Basic Sofrito

Basic sofrito recipe in glass jars

The Spruce

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart (8 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
50 Calories
0g Fat
11g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 quart (8 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 50
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 9mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 2g
Calcium 50mg 4%
*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.

1:10

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Ingredients

  • 1 head of garlic (peeled)
  • 2 medium onions (peeled)
  • 1 red bell pepper (stemmed and seeded)
  • 2 medium green bell peppers (stemmed and seeded)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making sofrito
    The Spruce
  2. Chop the ingredients into sizes that are small enough 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.

    Chopping garlic and onion for sofrito
    The Spruce
  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.

    Chopped ingredients in a food processor
    The Spruce
  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 finely processed into a thick paste
    The Spruce
  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.

    Fresh sofrito in jars
    The Spruce
  6. Use the sofrito with rice, stews, beans, or a protein, and enjoy.

Tips

  • 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. If you're in a pinch, you can use a mild salsa in place of sofrito; anything more assertive will compete with the other flavors in your finished, cooked dish.