Arroz con Pollo | Kelly’s Kitchen

Hello friends! Welcome to Kelly’s Kitchen on this beautiful fall Saturday. Way back, mid-summer, a reader requested a specific comfort food that I was so excited to make, but also felt like it would be better to wait until the weather turned cool. So, I put it on the back burner, so to speak. This week, though, I felt that it would be a great fall recipe to share with y’all. Today, we are making Arroz con Pollo – Latin chicken and rice. 


Don’t quote me on this, but I am pretty sure every culture has a chicken and rice recipe. The comfort food of a nation, chicken and rice has it all. No matter the cuisine, comfort is inherent to the humble main ingredients. We covered a Persian version with our Joojeh Kabob recipe, so let’s do a Latin version today.

Sazon Spice Blend

The main seasoning for this dish is a Latin spice blend called Sazon. You can find it already blended at some supermarkets, but it’s easy to make it yourself, as I did. Sazon consists of Coriander, Cumin, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Salt and Achiote. 

Achiote gives this dish its golden color. It is interchangeable with Annato, which may sound familiar to you. Achiote and Annato are spices, but are more widely used as natural coloring agents for things like cheddar cheese, or chorizo.  

I don’t have Achiote or Annato in my spice cabinet, so I used Turmeric. Also, I have whole Coriander seeds, so I ground them in my handy opens in a new windowspice grinder. Then I just whisked all the spices together and the result is a distinct Latin flavor and fragrance, mostly from the Cumin, but the fresh ground Coriander gives it a floral scent.

Sazon Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients, mix well.

Arroz con Pollo

To start, I am using four bone-in skinless chicken thighs. But you can use anywhere from 4-8 thighs. Boneless or bone-in. Get the chicken thighs marinating in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon Sazon, garlic powder and adobo. Let it come together while you prep the rest of the ingredients.


Rinse 2 ½ cups of long grain rice in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs mostly clear and set aside. Then, roughly chop the scallions, cilantro, ½ bell pepper (I am using red, but you can use whatever color you like), ½ onion and 3 cloves of garlic. These four ingredients will go into the food processor to create a chunky salsa-like consistency. Dice up the tomato and set aside. 

Then, in a dutch oven or a deep heavy bottom skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the chicken thighs. Brown them for about 5 minutes each side. Then remove the thighs from the pan and set aside. 

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sautè the onion, cilantro, pepper mixture until soft, about 3 minutes. 

Add the diced tomato and sautè for another minute. Then add the rice, sautè fora another minute and add the 4 cups water and bouillon. Stir well to dissolve the bouillon.

A note on the bouillon: I prefer opens in a new windowBetter Than Bouillon, to the powdered, cubed bouillon. Better Than Bouillon is a paste and I find its flavors are more concentrated and less salty; it melts instantly and a little goes a long way. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend you pick some up! 


Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. At this point, I went rogue by adding a bag of frozen veggies. You can do this or not, I just wanted to add more texture and veg. Taste the broth and add more salt if needed. 


Then add the chicken thighs back to the pot and simmer until most of the water is reduced and you can see the rice near the top of the pot, about 7-10 minutes.

Now, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Then, turn off the heat altogether and leave the pot to sit, covered for 10 minutes. 

Finishing Touches

Plate up you Arroz con Pollo with a generous helping of rice and place a thigh on top. I added a squeeze of lime juice, a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a pinch of finishing salt. I like opens in a new windowJacobsen or  opens in a new windowMaldon Sea Salt Flakes for a nice crunch. 

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope you try Arroz con Pollo – Latin Chicken and Rice. I am thinking that over the course of the season I will tackle Chicken and Rice recipes from different cuisines. So, if there is a Chicken and Rice dish you have always wanted to try, or that is special to you or where you’re from, please do let me know! Don’t forget you can find me on opens in a new windowInstagram and opens in a new windowFacebook too! Take care everyone, be well. xo Kelly

Arroz con Pollo – Latin Chicken and Rice

  • 4-8 Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Sazon Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Adobo Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 5 Scallions
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper
  • 1 medium Tomato, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups Long Grain Rice
  • 4 cup Water
  • 1 Chick Bouillon Cube or 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon
  • Kosher Salt to Taste
  1. Season chicken with vinegar, 1/2-1 tsp sazon, adobo and garlic powder and let it sit at least 10 minutes.

  2. Place onion, cilantro, garlic, scallions and pepper in mini food processor. Process to a chunky salsa consistency.

  3. Heat a large deep heavy skillet on medium, add 2 tbsp oil when hot.

  4. Add chicken and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

  5. Add remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and sauté onion mixture on medium-low until soft, about 3 minutes.

  6. Add tomato, cook another minute. Add rice, mix well and cook another minute.

  7. Add water, bouillon (be sure it dissolves well) and remaining sazon, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

  8. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  9. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-low until most of the water evaporates and you see the rice at the surface, then reduce heat to low heat and cover.

  10. Cook 20 minutes without opening the lid. Shut heat off and let it sit with the lid on an additional 10 minutes.

  11. Top with a squeeze of lime, a pinch of finishing salt and more cilantro.




  1. Joan Evensen wrote:

    Hi Kelly-

    This is looks amazing! I’m putting this in my weekly meal plan.

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Good morning Joan, wonderful idea! This meal is so great to add to your rotation. Do you do meal planning, as in portioning out for the week? If so, this recipe is perfect because you definitely get a lot of rice to work with. We have a lot of rice leftover and I am already thinking of how to stretch it out: adding beans, or doing a fried rice with scrambled eggs and tortillas. You can get a lot of variety for a meal plan with this recipe. Thanks so much for tuning in today! Have a great weekend, xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  2. Beth Crawford wrote:

    Hi Kelly
    I love your recipes! This one looks like something my family will love. I will be making this soon. Thank you for sharing your recipes and tips with us !

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hi Beth, Thank you so much for stopping by Kelly’s Kitchen! This recipe is definitely a hit at our house, I am sure your family will enjoy it. Let me know how it goes for you! Have a great weekend, xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  3. Sylvia Espinoza wrote:

    Grew up with Arroz con Pollo and made it often while raising a family. Your recipe sounds like a gourmet version! I’d love to taste it. My favorite part of today’s post? “I went rogue…” Lol! Looking forward to more chicken and rice recipes as we go into winter. Love and hugs to you, Kelly~

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hi Sylvia, There is always a little bit of “going rogue” in my recipes, Sylvia! You have to keep it interesting, right? Haha! Thanks so much for stopping by today, give this one a try and see how it compares to your version. Let me know how you like it! See you next week, have a wonderful weekend, Sylvia! xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  4. Terry wrote:

    This looks really good.. I like the idea if it being cooked the stove top. Gma will love this one

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hi Mom, yeah, it’s really an easy stovetop recipe. Let me know how you like it! talk soon, xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  5. jan wrote:

    Is there a place that has all your recipes stored? I am not very technical and don’t know how to find your old recipes.

    Thanks, Jan

    Posted 10.24.20
  6. Suzanne Smith wrote:

    This sounds so good! I love the sazon mixture, and thanks for the tip on the better than bouillon! I will definitely try that. This looks just delicious. Especially in fall, I love a good hearty dish and this is great.

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hi Suzanne! Yes, this is a perfect recipe for fall. And, YES on the Better Than Bouillon. I swear by it! All of the flavors are wonderful. When I make plain ol’ rice, I like to stir in a teaspoon of the vegetable bouillon before cooking, such a good flavor! Thanks for writing in today, it’s good to hear from you! I hope you get out and enjoy some nature this weekend; I love to see what you will paint next! xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  7. Sharyn wrote:

    Looks delicious. My request for a rice and chicken receipe: chicken biryani. I have tried several recipes and none have come even close in flavor to my Granny’s. Restaurants here in the US don’t either.

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hello Sharyn, Biryani! Wow, that’s a great suggestion! We will definitely do that one. I hope my recipe will come close to your Granny’s! Stay tuned for that, thanks so much for writing in with your request. Have a lovely weekend, xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  8. Bridget wrote:

    I love to cook, and I love to read recipes. I already have several cooking sites that I follow. When I saw that there was going to be a regular recipe on this blog, I wasn’t sure I’d take the time to read another recipe. However, I started reading your posts, and found that your recipes were great! Thoughtful versions of classics. Your posts have become a favorite of mine – and I suspect lots of others. Thanks!

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hi Bridget, How wonderful to hear from you! I am so happy that you have found my recipes to be worth the read! I have a lot of fun writing this Saturday column and it really makes my day that you find it enjoyable. Thank you for writing in, have a great weekend, xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  9. Kristine wrote:

    Kelly, ¡Muchas gracias de Mexico por esta receta! Voy a cocinar arroz con pollo pronto, Kristine

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hola Kristine, ¡Maravilloso! Tendrás que dejarme saber si te gusta esta receta. Que tengas un gran fin de semana, xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  10. Eva Popovich wrote:

    I gave it 5 stars because you gave us the recipe! When I was a new and eager cook in South Florida, a Latina friend made this for me. It was soo good, I asked for the recipe. She said she could not tell me, but she would come over and show me how to make it. And so she did, and again it was a wonderful dish. But I have never, ever been able to successfully make it since! Now I have your recipe, and I am going to make it.
    Thank you so very much!

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hi Eva, What a great story! Well, I am so happy to share the recipe with you so you can make it at home. I hope it comes out for you just how you remember it. Thanks so much for writing in today and sharing your story, xo Kelly

      Posted 10.24.20
  11. Mary wrote:

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight and just love it! It is easy to make and took about an hour from start to finish. The blend of flavors is great. I grew my own coriander this year and ground it for the spice mix. I also used Basmati rice and that worked well. Thank you for another great recipe.

    Posted 10.24.20
    • Hi Mary, I am so happy you made the recipe and that you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for writing in to let me know. I bet your fresh coriander really made it special. Thanks so much! xo Kelly

      Posted 10.25.20
  12. Chris wrote:

    When did arroz con pollo morph into this unappetizing dish? I’ve been cooking it for 30+ years: browned chicken, sauté chopped onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, add rice and saffron and cook until rice starts to toast. Add chicken broth, canned chopped tomatoes, chopped green chilies, s&p, and chicken pieces. Bring to a simmer, cover, bake an hour. Add peas, chopped pimento, and sliced stuffed olives, and 1/2cup of water. Bake 15” more. Dish is a little crusty at the edges, well-flavored, beautiful, and delicious.

    Posted 10.25.20
    • Hi Chris, to be honest, I don’t see how this recipe for Arroz con Pollo is that much different than the recipe you list in your comment. A few different ingredients and spices, but it’s very similar. One big difference though is my addition of Sazon, which is a typical Latin spice blend. Your chicken and rice dish sounds delicious, and I will say that the recipe in this post is quite good as well. To each their own. xo Kelly

      Posted 10.26.20
  13. Eileen wrote:

    I’m ready to try the Arroz con Pollo however, living up here in the mountains of Montana there seems to be a dearth of Adobo powder. Which brand of Adobo are you using? Or Do you have a recipe for it? – Best, Eileen

    Posted 10.26.20

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