This recipe for Puerto Rican-style rice and beans (arroz con gandules) is full of authentic flavors, and easy to make. Made stovetop, it’s ready within 30 minutes!

arroz con gandules on a plate

If you’re looking for more Traditional Puerto Rican recipes, this collection of 18+ of my favorites is a good place to start.

It’s got everything from my mom’s Arroz con Pollo to a classic Flan recipe that will have you feeling super confident with your Puerto Rican cooking skills!

Matrimonio (“the marriage”) 

This dish is a staple in many Latin cultures around the world, often referred to as matrimonio (which means, the marriage) for how well they pair together.

Not only are these Puerto Rican rice and beans super affordable, with the right ingredients, they are a truly satisfying and flavor packed meal. 

Another commonly used name for this version of rice and beans is Arroz con Gandules (rice with ganduels.)

ingredients to make Puerto Rican rice & beans

Ingredients

To make this dish you will need:

  • achiote oil or olive oil
  • sofrito (see note for substitute)
  • gandules (with the liquid) 
  • tomato puree 
  • pimento stuffed olives, halved (optional) 
  • sazon seasoning (see note for substitute)
  • adobo seasoning (see note for substitute)
  • vegetable broth or water
  • white rice (short grain)

What are Gandules?

Gandules (also known as Pigeon Peas) are round beans with a rich creamy flavor. They are a shade of bright green when fresh but come in a beige/brown/green color when canned.

You can find gandules used in many rice dishes and soups across the Caribbean. Buy gandules online or ask about them at your local grocery store.

Keep reading for a tip on how to use dry gandules in this recipe.

How to make Arroz con Gandules

Dry beans?: if using dry gandules, cover with water and a sprinkle of salt the night before and soak. Add the liquid to the pot with the gandules.

Sofrito

Sofrito is a magical mixture used in Puerto Rican cuisine as a base to many dishes. It’s primary purpose is to add flavor but it also helps develop . 

Sofrito is usually made with a mix of onion, peppers, culantro or cilantro, recao and a few other ingredients. It comes together in under 5 minutes and can sit in your fridge for a few weeks and be used as a starter or substitute for onions and garlic in so many dishes.

If you don’t have the time or equipment to make sofrito… no worries, your Puerto Rican rice and beans will still be super flavorful.

It’s a wonderful addition but not necessary in making this dish as long as you’ve got the necessary ingredients.

You can substitute the sofrito with 1 minced yellow onion, 1 minced bell pepper, ½ cup minced cilantro, and 4 cloves minced garlic or buy a can of store bought sofrito.

pernil with arroz con gandules on a plate

Traditional Puerto Rican Spices

Today we’re using two popular Puerto Rican spice blends, sazon and adobo.

My recipes use a blend of Caribbean spices like cumin, paprika, ground anatto, oregano, garlic, onion, and coriander.

You can also buy sazon seasoning and adobo seasoning online and at many grocery stores.

Leftovers?: Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag and microwave in 1 minute intervals until warm and fluffy when ready to serve.

arroz con gandules on a plate

Tools You’ll Need

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe go smoothly:

If you like this recipe, another classic Puerto Rican rice dish you will love is Habichuelas Guisadas. This dish has many of the same flavors as Arroz con Gandules, but uses red or pink beans instead of gandules.

Buen provecho,

Salima written in cursive
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A plate of rice and beans

Puerto Rican Rice & Beans with Sofrito (Arroz con Gandules)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 14 reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Puerto Rican, Rice and Beans, Rice
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These Puerto Rican Rice and Beans (also known as arroz con gandules) are naturally vegan and gluten free and are loaded with flavor and protein.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 tbsp achiote oil or olive oil
  • 4 tbsp sofrito (see note for substitute)
  • 30 oz. (2 cans) gandules (with the liquid)

  • 1/2 cup (1/2 can) tomato puree

  • 1/2 cup pimento stuffed olives, halved (optional)
  • 1 tsp sazon seasoning (see note for substitute)

  • 3 tsp adobo seasoning (see note for substitute)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water

  • 2 cups white rice (short grain)

  • additional cilantro (for garnish)


Instructions

  1. Sauté oil with sofrito. In a heavy bottomed pot heat the achiote oil over medium high heat. Toss in the sofrito and cook until the onions are translucent. 
  2. Add gandules, seasoning and broth. Once the sofrito becomes fragrant, add in the gandules (and their liquid), tomato puree, olives, adobo seasoning, sazon seasoning, and broth. Turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add rice and lower heat. Once the liquid begins to boil, add rice, stirring and returning to a boil before covering and lowering heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. 
  4. Serve! Serve the rice and beans with additional cilantro and a splash of hot sauce. Enjoy!

    Notes

    Substitutes:

    • for the sofrito: 1 minced yellow onion, 1 diced bell pepper, ½ cup minced cilantro, and 4 cloves minced garlic
    • for the sazon and adobo seasoning: 1 tsp each of pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, turmeric, oregano, and cumin