Arroz con Pollo

Everybody in north America has had some kinda arroz con pollo at some point in life, I’m betting. Arroz con pollo; chicken with rice. It’s a one-pot meal (as long as you don’t eat too many vegetables 😉 ) and it’s beautiful to look at. It kind of reminds me of paella and I’m shocked that that thought has just now — just this second — come into my head. Why’d I never think of that before?

arroz con pollo

It’s cooked in a similar way and uses many of the same ingredients as paella but to me, it’s a more approachable fare since it uses plain old long grain rice, any chicken pieces you want, and no saffron. At least, my recipe doesn’t use saffron.

Instead I add some turmeric for a pretty yellow color. Some recipes call for safflower stamens (aka “bastard saffron”) which can often be found in Latin groceries under the name “azafran en flor” and it’s cheap as hell, y’all. You could maybe try some annatto (achiote) powder, too; it would add a different flavor but I bet it would be a good difference!

For the chicken, I usually buy a whole chicken and cut it up, using half of the pieces — thighs and halved breasts — for arroz con pollo and using the legs, wings and other assorted pieces to make a rich chicken stock, then pick the meat from that to make chicken tortilla soup. Two meals from one chicken! But of course, you are welcome to use just thighs or drumsticks or even boneless chicken breast if you want. I do recommend keeping the skin on any cut you decide to use. It adds great flavor and keeps the chicken juicy.

For a vegetable side dish, I like roasted cabbage with cumin seeds or simple, sauteed zucchini and onions or this cucumber and orange salad.

arroz con pollo


Arroz con Pollo

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  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces (bone-in legs, thighs, breasts)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (or 1/4 cup green bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup tomato
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water


  1. Mix spices together and coat chicken pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high and brown chicken on all sides. Remove.
  3. Soften onion, carrots, jalapeno and tomato in remaining oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and tomato paste and a tablespoon or two of water if it’s sticking. Cook the vegetables, stirring, until tomatoes have broken down and mixture is thick.
  5. Add the turmeric and cook 30 more seconds.
  6. Add rice and stir to get grains coated. Add the water and stir.
  7. Nestle chicken pieces skin side up into the rice. Pour any accumulated juiced from the bowl into the skillet.
  8. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer.
  9. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 30 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit 10-20 minutes.
  10. Garnish with parsley, lemon or lime wedges, hot sauce or cheese

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arroz con pollo


  1. Holly Brown on May 27, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Going to try this , tonight. 🙂

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Hope you enjoy, Holly!

  2. Renee on May 27, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Looks Delish! Thanks Hila. I’m going to give it a go tonight. I even have all of the ingredients in my kitchen. No trip to the store ☺️

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      I love when that happens! ?

  3. Leonard Dickey on May 27, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    You are eclipsing Irma’s, “The Joy of Cooking” My kitchen sissy bible from infancy! Everything about your style shouts freedom, full gallup, head high, never been restrained by halter or hobble.

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      What a nice compliment, Leonard! Thank you! ?

  4. pat Soltis on June 1, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Hello, Hilah,

    It’s been quite a while since I’ve commented on your recipe posts, but I have enjoyed reading them and cooking some of them.

    This past Monday (the “official” holiday) I was alone but not lonely. I made a Turkish short-grain rice pilaf with eggplant, tomatoes, pine nuts, black pepper, cumin, and allspice. I was pleased with the results.

    Hope Chris and Flint are well and happy.


    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Pat!
      Your pilaf sounds delicious. Where do you get your pine nuts? I had a bad experience with “pine nut mouth” a few years ago and have been shy of them since.

  5. Milagritos on June 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I’m Peruvian and until this very moment I thought my arroz con pollo was great. Then yours came into my inbox. Hats off to you Hilah! I’m going to make your arroz next weekend for a big family gathering – I’m sure it’ll be a hit!

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      I look forward to hearing what you think of my version!

  6. SDAR on July 5, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Hilah! My finacee and I love your recipes! Question: Was there an Arroz Con Pollo v. 1? Is this version 2? We swear there was a version with chicken stock and celery, however, this version substitutes water and there is not any celery. Thanks! SD & AR

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Hi SD & AR,
      You know, I may have sent a version of arroz con pollo recipe out in a newsletter a while back … You can def add celery if you like celery. It’s good with or without. And as far as chicken stock, totally use that if you have it. I tend to write recipes in (to me) the simplest, easiest way which means I’ll often call for water when broth can be used. Should prob get in the habit of writing out the option 😛

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