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.
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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.
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.)
Making Arroz con Pollo
Not only is this one pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo delicious, it’s also surprisingly easy to make.
Any dish that comes together in one pot is a winner in my book. Especially when it’s able to develop this much flavor in such little time.
Here’s how it goes down:
- we start with a simple spice rub and sear on our chicken
- next goes in a bunch of veggies, herbs, and alliums to sweat and caramelize
- the rice joins the party next, getting toasted with all the other ingredients
- finally, we add the broth and a splash of water to help cook the rice through
- from there, we’re cooking your rice for as long as instructed on the packaging and it’s done!
Tips from my Boriqua Mom
But seriously, how adorable is my mom? Here are some of her top tips when making Arroz con Pollo:
- 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. We used my favorite heavy bottomed dutch oven and it helped the rice to cook and absorb all the liquid evenly.
- If you’re going for crispy rice at the bottom of your pan, watch it closely. 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. If you’re going for crispy rice at the bottom, check the bottom frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn.
This recipe does not contain the following allergens (read more about this on my disclosure page):
Click on the Allergen Icons above to find more allergy friendly recipes in that category.
Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo
- 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
For the Chicken:
- 4–6 chicken drumsticks
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 3 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp chili lime salt (optional)
For the Rice:
- 2 tbsp achiote (annatto) oil – see note for directions (optional, can be subbed for olive oil)
- 2 tbsp sofrito (optional)
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 bell pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup green olives stuffed with pimento and sliced in half
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup minced cilantro
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 1/2 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 10 minutes then add bell peppers, cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add tomato sauce, olives, peas, and cilantro 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 bring to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes on low, checking towards the end for flavor and to see if the rice is cooked through. If dry, add another 1/2 cup broth.
- If you want the rice at the bottom of your pot to be crispy, 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!
To make your own achiote oil place 1/4 cup achiote (annatto) seeds in 1/2 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.
Keywords: Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo, Arroz Con Pollo