Arroz con Pollo

Dinner, One-Pot Meals

This Arroz con Pollo recipe is a comforting, one-pot meal from Latin America. This version comes straight from my Abuelito’s repertoire. Chicken is seared and then cooked with rice, spices, chicken broth and olives, until it’s fragrant and delicious. This arroz con pollo recipe is perfect for leftovers!

round pot of arroz con pollo with wine and forks

I guess you could say that this recipe was one of the first recipes I ever learned how to make. My dad taught me this dish. And my mom’s father taught it to him. There’s nothing complicated about it: just rice and chicken. Nearly every culture has a rendition of this dish. It’s because it’s so comforting and easy to throw together.

This is Latin comfort food, you know. It tastes like home.

ingredient shot of raw chicken, spices, onions, garlic and rice

What is Arroz con Pollo

Let’s start with the basics! Arroz con Pollo is a one-pot dish from Spain and Latin America. It’s made all across South American and the Caribbean. Puerto Ricans have their own way to make arroz con pollo, as does Dominican Republic and Cuba.

This recipe is not really a Arroz con Pollo Peruano per se, even though, I got this recipe from my Peruvian grandfather. It was just his way of making it, which makes a lot of sense given his culinary tastes. It’s a cross between paella and arroz con pollo. It’s a bit more wet then other arroz con pollos. And it’s the way I prefer it, too.

shot of spices: turmeric, paprika, cumin, saffron

Ingredients for Arroz con Pollo

  • Chicken. I like to use bone-in and skin-on chicken pieces. Thighs and drumsticks are preferred because they can handle braising. I also like bone-in because that’s where a lot of flavor lives.
  • Sofrito combination: yellow onion, red bell pepper and garlic. This equals GOOD flavor.
  • Spices. This recipe uses ground cumin, salt, turmeric, crushed red pepper and saffron.
  • Medium-grain rice. Such as calrose. I love it for this recipe. You can use other types of rice, too. See below for my substitutions section.
  • Chicken stock.
  • Pitted green olives. This is optional and the dish tastes amazing without it.
  • Frozen peas. I like to add them at the very, very end so they don’t overcook.

seared chicken on a lid turned upside down

How to Make Arroz Con Pollo

  1. Prep your chicken. I like to salt both sides generously with kosher salt.
  2. Cook the chicken. Cook the chicken skin-side down for about 5 to 7 minutes. You want the skin crispy and rendered. Flip it and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
  4. Next up! Add the diced onion, red bell pepper. This is our sofrito (along with the garlic that’s added in a second). The base of flavor building.
  5. And then add the minced garlic and tomato. You also want to scrape up any bits in the pan–that’s where the flavor is!
  6. Mix in the spices. There’s ground cumin, paprika, turmeric, crushed red pepper and saffron. If you don’t have saffron–skip it!
  7. And then, add the rice; give everything a thorough mix.
  8. Nestle the chicken back atop the rice. And then add the green olives all around.
  9. Add 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock.
  10. Bring to a simmer and then cover the lid. The lid is important because we want to make sure the right amount of liquid evaporates while the rice cooks evenly.
  11. Add more broth as needed. I added about 1/2 cup extra. Salt it halfway through. Try the rice and add a teeny bit extra if needed.
  12. When it’s done, turn off the heat. Add the peas and cover the lid once more.

chicken and broth added to a pot


  • This recipe is quite flexible. You can use different types of rice: long-grain rice, medium-grain rice (my personal favorite) and short-grain rice like Arborio or Valencia. You may need to add more or less broth/liquid depending on the type.
  • Chicken cuts. You can use all bone-in chicken thighs or all bone-in drumsticks. I find they’re the best when braised/cooked for a longer period of time, hence why I recommend them.
  • If you don’t have saffron, you can of course, skip it. It adds a bit of extra but it’s not totally necessary.
  • In case you don’t have access to roma tomatoes, you can use 1 whole canned tomato (no sauce is necessary).

round pot of arroz con pollo on a counter

Tips and Tricks 

  • You might have other questions like: what to serve with arroz con pollo? Let me tell you, you don’t need much–it’s nearly a complete meal. But I like to serve a nice crisp salad with it.
  • Can you freeze arroz con pollo? You definitely can. But I’m pretty sure you’ll finish it before you even get there. How to make arroz con pollo peruano? While my grandfather taught me this recipe and he was Peruvian, this definitely isn’t Peruvian arroz con pollo. I have a recipe for that!

round pot of arroz con pollo on a counter

If you make this recipe, let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more Latin-inspired recipes? Here are some favorites:

Arroz con Pollo Recipe

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving Size: 6
Calories: 256kcal
Arroz con Pollo is a comforting, one-pot meal from Latin America. This version is a family favorite and is a cross between paella and arroz con pollo.


  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, (skin on)
  • 2 bone-in drumsticks, (skin on)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil , (I like to use avocado oil)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, peeled and minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups medium grain rice , (see below for more options)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas


  • Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt
  • In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the chicken, using tongs, and cook on opposite side until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add onion and red bell pepper, and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic to the top of the onions and cook until fragrant; 2 minutes or so. Add the tomato and scrape the bottom of the pot removing any of the chicken fat pieces (hello! flavor!!). Next, add spices: cumin, paprika, turmeric, saffron, crushed red pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and mix.
  • Pour in rice and give it a good mix, coating it with the tomato mixture. Cook for about a minute or so. Place chicken atop of rice mixture, and disperse the olives all around atop the rice.
  • Pour just enough chicken stock to cover the rice, about 3 1/2 cups. Bring the pot to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for about 30 to 34 minutes, and until rice is tender.
  • Note: Throughout the cooking process, I checked on it every 15 minutes or so and topped it off with about 1/4 cup of stock each time. In the end, I added 4 cups of chicken stock total. Also, in the last 15 minutes, I salted to taste, adding about 1/4 teaspoon more salt.
  • When it's ready, turn the heat off. Sprinkle the peas on top and cover with a lid for 2 minutes. Just until the peas are thawed and bright green. Serve immediately.
  • Leftovers: This stays good in the fridge for up to 3 days. It's great reheated in the microwave. You may need to add a splash of water to it to loosen it up right before the microwave!


Let's Talk About Other Rice Options: 
Long-grain: you can absolutely use long-grain rice for this recipe. You may need to add more water so I would just watch it throughout the process. 
Arborio: believe it or not, rice for risotto works for this dish--it's delicious. So if you have it, no biggie, use it! 
Le Creuset Braiser | Le Creuset Dutch Oven | Oxo Tongs | Chef's Knife | OXO Measuring Cups | OXO Measuring Spoons | Cutting Boards |
CuisineAmerican, Latin America, Peruvian
Keywordarroz con pollo peruano, arroz con pollo receta, como hacer arroz con pollo, easy arroz con pollo
Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

  • Reply Jennyquack March 25, 2020 at 6:49 am

    5 stars
    So good and SO easy! Who doesn’t love a one pot meal? I didn’t have any bell peppers but a used a spice blend from Penzey’s that had bell pepper in it. Also, no saffron. I can’t wait to make this again!

  • Reply George Taruc March 25, 2020 at 3:19 am

    5 stars
    There are many variations to this recipe. With regards to rice you can use almost any rice. I see others mention Valencia rice. I believe Valencia rice has a sticky consistency. For me, Japanese rice like Calrose or Kukuho is similar and more readily available. Look up Arroz Valenciana recipe. It’s very popular in the Philippines.

  • Reply George Taruc March 25, 2020 at 3:10 am

    5 stars
    I have made similar recipe but without cumin and paprika. Next I’ll add them. In the nutritional info the serving quantity is not stated.

  • Reply Destiny July 30, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    And just to clarify, I understand that I bought “Valencia style rice” but GOYA also has a box of “Valencia Rice” on their website which is what confuses me.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 30, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Right, it basically is valencia rice. I say go with that. It is confusing, but you should be good to go!

  • Reply Destiny July 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I live in Long Beach, work in Glassell Park near Silver Lake/Atwater Village. I found a Spanish market in Glendale that had the most options. I picked up GOYA brand “California Pearl Rice/ Arroz Tipo Valenciano.” The perfectionist in me still wants a bag or box that says “Valencia Rice” on it.

  • Reply Destiny July 30, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I’m going to try this tonight. Just curious, where in LA did you find Valencia rice?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Hmm…I actually made this recipe for the blog at my parent’s house in Florida. I bet Whole Foods would have it. Or any Latin market. What part of town are you in?

  • Reply Chelsey August 19, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this family recipe. I made it for my Spanish boyfriend last week and it got a huge seal of approval! His Mom also apparently makes Arroz con Pollo exactly like this, so it will be a regular from now on. 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Alyssa July 31, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Will plain white rice or jasmine rice work in this dish?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 31, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      It should. I’d just keep an eye on it since it cooks faster than Valencia rice.

  • Reply Clau May 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    It looks delicious but where I live it is not easy to get Paprika, can I use smoked Paprika instead?

    • Reply Adrianna June 1, 2012 at 12:05 am

      Sure. If you’re a fan of the flavor of smoked paprika, add it. I personally don’t want a smokey flavor with arroz con pollo. If you’re not a fan, then I’d recommend leaving it out all together. 🙂

  • Reply Pooja March 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I know what you mean! And the way she says mozzzzarrrrellla! Anyway, you are definitely not annoying!

  • Reply Truly Smitten March 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    My mouth is seriously watering at these photos….

  • Reply rebecca February 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    made your beautiful recipe tonight and it was just delicious. i was delighted at how quickly the recipe came together, and blown away by the lovely color and flavor the saffron added to the rice. thank you for sharing a family favorite!

    • Reply Adrianna February 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      This makes me so happy.

  • Reply Nina February 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Psst… it’s “turmeric” and should be available in any grocery spice aisle. It is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Reply Den February 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Ana, yo tengo a unos cuoatns episodios (en inglés), quieres que te los lleve cuando vaya a Valencia?

  • Reply Megs @ Little Stirrings February 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Definitely made this within a week of reading the post. And I’m officially obsessed. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

    (Also – for Saffron buyers. I’ve found the cheapest way to buy it is in the little country markets in PA Dutch Country or in a Natural Foods Co-Op where they sell spices in bulk. Still a little painful, but SO worth it for the price!

    • Reply Adrianna February 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      YAY! This is such a good tip. Thank you!

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