Authentic Arroz con Pollo Chapina Recipe from Guatemala

Arroz con Pollo Chapina

Authentic Arroz con Pollo Chapina Recipe from Guatemala
Region / culture: Guatemala | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 6


Arroz con Pollo Chapina
Arroz con Pollo Chapina

Arroz con Pollo Chapina is a vibrant and flavorful dish that embodies the essence of Guatemalan cuisine. This traditional recipe combines tender chicken pieces with rice, vegetables, and a mix of spices, creating a hearty and comforting meal. Perfect for family gatherings or a cozy dinner, this dish is not only delicious but also a beautiful representation of Guatemalan culture and culinary traditions.


The origins of Arroz con Pollo can be traced back to Spain, but it has been adopted and adapted by many Latin American countries, each adding their unique twist. In Guatemala, the version known as Arroz con Pollo Chapina has evolved to include local ingredients such as sweet red pimento and capers, making it distinct from its counterparts. This dish reflects the fusion of Spanish culinary influence with indigenous Guatemalan flavors, resulting in a rich and diverse culinary tradition.


How to prepare

  1. In a large skillet, brown the chicken in the oil over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle with 0.5 tsp of salt and black pepper.
  3. Remove the chicken and set aside. In the same skillet with the chicken fat, fry the onion, garlic, and tomato for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and fry for 2 minutes more.
  5. Add the carrots and capers, and mix everything together.
  6. Pour in the broth and chicken pieces.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer until the broth has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the green peas. Cover the skillet with aluminum foil and punch 8 holes in the top to allow steam to escape.
  9. Bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 30 minutes.
  10. Fluff up the mixture once or twice during the baking time.
  11. Serve warm.
  12. Decorate the surface with pimento strips and egg slices, and sprinkle with cheese.
  13. The rice should be dry, loose, and not sticky.
  14. Serve with fried ripe plantain slices, a salsa picante, and pickled vegetables.


  • To customize Arroz con Pollo Chapina to your taste, consider the following variations:
  • Substitute the chicken with tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian version.
  • Add different vegetables, such as bell peppers or zucchini, for more variety.
  • For a spicier dish, include chopped jalapeños or increase the amount of salsa picante served on the side.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best flavor and texture for your Arroz con Pollo Chapina, consider the following tips:

- Use a heavy, deep skillet to evenly brown the chicken and sauté the vegetables.

- For a richer taste, you can use homemade chicken broth instead of store-bought.

- Make sure to fry the rice until it's slightly golden before adding the broth; this helps the rice absorb more flavor.

- Be careful not to over-stir the rice during cooking to prevent it from becoming mushy.

Serving Suggestions

Arroz con Pollo Chapina is best served warm, accompanied by fried ripe plantain slices, a spicy salsa picante, and pickled vegetables for a complete meal. These sides complement the flavors of the dish and add a delightful variety of textures.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in preparing Arroz con Pollo Chapina include browning the chicken to lock in flavors, sautéing the vegetables to enhance their taste, and baking the rice mixture to achieve the perfect texture. Each step contributes to the depth of flavor and the overall success of the dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

If certain ingredients are unavailable, consider the following substitutions:

- Use olive oil instead of corn oil for a different flavor profile.

- Replace sweet red pimento with bell peppers for a similar taste and color.

- Chicken thighs can be used instead of a whole chicken for a more tender result.

Make Ahead Tips

To save time, you can brown the chicken and sauté the vegetables a day ahead. Store them in the refrigerator, and when ready to cook, continue with the recipe by adding the rice and broth. This makes assembling the dish quicker and easier.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arroz con Pollo Chapina in a large, colorful dish to highlight the variety of ingredients. Garnish with extra pimento strips, egg slices, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for an appealing and appetizing presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine or a cold beer pairs wonderfully with Arroz con Pollo Chapina, balancing the richness of the dish. For a non-alcoholic option, consider a refreshing limeade or hibiscus tea.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, sprinkle a little water over the rice to prevent it from drying out, and warm it in the microwave or on the stove over low heat until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Arroz con Pollo Chapina contains approximately 350-450 calories, making it a relatively balanced meal option when served with a side of vegetables or a salad. The exact calorie count can vary based on the portion size and specific ingredients used.


A serving of Arroz con Pollo Chapina is a good source of carbohydrates, primarily from the rice, providing the energy needed for daily activities. The exact carbohydrate content can vary depending on the rice used, but on average, a serving contains about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates.


The fat content in Arroz con Pollo Chapina mainly comes from the chicken and the corn oil used for cooking. By discarding the fat from the chicken and using a moderate amount of oil, this dish remains relatively low in unhealthy fats. A serving typically contains about 10-15 grams of fat, with a balance of saturated and unsaturated fats.


Arroz con Pollo Chapina is an excellent source of protein, thanks to the generous amount of chicken in the recipe. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. A single serving can provide approximately 25-35 grams of protein, making it a satisfying and muscle-friendly meal option.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly from the vegetables included in the recipe. Carrots and peas add a good dose of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron, while olives and capers contribute additional antioxidants and minerals. These nutrients support overall health and well-being.


Common allergens in Arroz con Pollo Chapina include dairy (from the parmesan cheese) and gluten (if the chicken broth used contains gluten). Individuals with food allergies should modify the recipe accordingly or ensure that all ingredients are allergen-free.


Overall, Arroz con Pollo Chapina is a nutritious and balanced meal, providing a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a wholesome choice for those looking to enjoy traditional Guatemalan flavors while maintaining a healthy diet.


Arroz con Pollo Chapina is a delightful and nutritious dish that brings the flavors of Guatemala to your table. With its combination of tender chicken, flavorful rice, and vibrant vegetables, it's a satisfying meal that's perfect for any occasion. By following the tips and variations provided, you can easily customize this recipe to suit your taste and dietary needs, making it a versatile addition to your culinary repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a happy one. It was a warm summer day in Guatemala, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in her beautiful home in Antigua. Maria was an amazing cook, and I always looked forward to our cooking sessions together.

On that particular day, Maria told me that she was going to teach me how to make Arroz con Pollo Chapina, a traditional Guatemalan dish that she learned from her grandmother. I was thrilled at the opportunity to learn a new recipe, especially one that had been passed down through generations.

As we gathered the ingredients and prepared the kitchen for our cooking session, Maria began to tell me the story of how her grandmother had first learned to make Arroz con Pollo Chapina. She explained that the recipe originated from the Mayan people of Guatemala and had been a staple in their diet for centuries.

Maria's grandmother had learned the recipe from her own mother, who had learned it from her mother before her. It was a dish that had been passed down through the generations, each cook adding their own unique touch to the recipe.

As Maria and I began to cook, I watched in awe as she expertly seasoned the chicken, sautéed the vegetables, and cooked the rice to perfection. The aroma that filled the kitchen was intoxicating, and I couldn't wait to taste the finished dish.

When the Arroz con Pollo Chapina was finally ready, Maria served it up in bowls and garnished it with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. The first bite was a revelation - the flavors were bold and rich, with a perfect balance of spices and textures.

I knew then that this recipe would become a favorite in my own kitchen, and I asked Maria to teach me the recipe so that I could make it for my own family and friends. She graciously agreed, and over the course of the next few hours, she taught me the intricacies of making Arroz con Pollo Chapina.

I learned how to marinate the chicken in a blend of garlic, cumin, and oregano, how to sauté the vegetables until they were tender and fragrant, and how to cook the rice just right so that it was fluffy and flavorful.

As I followed Maria's instructions, I felt a sense of pride and connection to the generations of women who had come before me, each one passing down this recipe with love and care. I knew that this dish would not only nourish my body but also my soul, connecting me to my heritage and the rich culinary traditions of Guatemala.

When I finally served my own version of Arroz con Pollo Chapina to my family that evening, they were blown away by the flavors and textures of the dish. They couldn't believe that I had made it myself, and they savored every bite with delight.

From that day on, Arroz con Pollo Chapina became a staple in my own kitchen, a dish that I would make for special occasions and family gatherings. Each time I cooked it, I would think of Maria and her grandmother, and the bond that we shared over our love of good food and traditional recipes.

And so, the memory of discovering this recipe for the first time remains a happy one, a moment of connection and tradition that I will always hold dear. It is a reminder of the power of food to bring people together, to nourish not only our bodies but also our spirits. And for that, I am forever grateful.


| Black Olive Recipes | Caper Recipes | Chicken Recipes | Chicken Stock And Broth Recipes | Green Olive Recipes | Guatemalan Recipes | Parmesan Cheese Recipes | Pea Recipes | Plantain Recipes |

Recipes with the same ingredients

(7) Canja