Puerto Rican Chicken and Sofrito Rice + Video
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Puerto Rican Chicken and Sofrito Rice —juicy seared chicken thighs baked atop of tender flavorful yellow rice made with homemade sofrito.
Arroz con pollo or chicken and rice is the quintessential comfort food. It is flavorful, homy, and stick-to-your-ribs filling. This is one of the few recipes from my time in New York that I’ve carried with me back to the south. I’ve put my own twist on things having to make adjustments for ingredients not easily found in my area. So, this isn’t an “authentic” recipe but I believe I honor the essence of the cuisine.
What is Puerto Rican chicken and rice (Arroz con Pollo)
Arroz con pollo can be described as deeply flavorful roasted or stewed chicken with rice equally as tasty. Depending on the preparation, the rice is cooked in sofrito while the chicken is seasoned with sazon.
Arroz con pollo ingredients
Sofrito– This is the base sauce used in many Hispanic dishes made of tomato or tomatillo, white onion, cilantro, and garlic. I add a little spice to mine by using jalapeño. Get the Recipe Here.
Sazon– Sazon is basically the equivalent of Season All or Lawry’s but with Latin spices. It’s a great multiple purpose spice to have on hand. It richly flavors the chicken in this dish. Get the Recipe Here.
Turmeric– Yellow rice gets its hue traditionally from achioteo powder. I use turmeric because it’s easier to find and achieves the same goal of beautifully tinting the rice yellow.
12-13” cast-iron skillet
As I mention above, I highly recommend that you make your own but you can try the Badia brand sazon and any tomato-based store-bought brand sofrito in a pinch.
How to Prepare Puerto Rican Chicken and Sofrito Rice
Set the oven temp to 400 degrees. Begin heating canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet and seasoning your chicken with saźon. Pan sear skin side down for 4-6 minutes to crisp the skin. Turn and allow the chicken to cook another 3-5 minutes to sear the bottom. Remove and rest the partially cooked chicken in a shallow dish.
Turn off the heat and add to the pan, the rice, turmeric, salt, and sofrito. Stir well, scraping the flavors from the chicken.
Next, stir in the water then carefully place the chicken with the juices from the resting plate to the pan onto the rice. Do not submerge the meat in the liquid.
Loosely tent the skillet with aluminum foil and place it the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes as needed to ensure the liquid is absorbed and the chicken crisps. Fluff the rice before serving.
Recipe updates and notes
- The original recipe baked the chicken separately from the rice being cooked on the stovetop. I’ve simplified this recipe by making everything in one pot. I also scaled back the portions for a family of four instead of eight but it doubles with ease.
- I’ve eliminated the green lentils. One of the most asked questions about the recipe was how it would turn out without the lentils. I removed them without having to adjust the recipe further.
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*This recipe was updated on 4/22/2020 and 9/19/2020 for improved recipe and content. It was originally posted on 7/10/2018.*
Puerto Rican Chicken and Sofrito Rice
- 2 1/2 lb chicken thighs about 6-8 pieces
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp homemade sazon or 1 packets sazon seasoning see notes
- 1 1/2 c jasmine rice uncooked
- 3 c water
- 1 1/4 c homemade sofrito or store bought tomato base
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
- Set the oven temp to 400 degrees. Begin heating canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet and seasoning your chicken with saźon. Pan sear skin side down for 4-6 minutes to crisp the skin. Turn and allow the chicken to cook another 3-5 minutes to sear the bottom. Remove and rest the partially cooked chicken in a shallow dish.
- Turn off the heat and add to the pan, the rice, turmeric, salt, and sofrito. Stir well, scraping the flavors from the chicken.
- Next, stir in the water then carefully place the chicken with the juices from the resting plate to the pan onto the rice. Do not submerge the meat in the liquid.
- Loosely tent the skillet with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes as needed to ensure the liquid is absorbed and the chicken crisps. Fluff the rice before serving.
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I gave it a 5 star rating because I can tell by the ingredients, and the cooking method, that it will be fabulous. As soon as I found your make-your-own recipe for Sazon, I followed you! I look forward to seeing your recipes in the future. Thank you for giving us something new!
Thank you! I hope you enjoy!
Hi! Is there any way you can post the original in the archives? I’m sure this one is just as fabulous but the other one works really well for me. Can you share the original posting? You are amazing!!!
Thanks, Monique! I will send the original stovetop recipe to you by email in a few moments.
Hi Ty. Can you send me the original recipe as well? Ive been following the new way but now noticed that lentils have been omitted. My people LOVE lentils. 🙂
Hi! I sent the recipe to you bu email. Enjoy!
If I don’t use the lentils do I need to modify the liquid amount?
Hi Betty. The water remains the same. It’s only an insignificant amount of lentils. It will not affect the outcome.
This Chicken + Rice recipe looks so easy and delish!
This hits the spot perfectly for dinner!
this looks soooo good! We to PR for our honeymoon some years back and the food was soooo darn good!
You have me wanting to go straight to the island with this!
Absolutely love Yellow Rice! This recipe is full of flavor!
This looks so good and I haven’t had it in forever! May be giving it a try this weekend!
This is an awesome weeknight meal idea. I love the flavors, and the idea that it’s a one pot meal!
I love seeing new versions of my childhood favorites. Your versions of sazón and sofrito are great too!
If you don’t have any turmeric can you use a different spice? If so, which one.
Yes, you can use achiote/annatto powder. It gives the yellowish color as well. I can’t always find it so I use turmeric. It’s mainly for the color. You don’t have to use either. It won’t be as yellow but it may not be a bad thing to some.
I made this for my family and we loved it!! It was relatively easy and didn’t take a lot of time to make. The chicken came out nice and crispy without being dry. It was actually pretty juicy!! Inserved leftovers the following day and my friend was singing it’s praises!!!binwill definitely being using this recipe again!