Arroz con Pollo

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Arroz con pollo is a much-loved Latin American dish that combines seasoned rice, tender chicken, and vegetables in one big pot, making it the perfect meal to feed a crowd or enjoy with family.

Spoon in a skillet of arroz con pollo.

Arroz con pollo, which means “rice with chicken” in Spanish, is a beloved Latin American dish that’s similar to paella. My version is simple to make: start by seasoning and searing bone-in chicken pieces until golden brown, then sauté onions and bell peppers until fragrant and tender. Next, add rice, garlic, and tomato paste and toast everything before covering it with chicken broth, olives, and spices. Return the chicken to the pot and let everything cook in the oven until the rice is tender and the chicken is fully cooked. Finally, mix in peas and fresh cilantro. To serve, you can shred the chicken and mix it in with the rice for a more cohesive dish or leave it whole for a prettier presentation (my family prefers it shredded). Arroz con pollo is a comforting and satisfying meal perfect for feeding a hungry crowd. Serve it with a big salad and a traditional Latin American dessert like flan to complete the meal.

“Just delicious – even my picky eaters loved it. I used my Dutch oven and shredded the chicken and mixed it into the rice. Perfect one-pot meal!”

Lori

What You’ll Need To Make Arroz con Pollo

arroz con pollo ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Season and Brown the Chicken

Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, mix together 1½ teaspoons salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the cumin.

chicken spice blend

Cut off any excessive fat on the chicken (leaving the skin intact). Blot the chicken with a paper towel and season both sides with the spice mixture.

seasoning chicken on cutting board

Heat the oil in a large (5 to 6-qt) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed, high-sided oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, brown the chicken in a single layer until golden and crispy. For thighs, place the chicken skin side down, and sear until golden and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. For drumsticks, sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning to brown evenly all over.

browning the chicken

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate and set aside aside.

Browned chicken on a plate.

Step 2: Sauté the Vegetables and Rice

If there is a lot of oil left in the pan, pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat. Return the pot to the stove and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. As you stir, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and mix it into the vegetables.

onions and peppers in skillet

Add the rice, garlic, tomato paste, and remaining 1 teaspoon of cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, another 2 to 3 minutes.

adding rice, garlic, tomato paste, and cumin to skillet

Step 3: Add the Broth, Seasoning and Browned Chicken To The Pot

Add the chicken broth, oregano, turmeric, sugar, olives, bay leaves, and remaining 1¼ teaspoons salt.

bringing the broth to a simmer

Nestle the chicken on top of this mixture and pour any remaining chicken drippings into the pan as well, and bring to a boil.

adding chicken back to skillet

Step 4: Bake

Cover the pot with a lid and immediately transfer to the oven to bake for 35 minutes, or until the chicken registers 175°F on a meat thermometer. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit, covered, on a wire rack or on the stovetop for 10 minutes.

cooked arroz con pollo

Uncover the pan, and use tongs to transfer the chicken to a plate. Remove the bay leaves, and fluff the rice. Mix the peas and cilantro, if using, into the rice.

adding peas and cilantro

Return the chicken pieces to the top of the rice. Alternatively, remove the skin, pull the meat off of the bones, shred into bite-sized chunks, and mix in with the rice (discard the skin and bones).

arroz con pollo

Serve or cover the pan to keep warm until ready to serve.

Spoon in a skillet of arroz con pollo.

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Video Tutorial

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con pollo is a much-loved Latin American dish that combines seasoned rice, tender chicken, and vegetables in one big pot, making it the perfect meal to feed a crowd or enjoy with family.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2¾ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cups long grain white rice (basmati works very well), rinsed
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • Approximately 3½ cups chicken broth (see note about measurement)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric (may substitute with annatto powder or bijol)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ cup drained and halved pimento-stuffed green olives (from a 6-oz jar)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Lemon or lime wedges, as garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1½ teaspoons of the salt, the pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the cumin. Cut off any excessive fat on the chicken (leaving the skin intact). Blot the chicken with a paper towel and season both sides with the spice mixture.
  3. Heat the oil in a large (5 to 6-qt) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed, high-sided, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches so as not to crowd the pan, brown the chicken. For thighs, place the chicken skin side down, and sear until golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. For drumsticks, sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning to brown evenly all over. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate and set aside. If there is a lot of oil left in the pan, pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  4. Return the pot to the stove and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. As you stir, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and mix it into the vegetables. Add the rice, garlic, tomato paste, and remaining 1 teaspoon of cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, another 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken broth, oregano, turmeric, sugar, olives, bay leaves, and remaining 1¼ teaspoons salt. Nestle the chicken on top of this mixture and pour any remaining chicken drippings into the pan as well. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot with a lid and immediately transfer to the oven to bake for 35 minutes, or until the chicken registers 175°F on a meat thermometer.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit, covered, on a wire rack or the stovetop for 10 minutes.
  7. Uncover the pan (remember the lid is hot!) and use tongs to transfer the chicken to a plate. Remove the bay leaves, and fluff the rice. Taste the rice to be sure it is fully cooked. (If it still tastes too firm, pour ½ cup water evenly over the rice, and give the rice a quick fluff again. Place the pan on the stovetop over low heat and cook, covered, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover and taste to ensure the rice is cooked. Add more water and repeat if necessary.) Mix the peas and cilantro (if using) into the rice. Return the chicken pieces to the top of the rice. Alternatively, remove the skin, pull the meat off of the bones and shred into bite-sized chunks, and mix in with the rice. Serve or cover the pan to keep warm for up to 30 minutes until ready to serve. Serve with lemon or lime wedges.
  8. Note: Check the instructions on your bag of rice for the proper ratio of rice to chicken broth. My extra long-grain basmati calls for 1¾ cups liquid for every 1 cup of rice, but every brand and type of rice is different.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 662
  • Fat: 47 g
  • Saturated fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 44 g
  • Sodium: 1,077 mg
  • Cholesterol: 226 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • Loved this so much. I want to make it for a dinner party again when friends come over. May i ask what sides would go well with this dish? Thanks!

    • — Patrick on March 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Love how easy this dish is to make and how delicious it is. My son is looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow night…in fact, it might not last till then. I will be putting this into my dinner rotation.

    • — MaryAnn Lee on February 24, 2024
    • Reply
  • Perfectly balanced, one-bowl dinner that left my family craving more. Easy to pull together and absolutely delicious!

    • — Anna on January 17, 2024
    • Reply

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