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Puerto Rican–Style Arroz con Pollo

6 to 8 Servings

1 hour 10 minutes 30 minutes active

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Arroz con pollo, or chicken and rice, is a much-loved dish in many Latin American countries. Pieces of chicken cooked directly in rice seasoned with aromatics and herbs, the grains soaking up the juices from the bird—it’s comfort food at its best. In his book “Cocina Tropical,” chef Jose Santaella includes the recipe for the arroz con pollo he serves at his restaurant, Santaella, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As with most versions of arroz con pollo, the flavor foundation is sofrito, a cooked mixture of aromatic vegetables, herbs, ham and capers, so you will need to make a batch of sofrito as the first step. Santaella cuts up a whole chicken, but for ease we use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. We do, however, cut each one in half so the chicken cooks on par with the rice. Medium-grain rice, starchier than long-grain but less so than short-grain, is the right type of rice to use here. Italian Arborio is a widely available option; Spanish Valencia and bomba rice, used for paella, work, too. A combination of chicken broth and beer is the cooking liquid; the beer’s hoppiness provides flavor balance and helps lighten the dish. Look for a quaffable pilsner, such as Corona Extra. Serve with fried sweet plantains.

6 to 8

Servings

Tip

Don’t use chicken breasts that are larger than 1 pound each as they will take too long to cook, even if cut in half. If the ones you purchase do happen to weigh more than 1 pound each, cut them into thirds rather than halves. And be sure to rinse and drain the rice before cooking. Rinsing removes excess starch so the grains don’t cook up thick and gluey.

1 hour 10 minutes

30 minutes active

Ingredients

  • 1

    teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1

    teaspoon onion powder

Directions

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Reviews
Diana L.

I made this tonight for dinner. The chicken was good. Its complicated to make and plus sofrito took time as well. However, not enough salt and pepper. The sofrito (TK) was really good. Again, needed salt and pepper. Overall, I think this dish is about 3.5 stars. Sofrito is 5 stars.

Lynn C.

Hi Diana -

This recipe was developed with Morton's coarse kosher salt so if you're using Diamond Crystal the amount called for in the recipe would be almost twice as much (so, for example, in Step 1, instead of 1/2 teaspoon you would use 1 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal). There is also the instruction to add more salt and pepper to taste at the end of cooking.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Nicholas A D.

I made this for the first time and my husband said it was the best chicken he'd ever had. Did not use the sofrito recipe posted here as the only review was negative. Used the basic sofrito recipe on the spruce eats: https://www.thespruceeats.com/basic-sofrito-recipe-2138283. This chicken recipe is now in the rotation.

Kate S.

Hello. Honestly I am not sure what cutting a bone-in chicken breast in half means. Longitudinally, with one part keeping bone or horizontally with bone in each half?

Lynn C.

Hi Kate -

Horizontally with bone in each half. So, essentially, you are cutting crosswise through the bone so each end still has bone attached. This will speed up the cooking since most bone-in chicken breasts can be upwards of a pound each these days!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Hillary P.

How can I adjust cooking for the bone-in thighs I have?

Lynn C.

Hi Hillary -

Since this recipe's timing is so precise in terms of getting the chicken cooked through at the exact time that the rice is fully cooked, we probably wouldn't recommend substituting bone-in thighs since timing will definitely be different for thighs.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Jennifer B.

Loved this! The sofrito was great and the rest of the recipe was easy to follow. Really great dish.