Bacalao Guisado (Salt Cod Stew) Recipe

Bacalao Guisado (Salt Cod Stew) Recipe

How To Make Bacalao Guisado (Salt Cod Stew)

Bacalao Guisado or Salt Cod Stew is a savory Puerto Rican favorite made with salted codfish, herbs, peppers, garlic, and more in a tasty tomato broth.

Preparation: 1 hour
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes



  • 1lbsalted codfish,salt cod
  • 1tbspolive oil
  • cupyellow onion,(½ large) thinly sliced
  • ¾cupgreen bell pepper,(1 small) chopped
  • 3clovesgarlic,minced
  • tbsprecao herb base,homemade, or store bought
  • 8oztomato sauce,(1 can)
  • 1large bay leaf
  • ½tsporegano leaves,dried
  • ¼tspground black pepper
  • 2cupsyukon gold potatoes,(about 3 small potatoes) quartered then cut into ¼-inch thick slices

For Serving:

  • 4cupswhite rice,cooked
  • 1avocado


Short Soak Method:

  1. Rinse the salt cod, then soak it for 45 minutes in cold water on the countertop. Rinse the fillets again, and add them to a pan.

  2. Cover with 3 to 4 inches of fresh cold water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once small bubbles begin to kiss the surface of the hot water, start a timer.

  3. Simmer the fillets for 15 minutes to remove the excess salt. If the water boils, turn the heat down so as not to overcook the fish.

  4. The extracted salt will form clumps on the surface of the water. This is an indication to you that the salt is being removed. Once the 15 minutes is up, drain away this saltwater.

  5. Give the fillets another rinse in cold water to remove any remaining salt and stop the soaking process.

  6. Remove any pin bones that may remain while flaking the meat with forks or your hands. The fish is now ready to use.

Long Soak Method:

  1. Rinse the cod fish fillets of their outer layer of salt and place them in a bowl. Cover the fish with 4 inches of cold water and leave it in the refrigerator to soak for 6 to 8 hours.

  2. Change the water after about 4 hours of soaking.

  3. Pick through the fillets for any remaining bones before flaking with a fork or your hands. The fish is now ready to use.


  1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven or deep frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

  2. When the oil begins to ripple along the side of the pan, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic.

  3. Sauté the veggies for 3 minutes, or until the garlic turns a golden brown and the onions look glossy.

  4. Stir the recao, tomato sauce, and 1 cup of water into the pan and reduce the heat to medium.

  5. Add the bay leaf, oregano, and black pepper to the sofrito, and let the sauce come to a simmer. Cook the sauce for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add the potatoes to the base and reduce the heat to medium-low. The mixture should hardly bubble but still steam.

  7. Cover the pot and allow the potatoes to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until a fork inserted into a potato meets a smidgen of resistance. (You don’t want the potatoes to become too tender or they’ll turn to mush as the dish sits.)

  8. Once the potatoes are almost tender, and the sauce has thickened to the consistency of gravy, gently fold in the flaked salt cod.

  9. Cover the pot after folding in the bacalao and allow it to heat through for 5 minutes.

  10. Because the fish is already cooked, just warm it through. In this step, the bacalao (salt cod) is also seasoning the guisado (stew) with salt.

  11. Spoon the finished Bacalao Guisado over warm rice and serve with slices of avocado.

  12. Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.


  • Calories: 1009.59kcal
  • Fat: 13.08g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.11g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7.89g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.98g
  • Carbohydrates: 182.79g
  • Fiber: 7.75g
  • Sugar: 5.77g
  • Protein: 37.35g
  • Cholesterol: 48.76mg
  • Sodium: 343.90mg
  • Calcium: 100.39mg
  • Potassium: 1507.56mg
  • Iron: 5.05mg
  • Vitamin A: 37.28µg
  • Vitamin C: 52.36mg
Chat Bubble Icon Share your own special recipe
Submit Your Own Recipe

Have your own special recipe to share? Submit Your Recipe Today!