How To Make Arroz con Pollo

Costa Rican Rice and Chicken

This recipe is a Costa Rican staple and was the main dish at my wedding. It is also one of the first recipes I learned from my husband's family in Costa Rica. It is very easy to make -- and is good for potlucks.


  • 1 medium-sized whole chicken
  • 5 cups of white long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • 2 chicken-flavored oxo cubes (stock cubes)
  • 1 tsp of achiote paste (for coloring purposes only)
  • 5 tbsp of Lizano salsa (or to taste)
  • 1 small can of mixed carrots and peas (drained)

Lizano salsa is a Central American product that can be found in most Latin grocery stores or Caribbean markets, along with the achiote paste. The achiote paste is used to help color the rice, but if you cannot find it in your area, it will not affect the taste of this dish. The Lizano is very important to this recipe, however.


  1. Clean and skin the whole chicken. Cut open the breast of the chicken and clean out the inside of the chicken. Leave the chicken whole, with the wings and legs attached.
  2. Submerge the whole chicken in boiling water. Continue to allow water to boil as the chicken cooks through -- approximately 45 minutes. Test with a fork to make sure it is completely cooked.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the water and allow the chicken to cool. Keep the boiled water to use to cook your rice.
  4. Measure out 5 cups of long grain white rice. Run under water to clean, and add it to your rice cooker.
  5. Measure out 1 tablespoon of oil and add it to your rice cooker. Add the achiote paste and oxo cubes (crushed) to the rice cooker - stir together. Level out the rice for cooking purposes.
  6. Take the leftover chicken water from your pot and add it into the rice cooker until the water reaches about 1/2 inch above the leveled rice. Cook.
  7. Keep about 1/2 cup of the chicken water (set aside) and discard the rest.
  8. While the rice is cooking, cut the chicken into small pieces or strips about 1/2 inch long. The idea of this recipe is to have large chunks of chicken throughout the mixture. Drain one can of mixed carrots and peas.
  9. In your original chicken cooking pot, place your cut chicken and the can of carrots and peas. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes -- just to heat through.
  10. Add half of the Lizano salsa to the chicken and stir. Cook over low heat stirring constantly for 2-4 minutes.
  11. Add cooked rice to the chicken and carrot/pea mixture. Stir together and add in the rest of the Lizano salsa and some of the chicken water to help the mixture combine. Heat through.
  12. Serve immediately and ENJOY.

Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days while still tasting great.


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