Dad’s Arroz con Pollo

in Dinner

Yesterday I tore open a pile of perfectly wrapped gifts and was greeted with: one cute/ugly sweater, two romance novels (alright?), one dvd of Sleepless In Seattle (a classic!), a super fancy wallet, various kitchen tools and a knife sharpening stone (thanks papa!).

I’ve wanted this particular sharpening stone for exactly two years. I’ve probably looked at it a dozen times online; lamented about buying it for forever (it’s a tad expensive).

For some reason I can justify dropping dollar$$ on shoes, but have issues with doing so on useful things. I’m a complicated human.

I was also gifted uninterrupted, guiltless free time.

Usually when I have a few hours to spare, I feel guilty about work or chores that I should be doing, so instead of chillaxing, it turns into me staring at the wall all stressed out.

But not yesterday!

I spent three hours, in the middle of the day with peace and quiet, reading Mindy Kaling’s book by the sparkly Christmas tree.

Oh Mindy! She’s my future bestie. All in all I’d say it was a pretty awesome Christmas.

This arroz con pollo is what I dream of on the plane ride over from LA.

It comes from my dad, who was in turn taught this dish by my grandfather (my mom’s father).

There’s nothing complicated about it. Just rice and chicken.

Latin comfort food, basically.

It tastes like home.

Fun fact: The way my grandfather and father make it is actually more of a cross between a paella and an arroz con pollo.

They use valencia (short-grain) rice, throw in saffron and use a ton of spices.

These tweaks make it slightly different than your traditional arroz con pollo, but in my opinion, these changes make it over the top amazing.

Dad’s Arroz con Pollo

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Serving Size: Serves 4

Dad’s Arroz con Pollo


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs (skin on)
  • 2 drumsticks (skin on)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 1 3/4 cup (14 ounce bag) of Valencia rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock


  1. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken, using tongs, and cook on opposite side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic to the top of the onions and cook until fragrant; 2 minutes or so. Throw in tomatoes and red bell pepper. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot removing any of the chicken fat pieces (hello! flavor!!). Next, add spices: cumin, tumeric, paprika, saffron, crushed red pepper, a teaspoon of salt and mix.
  3. Dump in rice, being sure to coat with the tomato mixture. Place chicken atop of rice mixture, and pour just enough chicken stock to cover the rice, about 2 cups. Bring the pot to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for about 45 to 50 minutes, and until rice is tender. Note: Throughout the cooking process, I checked on it every 15-20 minutes or so and topped it off with about 1/4 cup of stock each time. In the end, I added 4 cups of chicken stock total. Also, in the last 15 minutes, I salted to taste, adding about 1 teaspoon more of salt.

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue/the view from great island December 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm

What a warm and delicious color and taste palate this dish has. There is a dusting of snow out our windows this morning, so the sunny yellows and reds of this arroz con pollo look soooo appealing.


Heather (Heather's Dish) December 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

this sounds so delicious – arroz con pollo used to be a staple in our Friday spanish classes and i looked forward to it every week!


Melissa // thefauxmartha December 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Oh my word! This looks so yum. And it’s a one pot meal. Holla!


yummy supper December 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Adrianna, I hope you had a great Christmas! Your dad’s Arroz con Pollo looks like such comfort food – yum!
Wishing you all the best for 2012!


Kate Mai December 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Yum- this looks delicious. And best of all, I can get all the ingredients in Paris, except perhaps the special rice. Merci!


Adrianna December 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Oh you should be able to find the Spanish Valencia rice! xo


kyleen December 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Gorgeous photos! I totally understand what you mean when you say that you can buy expensive shoes but not something more useful. Happy holidays!


Christense December 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Ooh, this looks good, and it’s something I can make out of ingredients I can find here in China. The tumeric may be a bit tough to find, but I bet it’s out there somewhere!


Chris @ TheKeenanCookbook December 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Thanks for sharing your Dad’s (and Grandfather’s) recipe. I always love when a food blogger shares a family recipe, just something very special about that (like my great grandmothers cheese pie, 90 year old recipe, wowzers).
I’ve never made arroz con pollo but the times I’ve had it I’ve loved it. I’m staring this in my reader for future cooking. It looks delicious!


Adrianna December 29, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I actually love when bloggers share family recipes too!


Kitty December 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Oh Que Rico! “Arroz con Pollo” one of my favorites! The pix r beautiful!


Whitney December 27, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Wow!! Looks delish and so easy!


Steph December 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm

This looks amazing! I’m definitely going to be making it soon.

What sharpening stone did you get? I am in the market for a new knife-sharpening device and would love to know what you think!


Adrianna December 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm
Nadette@Eat, Read, Rant! December 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm

I definitely want some of this right now. #starving


Kelly@frugalfoodiefamily December 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I can’t wait to try this recipe! And don’t you just love those le creuset pots?!!


Courtney December 29, 2011 at 1:07 am

I am a big fan of your blog and I just wanted to compliment you on your wonderful food photography, not only for this post but for all of them. They look so professional and make my tummy grumble evey time I visit.

Keep up the great work and happy cooking!


Adrianna December 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm

You’re so very awesome/sweet/wonderful. THANK YOU!


Deborah December 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Hi Adrianna! Where is your father from?
Do you know exactly from which doues this recipe comes from?

Cheers! and thanks for sharing


Adrianna December 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm

My dad was born in Colombia, but my grandfather (my mom’s father) was from Peru, so it definitely doesn’t have a concrete place of origin. :)


Deborah December 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm

definitley not, I’m form Venezuela and we loveee to eat Arroz con Pollo every week hehe 😉


lourdes canela February 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

Adriana I love your blog I am Peruvian my dad is Colombian and my mom is Perubian


lourdes canela February 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

I forgot to put that I love the Colombian arroz con pollo which is made of yellow rice and the Peruvian arroz con pollo which is green rice because of the cilantro, I love them both of course I eat my Peruvian with papa a la huancaina

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet December 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I, also, am hoping to become besties with Mindy Kaling. She is so adorable!
This dish looks absolutely delicious and so fitting for the cold, winter months. Yum!


Rachel December 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Can you use chicken breast instead?


Adrianna December 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Yes, for sure!


Rachel December 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Would you use chicken breast with the bone in or boneless?


Adrianna December 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I would use bone-in. It generally has more flavor.


Alison December 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Yum! I could go for that right now. There’s something so magical about simple and heart-warming dishes like this one!


Lori @ RecipeGirl December 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I want this because it’s beautiful and rustic!


Lindsay December 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Hi- Do you think a regular large pot with a lid would do the trick instead of a dutch oven? It is not an iron pot.


Adrianna December 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm

For sure! I’ve made it in a regular pot before and it sticks a bit more on the bottom but it works.


Rachel January 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I made this the other day and my husband and I loved it! However, I could not find valencia rice at any of the stores near by. I didn’t want to drive further so I settled on using arborio rice. Do you have any other suggestions for a substitute?

And holy cow saffron is expensive! I knew it was, but have never purchased any. I felt like a drug dealer pulling out the little bag of saffron.


Adrianna January 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm

YAY! I’m glad it worked out despite the $$ dropped on saffron. It is expensive, but the Barilla brand is pretty inexpensive (like $6). I think the arborio rice is the best substitute, as is pearl rice. :)


Stacy t January 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Making this Friday night for my boyfriend’s birthday! Awesome! Thanks for sharing!


Adrianna January 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Rad! I hope he likes it. Happy Birthday, Stacey T’s boyfriend!


Tara January 4, 2012 at 4:18 am

I made this the other night and it was delicious. The only problem was I couldn’t find that rice and I was worried about cooking any long grain rice for that amount of time. I went with brown rice and unfortunately, it didn’t cook all the way. I read through the comments and saw that for next time I can try to use arborio rice. Anyway, I definitely want to try making it again. Thanks for the great recipes!


Dana B @ thebakingbooth January 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm

This looks excellent. I love cumin and love the excuse to buy saffron :) Hope you had a great Christmas!!


Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos January 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm

When I saw you had Arroz Con Pollo – I just had to look and, right now, I’m shelving any and all menu planning that was simmering in my mind all day to make this. Arroz Con Pollo is my go-to must have comfort food and this just would make a day so much better! BTW – found you via Saveur and I’m officially obsessed with A Cozy Kitchen. I’m adding it to my “Daily Must Reads”.


Adrianna January 6, 2012 at 1:21 am

Love it!!!! So glad you’re here.


Noelle (@singerinkitchen) January 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I made a meal like this 2 nights ago! Yours looks and sounds fab!


Nealey @ Dixie Caviar January 16, 2012 at 6:10 am

This looks so good! I’ve never had arroz con pollo before, but I have a feeling it’s a pretty perfect meal. Yum..


Sandra January 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I made this tonight for the BF and I & it was AMAZING. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe :) We were totally


Sandra January 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm

taken aback by the price of the saffron, but it was SO WORTH IT, and made the dish totally amazing!! SO SO SO GOOD! Thanks so much!


Megs @ Little Stirrings February 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Definitely made this within a week of reading the post. And I’m officially obsessed. :) Thanks for sharing!!

(Also – for Saffron buyers. I’ve found the cheapest way to buy it is in the little country markets in PA Dutch Country or in a Natural Foods Co-Op where they sell spices in bulk. Still a little painful, but SO worth it for the price!


Adrianna February 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm

YAY! This is such a good tip. Thank you!


Den February 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Ana, yo tengo a unos cuoatns episodios (en inglés), quieres que te los lleve cuando vaya a Valencia?


Nina February 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Psst… it’s “turmeric” and should be available in any grocery spice aisle. It is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties.


rebecca February 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm

made your beautiful recipe tonight and it was just delicious. i was delighted at how quickly the recipe came together, and blown away by the lovely color and flavor the saffron added to the rice. thank you for sharing a family favorite!


Adrianna February 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

This makes me so happy.


Truly Smitten March 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

My mouth is seriously watering at these photos….


Pooja March 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I know what you mean! And the way she says mozzzzarrrrellla! Anyway, you are definitely not annoying!


Clau May 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm

It looks delicious but where I live it is not easy to get Paprika, can I use smoked Paprika instead?


Adrianna June 1, 2012 at 12:05 am

Sure. If you’re a fan of the flavor of smoked paprika, add it. I personally don’t want a smokey flavor with arroz con pollo. If you’re not a fan, then I’d recommend leaving it out all together. :)


Alyssa July 31, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Will plain white rice or jasmine rice work in this dish?


Adrianna Adarme July 31, 2013 at 8:10 pm

It should. I’d just keep an eye on it since it cooks faster than Valencia rice.


Chelsey August 19, 2013 at 6:17 am

Thank you so much for sharing this family recipe. I made it for my Spanish boyfriend last week and it got a huge seal of approval! His Mom also apparently makes Arroz con Pollo exactly like this, so it will be a regular from now on. 😉 Thanks for sharing!


Destiny July 30, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I’m going to try this tonight. Just curious, where in LA did you find Valencia rice?


Adrianna Adarme July 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Hmm…I actually made this recipe for the blog at my parent’s house in Florida. I bet Whole Foods would have it. Or any Latin market. What part of town are you in?


Destiny July 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I live in Long Beach, work in Glassell Park near Silver Lake/Atwater Village. I found a Spanish market in Glendale that had the most options. I picked up GOYA brand “California Pearl Rice/ Arroz Tipo Valenciano.” The perfectionist in me still wants a bag or box that says “Valencia Rice” on it.


Destiny July 30, 2014 at 1:38 pm

And just to clarify, I understand that I bought “Valencia style rice” but GOYA also has a box of “Valencia Rice” on their website which is what confuses me.


Adrianna Adarme July 30, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Right, it basically is valencia rice. I say go with that. It is confusing, but you should be good to go!


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