Arroz con Pollo I Recipe from Spain | Ingredients & Instructions

Arroz con Pollo I

Arroz con Pollo I Recipe from Spain | Ingredients & Instructions
Region / culture: Spain | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Arroz con Pollo I
Arroz con Pollo I

Arroz con Pollo, which translates to "rice with chicken" in Spanish, is a beloved traditional dish that spans across various Latin American and Spanish regions. Each region boasts its own unique twist on this classic, making it a versatile and universally appealing dish. This recipe offers a simple yet flavorful take on Arroz con Pollo, focusing on easy-to-find ingredients and straightforward cooking methods, making it perfect for both weeknight dinners and special occasions.


The origins of Arroz con Pollo can be traced back to Spain, where the Moors introduced rice cultivation around the 10th century. The dish is a direct descendant of the Arabic dish, paella. As Spaniards migrated to the Americas, they brought their culinary traditions with them, adapting their recipes to incorporate local ingredients. This fusion of cultures gave birth to the various versions of Arroz con Pollo found throughout Latin America today.


How to prepare

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan.
  2. Add the onion, green pepper, red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the rice and tomatoes; stir until the rice is lightly browned. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Place the chicken pieces on top of the mixture.
  4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. To serve, fluff the rice with a fork, stirring in the chicken pieces.


  • For a spicier version, add diced jalapeños or a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Substitute saffron for turmeric for a more traditional Spanish flavor.
  • Add peas or carrots for additional color and nutrition.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To achieve the perfect Arroz con Pollo, consider the following tips:

- Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for quicker cooking and easier eating, but for more flavor, chicken thighs can also be used.

- Sautéing the rice before adding the broth helps to prevent it from becoming mushy.

- For a richer flavor, consider using homemade chicken broth.

- Don’t skip the browning of the chicken, as it adds depth to the dish.

- Let the dish rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the flavors to meld together.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Arroz con Pollo with a side of avocado salad or fried plantains for a complete meal. A squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top just before serving adds a bright touch of acidity that enhances the flavors.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is the layering of flavors through browning the chicken and sautéing the vegetables and rice before simmering. This method ensures each ingredient contributes its maximum flavor to the dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

Quinoa can be used instead of rice for a higher-protein alternative.

- Vegetable broth can replace chicken broth for a vegetarian version.

- Any bell pepper color can be used, not just green and red.

Make Ahead Tips

Prepare the vegetable and chicken mixture ahead of time, and store it in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, simply add the rice and broth, and follow the simmering instructions. This can save valuable time on busy nights.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Arroz con Pollo in a large, colorful dish to highlight the ingredients' vibrant colors. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges for an extra touch of freshness and color.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a citrusy, refreshing beer like a Mexican lager complements the flavors of Arroz con Pollo beautifully.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop, adding a little broth or water to prevent the rice from drying out.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of this Arroz con Pollo recipe contains approximately 350 calories, making it a relatively light yet satisfying meal option.


A serving of this Arroz con Pollo recipe contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates. The primary source of carbohydrates in this dish comes from the rice, which provides energy for the body's daily activities.


This recipe contains about 10 grams of fat per serving. The fats primarily come from the vegetable oil used for cooking and the natural fats within the chicken. Opting for lean chicken breast helps keep the fat content lower.


Each serving of Arroz con Pollo provides roughly 25 grams of protein, making it an excellent source of this essential macronutrient. The chicken is the primary protein source, vital for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C from the peppers, Vitamin A from the tomatoes, and various B vitamins from the chicken and rice. It also provides minerals such as iron and potassium.


This recipe is free from most common allergens, including dairy, nuts, and gluten. However, those with specific food sensitivities should always check individual ingredient labels.


Overall, Arroz con Pollo is a balanced meal offering a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a wholesome dish suitable for a variety of dietary needs.


This Arroz con Pollo recipe offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures, making it a comforting and satisfying meal. With its rich history and nutritional benefits, it's a dish that not only feeds the body but also connects us to a broader cultural heritage. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or explore variations, Arroz con Pollo is sure to become a cherished addition to your culinary repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my friend Maria in her quaint little kitchen. As soon as I walked in, the aroma of spices and herbs filled the air, making my mouth water in anticipation.

Maria was busy chopping onions and garlic, her hands moving with practiced ease. I asked her what she was making, and she smiled as she told me about a traditional dish from her homeland of Puerto Rico called Arroz con Pollo. She explained how it was a one-pot meal made with chicken, rice, and a variety of spices, creating a delicious and comforting dish that was perfect for any occasion.

As I watched Maria work her culinary magic, I knew I had to learn how to make this dish for myself. I begged her to teach me the recipe, and she graciously agreed. She handed me a pen and paper and began to dictate the ingredients and steps needed to create the perfect Arroz con Pollo.

I listened intently, scribbling down every detail as Maria shared her family's secret recipe with me. She explained how the key to a flavorful Arroz con Pollo was in the sofrito, a mixture of onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs that formed the base of the dish. She also emphasized the importance of using high-quality chicken and fresh ingredients to ensure the best possible flavor.

After hours of cooking and simmering, the Arroz con Pollo was finally ready. Maria ladled out generous portions into bowls, and we sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The first bite was pure heaven - the tender chicken, the savory rice, the rich spices all coming together in perfect harmony.

From that day on, Arroz con Pollo became a staple in my own kitchen. I made it for family gatherings, dinner parties, and lazy Sunday afternoons. Each time I cooked it, I thought of Maria and the day she shared her recipe with me.

Over the years, I have made some tweaks and adjustments to the original recipe, adding my own personal touch to make it uniquely mine. I have passed it down to my children and grandchildren, teaching them the art of making Arroz con Pollo with love and care.

But no matter how many times I make it, the memory of that first time with Maria will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the moment when I fell in love with cooking, with the joy of creating something delicious and comforting to share with the ones I love.

And so, as I stand in my kitchen now, preparing another batch of Arroz con Pollo, I can't help but smile as I remember that fateful day. The day when a simple recipe brought me closer to a dear friend and ignited a passion for cooking that has lasted a lifetime.


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