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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.
In addition to this dish, If you’re in a rut when looking for different tasty chicken recipes, then for sure try out my Chicken Satay or Teriyaki Chicken.
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 that 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 You’ll Need to Make It
- 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 and 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 do not have access to chicken stock, then vegetable stock or water will work.
More Chicken Recipes
If you love this, then you will love these chicken recipes!
Be sure to follow me on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, and if you’ve had a chance to make this, then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below.
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.
The taste of this dish blew us away. The only negative in my experience was too much rice for the 3.10 chicken I used. So the answer would be to halve the rice part or increase the chicken size. I’m cooking for two though so we are delighted to have another meal plus. And I suppose stoves are all different; on mine low means just warm not really cooking anything so I used my judgement on the settings. As for annatto seeds, I couldn’t find them in two nearby stores and I wasn’t about to pay for saffron. I did find “Sason Goya con azafran, very inexpensive, and I used one of the eight packets which I think was perfect. Finally, I’m writing all of this as reminders to myself for when I make it again which will be very soon!
Looks delicious – but what do you do with all the leftover chicken stock!?! Please don’t say down the drain.
There is none leftover, you add it to the rice when the chicken is done cooking.
You use the chicken stock for the recipe. I don’t see in the recipe where anything is drained.
I don’t have annatto seed. But i do have achiote paste. Can I substitute this?
Annatto seeds come from the achiote tree, so yes.
What id I can only find powered form of the Annatto. How much would one use?
Thanks & love love love your recipes !!!
Be sparse, start with a small amount first like 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp.
Glad, Larry came thru.. HAHA
I need to try this immediately, it looks so good!
Oh man, the colors and flavors of this dish look incredible! My husband and sons can all roll their R’s, but I do not have the skill. However, I could make this recipe, and that’s what counts, right? 🙂
That is the only thing that counts haha!
This is at the top of our dinner menu! Delish!
This recipe turned out great! Tons and tons of flavor! I did use homemade achiote paste, because I had some already made. I used bone in chicken thighs, due to price difference of whole chicken a.t.m. I also halved the recipe for my family of 3, and we will still enjoy a 2nd meal from it. Thank you for posting this!
Great video and that kitchen! Dude! I think I saw that you built it as a kitchen/studio specifically for videos and food blogging?
Thanks Carolyn. Yes built a studio about a mile down the street from my house. Using it for photog/video and renting it out as well!
I so wish that I could roll my Rs. I’ve never been able to. But, I can still make this dish and I plan to. It sounds wonderful!
Love rolling those R’s haha.