Arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) -Easy Costa Rican Recipe

Costa Rican Arroz Con Pollo Chicken and Rice Recipe

Arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) is the quintessential Costa Rican dish. It’s on every menu and can be found at almost any celebration.

It’s such a common dish that ticos have dubbed it “arroz con siempre” (rice with always). It’s traditionally  served with a simple lettuce, tomato and lime juice salad and either potato chips or french fries – so yummy!

A few years after I married my Costa Rican husband, I spent a summer in the Central Valley of Costa Rica learning how to make all of his favorite dishes from childhood (like this chicken and garbanzo bean soup- yum!). Arroz con pollo from his Aunt Flor was the first dish that he mentioned, and I dutifully learned all of her secrets.

Her recipe was time and labor intensive however, and so I decided to make it so much easier- easy enough for a weeknight dinner! I didn’t change the taste, though. Here I share with you my easy and flavorful version of the most popular Costa Rican dish – arroz con pollo.

Arroz Con Pollo Easy Costa Rican Recipe

This arroz con pollo recipe combines rice flavored with chicken stock and a rich sautée of vegetables and spices. It’s prepared in two parts and then combined at the end. It’s common to prepare arroz con pollo ahead of time and reheat, or serve immediately after preparing.

Arroz con pollo Recipe

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 4 C white rice (affiliate)
  • 32 oz chicken stock (affiliate) /broth (optional)
  • 1 tsp achiote/annato paste (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt (affiliate)
  • 1 TB oil
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 can of mixed vegetables (affiliate), drained
  • handful cilantro
  • 1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped finely (optional)
  • 1 small white or yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic (affiliate) cloves, pressed
  • 3 TB ketchup (affiliate)
  • 3 TB soy sauce (affiliate)
  • 3 TB Salsa Lizano* (affiliate)

*Salsa Lizano is a traditional Costa Rican flavoring, and used in most dishes to create a distinctly Costa Rican flavor, like in picadillos.


Instructions:

Start by preparing the rice in the rice cooker. You will prepare the rice the traditional Costa Rican way, lightly coating the bottom of the rice cooker with oil. Measure out the rice and pour it over the oil. Next add the salt and achiote.

(Achiote is a colorant commonly used in Latin cooking. It does not affect the flavor of the dish, only the presentation, and for this reason it is optional.  It can be found in most supermarkets in the Latin aisle, or you can order it on Amazon here) (affiliate).

Stir the rice and seasonings to fully coat. Measure out equal parts chicken stock to rice (4 cups) and add to the dry rice and stir again. The chicken stock can be replaced by water in this recipe, but you would want to add a bit more salt, and know that the rice won’t have the same flavor.  Cook the rice.

While the rice is cooking, you will begin to make your sofrito, which is the flavor base for the chicken. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium heat.

Once melted, add the cilantro, red pepper, onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. This is your sofrito. When the arroz con pollo dish is finished, these ingredients should be imperceptible to the eye, so it is important to chop everything VERY finely.

Next add the chicken and cilantro to the pan, and stir until the cilantro has wilted and the chicken is coated in the sofrito. By this time, the rice should be cooked. Add all of the rice to the skillet and begin to mix everything together.

Arroz Con Pollo Costa Rican Main Dish With Rotisserie Chicken

This is where you will add your ketchup, soy sauce, and Salsa Lizano to the arroz con pollo. I add them one at a time in a circle on the pan, stirring after each addition until the sauces are evenly mixed in. I do find that using the rice paddle from the cooker is the best way to do this.

After the sauces have been added, mix in the mixed vegetables. Taste everything to make sure that the arroz con pollo has the right amount to salt. You can adjust the flavor by adding salt, the sauces, or a little water if the flavor is too strong.

Costa Rican Arroz Con Pollo Recipe

 

Serve arroz con pollo with salad and potato chips or homemade french fries… and an Imperial beer if you are feeling like a fiesta! And don’t forget the Tres Leches for dessert!

Want to see how truly easy this recipe is? Check out our step by step Costa Rican Arroz con pollo tutorial cooking video!

 

 

Arroz con pollo Recipe

Arroz con pollo is a popular Costa Rican recipe. Using a rotisserie chicken, this easy family recipe is ready in 30 minutes. Weeknight arroz con pollo!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Latin
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Christa Jimenez

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 4 C white rice 
  • 32 oz chicken stock  or broth (optional)
  • 1 tsp achiote/annato paste optional
  • 1 1/2 tsp  Salt 
  • 1 TB oil
  • 1 rotisserie chicken deboned and shredded
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 can of mixed vegetables  drained
  • handful cilantro
  • 1 red pepper cored, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped finely optional
  • 1 small white or yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3 TB ketchup 
  • 3 TB soy sauce 
  • 3 TB Salsa Lizano* 

Instructions

  1. Start by preparing the rice in the rice cooker. You will prepare the rice the traditional Costa Rican way, lightly coating the bottom of the rice cooker with oil. Measure out the rice and pour it over the oil. Next add the salt and achiote. (Achiote is a colorant commonly used in Latin cooking. It does not affect the flavor of the dish, only the presentation, and for this reason it is optional.  It can be found in most supermarkets in the Latin aisle, or you can order it on Amazon here) (affiliate).
  2. Stir the rice and seasonings to fully coat. Measure out equal parts chicken stock to rice (4 cups) and add to the dry rice and stir again. The chicken stock can be replaced by water in this recipe, but you would want to add a bit more salt, and know that the rice won't have the same flavor.  Cook the rice.
  3. While the rice is cooking, you will begin to make your sofrito, which is the flavor base for the chicken. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium heat. Once melted, add the cilantro, red pepper, onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. This is your sofrito. When the arroz con pollo dish is finished, these ingredients should be imperceptible to the eye, so it is important to chop everything VERY finely.
  4. Next add the chicken and cilantro to the pan, and stir until the cilantro has wilted and the chicken is coated in the sofrito. By this time, the rice should be cooked. Add all of the rice to the skillet and begin to mix everything together.
  5. This is where you will add your ketchup, soy sauce, and Salsa Lizano to the arroz con pollo. I add them one at a time in a circle on the pan, stirring after each addition until the sauces are evenly mixed in. I do find that using the rice paddle from the cooker is the best way to do this. After the sauces have been added, mix in the mixed vegetables. Taste everything to make sure that the arroz con pollo has the right amount to salt. You can adjust the flavor by adding salt, the sauces, or a little water if the flavor is too strong.
  6. Serve arroz con pollo with salad and potato chips or homemade french fries... and an Imperial beer if you are feeling like a fiesta!

Recipe Notes

*Salsa Lizano is a traditional Costa Rican flavoring sauce and used in most dishes to create a distinctly Costa Rican flavor, like in picadillos. It is not spicy.

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Costa Rican Arroz Con Pollo Chicken and Rice Recipe

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36 Comments

  • Reply
    Sidra Khan
    August 14, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I like the rice dish and speccially chicken Admin Thanks

  • Reply
    Martha
    October 11, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Yum!! Look like wonderful comfort food. Love me some chicken any day!

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Martha, yep, total comfort food! ~Christa

  • Reply
    Evelyne
    October 11, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    This is the next way we will bring trying rice!

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Evelyne, I hope that you love it as much as we do! ~Christa

  • Reply
    Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance
    October 11, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Oh my gosh, I was looking for a recipe just like this. My dad loves this dish and I have never been able to make it. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe I can’t wait to give it a try
    Theresa

  • Reply
    Joy
    October 11, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    YUM! This looks so good- can not wait to make it!

  • Reply
    Amaia
    October 12, 2016 at 5:04 am

    It looks super yummy!

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Amaia, thanks for stopping by! ~Christa

  • Reply
    Susan
    October 12, 2016 at 6:10 am

    This rice dish looks fabulous! How fun to learn how to make authentic Costa Rican dishes.

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Susan, learning to make these dishes has been so fun! Hope you can check out a few more of the recipes! ~Christa

  • Reply
    Rosemary
    October 12, 2016 at 6:33 am

    I’m always looking for new ways to make rice. Thanks for this.

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Rosemary, you are very welcome! ~Christa

  • Reply
    Daune | Cottage in the Oaks
    October 12, 2016 at 7:25 am

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Duane I hope you love it! ~Christa

  • Reply
    carolyn
    October 12, 2016 at 8:13 am

    So yummmmm!!! Looks delish!

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Carolyn thanks so much for stopping by! ~Christa

  • Reply
    SheilaG- Plum Doodles
    October 12, 2016 at 8:14 am

    That looks so yummy, and easier than I expected. Hubby will be thrilled with a new dinner option. 🙂

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Sheila, for sure- I definitely made a 4 hours production into a weeknight recipe. And it’s budget friendly-too. Hope your husband liked it! ~Christa

  • Reply
    Holly
    October 12, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    My boys love anything chicken and rice and I know this dinner would be a hit! Hugs, Holly

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Holly, thanks for stopping by. Hope you get to try it soon! ~Christa

  • Reply
    Barbara
    October 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Oh my goodness – my good friend is Cuban and I force her to make this for me at least once a month. Ha! Love the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Barbara, so funny! Now maybe you can make it for her… and get her ropa vieja recipe for me! Thanks for stopping by! ~Christa

  • Reply
    Maddie
    October 12, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    This looks delicious! Yum.

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Maddie!

  • Reply
    Linda
    October 12, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. It looks very delicious. Best wishes for fall. Linda

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks Linda, you too!

  • Reply
    Ashlee
    October 12, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    This looks so good! I’m a vegetarian but I would def make this minus the chicken! My mouth is currently watering!

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      Ashlee it could be great with veggie stock and no chicken. If you make it, please let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply
    Leanne
    October 12, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    This looks so delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Hope you love it Leanne!

  • Reply
    Michelle James
    October 13, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    This looks so yummy!

    • Reply
      Christa
      October 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks Michelle! It’s a favorite here!

  • Reply
    fifa 17 coins
    November 3, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Especially helpful, looking onward to visiting again

  • Reply
    Amanda Bruckhart
    January 29, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Just wondering what alterations i need to make if i dont have a rice maker?

    • Reply
      Christa
      January 29, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Hi Amanda! Thanks for stopping by! That’s a great question… I would make the rice exactly the same but stovetop. (You could even use Minute Rice although a true Costa Rican would never stand for that!) I love the tutorials at The Kitchn, and here is a link to a good post they have for making rice on the stove: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-rice-on-the-stove-44333 PLEASE let me know how it turns out! ~Christa

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