If you’re into Latin cuisine, you’re going to fall in love with this arroz con pollo Cubano. Seasoned chicken paired with delicious yellow rice that’s flavored with sofrito and spices.
I love making Cuban recipes at least once a week, some of my favorites include picadillo Cubano con papas, Cuban spaghetti, and congri.
Why I Love Arroz Con Pollo
- I grew up eating it and it’s one of my all-time favorite meals.
- It’s economical and feeds a crowd.
- Arroz con Pollo can be a bit tricky to make but this is a fail-proof recipe.
- Packed with flavor.
- The rice isn’t sticky or hard, it’s perfectly fluffy!
Chicken – Bone-in chicken thighs are best for this recipe.
Rice – Medium-grain rice is the perfect rice for this dish.
Sofrito – I used homemade but feel free to use store-bought.
How Do You Make Arroz con Pollo Cubano?
- Season chicken – Pat the chicken dry and season it with a fourth of the cumin, oregano, and paprika. Salt and pepper it generously.
- Cook chicken – Heat some oil in a heavy pot and cook the chicken in batches until brown. Remove and set aside.
- Cook rice – Add the other ingredients except for the water, peas, rice, and bay leaf. Cook for a minute before adding rice and cooking for another minute.
- Simmer – Add the water and bay leaf. Add the chicken to the top, and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover, and simmer for up to 45 minutes.
- Serve – Turn off the heat. Remove the chicken, add the peas, fluff with a fork, place the chicken back into the pot, cover, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Tips and Recipe Variations
- If you’ve tried other recipes for this dish and they’ve all failed or you’ve tried your own and it failed, never fear. This is a tried and true recipe. As long as you follow the directions, you won’t have any issues.
- Side dish suggestions – This dish pretty much has it all in one recipe. However, it’s still delicious to add some other sides along with it. Some of the recipes I go for when pairing with arroz con pollo are fried plantains or tomato avocado salad.
- Use other rice at your own risk – This dish is very touchy and can go wrong quickly. I highly recommend using medium-grain rice. Also, do not rinse the rice.
What is Sofrito?
This is a salsa style Latin sauce containing ingredients such as onion, peppers, sweet peppers, cilantro, garlic, etc. These ingredients are finely chopped and then braised in oil. This is a traditional mixture used as a way to add flavor to many Cuban or Latin dishes. You can find sofrito in the frozen Latin section of your grocery store or you can simply make your own.
What is Sazon?
This is a traditional all-purpose seasoning mix used popularly in this style of this dish (Latin, Cuban, Mexican, Spanish, etc.). The seasonings included are usually annatto, garlic, salt, cumin, black pepper, coriander, and oregano.
Can I use Boneless Chicken Instead?
Yes, you can use any type of chicken you prefer but ideally, authentic classic chicken and rice is made with bone-in chicken.
Can You Make Arroz con Pollo Ahead of Time?
You bet! I think it tastes the best right after being cooked. However, it still tastes delicious when heated up after storing it. The only aspect you’ll have to watch out for is dried-out rice. If it’s dry, you’ll simply want to add a bit of water or broth to it before heating it up. The liquid will soak into the rice during the heating process and make the rice soften again.
Storage and Reheating
- Fridge – Store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
- Freezer – Place in an airtight container and keep for up to 2 months.
- Reheating – Reheat using the microwave.
If you love Latin recipes then you will love these Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans. This Arroz Imperial is another crowd-pleaser. You can find more delicious recipes and cooking tutorial videos on Youtube and Facebook.
Arroz con Pollo Cubano
- 2 cups medium grain rice do not rinse
- 2 cups water cold
- 1 packet sazon
- 4 chicken thighs bone-in skin-on
- 1/4 cup sofrito store-bought or homemade
- 1 tbsp dry white wine optional
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup green peas
- 1/4 cup green olives
- 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- In a small bowl, mix the cumin, oregano, and paprika. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Make sure to season under the skin as well. Sprinkle some of the spice mixture on top of the chicken and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin-side down and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.
- Remove the chicken thighs from the pot and set aside.
- Add the sofrito, remaining spice mixture, sazon, and dry white wine. Cook for 15 seconds.
- Stir in the rice and coat well. Cook for one minute.
- Add the water, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, bay leaf, and green olives. Mix well. Place the chicken back into the skillet. Let the rice come up to a boil. This should take 5 minutes over medium-high heat.
- Once the rice comes up to a boil, cover with aluminum foil and a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes.
- Once the 45 minutes are up, uncover the rice and remove the chicken from the pot. Turn off the heat. Use a fork to fluff the rice and stir in the green peas. Place the chicken back on top of the rice, cover, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!
That was so good! One of my kids wondered how we could have gone so long without eating this Chicken and Rice. I was worried that I had bought a random sofrito from Vallarta that may or may not have been Cuban, and I used sake instead of wine, but it didn’t matter, it was perfection. It was also hard to find anything but long grain rice. I eventually found Calrose Rice and it worked beautifully.
I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for the awesome feedback xoxo
Charnell Bennett says
HI thank you so much for sharing! QUESTION: If i want to use pegion peas instead of regular peas, at what point in the process do I add the pegion peas in to cook?
Also about how much (measurement) pegion peas do you recommend using?
Hi Charnell, add the pigeon peas when you add in the water.
Hi Julie! Quick question is it ok to not use any wine?
Hi Monique, you can omit the wine.