Arroz con Pollo

4.68 from 25 votes

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This recipe for arroz con pollo boasts fluffy rice, succulent chicken, bright green olives, capers, and a whole menagerie of intensely aromatic, warming spices. I’m sharing both bone-in and boneless chicken versions! Get ready for a delicious and exquisitely spiced meal.

overhead: a white plate of arroz con pollo with olives and fresh herbs


Arroz con pollo

After many a visit to a local restaurant that specializes in tropical and amazing Latin dishes, I decided to make my own version of Arroz con pollo, or Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice. This beautifully seasoned chicken bastes the rice it cooks in with it’s rendered juices to make the rice even more flavorful after getting treated with a variety of flavor weapons. It’s a one pan wonder!

Arroz con pollo is nothing short of a one-pot wonder. Simple white rice and chicken are transformed into a mouthwatering masterpiece with just a few carefully chosen spice blends and 15 minutes of prep time. This classic Caribbean dish features adobo seasoning, sazon seasoning, a sofrito mix, and more! 

If you are looking for an easy way to feed a large group without compromising on flavor, arroz con pollo is your ticket to success. Only cooking for a couple of folks? No worries. It is easy to scale this recipe up or down — or save extras for leftovers.

overhead: Puerto Rican chicken and rice on a white plate with olives and herbs

For more delectable chicken recipes, check out my Baked Cubano Chicken, Caribbean Jerk Chicken, or Southwest Mango Chicken.

overhead: arroz con pollo in a large baking dish

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken – Bone-in, skin-on chicken is ideal for this recipe. Legs, thighs, or breasts are all great. 
  • Rice – A white medium-grain rice like aborio, medium-grain is perfect for soaking up flavor and delivering a soft, fluffy texture. 
  • Oil – Choose an oil with a decent smoke point like coconut, avocado, peanut, or canola oil. 
  • Adobo Seasoning – A pungent blend of garlic, turmeric, oregano, salt, and pepper. Make my recipe for a MSG-free version or look for it in the spice aisle or Mexican foods section. 
  • Sazon Seasoning – This blend of warming, aromatic, and pungent spices infuses the rice with flavor and color. Try this DIY version or check the Mexican foods section. 
  • Sofrito – This green mixture of bell pepper, garlic, onion, and cilantro adds a depth of zesty flavor to the dish. You can buy the Goya brand online or I make my own in the food processor. Read about it here in my post on What is Sofrito.
  • Pigeon Peas If pigeon peas are unavailable, feel free to substitute 2 cups of regular frozen peas. 
  • Olives & Capers Perks up the dish with a pop of bright, briny tanginess.
overhead closeup: a large baking dish full of Puerto Rican chicken and rice

How to Make Arroz Con Pollo Bone-In Chicken

  1. Preheat the Oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F if you are planning on making all 8 servings. If making the smaller stovetop version, disregard this step. 
  2. Rinse & Spice. Use a sieve or colander to rinse the rice thoroughly under cold water. Drain and set aside. Rinse the chicken pieces under cold water as well. Dry each one with a paper towel, then generously rub in Adobo seasoning, covering all sides. 
  3. Sear the Chicken. Place a Dutch oven, roasting pan, or skillet with the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, just enough to quickly brown them. Transfer the chicken to a plate, season with pepper, and set aside. 
  4. Season & Saute. Toss the Sazon seasoning, cumin, and sofrito into the pan. Quickly saute, scraping up, and mixing in the yummy bits from browning the chicken. 
  5. Boil & Blend. Now add in the rice, chicken stock, tomato sauce, peas, olives, and capers. Stir to blend all of the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil for a solid minute 
  6. Add the Chicken. Carefully transfer the chicken pieces to the top of the rice mixture, pressing down gently. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with foil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. 
  7. Roasting Pan Option. (8 servings) Alternatively, you can transfer the rice mixture to a roasting pan you have sprayed with cooking spray. Add the chicken to the top, cover with foil, and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. 
  8. Serve. Give the dish at least 5 minutes to rest. Take the chicken off the top, fluff up the rice, and return the chicken. Serve immediately right out of the pan.
overhead: a hand holding a white plate full of arroz con pollo

How About a Boneless Version?

How to Make Arroz Con Pollo Boneless Chicken Version

  1. Preheat the Oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Season & Prep. Cut chicken into 2-inch pieces. In a bowl, toss with Adobo and Sazon seasoning. Set aside. Rinse the rice under cold water and drain. Set aside.
  3. Cook the Chicken. Over medium high heat add the oil to a deep skillet, roasting pan or Dutch oven and cook the chicken pieces for about 5-6 minutes and no longer pink. Remove from the pan, season with pepper and set aside.
  4. Saute. Add the sofrito to the pan for a quick sauté, scraping up the bits from browned chicken and then add the rice. Saute for 2 minutes, mixing to coat the rice.
  5. Boil & Blend. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute, stirring to blend all.
  6. Add the Chicken. Carefully add the chicken pieces into rice mixture and bring to a boil. Cover with lid/foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest covered for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve. Give the dish at least 5 minutes to rest. Take the chicken off the top, fluff up the rice, and return the chicken. Serve immediately right out of the pan.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my arroz con pollo mushy?


It is usually because you either cooked it too long or included too much liquid while cooking. Be sure to measure accurately, simmer on low, and set a timer.

What is traditionally served with Puerto Rican chicken and rice?


This dish is hearty and satisfying enough to be served all by itself. Traditionally, it is often served with a large garden salad and a side of fried plantains, and Puerto Rican chicken and rice pairs perfectly with countless other side dishes. Here are a few of my top suggestions:

– A cold, crunchy salad like this Spicy Cilantro Lime Slaw or Peachy Southern Coleslaw.
– Tortilla chips and dips like Fire Roasted Salsa, Guacamole, and Queso Dip.
Elote (Street Corn Recipe) or Esquites (Street Corn Salad)
– Zingy sides like Pickled Vegetables, Pickled Peppers, or Pickled Red Onions
Mango Ice Cream, Pineapple Ice Pops, or other tropical treat for dessert

Where did arroz con pollo originate?


Puerto Rican chicken and rice is a fusion of Spanish, African, and Native Caribbean influences.  

The earliest versions of this dish come from Spain and date all the way back to the 8th century. During Spanish colonization, the dish was introduced to Puerto Rico where it has evolved over time. 

The local ingredients and culinary traditions of the area helped to shape arroz con pollo into the Carribean delicacy we know today.

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Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice is a Latin classic and packed with flavor, not heat. Browned chicken simmers in rice, flavorful sofrito, olives and capers. keviniscookingcom

Arroz con Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice)

4.68 from 25 votes
Arroz con pollo is a comforting Puerto Rican chicken and rice dish that is hearty, easy to make, and explodes with flavor.
Servings: 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
5 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

Bone-In Chicken Version

  • If making 8 person serving preheat oven to 350°F. If making stove top (for 4 person serving), disregard oven instructions. 
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with generous amount of the Adobo and Sazon seasoning. Rinse the rice under cold water and drain. Set aside.
  • Over medium high heat add the oil to a roasting pan, skillet or Dutch oven and quickly brown chicken pieces for about 3 minutes each side. Remove from the pan, season with pepper and set aside.
  • Add the sofrito to the pan for a quick sauté, scraping up the bits from browning the chicken and then add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute, stirring to blend all. 
  • At this point top with chicken pieces, gently pressing down into rice mixture. Turn heat to low, cover with lid or foil, then simmer for 20 minutes. (See Note 3)
  • Remove foil then simmer on stovetop or back in oven if baking for another 15 minutes.
  • When done, let stand for 5 minutes. Remove chicken and fluff up rice and then place chicken back on top. Serve from pan and top with chopped parsley (optional). 

Boneless Chicken Version

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cut chicken into 2-inch pieces. In a bowl, toss with Adobo and Sazon seasoning. Set aside. Rinse the rice under cold water and drain. Set aside.
  • Over medium high heat add the oil to a deep skillet, roasting pan or Dutch oven and cook the chicken pieces for about 5-6 minutes and no longer pink. Remove from the pan, season with pepper and set aside.
  • Add the sofrito to the pan for a quick sauté, scraping up the bits from browned chicken and then add the rice. Saute for 2 minutes, mixing to coat the rice. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute, stirring to blend all.
  • Carefully add the chicken pieces into rice mixture and bring to a boil. Cover with lid/foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest covered for 15 minutes.
  • Fluff up rice and then arrange chicken on top. Serve from pan and top with chopped parsley (optional).

Notes

  1. I make my own sofrito, but if you want to get store bought, pick up a brand called Goya that can be found in most markets or on Amazon if unavailable near you.
  2. Feel free to substitute 2 cups frozen peas if you like for the traditional Pigeon Peas. I again use the Goya brand that can be found in most markets or on Amazon if unavailable near you.
  3. If this batch is too large for your skillet or Dutch oven (8 person serving), pour rice mixture into a large roasting pan coated with cooking spray and top with chicken pieces. Cover with foil, then bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil then bake for a further 15 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 1102kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 65.2g | Fat: 62.9g | Saturated Fat: 15.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25.4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 306.1mg | Fiber: 3.6g | Sugar: 3.7g

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: Caribbean, Puerto Rican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): arroz con pollo Puerto Rican chicken & rice

Kevin

Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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108 Comments

    1. Hi Audrey! If you see in step 5 there is a note (3) at the bottom for cooking it in the oven 🙂 Hope that helps!

  1. How am I Making the rice do I add water or something and how much all you have saying is bring it to a boil

    1. Please read Step 4 again Lauren, you can do it!
      4. Add the sofrito and cumin to the pan for a quick sauté, scraping up the bits from browning the chicken and then add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute, stirring to blend all.

  2. How is the rice being cooked is it cooked separately from the chicken then added to a pan I’m lost

    1. Read Step 4 once more… “Add the sofrito and cumin to the pan for a quick sauté, scraping up the bits from browning the chicken and then add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute, stirring to blend all.” That’s when the rice goes in Ashley.

      1. Kevin I have a question where did you go and tried these dishes of Puerto Rican rice and chicken?
        2) as a Puerto Rican and chef I think that this recipe that you have posted on this page it is a complete insult to us Puerto Ricans, since when Puerto Rican rice and chicken have tomatoes and jalapenos as well cilantro in it soffrito. I am not racist but that is the Mexican style of rice and chicken not Puerto Rican just wanted to make a correction to you and followers, next time you want to eat arroz con pollo ask around, where you can get a true authentic arroz con pollo Puerto Rican style.if not theirs always the Caribbean islands
        thank you and you have a great day.

        Yours trulyChef Rosario
        C. E. C.🇵🇷🇺🇸

      2. Herm, first off, thanks for your input. I also would be happy to try your recipe! Regarding the jalapeño, no where in the recipe of ingredients does it state to use a jalapeño. I added that in the Notes section as something I like to do as an OPTION, a SUBSTITUTION, if I can not get sofrito from a store and to give it a little kick. It’s a preference, but I did leave the initial recipe without.

      3. 5 stars
        I’m not gonna apologize for saying this and you don’t have to post my comment if you don’t want to Kevin. But that guy was a complete cooking prick with his jalapenos don’t belong in PR Rice. You know what buddy, if someone want’s to put PINEAPPLES in the rice they Belong in the Damn rice.

  3. To clarify – Do the 2 tbs of adobo go on the chicken to season it? Or do you season with a generous amount of adobo, then put 2 tbs in with the rest of the ingredients in step 4?

    1. Hi Rachel. YES, “Rub both sides with generous amount of the Adobo seasoning.” as stated in Step 2. It goes on the chicken to season and then gets browned.

  4. 5 stars
    I never cooked Rican food or eaten it before, made your recipe and made Roasted Pork Pernil. Took food to work and let 17 workmates try my dishes, Puerto Ricans and others. Everyone loved it! Told my daughter-in-law about it and she wants me to come to her place and make dishes for a crowd of relatives! Thanks for your recipe help.

      1. My pleasure! Quick question for you, as we are trying to eat a little healthier lately- I am making this for dinner tonight and will be removing the skin when I clean the chicken (I know, I know, the skin is the best part *sad face*). Do you see this altering the dish much? I still plan on giving it a quick browning.

      2. Sorry for the late reply here Cara. I would leave the sking on and remove before serving. It acts to baste and keep the kitchen moist.

    1. They basically are adding a briny touch to the dish, if they are not to your liking simply omit Courtney.

  5. It Is 2019… Everyone does things differently. Some add and some substitute. It looks delicious and I’ve been making PR rice for many yrs and lately I started to do half and half. Start first half on stove top & 2 half in oven. Everyone loves it and I get orders for it as well. Today I’m making it with the pollo!
    Keep doing your thang!… It looks delicious!😋

  6. This dish that you represent here is a 2 dish very traditional. Rice with chicken.
    The other is rice with pigeon peas. In spanish is arroz con Gandule. This dish you make it with out chicken.