Basic Sofrito

Basic raw sofrito paste in glass jars

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 quart
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
35 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 35
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 45mg 225%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 243mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sofrito is the secret ingredient in many Latin Caribbean dishes, like alcapurrias, and it's easy to make. It's a versatile, aromatic puree of tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, onions, and garlic. It's known as recaito in Puerto Rico, where they don't typically use tomatoes, and so it takes on a more pronounced green color instead.

You may use a food processor or blender to get the desired results, as this variation doesn't require any cooking.

The word sofrito is Spanish and means to lightly fry something, such as by sautéing or stir-frying. But this refers to how it is used in a recipe rather than how it is made. It's often the first thing to go into the pan or cooking pot and can be sautéed to bring out the flavors of the aromatics. You'll need a knife, a cutting board, a food processor, and storage jars for this recipe.

During harvest season, you can use your summer garden produce or buy veggies at the peak of flavor from the farmers market to make and freeze sofrito for use throughout the year. Spending just a little time in the kitchen will be a good investment for having fresh sofrito for future recipes.


Click Play to See This Basic Sofrito Recipe Come Together

"Sofrito is a guaranteed way to get fantastic flavor in your dish. This recipe is quick to prepare, and you can freeze whatever you don't need, for later use. It’s something you can make every other week or so, keep in a sealed container and use as a base of flavor for any recipe." —Tracy Wilk

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 head garlic, peeled

  • 2 medium onions, peeled

  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded

  • 2 green bell peppers, stemmed and seeded

  • 2 large tomatoes

  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves

  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for basic sofrito recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. Chop the ingredients small enough sizes to fit into a food processor ​or blender. You don't have to dice them finely, as you will be processing them. Focus on removing the seeds and any tougher stems that might leave grit in the finished sofrito.

    Garlic and red and white onion finely chopped on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Place the chopped ingredients into a food processor or blender. You can process in batches if your food processor isn't big enough to accommodate everything at once.

    Sofrito ingredients placed in a food processor

    The Spruce Eats

  4. Blend all ingredients well so the finished sofrito is finely processed. If you're not familiar with sofrito, it should be the consistency of pesto, a thick paste.

    Sofrito ingredients blended in a food processor to a thick, homogenous, liquid paste

    The Spruce Eats

  5. Once blended, your sofrito is ready for immediate use. Store the sofrito in a glass container. Plastic containers are not ideal because plastic will absorb the odor of garlic and onions.

    Raw sofrito paste in glass jars with tight-fitting lids

    The Spruce Eats

  6. Use the sofrito with rice, stews, beans, or a protein, and enjoy.


  • If the sofrito needs liquid, you may add water or olive oil, a tablespoon at a time, while blending. Use as little as possible because you don't want the sofrito to be too runny. The tomatoes will provide some juice, so you may want to ensure they have been added before adjusting the liquid.
  • You can freeze sofrito. Depending on how much you use in a recipe, you can freeze it in 1/4- to 1/2-cup portions or in an ice-cube tray for 2-tablespoon cubes. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer to a freezer bag for up to a year.

What's the Difference Between Salsa and Sofrito?

It's tempting to think these two ingredients are interchangeable, as they often include many of the same ingredients. Think of it this way: Sofrito is typically used to start a dish as an ingredient in cooking and is more of a puree, whereas salsa is thicker, is served raw, and used to finish a dish or serve on its own. You can use a mild salsa in place of sofrito in a pinch; anything more assertive will compete with the other flavors in your finished, cooked dish.