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Cuban-Style Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo)

Cuban-Style Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo) 4.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Mar 6, 2019

Here's a fairly easy version of the classic Cuban comfort food dish. Just a pinch of saffron threads is all you need.

This recipe originally appeared in Week 5 of the Voraciously Meal Plan of Action newsletter; link is here.

Make Ahead: The dish tastes even better after a day's refrigeration. To reheat, warm up the rice and chicken, then re-sear the thighs separately, skin sides down, in a skillet.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; with rice left over

  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 4 large, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium seeded green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pimento-stuffed manzanilla olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup plain tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 ounces pale beer
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • Small pinch saffron threads


Squeeze the juice from both lime halves over the chicken thighs, then season the chicken generously all over with salt and pepper. Let them sit for a few minutes while you prep the rest of your ingredients.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof saucepan until shimmering, over medium heat. Add the chicken, skin sides down; sear for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown with crisped edges; turn the thighs over and cook for 8 minutes on the second sides. The chicken will not be cooked through. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered chicken fat/oil into a heatproof container (for saving or discarding once cooled).

Stir the onion, green bell pepper and garlic into the pot. Cook (medium heat) for about 5 minutes, until they have softened and the onion is slightly translucent. Add the sliced olives, tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, cumin and bay leaf; cook for about 3 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Add the beer, broth, rice, saffron threads and the teaspoon of kosher salt, stirring to incorporate. Increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low.

Return the crisped chicken thighs to the pot, skin sides up, nestling them into the rice just enough so their tops remain exposed. Partially cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid.

Find the bay leaf and discard it. Let the chicken and rice rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

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Recipe Source

Inspired by a recipe from “Memories of a Cuban Kitchen,” by Mary Urrutia Randelman and Joan Schwartz (Wiley, 1996).

Tested by Tanya Sichynsky.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (using low-sodium chicken broth and 1/2 cup cooked rice): 500

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 24g 37%

Saturated Fat: 6g 30%

Cholesterol: 145mg 48%

Sodium: 890mg 37%

Total Carbohydrates: 35g 12%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 31g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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