Allow me to introduce you to my mom's classic Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo; a flavorful one pot dish made with rice, veggies, and chicken. This flavorful one-pot dish is made with rice, veggies, and chicken.
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It's an authentic Puerto Rican arroz con pollo recipe with simple, easy-to-follow instructions and mouthwatering, traditional Puerto Rican flavor.
Keep reading for tips on how to season the dish and achieve perfectly crispy Pagao rice at the bottom of the pot.
The OG of Puerto Rican Cuisine
If you've ever ate at a Puerto Rican restaurant or household, you probably tried some version of this Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo.
It's a classic chicken and rice dish with olives, veggies and lots of spices. Cooking the rice with the chicken and veggies and broth creates some of the most flavorful rice I've ever had and makes this the ultimate comfort food.
Similar to many of the Puerto Rican recipes on my site, this dish is one of those that every family has their own version of. Some families may use white rice, while others use brown.
My mom likes to cook the rice and chicken together, other Puerto Ricans like to cook the chicken first, remove it, cook the rice, then add the chicken back in.
In my opinion, there's no right or wrong way to make Arroz con Pollo. As long as the flavor is there, I think all of these methods have their time and place.
That said, my mom's technique is definitely the best (I'm not biased at all.)
No Adobo & Sazon?
If you don't have adobo seasoning and/or sazon, you can substitute these spice blends with individual spices.
Here's my mom's recommendation:
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoon onion powder or flakes
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder or flakes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
And make sure to include the salt, pepper, and optional chili lime seasoning, if desired.
Grab this list, head to the store and get cooking! Here's what you'll need for this Puerto Rican arroz con pollo recipe...
For the Chicken:
- chicken drumsticks
- sazon seasoning
- adobo seasoning
- chili lime salt (optional)
For the Rice:
- achiote (annatto) oil - see note for directions (optional, can be subbed for olive oil)
- yellow onion
- bell pepper
- cloves of garlic
- green olives stuffed with pimento and sliced in half
- tomato sauce
- minced cilantro
- frozen peas
- chicken broth
How to Make Arroz con Pollo
Tips from my Boriqua Mom
But seriously, how adorable is my mom? Here are some of her top tips when making Puerto Rican chicken and rice:
- Season in layers. Adding flavor in this recipe starts with the spice rub for the chicken and doesn't stop until the very last step. Seasoning in layers means a super flavorful end result.
- Use a good quality pot. Using a good quality heavy bottomed dutch oven or caldero helps the rice to cook evenly and absorb all the liquid evenly.
- If you've ever had the crispy, almost but not quite burnt, rice at the bottom of a pot of Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo (also known as Pagao), you know how good it is. That said, it's easy to burn if you're not paying attention so keep reading for more tips on how to make Pegao.
Achiote oil, similar to sofrito, is an ingredient used commonly in Puerto Rican cuisine to develop flavor.
My Puerto Rican family likes to make their own achiote oil using annatto seeds.
To make your own achiote oil place a few tablespoons of annatto seeds in ½ cup oil.
Heat on medium for about 4-5 minutes. Do not overheat or boil, they will become bitter. Also be careful as the oil stains. Immediately drain the oil from the seeds and discard seeds.
This oil can be used to add flavor when cooking all kinds of Puerto Rican dishes like Arroz con Gandules, these Steak Stuffed Avocados and Empanadillas.
Tasty toppings for flavor & presentation
Not only do garnishes add a great deal of eye appeal, they can really amp up the flavor and enhance the other ingredients in the dish.
Here are some of my favorite toppings for Puerto Rican arroz con pollo:
- lots of fresh cilantro
- pique (Puerto Rican hot sauce)
- sliced avocado
- pickled carrots and jalapeños
Pegao (crispy rice)
If you've ever been lucky enough to try Pegao, the crispy and delicious rice at the bottom of some versions of Puerto Rican chicken and rice, you know how special the texture is.
While it's a magical element of this dish, it's not always the easiest thing to achieve, so don't beat yourself up if you don't get it on the first try.
Here are my top tips for developing a tasty layer of Pegao under your arroz con pollo:
- add a tablespoon of extra oil (you could use the achiote oil or olive oil) to your rice while toasting with the veggies to help the rice crisp up and prevent burning.
- cook until the rice is done, then cook for another 5-10 minutes, checking to make sure the rice doesn't burn, but gets nice and crispy.
- it's important to be patient when trying to achieve the perfect pegao as it's a challenge for even seasoned Puerto Rican cooks!
More Puerto Rican Rice Dishes
If you find yourself making this dish and loving it, chances are you will also love this Puerto Rican Rice & Beans with Sofrito as well as this sweet spin on rice, Arroz con Leche.
Authentic Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo
My mom's classic Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo! This flavorful one-pot dish is made with rice, veggies, and chicken. An authentic Puerto Rican arroz con pollo recipe with simple, easy-to-follow instructions and mouthwatering, traditional Puerto Rican flavor. Tips included for how to season the dish and achieve perfectly crispy Pagao rice at the bottom of the pot.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
- Category: Rice, Dinner, Chicken with Rice
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Puerto Rican
- Diet: Gluten Free
For the Chicken:
- 4-6 chicken drumsticks
- 2 tsp sazon seasoning
- 2 tsp adobo seasoning
- 2 tsp chili lime salt (optional)
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
For the Rice:
- 2 tbsp achiote (annatto) oil or olive oil
- 2 tbsp sofrito
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup cilantro, minced
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup green olives stuffed with pimento and sliced in half
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 ½ cups rice
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- In a large ziplock bag, combine all seasonings and chicken drumsticks. Seal the bag and shake to coat the chicken with seasoning. Marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
- In a heavy bottomed soup pot, sauté the chicken in the achiote oil, turning the chicken to brown on all sides. Add sofrito, diced onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes then add bell peppers, cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add tomato sauce, olives, and peas and cook 5 more minutes. Add rice, stirring to ensure each grain is coated with seasoning and veggies.
- Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Stir and lower to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes on low, checking towards the end for flavor and to see if the chicken & rice are cooked through. If dry, add another ½ cup broth, cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- If you want the rice at the bottom of your pot to be crispy, add a tablespoon more of oil, turn the heat up to medium and cook for another 5-10 minutes (watching closely to make sure it doesn't burn).
- Serve with a squeeze of lime juice, sprinkle of chopped cilantro and hot sauce. Enjoy!
Keywords: Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo, Arroz Con Pollo
Lucky you that you grew up with this DELICIOUS arroz con pollo! Such an easy recipe, packed with flavor, and officially in the regular rotation in our house. Thank you for the awesome recipe, Salima!
It was always a favorite growing up, and that hasn’t changed. So glad you are enjoying it with your family now 💗
I love the use of peas. I will try this recipe myself in the not too distant future; I can't remember if I've ever made arroz con pollo myself.
It is such a fabulous dish to make and share with loved ones. Thanks for your comment!
Obsessed with this recipe! I’ve had it twice now and every time we finish witbout leftovers.
I make it all the time but not like you! Going to try your way!! Thank you
Thank you Natalie! I hope you love it 🙂
The best and true Puerto Rican arroz con pollo recipe!! My grandmother made it just like this. Only thing is that she add spicy Spanish chorizo and capers. Chicken marinated in lime and adobo. This is authentic as it gets. Nice to see some who can make this dish. Amazing Thank you.
Thank you so much, Jay! Your Grandmother's version sounds truly delicious.
Robin K Brown
I just made this last night. It wad 🔥. It was my first time making sofrito. I didn't have any green peppers on hand, so I just used some yellow mini peppers, but it was delish. I almost skipped the sofrito, but I'm glad I didn't. It made the whole dish. Now im going to have it as a staple in the house at all times.
Thank you for your review Robin! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Sofrito is totally addicting once you start experimenting with it, buen provecho!
G Cristina von Helms
I’ve been to Puerto Rico and enjoyed the dishes so I found your recipes and made sofrito and then arroz con pollo. I used olive oil and I will say it came out delicious but I didn’t get the crispy rice on the bottom of the pan. Next time. Cristina
Your recipes look and sound delicious. I am looking forward to trying them.