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Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo Recipe

This Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo recipe is a delicious fusion of Spanish and Latin American flavors. The chicken is tender, the rice is perfectly cooked, and the blend of spices and seasonings give it an authentic taste. It's a one-pot dish that's perfect for busy weeknights or family dinners.

Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo Recipe

Photos of Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo Recipe

Two ingredients you might not usually find in your pantry are sofrito and gandules. Sofrito is a flavorful cooking base used in many Latin American dishes. It's a blend of onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs. Gandules are also known as pigeon peas. They are a popular ingredient in Caribbean cuisines. You can find both in the Hispanic or International food aisle at your local supermarket.

Ingredients for Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo

Olive oil: It adds richness and depth of flavor to the dish.

Salt pork: It provides a savory and salty taste.

Chicken breasts: The main protein of this dish.

Goya Sazon Achiote: A seasoning that adds a unique flavor and a vibrant color.

Sofrito: A mix of vegetables and herbs that offers a rich base flavor.

Tomato sauce: Adds a tangy sweetness.

Pimento-stuffed green olives: They bring a salty, briny flavor.

Capers: They add a tangy, lemony flavor.

White rice: The base of the dish which absorbs all the flavors.

Gandules: They add a nice texture and are a staple in Puerto Rican cooking.

Salt and Pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance the overall taste.

One reader, Evonne Vergara says:

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This Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are authentic and the dish is so easy to make. The chicken turns out tender and the rice is perfectly cooked. It's a hit with my family every time. Highly recommend trying it out!

Evonne Vergara

Key Techniques for Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo

How to sauté the salt pork and chicken: In a multi-functional pressure cooker, heat olive oil and add salt pork pieces. Stir for about 2 minutes until the edges start to brown. Then, add the chicken and sazon seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is white on all sides.

How to incorporate the sofrito and tomato sauce: After cooking the chicken, add the sofrito and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Then, pour in the tomato sauce, olives, and capers. Stir to combine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly and all flavors are incorporated.

How to prepare the gandules and liquid: Drain the liquid from the can of gandules into a large measuring cup. Add enough water to make 2½ cups of liquid. Then, add the gandules and the liquid to the pot and stir well.

How to release the pressure: After cooking, release the pressure using the natural-release method according to the manufacturer's instructions for about 15 minutes. Then, release the remaining pressure carefully using the quick-release method for about 5 minutes.

How to fluff the rice and serve: After unlocking and removing the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

How To Make Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo

This arroz con pollo is a Puerto Rican inspired version that you can make in your Instant Pot. It also has beans, olives, and white rice.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes
Release Time: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes



  • 2tbspolive oil
  • ½cupsalt pork,diced
  • 2lbchicken breasts,boneless, skinless, and chopped
  • 2pkgsGoya Sazon Achiote
  • 1cupsofrito
  • 8oztomato sauce
  • ½cuppimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1tbspcapers
  • 3cupswhite rice,rinsed
  • 16ozgandules,or green pigeon peas, undrained
  • ¼tspsalt,to taste
  • tspground black pepper,to taste


  1. Turn on a multi-functional pressure cooker (such as Instant Pot) and select Saute function. Heat olive oil.

  2. Add salt pork pieces and stir for about 2 minutes or until edges start to brown. Add chicken and sazon seasoning.

  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until chicken is white on all sides.

  4. Add sofrito and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Pour in tomato sauce, olives, and capers.

  5. Stir to combine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly and all flavors are incorporated. Add rice and mix well. Turn off Saute function.

  6. Drain liquid from the can of gandules into a large measuring cup. Add enough water to make 2½ cups of liquid. Add gandules and liquid to the pot and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Close and lock the lid. Select High pressure according to manufacturer’s instructions; set timer for 17 minutes. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for pressure to build.

  8. Release pressure using the natural-release method according to manufacturer’s instructions for about 15 minutes. Release remaining pressure carefully using the quick-release method for about 5 minutes.

  9. Unlock and remove the lid. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.


  • Calories: 580.45kcal
  • Fat: 21.65g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.29g
  • Trans Fat: 0.12g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 8.46g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.99g
  • Carbohydrates: 61.29g
  • Fiber: 1.15g
  • Sugar: 1.05g
  • Protein: 32.31g
  • Cholesterol: 74.10mg
  • Sodium: 691.04mg
  • Calcium: 32.80mg
  • Potassium: 505.08mg
  • Iron: 2.02mg
  • Vitamin A: 35.04µg
  • Vitamin C: 7.28mg

Crucial Technique for Perfecting Arroz con Pollo

When preparing your arroz con pollo, it's important to thoroughly rinse your white rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This step removes excess starch from the rice, which can make your dish gummy or sticky. After rinsing, let the rice drain well before adding it to the pot. This will ensure that each grain of rice absorbs the flavors of the sofrito, sazon seasoning, and other ingredients, resulting in a more flavorful and perfectly textured Puerto Rican arroz con pollo.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Instant Pot Arroz con Pollo

Prep ahead: Chop and measure all ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Use pre-made: Utilize pre-made sofrito and sazon seasoning to cut down on prep time.

Quick release: Opt for the quick-release method to reduce the overall cooking time.

Multi-task: While the arroz con pollo is cooking, use the time to clean and organize the kitchen.

One-pot meal: Choose recipes that allow for all the cooking to be done in one pot to minimize cleanup.

Efficient chopping: Master efficient chopping techniques to speed up the prep work.

Substitute Ingredients For Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo Recipe

  • olive oil - Substitute with vegetable oil: Vegetable oil can be used as a neutral substitute for olive oil in this recipe, providing a similar cooking function and flavor.

  • salt pork - Substitute with bacon: Bacon can be used as a substitute for salt pork, as it provides a similar salty and savory flavor to the dish.

  • chicken breasts - Substitute with chicken thighs: Chicken thighs can be used as a substitute for chicken breasts, offering a more tender and flavorful alternative.

  • goya sazon achiote - Substitute with homemade sazon seasoning: A homemade sazon seasoning blend can be used as a substitute for Goya sazon achiote, providing a similar flavor profile without the added preservatives.

  • sofrito - Substitute with homemade sofrito: Homemade sofrito can be used as a substitute for store-bought sofrito, offering a fresher and more customizable flavor to the dish.

  • tomato sauce - Substitute with crushed tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes can be used as a substitute for tomato sauce, providing a thicker consistency and a more intense tomato flavor.

  • pimento-stuffed green olives - Substitute with capers: Capers can be used as a substitute for pimento-stuffed green olives, adding a briny and tangy flavor to the dish.

  • white rice - Substitute with brown rice: Brown rice can be used as a substitute for white rice, offering a nuttier flavor and additional nutritional benefits.

  • gandules - Substitute with black beans: Black beans can be used as a substitute for gandules, providing a similar texture and earthy flavor to the dish.

  • salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for regular salt, offering a slightly different flavor and texture to the dish.

Presentation Tips for Arroz con Pollo

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the arroz con pollo, focus on creating a visually appealing plate. Use a ring mold to shape the rice and chicken into a neat, compact mound at the center of the plate. This will give the dish a refined and elegant look.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Add a pop of color and freshness to the dish by garnishing with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley. Sprinkle the herbs over the arroz con pollo just before serving to enhance the visual appeal and add a burst of flavor.

  3. Incorporate vibrant accents: Introduce vibrant accents to the plate by adding a side of colorful pickled vegetables or a small serving of a bright, tangy mango salsa. These elements will not only enhance the visual appeal but also provide a delightful contrast of flavors.

  4. Utilize elegant serving ware: Choose sophisticated and stylish serving ware to present the arroz con pollo. Opt for sleek, minimalist plates or bowls that complement the vibrant colors of the dish and elevate the overall presentation.

  5. Focus on precision: Pay attention to the placement of each component on the plate. Ensure that the rice, chicken, and garnishes are meticulously arranged to create a visually striking presentation that showcases attention to detail.

  6. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Use a squeeze bottle to drizzle a vibrant, contrasting sauce around the edge of the plate. This artistic touch adds a professional flair to the presentation and creates an enticing visual effect.

  7. Highlight the textures: Consider incorporating a crispy element, such as plantain chips or fried yuca, to add texture and visual interest to the dish. Strategically place the crispy element on top of the arroz con pollo for an eye-catching presentation.

  8. Emphasize symmetry and balance: Arrange the components of the dish with a focus on symmetry and balance. Create a visually harmonious presentation by ensuring that the elements are thoughtfully placed and visually appealing from every angle.

Essential Tools for Making Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo

  • Multi-functional pressure cooker (such as instant pot): This is a versatile kitchen appliance that can be used for pressure cooking, slow cooking, sautéing, and more. It's a convenient tool for making a wide variety of dishes, including arroz con pollo.

  • Measuring cup: A measuring cup is essential for accurately measuring and adding liquids to the recipe, ensuring the right balance of flavors and textures.

  • Fork: A fork is used for fluffing the rice after cooking and for serving the arroz con pollo.

  • Spoon: A spoon is useful for stirring the ingredients, mixing the rice, and serving the finished dish.

  • Knife: A knife is needed for cutting the chicken breasts and any other ingredients that require slicing or chopping.

  • Cutting board: A cutting board provides a stable surface for cutting and preparing the ingredients, ensuring safety and cleanliness in the kitchen.

  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl may be used for combining the sofrito, tomato sauce, olives, capers, and other ingredients before adding them to the pressure cooker.

  • Large measuring cup: A large measuring cup is used for draining and measuring the liquid from the can of gandules, ensuring the correct amount of liquid is added to the recipe.

  • Serving dish: A serving dish is necessary for presenting the finished arroz con pollo to be enjoyed by family or guests.

Storing and Freezing Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo

  • Allow the arroz con pollo to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent the rice from becoming mushy and help maintain its texture.

  • For short-term storage, transfer the cooled arroz con pollo to an airtight container. It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

  • When reheating refrigerated arroz con pollo, add a splash of water or chicken broth to help moisten the rice and prevent it from drying out. Heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.

  • To freeze arroz con pollo for longer storage, divide it into portion-sized freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Remove as much air as possible from the bags before sealing to prevent freezer burn.

  • Label the containers or bags with the date and contents for easy identification later.

  • Frozen arroz con pollo will keep well for up to 2-3 months in the freezer.

  • To reheat frozen arroz con pollo, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Then, transfer the thawed dish to a microwave-safe container or a pot on the stovetop. Add a small amount of water or chicken broth to help rehydrate the rice, and heat it until warmed through, stirring occasionally.

  • If you prefer, you can also reheat frozen arroz con pollo directly from the freezer. Place the frozen dish in a covered pot on the stovetop over low heat, adding a bit of water or chicken broth to help steam the rice. Stir occasionally and break up any clumps until the dish is heated through and the rice is tender.

How To Reheat Leftover Arroz con Pollo

  • The best way to reheat leftover arroz con pollo is in the microwave. Place the desired amount of leftovers in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until heated through.

  • Another great option is to reheat the arroz con pollo in a skillet on the stovetop. Add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the leftovers and stir occasionally until heated through, about 5-7 minutes. If the rice seems dry, add a splash of chicken broth or water to help moisten it.

  • For a crispy texture, reheat the arroz con pollo in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the leftovers in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to crisp up the top layer of rice.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can also use it to reheat your arroz con pollo. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftovers in the air fryer basket and cook for 5-7 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through, until heated through and slightly crispy on the outside.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to add a splash of liquid (water, chicken broth, or even sofrito) to help prevent the rice from drying out. You can also add a pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil for added flavor and moisture.

Interesting Trivia About Arroz con Pollo

The Puerto Rican dish Arroz con Pollo is a traditional one-pot meal that combines the flavors of chicken, rice, and various spices. It is a popular comfort food in Puerto Rico and is often served at family gatherings and celebrations. The dish is a perfect example of the fusion of Spanish, African, and indigenous Taíno influences in Puerto Rican cuisine. Its rich and savory flavors make it a beloved staple in many households, and it is often enjoyed with a side of plantains or a fresh avocado salad.

Budget-Friendly Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo

This Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, such as chicken, rice, and canned vegetables, are affordable and readily available. The use of sofrito and sazon seasoning adds depth of flavor without breaking the bank. The total cost for a household of 4 people is approximately $20, making it a budget-friendly option. Overall, I rate this recipe a solid 8 for its affordability and delicious taste.

Is Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo Healthy?

This Puerto Rican arroz con pollo recipe, while flavorful, has some aspects that could be improved from a health perspective. The use of salt pork and sazon seasoning packets, which often contain high amounts of sodium and MSG, may not be the most nutritious choices. Additionally, the recipe relies on white rice, which is a refined grain lacking in fiber and nutrients compared to brown rice or other whole grain options.

To make this dish healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Replace the salt pork with a leaner protein source, such as skinless chicken thighs or turkey sausage
  • Use a homemade sazon seasoning blend made with natural spices like cumin, coriander, and annatto, instead of pre-packaged mixes
  • Swap white rice for brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice to increase the fiber and nutrient content
  • Increase the amount of sofrito, which is a flavorful blend of vegetables, to boost the overall vegetable content of the dish
  • Reduce the amount of added salt and rely on the natural flavors of the ingredients to season the dish

By making these adjustments, you can create a more balanced and nutritious version of this classic Puerto Rican dish without sacrificing taste. The key is to focus on whole, minimally processed ingredients and to be mindful of sodium and saturated fat content. With a few simple tweaks, arroz con pollo can be a satisfying and healthy meal that the whole family can enjoy.

Editor's Take on This Instant Pot Puerto Rican Dish

The recipe for Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo is a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The combination of sazon, sofrito, and olives creates a rich and aromatic base, while the chicken and rice cook to perfection under pressure. The addition of gandules adds a pop of color and earthy flavor, making this dish a true crowd-pleaser. The use of the Instant Pot streamlines the cooking process, making it a convenient and efficient option for a flavorful weeknight meal. Overall, this recipe is a wonderful representation of traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, and it's sure to impress with its bold and comforting flavors.

Enhance Your Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus: Toss asparagus with olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese, then roast until tender and slightly crispy.
Mango Avocado Salad: Combine ripe mango, creamy avocado, red onion, and cilantro for a refreshing and colorful salad.
Coconut Lime Cilantro Rice: Cook jasmine rice with coconut milk and lime juice, then stir in fresh cilantro for a tropical twist on a classic side dish.

Similar Recipes to Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo

Cuban Ropa Vieja: This classic Cuban dish features tender shredded beef in a flavorful tomato-based sauce, served over rice or with a side of plantains.
Mexican Chicken Enchiladas: These cheesy and saucy enchiladas are filled with seasoned shredded chicken and topped with a delicious homemade enchilada sauce.
Brazilian Feijoada: Feijoada is a rich and hearty Brazilian stew made with black beans, pork, and sausage, simmered to perfection and served with rice and orange slices.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo

Bacon-Wrapped Dates: Indulge in the perfect combination of sweet and savory with these bacon-wrapped dates. The crispy bacon complements the sweetness of the dates, creating a burst of flavor with every bite.
Stuffed Mushrooms: These stuffed mushrooms are a delightful appetizer that is sure to impress your guests. The savory filling pairs perfectly with the earthy flavor of the mushrooms, creating a mouthwatering dish that will leave everyone wanting more.
Tiramisu: Indulge in a luscious Italian dessert featuring layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and creamy mascarpone cheese. Topped with a dusting of cocoa powder, this elegant dessert is sure to impress your guests.
Panna Cotta: Treat your taste buds to a silky-smooth Italian custard that is delicately flavored with vanilla and topped with a vibrant fruit compote. This light and refreshing dessert is the perfect way to end a meal.

Why trust this Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo Recipe:

This recipe for Arroz con Pollo is a trusted and authentic Puerto Rican dish, carefully crafted with traditional ingredients like sofrito, sazon achiote, and gandules. The combination of these flavorful elements creates a rich and aromatic dish that captures the essence of Puerto Rican cuisine. With the use of olive oil and the incorporation of pimento-stuffed green olives and capers, this recipe promises a delightful blend of savory and tangy flavors. The step-by-step instructions ensure a successful outcome, making it a reliable choice for anyone seeking an authentic and delicious Arroz con Pollo experience.

Share your thoughts on this Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out for you!
Can I use bone-in chicken for this recipe?
Yes, you can use bone-in chicken for this recipe. It will add extra flavor to the dish, but you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.
Can I substitute the salt pork with another ingredient?
If you prefer not to use salt pork, you can substitute it with bacon or pancetta for a similar salty and savory flavor.
Can I use brown rice instead of white rice?
Yes, you can use brown rice instead of white rice, but you may need to adjust the cooking time and liquid amount as brown rice typically requires more time and liquid to cook.
Can I make this recipe without an Instant Pot?
Yes, you can make this recipe without an Instant Pot. Simply follow the same steps using a large pot or Dutch oven on the stovetop, adjusting the cooking times as needed.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes, you can freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Just be sure to thaw and reheat thoroughly before serving.

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