Delicious Arroz con Pollo Recipe – Latin American Chicken and Rice Dish

Hook: Did you know that Arroz con Pollo, a beloved dish in Latin American cuisine, is celebrated for its flavorful blend of chicken, rice, and aromatic spices?

Brief Overview: Arroz con Pollo, which translates to “rice with chicken,” is a quintessential dish enjoyed across Latin America and beyond. This comforting one-pot meal combines tender chicken pieces, savory rice infused with spices, and a medley of vegetables, creating a dish that is both hearty and satisfying.

Purpose: In this article, we will explore the rich history of Arroz con Pollo, delve into its cultural significance, provide a detailed recipe with step-by-step instructions, and offer tips to help you perfect this traditional dish in your own kitchen.

A plate of Arroz con Pollo with tender chicken, fluffy rice, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro, served on a traditional Latin American ceramic plate

History and Origins of Arroz con Pollo

Historical Background: Arroz con Pollo has its roots in Spain and was brought to Latin America during the colonial period. Over time, each region has adopted and adapted the dish, adding local ingredients and culinary techniques to create unique variations.

Cultural Significance: This dish holds a special place in Latin American homes and gatherings, often served during celebrations and family meals. It reflects the region’s emphasis on using simple yet flavorful ingredients to create meals that bring people together.

Ingredients for Arroz con Pollo

Main Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken pieces (legs, thighs, or a mix)
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green), diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (optional for color and flavor)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

Optional Additions:

  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (for color)

Health Benefits of Arroz con Pollo

Nutritional Value: Arroz con Pollo is a balanced meal that provides protein from chicken, carbohydrates from rice, and vitamins from vegetables. It offers essential nutrients such as iron, B vitamins, and antioxidants depending on the ingredients used.

Balanced Meal: This dish can be part of a balanced diet when paired with a variety of vegetables and served in moderate portions. It provides energy and satisfies hunger while offering a range of flavors and textures.

How to Make Arroz con Pollo

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Preparing the Ingredients

  1. Season the Chicken: Rub the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and half of the minced garlic. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Sauté Aromatics: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, bell peppers, and remaining garlic until softened.
  3. Add Rice and Spices: Stir in rice, cumin, paprika, and saffron (if using), coating the rice grains with the oil and spices.

Cooking Method

  1. Brown Chicken: Push the vegetables and rice to the sides of the pan and add the marinated chicken pieces, browning them on both sides.
  2. Simmer with Broth: Pour in chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the rice is cooked and the chicken is tender.
  3. Add Optional Ingredients: Stir in peas, olives, and any additional spices. Cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes until heated through.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Garnish and Serve: Remove from heat and let it sit for a few minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley before serving.
A plate of Arroz con Pollo with tender chicken, fluffy rice, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro, served on a traditional Latin American ceramic plate

Arroz con Pollo Recipe

Traditional Recipe:

  • Follow the step-by-step instructions provided above using the main ingredients list.


Instant Pot Arroz con Pollo

  • Ingredients: Use the same ingredients but adapt cooking times and methods for an Instant Pot pressure cooker.
  • Instructions: Sauté aromatics and chicken using the sauté function, then cook on high pressure with rice and broth for a quicker meal.

Vegetarian Arroz con Pollo

  • Ingredients: Substitute chicken with tofu or plant-based protein alternatives. Increase vegetables and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Instructions: Follow the traditional recipe, adjusting cooking times for vegetarian protein sources.

Tips for Perfect Arroz con Pollo

Choosing Ingredients: Select quality chicken pieces and long-grain rice for the best texture and flavor. Use fresh vegetables and adjust spices to suit your taste preferences.

Cooking Techniques: Monitor cooking times carefully to ensure rice is cooked through but not overcooked. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Flavor Enhancement: Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Experiment with additional spices or herbs to personalize the dish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Arroz con Pollo? Arroz con Pollo translates to “rice with chicken” and is a traditional Latin American dish featuring chicken, rice, and various seasonings.

What kind of rice is best for Arroz con Pollo? Long-grain white rice works well for Arroz con Pollo, as it absorbs flavors and maintains a fluffy texture.

Can Arroz con Pollo be made ahead of time? Yes, Arroz con Pollo can be prepared in advance and reheated before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

What are some side dishes that go well with Arroz con Pollo? Serve Arroz con Pollo with a side of black beans, plantains, or a fresh salad for a complete meal.


Recap: Arroz con Pollo is a versatile and comforting dish that embodies the flavors of Latin America. Whether enjoyed for a family dinner or a festive gathering, its rich history and delicious taste make it a beloved culinary tradition.

Call to Action: Try making Arroz con Pollo at home with our detailed recipe and tips. Share your experience with friends and family, and explore other Latin American recipes to expand your culinary repertoire.

Additional Resources: Explore our website for more recipes and articles on Latin American cuisine, and discover new flavors to enjoy.

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