Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe

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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
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.

Puerto Rican Sofrito

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.

  1. Roughly chop the onions, peppers, cilantro and garlic and put them in a bowl.
  2. 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:

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.

How To Make Puerto Rican Sofrito

Puerto Rican Sofrito frozen

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Puerto Rican Sofrito
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Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe

0
27 Cals 0.5 Protein 4 Carbs 1 Fats
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Yield: 14 servings
COURSE: condiment
CUISINE: Latin
Puerto Rican Sofrito is the base for so many dishes, like stews, roast pork, bistec, and beans, made with fresh cilantro, garlic, onions, bell peppers, and other ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
    Puerto Rican Sofrito
  • Transfer the sofrito into ice cube trays to freeze for later use.
    How To Freeze Sofrito
  • Can be frozen up to 6 months. Refrigerate up to 7 days.

Notes

*If you can find aji dulces you can use them in place of the cubanelle peppers. Use about 15 to 20.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 cup, Calories: 27kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 0.5g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 7.5mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g
Keywords: Puerto rican sofrito, sofrito

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18 comments

  1. Hi. Would live to try, but have never heard of the two peppers you mentioned. Can any other be substituted? Poblano, or if it needs spice, jalapeno?
    Thanks!

  2. Easy to make & freeze so you have it on hand for recipes. Bravo! 

  3. This is a true Puerto Rico condiment in which my mother handed down to me and I to my daughter. So now my granddaughter uses it on her foods. It’s a generation keeper.

  4. Chill, puerto rican sofrito is only supposed to be stored in 2 different types of containers, and only 2. The Tupperware with the ridges on top usually in a burnt orange, avocado green or mustardy yellow. Or in an expired margarine land o lakes or country crock.

  5. This sounds delicious!  Do you have any bean recipes you use this for that you can share?  Thank you!

  6. Thanks, Gina! My recipe is similar, I just make a much larger amount and freeze it in small, 2 cup containers or even sometimes ice cube trays and pop them into a zip lock bag after frozen. That way when I need it, I have enough for a few weeks at a time.

    My recipe (handed down from my Titi Irene)
    1 large bunch cilantro (or two smaller) trim but leave stems)
    1 bunch culantro (a/k/a recao) trim but leave stems
    1 lb peeled garlic (yes, you read that right — you can always decrease it but that’s the recipe and everyone I know loves it)
    2 medium onions chopped
    10 aji dulce, seeded and stems removed
    5 cubanelle peppers chopped and seeded
    1 green bell pepper chopped and seeded
    1 red bell pepper chopped and seeded
    1 tomato, chopped or 10-12 grape tomatoes
    1-2 tbl olive oil

    Put all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth. Note, if you are using a blender, you may need to put @1/4 cup water to get things moving but add ingredients slowly.

    This should make 4 2 cup plastic containers

  7. Exactly how my mom and I make it. We always opt for the aji dulce and culantro. I freeze it in ice cube trays. YUM! The house always smells amazing when we make a batch.

  8. YUMMMM !!! This sounds so Good ! I wonder if it can be canned up ? I think pressure canning would make it with a cooked flavor and mushy ! Maybe water bath canned by adding some acid !? Any thoughts ??? Thank You Patti

  9. Thank you 💝

  10. Culantro can be found in Asian produce stores mostly Thai, as it is used as a garnish on the soup called Pho. I found it in our Chinatown in Honolulu.

  11. This recipe is identical to my family’s recipe. It is absolutely delicious!

    I was curious if any other readers/Skinnytaste fans have any variations? Would love to hear any little edits that may have made your family’s sofrito special as well.

    Thank you as always, Gina!

    • Awesome!! My cousin sometimes adds sazon right into the sofrito, but I add it to the dish instead. I’ve seen some people add olives or capers.