Authentic Arroz Con Pollo, or Latin chicken and rice, is the ultimate one-pot meal. It’s a classic Latin dish that I grew up on and now cook for my family.
Arroz Con Pollo, Lightened Up
So many people ask me about my favorite dishes I make at home for my family, and this is certainly one of them! My mom is Colombian, and she used to always cook her version of this dish for me. It’s definitely a family favorite! If you want a lower-carb option, try my Cauliflower “Rice” and Chicken version. You may have also tried my Mom’s Arroz Con Pollo recipe. If so, I know you’re going to love my version!
Chicken recipes are the most popular in my house. There are many variations on the classic arroz con pollo. It is a traditional Latin American and Spanish chicken and rice recipe. I make many versions of this dish depending on my mood or what’s in my refrigerator.
This easy arroz con pollo recipe is the perfect answer to busy weeknights. It’s a one-pan meal that makes for simple cleanup. A lot of the cooking time is hands-off while the rice and chicken cook. My family likes to add hot sauce or Colombian aji picante and serve it with a simple green salad on the side.
What is Arroz Con Pollo in English?
Arroz con pollo is a popular dish in Spanish and Latin American cuisine. In English, it is translated to “rice with chicken.” It’s a classic comfort food that is enjoyed in many Spanish-speaking countries, including South America, the Caribbean, Spain, Mexico, and throughout Latin America. Every country makes it slightly different, and it can also differ in each household. Arroz con pollo is usually served as a main dish, either alone or with a side of plantains, avocado or a salad. It is a hearty dinner that is perfect for feeding a crowd or for a comforting family dinner.
How I make arroz con pollo lighter
Most recipes call for chicken on the bone with the skin on. Here I opted for boneless, skinless thighs to keep the dish lighter and help it cook faster. If you want to use bone-in thighs, just remove the skin. You can also use drumsticks. White meat is not my personal preference, but you can use diced chicken breast if you prefer.
- Chicken: I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can also use chicken on the bone, just remove the skin. Diced chicken breasts will also work.
- Seasonings: I use Sazon seasoning, adobo seasoning, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and chicken bouillon which adds great flavor. A touch of vinegar also adds depth to the recipe.
- Aromatics and Herbs: Onions, garlic, cilantro and scallions
- Vegetables: Red bell pepper and tomato. You can also add frozen peas and carrots for more veggies.
- Rice: I like to use long-grain white rice such as Carolina.
I season my chicken and rice with sazon, a common Latin spice blend. If you can’t find it at your grocery store, you can make your own. My homemade sazon recipe calls for coriander, cumin, ground anatto seeds, garlic powder, salt, oregano, and pepper. If you don’t have annatto, you can substitute it with turmeric.
So, there you have it – get some hot sauce and dig in!
Variations and Tips:
- You can add green olives, alcaparrado, pimientos or peas.
- Use a few threads of saffron instead of the Sazon.
- Add some sofrito for extra flavor.
- Use drumsticks, bone-in thighs or boneless chicken breasts in place of boneless thighs.
- To make with brown rice, you can use quick cooking parboiled rice although I prefer white.
- Leftovers can be frozen for up to 6 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator the night before, then heat in the microwave or oven.
More Latin Rice Dishes You Will Love!
- Arroz Congri (Rice and Black Beans)
- Arroz con Gandules (Rice and Pigeon Peas)
- Latin Yellow Rice
- Skillet Taco Cauliflower “Rice”
- Fiesta Lime Rice
Arroz Con Pollo (Latin Rice and Chicken)
- 8 skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Sazon, homemade (see link above) or Badia Sazon Tropical
- about 1/2 tsp adobo powder, Goya
- about 1/2 garlic powder
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 scallions
- 2 tbsp bell pepper
- 1 medium vine tomato, diced
- 2 1/2 cups enriched long grain white rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- kosher salt to taste, about 2 tsp
- Season chicken with vinegar, 1/2 tsp sazon, adobo and garlic powder and let it sit 10 minutes.
- Heat a large deep heavy skillet on medium, add 2 tsp oil when hot.
- Add chicken and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
- Place onion, cilantro, garlic, scallions and pepper in mini food processor. Add remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and sauté onion mixture on medium-low until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add tomato, cook another minute. Add rice, mix well and cook another minute.
- Add water, bouillon (be sure it dissolves well) and remaining sazon, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Taste for salt, should taste salty enough to suit your taste, add more as needed.
- Add chicken and nestle into rice, bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-low until most of the water evaporates and you see the liquid bubbling at the top of the rice line, then reduce heat to low heat and cover. Make sure the lid has a good seal, no steam should escape (You could place a piece of tin foil or paper towel in between the lid and the pot if steam escapes).
- Cook 20 minutes without opening the lid. Shut heat off and let it sit with the lid on an additional 10 minutes (don't peak!!!) Fluff with a fork and eat!