Arroz Con Pollo


Classic dish of Spain and Latin America, this arroz con pollo recipe is browned chicken cooked with rice, onions, garlic, and tomatoes.

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

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



  • 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


  • 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.


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.

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the Founder and President of Simply Recipes. A blogging pioneer, Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. In 2012 Elise was named "one of America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food" by The Daily Meal. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University. She lives in Carmichael, California.

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Arroz Con Pollo

118 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Messina

    My grandma use to make this but she would add capers along with olives. Man I miss her arroz con pollo. I’ve tried to make it but it never comes out like hers.

  • Jane Nowlin

    When we lived in Puerto Rico our friend who lived just down in back made this dish big enough to feed at least ten people and she always added mango slices, green olives and canned tomatoes to her rice…probably to suit her taste in amounts of each.



  • 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.

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