Arroz con Pollo is a comforting Latin American chicken and rice recipe made with browned chicken, white rice, onions, bell peppers, peas, and spices. An easy and delicious one-pan meal that takes about an hour to make.
What is Arroz con Pollo?
Arroz con Pollo – Spanish for rice with chicken – is a traditional Latin American dish and relative to Spanish paella.
There are many different “traditional” ways of preparing arroz con pollo, each version unique to various countries. In Puerto Rico, for example, beer and annatto oil are two must-have ingredients. In Spain, saffron is common and responsible for the beautiful yellow-colored rice also typical to paella.
This version is neither Puerto Rican nor Spanish, as you will not find any beer, annatto oil, or saffron in this recipe. It does, however, contain all the key components needed to make a delicious arroz con pollo including, seasoned and seared chicken, soffrito, and rice.
You’ll also find some fresh mint and fresh lemon juice. Not exactly “traditional,” but refreshing and delicious nonetheless.
In total, you’ll find this recipe to take approximately one hour to make, give or take a few minutes, depending on how fast you chop and prep. Considered a meal in itself, I serve mine with a little fresh salsa or pico de gallo and a dash of hot sauce for a little heat.
Ingredients in Arroz con Pollo
- Chicken: I highly recommend using bone-in skin-on chicken pieces. For this recipe, I used a combination of legs and chicken thighs. Boneless skinless chicken will also work, but the chicken is more likely to become dry and overcooked.
- Sofrito: The combination of onion, bell pepper, and garlic cloves. This combination is meant to be cooked low and slow for lots of added flavor.
- Spices: Ground coriander, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper.
- Rice: I used long-grain white rice to make this recipe. Long-grain rice is my own personal favorite as I find it the easiest to cook. Feel free to use medium-grain rice if you prefer. I do not recommend short-grain rice as it is much stickier, nor do I recommend brown rice unless you cook the chicken separately or remove the chicken from the pan as soon as it is finished cooking (even if that means removing it before the rice has finished cooking completely). Learn more about the different types of rice and when to use them.
- Chicken broth.
- Vegetables: In addition to the sofrito, I’ve added diced carrots and frozen peas.
- Optional additions: Fresh lemon juice and mint leaves; optional but so delicious. I’ll also add a little feta cheese sometimes (definitely not traditional).
How to Make Arroz con Pollo
1. Begin by patting the chicken pieces dry with a few paper towels and seasoning them with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Feel free to add other seasonings if you’d like including paprika, garlic powder, or onion powder.
2. When you’re ready to start cooking, the first step is to sear the chicken pieces in a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. You may have to do this in batches to prevent the chicken from getting overcrowded in your pan. Cook each side of the chicken until the skin is crispy and golden brown (it’s ok if the chicken isn’t fully cooked yet). Then remove the chicken to a clean plate and set it aside.
3. In the same skillet, cook the diced onions, red bell pepper, and carrots. If needed, add a glug of olive oil to your pan so that all of the vegetables are coated (not drowning) in either rendered chicken fat or a little olive oil. Cook the vegetables until starting to soften, about 8 minutes or so.
4. Add the minced garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, tomato paste, and fresh mint. Combine and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the rice and frozen peas. Toast the rice with the vegetables and then add the chicken broth.
5. Bring the mixture to a simmer then nestle the seared chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, reduce to low heat, and cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
6. Remove from heat and allow the chicken and rice to rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.
How to Serve Arroz con Pollo
I like to serve this arroz con pollo recipe with fresh mint leaves and fresh lemon juice, and maybe a little hot sauce. Fresh cilantro would also pair well.
Recipe Tips and Variations
For bolder flavor, drizzle the chicken breasts with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with a little cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Mexican oregano, and chili powder. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken and, time permitting, marinate the chicken overnight.
Try adding canned tomatoes (drained), capers, or green olives! Or be extra daring and substitute the chicken broth for beer.
Arroz con Pollo makes fantastic leftovers. Store them in a sealed container and in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
More Chicken Recipes
- Santa Fe Chicken Recipe
- Thai Chicken Curry Noodle Soup Recipe
- One-Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with Olives
- Easy Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
- Hungarian Chicken Paprikash Recipe
- Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Breasts (No Breading!)
If you try making this Arroz con Pollo Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)
- 12-inch oven-safe skillet
- 2½ pounds chicken - bone-in skin-on (I used chicken thighs and whole chicken legs)
- 2 teaspoon salt - divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion - minced
- 1 red bell pepper - stemmed, de-seeded, and diced (green bell pepper would also work)
- 1 carrot - peeled and diced
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoon fresh mint - chopped, plus more to garnish
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1¼ cups long-grain white rice - rinsed and drained
- 2¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- fresh lemon juice - for serving
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
- Add the olive oil to a large (12-inch) skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side-down, and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Avoid over-crowding the pan and cook in batches if necessary. Transfer chicken to a clean plate and set aside.
- Return the pan to medium heat. Sauté the diced onions, red bell pepper, and carrot in the reserved fat from the chicken skin (and/or add an additional tablespoon of olive oil, if needed) until softened, about 8-10 minutes.
- Once the vegetables have softened, stir in the minced garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, tomato paste, and fresh mint. Mix well to combine and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add the rice and frozen peas and mix to combine with the veggies and tomato paste. Toast the rice for a minute or so, stirring continuously.
- Add the chicken broth (or chicken stock) to the rice. Mix well to combine and bring to a high simmer. Carefully distribute the browned chicken pieces over the rice mixture and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat to low, and cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
- Remove from heat and allow the chicken and rice to rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving. Served garnished with fresh mint and lemon juice, if desired.
- As written this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Stephanie Dass says
Simply looking awesome & yummy
Jessica Randhawa says
Thank you Stephanie!