, and garlic form the base of the dish. Sauté them until they are softened and aromatic to build flavor.
  • Toast the Rice: After adding the rice to the skillet, cook it for a few minutes until it’s lightly toasted. This enhances the nutty flavor of the rice.
  • Spice It Up: The combination of spices like cumin, paprika, turmeric, and oregano is essential for flavor. Adjust the spice levels to your taste.
  • Use Homemade Broth: If possible, use homemade chicken broth for the best flavor. If using store-bought broth, choose a low-sodium variety to control the salt content.
  • Simmer Covered: Once you add the chicken broth, cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over low heat. This ensures that the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the flavors of the broth.
  • Check Doneness: Check for doneness by tasting the rice. It should be tender and cooked through. If needed, add a bit more broth and continue cooking.
  • Garnish Creatively: Garnish your Arroz con Pollo with fresh cilantro, parsley, or even sliced olives for an extra burst of flavor and color.
  • Serve with Lime Wedges: Lime wedges are a traditional accompaniment. Squeezing fresh lime juice over the dish just before serving adds brightness.
  • Customize: Feel free to customize your Arroz con Pollo by adding vegetables like diced tomatoes, carrots, or green beans for extra variety and nutrition.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to create a flavorful and satisfying Arroz con Pollo that captures the essence of Latin American cuisine. Enjoy your homemade comfort food!

Why This Recipe Is Just So Good…

Arroz con Pollo is celebrated for several reasons that make it undeniably delicious:

  • Flavor Harmony: Arroz con Pollo achieves a harmonious balance of flavors. The combination of tender chicken, aromatic rice, and a medley of spices creates a taste sensation that’s both comforting and satisfying.
  • Textural Delight: The dish offers a delightful contrast in textures. The rice is fluffy and infused with the flavors of the chicken and spices, while the chicken itself is tender and succulent. It’s a pleasure for the palate.
  • Aromatics: The sautéed onions, bell peppers, and garlic create an enticing aroma that fills your kitchen as you cook. The scent of spices like cumin, paprika, and oregano adds depth and warmth.
  • One-Pot Convenience: Arroz con Pollo is a one-pot meal, making it a convenient option for home cooks. Everything cooks together, minimizing cleanup while maximizing flavor.
  • Versatility: While the core ingredients remain constant, Arroz con Pollo is versatile. You can adjust the spice levels, add your favorite vegetables, or even incorporate saffron for a unique twist.
  • Comfort Food: Arroz con Pollo offers the comfort of a home-cooked meal. It’s a dish that’s reminiscent of family gatherings, childhood memories, and the simple joy of enjoying good food.
  • Cultural Significance: Arroz con Pollo is a beloved dish in many Latin American countries, from Spain to the Caribbean. It’s more than just a meal; it’s a symbol of tradition and heritage.
  • Family-Friendly: It’s a dish that’s loved by people of all ages. Kids and adults alike appreciate its comforting and familiar flavors.
  • Colorful Presentation: The dish’s vibrant colors, with the golden rice and the colorful vegetables, make it visually appealing. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
  • Satisfying and Filling: Arroz con Pollo is a hearty meal that leaves you feeling satisfied. The combination of protein and carbohydrates makes it a filling option.
  • Perfect for Gatherings: Whether it’s a family dinner or a festive celebration, Arroz con Pollo is a crowd-pleaser. It’s a dish that brings people together around the table.
  • Time-Tested Tradition: Arroz con Pollo has stood the test of time. It’s a recipe that has been passed down through generations, carrying with it the warmth and love of family traditions.

In summary, Arroz con Pollo is a beloved dish that transcends its simple ingredients. It’s a celebration of flavor, culture, and tradition, making it a truly exceptional culinary experience that captures the hearts and taste buds of those who savor it.

Storage Instructions

Storing Arroz con Pollo properly helps maintain its flavor and texture for later enjoyment. Here are the storage instructions:

  • Cooling: Allow any leftover Arroz con Pollo to cool down to room temperature before storing it.
  • Separation: If you have a large batch, consider dividing it into smaller portions for easier storage.
  • Airtight Container: Transfer the cooled Arroz con Pollo to an airtight container. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air from entering.
  • Refrigeration: Store the container in the refrigerator. Arroz con Pollo can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your leftover Arroz con Pollo, reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop. You may need to add a small amount of water or chicken broth to prevent it from drying out during reheating. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.
  • Fresh Garnishes: Consider adding fresh cilantro or parsley as a garnish just before serving. This adds a burst of freshness to the reheated dish.
  • Serve with Extras: Arroz con Pollo is often served with lime wedges and extra hot sauce. These can be added during reheating or served alongside the reheated dish to enhance the flavors.

By following these storage and reheating instructions, you can enjoy your leftover Arroz con Pollo with its flavors and textures preserved, ensuring a delightful meal even on the following days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Here are some expertise-level questions and answers related to Arroz con Pollo:

Q: What does “Arroz con Pollo” mean?

A: “Arroz con Pollo” translates to “Rice with Chicken” in Spanish. It’s a classic Latin American dish that features rice and chicken as its main ingredients.

Q: What are the essential ingredients for making Arroz con Pollo?

A: The core ingredients for Arroz con Pollo include chicken (usually thighs or drumsticks), long-grain white rice, onions, bell peppers, garlic, spices (such as cumin, paprika, and oregano), and chicken broth. Variations may include additional ingredients like peas, corn, and saffron.

Q: How do I prevent the rice from becoming mushy in Arroz con Pollo?

A: To avoid mushy rice, use the correct rice-to-liquid ratio (usually 2:1) and sauté the rice briefly before adding liquid. Additionally, simmer the dish covered over low heat to ensure even cooking.

Q: What spices are commonly used in Arroz con Pollo, and can I adjust the spice level?

A: Common spices include cumin, paprika, oregano, and sometimes saffron. You can adjust the spice levels to your preference. Feel free to add more or less of these spices to suit your taste.

Q: Is there a vegetarian or vegan version of Arroz con Pollo?

A: Yes, you can make a vegetarian or vegan version by substituting chicken with plant-based protein alternatives like tofu or tempeh. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and omit any dairy ingredients.

Q: Can I prepare Arroz con Pollo in advance, and how do I store leftovers?

A: Yes, you can prepare Arroz con Pollo in advance and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Store it in an airtight container. To reheat, add a bit of water or broth to prevent drying out.

Q: What are some traditional side dishes or garnishes for Arroz con Pollo?

A: Traditional accompaniments include lime wedges for squeezing over the dish, fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish, and sometimes sliced olives. It’s also common to serve Arroz con Pollo with a simple salad.

Q: Can I freeze Arroz con Pollo?

A: While you can freeze Arroz con Pollo, the texture of the rice may change upon thawing. It’s best enjoyed fresh or refrigerated for short-term storage.

Q: What beverages pair well with Arroz con Pollo?

A: Arroz con Pollo pairs well with light white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño. Traditional Latin American beverages like Horchata or cold Cerveza (beer) are also great choices.

Q: Are there regional variations of Arroz con Pollo?

A: Yes, Arroz con Pollo has regional variations throughout Latin America. Different countries and regions may add unique ingredients or spices to create their own signature versions of the dish.

Q: What are the origins of Arroz con Pollo, and how has it evolved over time?

A: Arroz con Pollo has its roots in Spain and was brought to Latin America during colonial times. Over the centuries, it has evolved to incorporate local ingredients and flavors. Different regions have added their unique twists, resulting in variations like the Cuban “Arroz con Pollo” and the Puerto Rican “Asopao de Pollo.”

Q: Can you explain the significance of saffron in traditional Arroz con Pollo recipes?

A: Saffron is a key ingredient in many traditional Arroz con Pollo recipes. It not only imparts a distinct flavor but also lends the dish its characteristic golden color. Saffron has a long history of use in Spanish cuisine, and its inclusion in Arroz con Pollo reflects the dish’s European heritage.

Q: What techniques are used to achieve the perfect texture in Arroz con Pollo, where the rice is cooked to perfection without being mushy?

A: Achieving the ideal rice texture in Arroz con Pollo involves the proper rice-to-liquid ratio and simmering techniques. Long-grain rice is typically used for its individual grains. Sautéing the rice before adding liquid helps prevent it from becoming mushy, and covering the pot while simmering ensures even cooking.

Q: Can you elaborate on the regional variations of Arroz con Pollo and the unique ingredients that define each variation?

A: Arroz con Pollo varies significantly by region. For example, in the Dominican Republic, it’s known as “Locrio de Pollo” and may include green olives and capers. In Peru, “Arroz con Pollo a la Chiclayana” features dark beer and cilantro. Understanding these regional variations can provide insights into the diverse culinary traditions of Latin America.

Q: How does Arroz con Pollo reflect the cultural heritage and family traditions of Latin American communities?

A: Arroz con Pollo is often associated with family gatherings and celebrations. It’s a dish that brings generations together, as grandmothers pass down their secret recipes to younger family members. It symbolizes warmth, unity, and the preservation of cultural heritage.

Q: Can you recommend wine or beverage pairings that complement the flavors of Arroz con Pollo?

A: Arroz con Pollo pairs well with light and refreshing beverages. White wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño are good choices. Additionally, traditional Latin American beverages like Horchata or a cold Cerveza (beer) can be enjoyed alongside the dish.

These expertise-level questions and answers provide a deeper understanding of the history, variations, techniques, and cultural significance of Arroz con Pollo, making it a truly enriching culinary experience.


In conclusion, Arroz con Pollo is more than just a dish; it’s a cultural treasure that transcends borders and time. Its humble yet flavorful ingredients come together to create a meal that has stood the test of time, carrying with it the warmth of family gatherings and the richness of Latin American traditions.

As we wrap up our exploration of Arroz con Pollo, remember that it’s not just about the ingredients and techniques; it’s about the love and heritage that come with each bite. Whether you savor this dish in a bustling Latin American market or prepare it in the comfort of your own kitchen, Arroz con Pollo is a culinary journey worth taking.

So, go ahead and try your hand at this timeless classic. Let the aromas of sautéed onions and spices fill your kitchen, and relish in the satisfaction of a perfectly cooked plate of Arroz con Pollo. It’s a taste of tradition and a celebration of the simple joys of good food and good company. ¡Buen provecho!

Photo of author

Macaria Valerie

About the author

With over 15 years of experience in the culinary world, Macaria Valerie has developed a unique niche expertise in the art and science of rice cooking. Born in Taipei and raised in San Francisco, Macaria's passion for perfectly cooked rice is a blend of her Taiwanese roots and modern culinary techniques. She has traveled across Asia, gathering traditional rice recipes and cooking methodologies. Macaria is not just about plain rice. She's explored the depths of risotto in Italy, paella in Spain, biryani in India, and sushi in Japan. Yet, she believes that the core of these dishes lies in mastering the basic foundation - the rice. In her popular blog, "Expert Reviews Best Rice Cooker", Macaria shares not only her favorite rice recipes but also reviews the latest in rice cooker technology. She's been a consultant for major kitchen appliance brands, aiding in the development and testing of their rice cooker lines. In her spare time, Macaria conducts workshops and classes, ensuring that the art of cooking perfect rice is accessible to everyone. Whether you're aiming for a simple bowl of fluffy white rice or venturing into the intricate world of flavored rice dishes, Macaria Valerie is your go-to guide in the rice cooker niche.

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