Pollo Guisado: Braised Chicken Stew

Pollo guisado over rice on a white plate

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 18 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 58 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
574 Calories
34g Fat
15g Carbs
50g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 574
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 179mg 60%
Sodium 906mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 50g
Vitamin C 12mg 60%
Calcium 53mg 4%
Iron 5mg 25%
Potassium 872mg 19%
*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.)

Pollo guisado is a chicken-based stew that takes on different forms depending on its origin. While it's commonly associated with Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, it also a staple throughout Central and South America. Most versions include juicy and moist chicken braised in its broth or tomato and flavored with onions, garlic, and herbs, but each country, or cook, adds or removes ingredients to adjust it to their personal taste and the availability of produce. Some have potatoes, others have carrots, some have both but also peas and corn. Our recipe delivers the delicious Puerto Rican version, famous for the addition of green olives and the use of the popular sofrito—also an aromatic staple in Hispanic cuisine that takes on multiples forms depending on the origin.

This recipe's fall-off-the-bone chicken will delight your family, plus it's a budget-friendly dish in which you can use any chicken cut, from breasts to wings or thighs. We recommend using bone-in pieces with the skin, as they release more flavor into the cooking liquid. The chicken's tenderness is the result of slow braising, which makes the chicken very tender, helps to reduce the sauce to a perfect texture, and concentrates the flavors.

Most of the ingredients will not be hard to come by in your average American supermarket. Some, such as culantro—known as recao for Puerto Ricans and similar to but not the same as cilantro—are worth seeking out. Culantro's flavor is more intense than cilantro and it holds up in long braises and stews, which is why it works well here. Hispanic bodegas or specialty stores might carry culantro on occasion. Serve this dish over rice and beanswhite rice, or yellow rice with corn. Alternatively, fry some tostones and serve with the plantain and slices of avocado.


Click Play to See This Pollo Guisado: Braised Chicken Stew Recipe Come Together

"I served this dish over rice and everyone in my family loved it! It was simple to throw together, had great flavor, and did I mention that everyone ate it?! Next time I'll add more olives but that's about all I'd change." —Carrie Parente

Pollo Guisado, or Braised Chicken Stew in a red Dutch oven
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 1/2 pounds skin-on chicken, cut-up

  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed

  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup chicken broth, or water

  • 1 culantro leaf 

  • 1/4 cup pimento olives, pitted

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tablespoon achiote oil, or 1 packet ​sazón seasoning

  • 1/2 cup sofrito

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pollo guisado gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Season the chicken pieces with the adobo seasoning. 

    Chicken parts seasoned with adobo seasoning on a white plate

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet or a Dutch oven.

    Olive oil in pan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the chicken pieces and brown them for about 5 minutes per side.

    Chicken pieces browning in a pan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the potato cubes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, culantro, olives, cumin, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, achiote oil, and sofrito. Stir well and turn the chicken pieces to coat them with the sauce.

    Sofrito, potatoes, olives, bay leaf, tomatoes in the pot for pollo guisado

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the chicken stew for 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest piece, away from the bone, reads 160 F.

    Pollo guisado in a pot with the lid off, after simmering

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Remove the bay leaf and the culantro leaf. 

    Bay leaf and culantro leaf removed from pollo guisado

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  8. Serve hot and enjoy!

    Pollo guisado (braised chicken stew) in a pot with a wooden spoon, garnished with cilantro
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Store Pollo Guisado

This dish will keep in the fridge, covered, for 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze it and store it for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight and place in a pot with an extra 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken broth, depending on how much you're preparing, cover, and bring to a simmer. Allowing the chicken to heat up all the way through and taste for seasonings before serving.