Mom’s Spanish chicken and rice, otherwise known as arroz con pollo is a delicious one pot meal the whole family will love.
Mom’s Spanish Chicken and Rice
Arroz con pollo can be made so many different ways and also varies from country to country. In fact, I don’t use a recipe when I make this, I just use whatever I have on hand so it may never turn out the same twice. This is my Mom’s version, which I’ve lightened up and recently altered slightly. This recipe first appeared here in 2008 but was in desperate need of a new photo so I hope you enjoy it!
Mom makes her arroz con pollo with beer, green olives and some of the brine. She also adds frozen mixed vegetables to it for more flavor. Typically, she uses whole chicken pieces on the bone (skin and all) which gives it great flavor, but for this recipe I used boneless, skinless thighs.
What is Sazon seasoning made of?
Some of my Latin recipes you’ll see “sazon” listed in the ingredients. I buy Badia’s sazon because it has no msg. You can also just make it yourself if it’s not available near you. Sazon basically means seasoning in Spanish; it typically includes salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, dried ground coriander seed, cumin, ground oregano and ground achiote (annatto) seeds. The achiote (annatto) is what gives the sazon the reddish color and makes the rice yellow. You could sub paprika for the achiote, if this isn’t available to you. Some varieties contain azafrán (saffron), a pinch is all you’ll need if you want to add it. When you make your own, a good ratio is one tbsp of each spice. Mix well and store it someplace dry. When a recipe calls for a packet, simply use 1 1/2 tsp in place of the sazon. Best part, no msg. Here is the full homemade Sazon recipe.
It’s perfectly fine to use the chicken on the bone. And yes, you can use white meat if you prefer however, I personally find white meat too dry in this dish for my taste. I love this served with a little hot sauce on top and a simple salad on the side. If you would like to try my version which is made slightly different, and has no beer, click on Arroz Con Pollo, Lightened Up or make them both and let me know which you like best!
Mom's Spanish Chicken and Rice
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 medium bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 3/4 cups water
- 3/4 cups light beer
- 2 oz tomato sauce
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1 packet Badia sazon, or make your own, see above
- 6 oz frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 tbsp 30 g alcaparrado (or pitted green olives, capers and pimentos)
- 2 1/4 cups uncooked long grain white rice
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Place onion, bell pepper, garlic, and cilantro in a chopper or food processor to chop fine.
- In a large heavy pot with a good fitting lid such as a Dutch oven; heat 1 tsp of oil over medium heat.
- Season chicken pieces with salt and sauté until browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove chicken and set aside.
- Heat remaining oil in skillet, then add onions, peppers, garlic and cilantro.
- Sauté, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
- Add water, beer, tomato sauce, chicken bouillon, sazon, chicken and salt.
- Cook 10-12 minutes on medium heat.
- Add frozen mixed vegetables, alcaparrado (or pimientos) with a little of the brine (liquid) from the olive jar, and rice.
- Stir and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until water boils down and barely skims the top.
- Once the water level reaches the top of the rice, cover with a tight fitting lid so no steam escapes and cook 25-30 minutes. (Tip: if your lid doesn't have a good tight fit, place a paper towel over the pot then cover as pictured below)
- Shut heat off and let the pot sit wit the cover on an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
165 comments on “Mom’s Spanish Chicken and Rice”
Delish! Beer is NOT gluten free. I subbed with chicken broth.
This may be my new Skinnytaste favorite, which is high praise because there are so many dishes I adore! Packed with flavor and super comforting. I will put this on regular rotation from now on. Excellent!
This is one of our new favourites! I halved the recipe the first time and was kicking myself, I know for next time I’ll want lots of leftovers! I did add a bit more olives and capers, otherwise followed exactly and it was perfect! The rice was so perfectly cooked, my husband already wants me to make it again next week!
Twice I have made this and both times it was delicious. Only problem was the rice got overcooked. I’m sure I have done something wrong but I will make it again and master this because it is so delicious.
Looking forward to making this over the weekend! To clarify: in the text leading up to the recipe here, it says when making the homemade Sazon mix that you can substitute paprika for achiote, but in the actual homemade Sazon recipe, it says to use turmeric in place of achiote. Those two spices (paprika and turmeric) are going to produce different flavors and colors, so which is the better option to substitute with? Thanks!
Paprika if you can’t get achiote
Could you link this one to the new personal points? THANK YOU!
In your directions, you don’t mention at what step to add the rice…jist an FYI. 😁
Is there any way that I could substitute brown rice for the long grain white rice? My mother is diabetic, and brown rice does not affect the blood sugar as drastically. My experience has been that brown rice needs to be cooked quite a bit longer than white rice. Any suggestions? Thank you
I just saw this and my husband was type 2 diabetic (thankfully, he brought everything down with diet), but I still like to use Brown rice when I can. I was going through Gina’s other recipes and saw this one. In the notes about the recipe on the bottom, she says To make with brown rice, you can use quick cooking parboiled rice…here is the recipe of her’s that I use…hope this helps
Added a pinch of saffron! My kitchen smells amazing!
Made this Saturday night and oh. my. gosh. It is absolutely delicious!! Soooo flavorful. I made my own Sazon seasoning from the link provided I keep it in my spice cabinet. We’ve tried the instant pot version of this too, and like it, but this was a fun Saturday-night-get-in-the-kitchen-and-cook kind of recipe. Now we’re wrestling for the leftovers, haha. We will definitely make it again!!
Could you make this in the instant pot and if so how long would you cook after adding everything?
What is the serving size on this?
1 1/2 cups.
this was so awesome! I veganized it – then I made TJ sriracha tofu and added that to the rice. It was comforting, filling and I will make again. I made the sazon recipe and did 3 tsps to the recipes – yum!!!!! thank you so much!
Can you use short grain rice for paella?
Really tasty dish, family loved it. I agree with comments below that for this amount of rice and chicken, 2 Sazon packets are needed. That’s what I did. I also seasoned the liquid with salt to taste before I added the chicken back in. Not sure if it was only 2 teaspoons but in this type of recipe, realize your rice will taste like the liquid so if the liquid is bland, your dish will be too. I also seasoned my chicken with more than just salt because I love flavor! Garlic, onion powder, adobo and black pepper!
I have been looking for a recipe for Arroz Con Pollo. I had it at a restaurant in Washington State and just loved it. I haven’t made it yet, but your Mom’s recipe looks close to what I had. Theirs had a white cheese, maybe Mozzerella? I am not sure…
Ive never had cheese in my arroz con pollo, wonder if you can look up the menu online!
I have never heard of cheese in Puerto Rican arroz con pollo and I’ve been making it since I was a teenager.
The white cheese was probably Cojita cheese. Its popular in Mexican dishes.
Maybe it’s imperial rice. that has cheese on top.