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Published August 22, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This authentic arroz con pollo recipe is loaded with seasoned chicken cooked with rice, peas, spices, and olives. You will love how flavorful this easy-to-make dish is.
Arroz con Pollo
Arroz con pollo translates from Spanish to English as rice with chicken. It’s a simple dish consisting of braised or boiled chicken mixed in with long-grain white rice, vegetables, sofrito, and spices. This classic dish is a staple in most Latin kitchens and is a fantastic meal to serve up during the week for family or guests on the weekend.
Different Versions of Arroz con Pollo
There are really 2 countries claim the origin of this recipe: Puerto Rico and Spain. Here are the main differences:
- Puerto Rican: This version uses annatto seeds from the achiote tree that are super hard in texture but are subtle and slightly sweet in flavor. You can grind them down, which is really hard to do, or just add them into the oil you are cooking with for color and then discard them. They also will often use beer when cooking the chicken.
- Spanish: This version uses saffron in place of the annatto seeds. Saffron provides some great yellowish color plus great flavor as well.
Other countries that make Arroz con Pollo are Peru, Colombia, Cuba, and Mexico.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken – I prefer to break down an entire chicken. However, you can use any part of the chicken to make this dish.
- Rice – Any long-grain rice will work for this.
- Peppers – I used a combination of red and yellow peppers in this.
- Onions – A yellow, white, or sweet onion can be used for this dish.
- Tomatoes – Any fresh tomato will work. I almost always use Roma tomatoes because they are decent year-round.
- Spices – Annato seeds, coriander, and cumin are used in this dish.
- Stock – A good chicken stock will just make this recipe that much more flavorful.
- Fat – I used rendered bacon fat to fry the chicken, but any oil will work.
How to Make Arroz con Pollo
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
Add the fat to a large frying pan or rondeau and sear the chicken until well browned on both sides, which takes about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Add chicken stock to the pot with the chicken and braise over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until it is done.
Next, in a separate large saucepan or rondeau, add the fat and toast the annatto seeds over low heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute to draw out some of the colors.
Discard the seeds, and then add in the papers, onions, and garlic and saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until it becomes lightly browned.
Place in the tomatoes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes to help break them down.
Next, add the olives, cilantro, cumin coriander, rice, and chicken stock that the chicken was braising in, along with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
Place the cooked chicken on top of the rice mixture cover with a lid, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Garnish with green onions and cilantro, and serve.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 30 minutes ahead of time. Just keep it covered over low heat.
How to Store: Place this covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of Arroz con Pollo to a rondeau pot along with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken stock and cook over low heat while frequently stirring until chicken stock is absorbed and the ingredients are hot.
CHEF NOTES + TIPS
- When searing the chicken, be sure not to crowd the pan too much so you can get a good sear. If you need to sear it in batches, then please do it.
- If you cannot access chicken stock, vegetable stock or water will work.
More Chicken Recipes
Arroz Con Pollo Recipe
- 1 whole broken down into parts roasting chicken
- 3 tablespoons oil or rendered bacon fat
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 seeded and small diced red bell pepper
- 2 seeded and small diced yellow bell pepper
- 2 peeled and small diced yellow onion
- 8 to 10 finely minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons annatto seeds
- 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (1 15-ounce can)
- 1 cup Spanish pimento-stuffed olives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro + more for garnish
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 cups basmati or any long grain rice
- 1 cup peas
- sea salt and cracked fresh pepper to taste
- Season the chicken parts on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Next, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or bacon fat to a large rondeau over medium-high heat and brown the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until well browned.
- Pour the chicken stock over the chicken and turn the heat down to low and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until done. Keep warm.
- In a separate large rondeau or saucepan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil with the annatto seeds and cook over low for 30 seconds or until the color comes out.
- Discard the seeds and then add in the diced peppers, onions, and garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Add in the tomatoes and stew for 3 to 4 minutes before adding in the olives, cilantro, cumin, coriander, rice, peas, and the 6 cups of chicken stock that the chicken parts are braising in, along with salt and pepper, and stir until combined.
- Add the braised chicken parts over top, place a lid on and cook for 25 to 30 minutes over low heat until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions and serve.