Cuban arroz con pollo, yellow rice with a chicken drumstick served on a white plate and garnished with sweet peas.

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo is a traditional Cuban dish made with chicken and yellow rice. Like many Cuban dishes, it’s not fancy but it is hearty, soul-satisfying comfort food.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Keyword arroz con pollo, chicken and yellow rice, chicken recipes, cuban chicken recipes, cuban food
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 627kcal
Author Elizabeth


  • 8 pieces of Dark Meat Chicken bone in and skin on (about 2½-3 pounds)
  • teaspoons Salt divided – plus ½ - 1 teaspoon to add at the end if needed
  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion finely diced
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • ¼ cup White Wine
  • 2 cups Long Grain White Rice
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • cup Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 12 ounces Light Beer room temperature
  • 15 ounce can Sweet Peas for garnish drained


Prep Work

  • Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Season it with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Add the remaining 1½ teaspoon of salt, oregano, paprika, turmeric, cumin and black pepper to a small bowl. Stir the seasoning mix to combine.
  • Dice the onions, mince the garlic and measure out the rest of the ingredients.

Brown the chicken

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken, skin side down.
  • Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the chicken from the pot and set on a plate or pan.
  • Tent the chicken with a piece of foil, to keep it warm. Don’t worry that the chicken is not cooked all the way through. It will finish cooking with the rice.

Make the sofrito

  • Do not wash the pot. Set it back over medium heat and add the onions.
  • Cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Next, add the tomato paste and the prepared seasoning mix, to the pot. Stir well until combined.
  • Carefully, add the white wine to the pot and stir, while gently scraping any bits off the bottom.
  • Cook for 1 minute, or until most of the wine cooks out.

Make the arroz con pollo

  • Add the rice, chicken broth, water, and the bay leaf to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  • Add the chicken back to the pot, along with any juices collected on the plate. Arrange the chicken in the pot so it’s not stacked.
  • Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Stir the rice frequently while waiting for the liquid to come to a boil.
  • Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • The rice should be visible on the surface. It should not sink to the bottom of the pot when stirred.
  • Give everything a good stir. Lower the heat to low, cover and cook the chicken and rice for 20 minutes.
  • Give everything a good stir after 10 minutes. Then stir again after the 20 minutes.
  • Taste a little bit of the rice. If it needs a salt, this is the time to add it. As a reference, I added just a little over ½ teaspoon of salt to our arroz con pollo. Stir well.

Time for the beer

  • Raise the heat to medium-low and slowly add the beer, while stirring. Cover and cook the chicken and rice for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Taste the rice, if it’s still not done, lower the heat to low, cover and let it steam another 15 minutes or until done.
  • Garnish the arroz con pollo with the sweet peas, if desired.


Calories: 627kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 1815mg | Potassium: 595mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1345IU | Vitamin C: 19.7mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 2.9mg