Puerto Rican-style Asopao Recipe with Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables

Asopao Puerto Rican-style

Puerto Rican-style Asopao Recipe with Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables
Region / culture: Puerto Rico | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 6


Asopao Puerto Rican-style
Asopao Puerto Rican-style

Asopao, a comforting and hearty dish, is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine. This Puerto Rican-style Asopao recipe brings a taste of the island's rich culinary tradition to your kitchen. It's a savory, soup-like dish that combines the flavors of chicken, rice, and a variety of vegetables and spices, making it a complete meal in one pot. Perfect for any occasion, Asopao is not just food; it's a cultural experience.


Asopao has its roots deeply embedded in Puerto Rican history, tracing back to the influences of Spanish and indigenous Taíno cuisines. It is often considered the Puerto Rican answer to paella and gumbo, blending elements from different cultures into a unique and flavorful dish. Over the years, Asopao has evolved, with families passing down their versions from generation to generation, making it a beloved comfort food on the island.


How to prepare

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook onion, green pepper, garlic, bacon, and salt pork over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add tomato sauce, bay leaf, broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle oregano on chicken and brown it in olive oil on all sides.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add rice and cook for 25 minutes.
  6. Stir in capers and add more stock if the rice becomes dry. The dish should be quite soupy. Remove the bay leaf.
  7. Heat asparagus and peas separately, then drain them.
  8. Ladle the rice mixture into soup plates and top each portion with asparagus and peas.


  • For a seafood version, replace chicken with shrimp or a mix of seafood.
  • Vegetarians can omit the meats and use vegetable broth, adding more vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
  • For a spicier dish, add diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Asopao is as flavorful as possible, consider these tips:

- Use a Dutch oven or a heavy pot for even cooking.

- Brown the chicken well before adding it to the pot, as this adds depth to the dish's flavor.

- Don't rush the simmering process; slow cooking allows the flavors to meld beautifully.

- Adjust the liquid as needed. Asopao should have a soupy consistency, so add more broth if it becomes too thick.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Asopao hot, garnished with fresh cilantro or parsley for an added burst of flavor. A side of crusty bread or tostones (fried plantains) complements the dish well, perfect for soaking up the flavorful broth.

Cooking Techniques

Browning the chicken and sautéing the vegetables before simmering are key techniques in this recipe. These steps build a flavor foundation that's crucial for a rich and satisfying Asopao.

Ingredient Substitutions

If salt pork is unavailable, use pancetta or additional bacon.

- Arborio rice can replace regular rice for a creamier texture.

- Fresh peas and asparagus can be used instead of canned for a fresher taste.

Make Ahead Tips

Asopao can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. The flavors often deepen overnight, making leftovers even more delicious. If the Asopao thickens in the fridge, add a little broth when reheating to return it to its soupy consistency.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Asopao in deep bowls, garnished with a lemon wedge and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. A colorful side salad or avocado slices can add freshness and contrast to the hearty dish.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp beer or a glass of white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc pairs wonderfully with Asopao, balancing its richness and complementing its flavors.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Asopao in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, adding broth as needed to maintain its soupy consistency. Avoid microwaving, as it can unevenly heat the dish.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Asopao contains approximately 350-400 calories, making it a hearty and energizing meal option. Its balanced composition of carbs, proteins, and fats ensures a satisfying and nutritious meal.


A serving of Asopao is rich in carbohydrates, primarily from rice and vegetables. One serving contains approximately 45-55 grams of carbohydrates. These carbs provide the body with energy, making Asopao a fulfilling meal.


The fats in this Asopao recipe come from olive oil, bacon, and salt pork, contributing to the dish's richness and mouthfeel. A serving contains about 10-15 grams of fat, a moderate amount that fits well into a balanced diet.


Chicken, the main protein source in Asopao, makes this dish particularly satisfying and nutritious. Each serving offers around 25-30 grams of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

Asopao is packed with vitamins and minerals, thanks to its variety of ingredients. It's particularly rich in Vitamin C from bell peppers and peas, Vitamin A from tomato sauce, and iron from the chicken. It also provides calcium and potassium, contributing to bone health and proper muscle function.


This Asopao recipe contains common allergens such as garlic and onions. It's also worth noting for those with sensitivities to gluten to ensure that the chicken broth used is gluten-free. Always check the labels of processed ingredients like tomato sauce and chicken broth for potential allergens.


Overall, Asopao is a balanced and nutritious dish, offering a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a comforting meal that can fit into a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.


This Puerto Rican-style Asopao recipe is a celebration of flavor and tradition, offering a comforting and nutritious meal that's perfect for any occasion. With its rich history and versatile nature, Asopao is a dish that invites experimentation and can be adapted to suit various tastes and dietary needs. Whether you're new to Puerto Rican cuisine or a longtime fan, making Asopao is a delicious way to bring a taste of the island into your home.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was filled with a sense of awe. It was passed down to me by my dear friend Maria, who had learned it from her grandmother back in Puerto Rico. Asopao Puerto Rican-style, a hearty and comforting dish that combines the flavors of the Caribbean with the warmth of a home-cooked meal.

I remember the day Maria invited me over to her house to teach me how to make asopao. The kitchen was filled with the tantalizing aromas of garlic, onions, and peppers. Maria had all the ingredients laid out on the counter, ready for us to begin our culinary adventure.

She started by sautéing the sofrito, a mixture of onions, peppers, and herbs that forms the base of many Puerto Rican dishes. The aroma that wafted through the kitchen was intoxicating, and I knew we were in for a treat.

Next, Maria added the chicken pieces to the pot, browning them to perfection before adding the rice and broth. As the asopao simmered on the stove, the flavors mingling and melding together, Maria shared stories of her childhood in Puerto Rico, of lazy afternoons spent in her grandmother's kitchen, learning the secrets of traditional island cuisine.

I listened intently, soaking in every word and every gesture as she stirred the pot and adjusted the seasonings. It was clear to me that this recipe was more than just a list of ingredients and instructions; it was a connection to a rich and vibrant culinary tradition that spanned generations.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of anticipation, the asopao was ready. Maria ladled generous portions into bowls, topping each with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. The first bite was like a taste of paradise – rich, savory, and bursting with flavor.

From that day on, I made asopao Puerto Rican-style a regular part of my cooking repertoire. I experimented with different variations, adding shrimp, chorizo, or vegetables to create new and exciting twists on the classic dish. Each time I made it, I felt a sense of pride and satisfaction, knowing that I was carrying on a culinary tradition that had been passed down through generations.

Over the years, I shared the recipe with friends and family, passing on the knowledge and love that Maria had shared with me. And each time I made asopao, I felt a little closer to my Puerto Rican roots, to the vibrant culture and flavors that had shaped me into the cook I had become.

So, as I sit here now, stirring a pot of simmering asopao, I can't help but feel grateful for the recipe that Maria shared with me all those years ago. It has brought me joy, connection, and a sense of belonging that I will always cherish. And as I take my first spoonful of the fragrant, flavorful dish, I know that the spirit of Puerto Rico – and the love of cooking – will always be a part of me.


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