Learn how to make my family's version of Puerto Rican Sofrito and use it as an easy and flavorful base for stews, rice dishes, and more! It comes together with a few easy ingredients in less than 10 minutes.
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If you've ever tried any Puerto Rican recipes, chances are you've had sofrito.
While you can find it at select grocers and online, it's on another level entirely when made fresh, and surprisingly easy to make.
It's commonly used as a base to build flavor in recipes that are staples in Puerto Rican culture like this Arroz con Pollo and Picadillo.
I like to think of Sofrito as like the latin equivalent to what is known in French cuisine as Mire Poix.
It's a beautiful blend of alliums, herbs and veggies, blended up, stored in your fridge and ready to use as a soup starter, rice flavoring, or stew base.
Traditional Puerto Rican Sofrito uses a combination of these ingredients:
- sweet peppers
- bell peppers
Culantro is an herb that is basically a cousin to cilantro in flavor and smell.
This along with sweet peppers can be difficult to find, so we are making this recipe a bit more accessible by using cilantro and bell peppers instead. If you know a Spanish store or product stand where you can find culantro and other varieties of sweet peppers, feel free to add in a small handful and a pepper or two!
Depending on which Puerto Rican family you're eating with, this recipe will vary.
In addition to the more traditional ingredients listed above, my mom will sometimes throw a jalapeno or serrano pepper in for some added spice.
Some Puerto Ricans will go heavy on the spice while others prefer to use only sweet peppers. Others may even add in whole ripe tomatoes to the mix, so don't be afraid to experiment with this and adjust the flavors to make something you will love!
How to make sofrito
Making sofrito is one of the easiest Puerto Rican recipes you will ever make. It requires a knife, a cutting board and a food processor.
Where to Use it
One batch of this sofrito makes enough for several uses, so let's dive in to some of my favorite recipes to use your leftovers in:
- Puerto Rican Rice and Beans (Arroz con Gandules) - an easy vegan dish to dip your toes into the Sofrito party!
- Arroz con Pollo- this classic Puerto Rican dish is the perfect example of how to use sofrito in rice dishes!
- Steak Stuffed Avocados - as if this dish wasn't already full of flavor, using Sofrito to cook your steak adds a level of spice that is truly unmatched.
- Empanadillas - these picadillo stuffed empanadas start with a generous spoonful of Sofrito
- Alcapurria - this fried Puerto Rican delicacy uses picadillo filling, which like many of the recipes above, starts with our delicious sofrito
And don't forget, you can freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays so they keep longer! Thanks to Illyanna Maisonet for that life saving trick.
More Uses for Sofrito
If you're not in the mood to hit the grocery store and plan an entire meal around this ingredient, not to worry! There are plenty of more casual uses for sofrito that help to produce maximum flavor.
Here are some of my favorite uses:
- Sofrito as a base for soups & stews - sofrito makes a super flavorful base to almost any savory dish you would use onions and garlic in.
- Stuffed in things - similar to my empanadillas recipe, sofrito makes an excellent addition to anything you're adding a filling to. Think empanadas, dumplings, and fritters.
- Sofrito as a sauce - swirl a spoonful of this stuff into your sauce and taste the impact of the garlic, onion, peppers and herbs.
- As a dip - this isn't exactly conventional in Puerto Rico, but the ingredients and flavor profile matches that of a salsa. This makes the recipe wonderful with some crispy corn chips or just about anything you'd dip into salsa.
Don't let a drop of this delicious ingredient go to waste! Experiment with it and see what you can create.
Recaito vs. Sofrito
What's the difference between recaito and sofrito?
Many people who love Puerto Rican cuisine may get confused about the difference between the two recipes. The truth is that they are very similar.
Both are made with a blend of aliums, veggies and herbs that result in big flavor.
The main differences I've noticed in the variations I've had is the use of tomato and spicy peppers. At the end of the day, I will happily eat any dish made with either recaito or sofrito.
Puerto Rican Sofrito
Learn how to make my version of Puerto Rican Sofrito and use it as an easy and flavorful base for stews, rice dishes, and more!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Puerto Rican, Bases, Sauces
- Method: Blended
- Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Caribbean
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup cilantro (you can also use ½ cup of culantro if you have it!)
- 1 jalapeno (optional)
- Peel and roughly chop onion and garlic. Roughly chop bell pepper and jalapeno (if using), taking time to remove the seeds.
- In a food processor combine all ingredients and pulse until a consistent mix is formed. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Use as a base for any savory dish you like!
Keywords: Puerto Rican Sofrito
I meant culantro!
I am puerto rican- american. I was born in New York from parents born in La Isla. I have been cooking for 45 years. Cooking is one of my passions. So I was so excited to find you. I look at your most beautiful photos of food and get so hungry and I want to get cooking right away. I can see your passion in your presentations. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your recipes. By the way. I also have a morrocan friend named Amy. We live in Brooklyn New York. HAPPY COOKING.Dios te bendiga siempre.
Thank you so much for your kind comment Madelyn! There are so many opportunities for growth and happiness when cooking and I feel lucky to be able to connect with others through it!
Thank you for your dishes. It makes me smile just to go back to the good old days with my mom in the kitchen cooking for the holidays.
It was my first time making Puerto Rican food and this added a lot of flavor! Easy recipe.
This will go great with my rice and beans.
While your totally correct that in trying to find all ingredients when making the soffito or recadito, it's essential to try and have them all.
Soffito is to saute..yes with the tomato sauce and the sazon v. The recadito is use in raw form.
The Cachucha Pepper's/ sweet peppers to me are important and for those who like using them, one can grow them and freeze.
I make it a head and put the puree in ice cube trays.. love my Puerto Rico..thank you
Thank you for sharing your knowledge Nancy. I haven't had any luck finding Cachucha peppers so I stick to bell peppers, but I'm totally using your ice cube tray trick for my next batch!
I can send you the seeds don’t mind at all. They are not hard to grow. Grows exactly like bell peppers. I also put the bell peppers In Along with all other stuff..
Thank you for that generous offer Nancy. Honestly, I would love to try growing them if you don't mind sharing some seeds. If you email me at hello@salimaskitchen we can talk details!
Great idea for sweet plantains (maduros) that are soft to begin with. How many minutes for green plantain (tostones)?
Thanks Lillian! The tostones take about 20 minutes of cook time, you can grab the recipe here: https://salimaskitchen.com/tostones/#tasty-recipes-14321-jump-target
I soooooo love the tostones ( green platanos). Totally green are hard to find my way. So when I do find them I make large baches and freeze then I do the first fry, flatten them, put three in a row on the deli meat paper, something like parchment and then I wrap in plastic wrap put in a zip lock bag and freeze. As my Mami use to say “ if Goya can freeze their stuff, so can I “..she use to also freeze the Yuca/Cassava. Good luck
Yes boriquas by nature don’t eat spicy, savory yes. Spicy is a personal preference. I would never put jalapeños in my recado mix, but to each it’s own..
Iam eager to try this recipe. My husband is Puerto Rican and hasn't eaten Puerto Rican food since he was a teenager so I'm trying to make this as authentic as I can. How many sweet peppers to you recommend I use instead of one bell pepper?
Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment! It will depend on the size of sweet pepper you're using, but I would say 3-4 should be enough. Buen Provecho!
I love this recipe, so easy n added cilantro n culantro, the sweet mini peppers n jalapeno. I'm Mexican decent but the guy I've been dating is Puerto Rican. I'm good cook but wanted to surprise him with finally making Sofrito. Dinner will be
Picadillo, Rice, Black Beans n fried tostones😉
Thanks for sharing!
Yes, Queen it was marvelous. I did tweak it a little I used Better Than Bouillon (Sofrito and Roasted Garlic) and a sprinkle of Goya Adobo Seasoning.