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:
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.
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.
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