Arroz Con Pollo

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

  • Yield: Serves 4-6.
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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 it 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.

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3 Place the chicken pieces, skin-side up, on top of the rice. 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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Showing 4 of 110 Comments

  • Larry

    Elise, your Arroz Con Pollo recipe looks wonderful. I’m one of the ones who use saffron in their recipe. I love the bright color it gives, but yours seems to have a nice subdued color which is nice.

    I’m also surprised that you use only oregano in the rice (and paprika on the chicken)…I’ve seen quite a few recipes that really spice up the dish, and I will be eager to try yours instead. I like the subtle approach you give here.

  • fiadamom

    I love Arroz con pollo! It’s a favorite to make for company because it’s so colorful and flavorful. (It also stretches real well – which is important since there are 8 members of my family to start with!) I like to make it with the canned diced tomatoes w/oregano and garlic. And my sister-in-law, who is of Puerto Rican descent said I HAD to add chopped green olives w/the onions and garlic. I top with rinsed frozen peas and diced fresh red bell peppers for a beautiful presentation. My girlfriend’s father is cuban and she said it tasted just like his.

  • jen maiser

    Hi Elise –

    Your version is pretty close to my family’s, though we would all have a cow if someone put bell peppers in ours. :) There are so many variations to this dish – you’re right. We have always made it a dry dish like you, but my favorite restaurant rendition comes in a soup bowl and has a lot of broth in it.

  • jose

    As Elise mentions, there are many variations on arroz con pollo. The Cuban variant is done with valencia (arborio is good too) rice and more liquid is added to produce a slightly soupy rice. It is also garnished with cooked peas and smoked red pepper.

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