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Arroz con pollo or chicken rice

Arroz con pollo recipe

Arroz con pollo –literally rice with chicken – is another one of those meals that I crave when I want a good home cooked meal. Each person’s version of that home cooked meal varies based on their personal experiences. I’m sure that you can remember the smell and the taste of the dish you crave, and of course the pleasure that you feel when you take the first bite is similar for everyone.

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Why is it that those cravings usually show up right when you’re surrounded by every possible choice -food wise- except for the food you really crave? I could go on forever about my theories on food cravings, but back to arroz con pollo, which again like so many other Latin / South American / Ecuadorian dishes has many variations from one country, region, city, or home to another.  The ingredients, besides the rice and chicken, will differ from one family’s recipe to another or simply based on what one has available in their refrigerator or pantry.

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There are also different preparation methods for arroz con pollo or chicken rice, one of the typical ways to make chicken rice is to first poach or boil the chicken until tender, then remove the meat, while separately cooking the rice in the broth where the chicken was cooked, and later combining all the parts together.

The other method – which I used for this recipe – is to sauté the chicken pieces with the vegetables and then add the rice and broth or beer/wine and cook everything together until the chicken and rice are cooked. I prefer to prepare the arroz con pollo this way because I like the way all the flavors concentrate together, also the first method – cooking the rice and chicken separately – is more of what I consider a chaulafan de pollo than arroz con pollo. Chaulafan de pollo is an Ecuadorian version of chicken fried rice and it is also a great dish.

This chicken rice is a great dish for satisfying hungry people – including a hungry husband’s need for carbs after a long run. I like to serve it with the typical side dishes that accompany many other South American meals: curtido de cebollas or pickled onions, fried ripe plantains, avocado slices and a good hot sauce or aji.

Chicken rice {Arroz con pollo}

Arroz con pollo, or chicken rice, is a delicious Latin American dish of chicken and rice cooked with onions, tomatoes, peppers, celery, garlic, achiote, cumin, cilantro, among other ingredients.
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Course: Main dish
Cuisine: Ecuadorian, Latin, Latin fusion, South American
Keyword: Arroz con pollo, Chicken, Chicken rice, Rice, Rice with chicken
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 3 lbs chicken assorted pieces
  • 1 tbs achiote powder
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • ½ tbs ground coriander
  • 10 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2-3 tbs oil or butter
  • 1 white onion diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 celery stalks finely diced
  • 4 roma tomatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup beer or white wine
  • 1 ½-2 cups water or broth adjust as needed (in altitude or with a larger grain rice you will need more liquid)
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 1 cup peas fresh or frozen
  • 3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper


  • Mix the crushed garlic, achiote, cumin, coriander and salt together.
  • Rub the garlic seasoning on the chicken pieces.
  • Heat the oil or butter on medium high heat in large sauté pan, add the chicken pieces (skin side down) and cook until browned on each side.
  • Add the diced onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, and celery, mix well and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add 1 cup of beer or white wine, cook for about 20-25 minutes over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half, stir frequently.
  • Add the broth or water, rice, peas and carrots, mix well.
  • Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to very low and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  • Stir in the chopped cilantro.
  • Serve with maduros fritos, a small salad or lime pickled onions, avocado slices, and hot sauce on the side.
How to make arroz con pollo

Step by step preparation photos for arroz con pollo or chicken rice

Mix the crushed garlic, achiote, cumin, coriander and salt
Rub the seasoning mix on the chicken
Cook the chicken until browned on each side
Browning chicken for arroz con pollo
Add the diced veggies
Add the beer or wine
Add the broth, rice, peas and carrots
Preparing arroz con pollo or chicken rice
Homemade arroz con pollo
Easy and delicious arroz con pollo
Arroz con pollo with side dishes
Arroz con pollo or Latin style rice with chicken
Arroz con pollo or chicken rice
Arroz con pollo or chicken rice
Arroz con pollo or rice with chicken recipe

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  1. I tried this recipe for the first time tonight. I did no find achiote so added a little paprika. I have made a Spanish Arroz con pollo before but not a South American style. My wife had a friend from Argentina who had a recipe similar to your recipe that she absolutely loves. The only addition I added was some saffron. My wife LOVED the dish and went back for seconds. This will be a staple dish in our household moving forward. Thanks!

  2. My boyfriend and myself went to Ecuador this year. So when we had to chose a menu for our Christmas celebration, the choice was natural to cook Ecuadorian and share some of the tast experiences we made during our trip with our family.
    We went for Fish ceviche as a starter, Arroz con pollo served with tostados, Curtido de cebolla y tomate and Aji criollo as main dish, Mousse de maracuja as dessert, and Naranjillazo to end the menu- all recipes from your blog – It was absolutely delicious! And it made me discover a small Latin American shop in Brussels, where I was lucky to find all the ingredients!
    Thanks a for sharing these recipes!
    I will definately try out some more!

  3. I made it for my family and they loved it. I’m not such of a cook but your recipes are making me better. Thank you for sharing the step by step recipes. My mom’s recipes were very vague, just add this and a little of that, never turned out good. I miss my mom’s cooking and all the wonderful Ecuadorian food.

  4. I made this recipe last night for a Girls Night OUT! Everyone LOVED it success!.. It was delicious and easy to make I added pitted alcaparrado and chorizo!!!

  5. Hello from UK.

    I have just found your website with amazing recipes while looking for Beef en daube recipe. I am not sure if I can buy achiote here can I use anything else.


    Hi Bee – I have a few friends in the UK and they can find achiote (annatto) at specialty Latin stores. You can use paprika powder if you can’t find achiote, it helps add the reddish color, the flavor isn’t exactly the same, but it will still work with this dish.

  6. Thank you for such a fantastic recipe! My husband made this a couple of times now and it is awesome!!! We can’t wait to try some more of your recipes. Not only does my husband get the Arroz con pollo that he loves, but the recipe has become his specialty in the kitchen. You rock Laylita!

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