This Puerto Rican Sofrito recipe is the base for so many dishes, like soups, stews, roast pork, bistec, and beans, made with fresh cilantro, garlic, onions, bell peppers, and other ingredients.
Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe
This easy Puerto Rican Sofrito recipe is one of my favorites. I freeze the sauce in ice cube trays and keep it stocked in my freezer so I always have it when I need to whip up a quick meal. Dishes, like beans, stews, and arroz con gandules, all benefit from one or two of these instant flavor boosters, which I melt and sauté into whatever I’m cooking. I recently shared a recipe on instagram for my quick gandules (coming soon!) which so many people asked me to share, but I couldn’t without this recipe that I use as my base.
Although I am not Puerto Rican, my husband is and I have cousins who are from there as well. In fact, I spent all my summers as a kid in Puerto Rico with my cousins, which were the best memories of my life. My cousin taught me how to make so many Puerto Rican dishes. I remember seeing her neighbors chopping up the ají dulces in their kitchen, which are small sweet peppers commonly used in sofrito in Puerto Rico. In fact, thinking back I can almost smell those sweet peppers and culantro. To keep this recipe with ingredients that are easy to find, I give you the option of using them or replacing them with cubanelle peppers. Another ingredient commonly used in sofrito is culantro, an herb similar to cilantro but with long leaves. I omitted them and used cilantro only, which is what my family usually does when they cant get them.
Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe Ingredients
- Onion: Swap the yellow onion with red or white onions.
- Peppers: Here I used a red bell pepper and cubanelle peppers. If you can find aji dulce peppers, use about 15 to 20 of them instead of the cubanelles. You can also use green bell pepper in place of cubanelle.
- Garlic: I use 10 cloves for maximum flavor.
- Olive Oil: You don’t need a lot of oil, I use just one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to help it blend. You can also add a little water.
- Optional Ingredients: In Puerto Rico, they always use culantro, also know as recao, an herb similar to cilantro but with long leaves.
How to Make Homemade Sofrito
Making sofrito from scratch is very simple. Some recipes call for tomato sauce, but my family never uses it. Instead we usually add tomato sauce to the recipe when needed.
- Roughly chop the onions, peppers, cilantro and garlic and put them in a bowl.
- Working in batches, pulse the mixture in a blender or food processor until finely chopped and semi-smooth but still chunky. Be careful not to blend too much – you don’t want a puree.
What are the best recipes using sofrito in cooking?
You can add a few tablespoons of sofrito to anthing you’re cooking when you want to add extra flavor. I especially love adding it to latin stews, beans and soup. Here’s a few recipes to use sofrito:
- Latin Yellow Rice
- Arroz Con Gandules
- Arroz Con Pollo
- Quick Black Beans
- Puerto Rican Beans
- Gandules Guisados
- Carne Guisada
- Pollo Guisada (Latin Chicken Stew)
- Slow Cooker Pork and Gandules Stew
How to Freeze Puerto Rican Sofrito
To freeze the sofrito, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. The next day, pop the cubes out of the tray, transfer them to a zip-locked bag, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Latin Recipes You’ll Love:
- Slow Cooker Pernil (Puerto Rican Roast Pork)
- Colombian Chicken Sancocho
- Dominican Beans (Habichuelas Guisadas)
- Bisteces a la Mexicana (Mexican-Style Beef Stew)
- White Beans with Aji Verde Sauce
Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
- 2 large cubanelle peppers, seeded and roughly chopped*
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 large bunch cilantro, stems and leaves, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 packed cups)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch culantro, optional if you can find it
- Roughly chop all ingredients and combine in a large bowl.
- Pulse in the blender or food processor in about 4 to 5 batches until finely chopped and semi-smooth but still chunky, but don’t over-blend it into a puree. You may have to stop and use a spoon to mix things around to get it to blend evenly. If you must, you can add a few teaspoons of water to each batch to help it blend.
- Transfer the sofrito into ice cube trays to freeze for later use.
- Can be frozen up to 6 months. Refrigerate up to 7 days.