Discover the Secret to Perfect Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo


Arroz con Pollo, which translates to “rice with chicken,” is a beloved dish throughout Costa Rica. This one-pot wonder is a colorful and flavorful meal that’s perfect for any occasion. Let’s dive into the secrets of making the perfect Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo.


The key to the perfect Arroz con Pollo is in the fresh ingredients and the layering of flavors.

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, and corn)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon annatto powder or saffron for color
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for cooking


Follow these steps to create a dish that’s bursting with the authentic flavors of Costa Rica.

Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and brown the chicken. Remove and set aside.

Cook the Vegetables:

  1. In the same pot, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, cooking until the onion is soft.

Combine and Cook:

  1. Stir in the tomato sauce and annatto powder, then add the rice, ensuring it’s well-coated with the mixture.
  2. Add the chicken back to the pot along with the chicken broth.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Final Touches:

  1. Add the mixed vegetables and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Stir in the chopped cilantro just before serving.

FAQs: Common Questions About Making Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo is a classic dish with many variations. Here are some FAQs to guide you.

Can I use boneless chicken?

Yes, boneless chicken breasts or thighs can be used and may reduce cooking time.

What if I don’t have annatto powder?

Turmeric can be used as a substitute for color, though the flavor will be slightly different.

Can I add other vegetables?

Absolutely, feel free to include vegetables like red beans or bell peppers.

Is Arroz con Pollo gluten-free?

Yes, this dish is naturally gluten-free.

How long does Arroz con Pollo last?

Properly stored, it can last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo is a festive and versatile dish that brings families together. With its rich flavors and vibrant colors, it’s a celebration of Costa Rican culture on a plate.

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