Arroz Con Pollo

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Arroz con pollo means “Rice with Chicken” in Spanish. It is a classic dish of Spain and Latin America, with many different traditional ways to prepare it, unique to various countries.

An arroz con pollo you find in Cuba may be quite different than one you find in Peru. Please read the comments at the end of this recipe to see some wonderful classic versions of this dish.

What follows is my mother’s basic arroz con pollo recipe, which she adjusts depending on her mood and what she has on hand. For instance, she might substitute chipotle chile powder or red chile powder for the paprika.

We never use saffron in our arroz con pollo, but many people do. You can also add chopped bell peppers (cook with the onions) or peas (mix in at the end). It’s an easy, stove-top, one pan dish, great for family meals.

Arroz Con Pollo Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 broiler-fryer chicken, about 2 1/2-3 pounds, cut into serving pieces, or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken thighs or breasts, bone-in, with skin on, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup of flour for dredging
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Paprika

Rice

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (can use up to 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups* chicken stock
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
  • Pinch of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

*Check the instructions on the rice package for the proportions of liquid to rice. They can range from 1:1 to 2:1. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice, then for this recipe, use 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.

Method

1 Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet (a skillet that has a cover) on medium high heat.

Put the flour in a wide bowl, mix in a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in the flour mixture and put in the pan to brown. (You can skip the flour dredging part if you want. It just makes a nicer coating for the chicken.)

Cook a few minutes on each side, just enough so that the chicken has browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside.

2 Add the rice to the pan to brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir first to coat the rice with the olive oil in the pan. Then don't stir too much or you will prevent it from browning. Let the rice brown and then stir a little to let more of it brown. Then add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion, garlic and rice mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes.

3 Place the chicken pieces, skin-side up, on top of the rice.

arroz-con-pollo-method-1 arroz-con-pollo-method-2

In a separate bowl, mix together the stock, tomato, salt, and oregano. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Let cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package, until the rice and chicken are done. Fluff the rice with a fork. If you want you can sprinkle with some peas. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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Arroz Con Pollo

Showing 4 of 114 Comments

  • Tina

    I’ve made this several times the way my ex-husband’s aunt, who was from Cuba, taught me. Instead of chicken broth, I cook the rice in beer and add chopped olives. The combination of the beer, tomato and olives is amazing.

  • Laila

    Made this yesterday and it was delicious! I added a good pinch of saffron and heated it in the broth before adding to the chicken. I also added about 1/2 cup frozen peas, chopped delicious heirloom tomatoes and a small amount of hot pepperoncini for kick. Next time I’ll vary it with slivered or chopped almonds or roasted pine nuts for crunch and some smoked paprika. One exception is that I don’t care for wet skin which is what this resulted in when placing a lid on the skillet so 15 minutes before it was cooked I removed the chicken and put it into a baking dish and into the oven at 450F. to brown and crisp up the skin. I highly recommend this if you find the skin wet and unappealing. I browned the chicken well enough in advance as instructed but after adding the rice and liquid and then a lid, the skin softened and was very moist. Although I browned the chicken in the oven, I did however remove the skin before eating but recommend that the skin remain on the chicken so that more flavour permeates into the dish and the chicken retains its moisture. Many possibilities for variations with this dish according to likes and dislikes.

  • rockieshell

    I made this tonight following the recipe exactly and it was really yummy, and super easy to make. I think I will add more seasoning next time, maybe I will try with saffron. I can tell this is going to be really good leftover too! I always love your recipes!

  • Jt

    I cooked this tonight and it was great!! Followed the recipe exactly, it was super easy and tastes great! I love your website, the recipes I’ve tried are really good!

  • Bree Raymond

    I first made this a couple years ago as a new way to use up some chicken thighs. I’m from Eastern Ontario and I don’t know anyone who has ever made this, or many who have even eaten it. It’s delicious though, and pretty easy so it’s now part of our regular rotation!

    I don’t dredge my chicken in flour, I usually add peppers with the onions, and I decided I like the fresh tomatoes better than the tomato paste.

    What kind and size of skillet do you use? Does that matter much for this? I have a 10″ stainless steel one and a 12″ cast iron, but neither have lids so I have been using my 5 qt cast iron dutch oven as it’s the largest pan/pot I have with a lid. I sometimes have issues with getting the rice to not stick to the bottom and not be a gluey consistency. I’m not sure if the pot/pan has something to do with that, or it’s just me not timing things properly. Maybe I should invest in a new skillet with a lid?

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