Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito)

Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito) in a bowl

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
19 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 19
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 29mg 146%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 88mg 2%
*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.)

Recaito is a green aromatic puree of onions, culantro (recao) leaves, garlic, green peppers, and ajíes dulces (small sweet chile peppers). It's central to so much of Puerto Rican cooking; recaito is used as the base seasoning known as sofrito. When preparing Puerto Rican cuisines, you may notice it in recipes called by either name.

However, there can be some differences. Notice the absence of tomatoes. Typically, Puerto Ricans do not add tomatoes to their recaito. Sofrito recipes that include tomatoes or tomato paste, sauce, or juice are generally for Dominican, Cuban, Spanish, Italian, and other Mediterranean cuisines.

You've probably seen this ingredient in jars, made by companies such as Goya, in the grocery store. And so yes, while you can certainly buy recaito, there's no comparison between the taste of fresh recaito and mass-produced counterparts.


Click Play to See This Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito) Recipe Come Together


  • 2 medium green bell or Cubanelle peppers, seeded

  • 2 medium onions, peeled

  • 1 bunch culantro

  • 6 small ajíes dulces, or sweet green chile peppers

  • 1 head garlic, peeled

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Puerto Rican sofrito (recaito) ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. Chop and blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.

    Puerto Rican sofrito (recaito) ingredients in a food processor

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. Use in your favorite soup, stew, bean, or rice dish, and enjoy.

    Puerto Rican sofrito (recaito) in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

What Is the Difference Between Cilantro and Culantro?

You may think that it's a simple misspelling, but cilantro and culantro are two different plants. They are botanical cousins but actually don't look too much alike.

Culantro has broader, flatter leaves that grow in rosettes, whereas cilantro has thinner stems with leaves that spring from the end. Culantro is sometimes referred to as Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley, and its flavor and aroma are more pungent than that of cilantro, so much so that it can handle the heat of cooking, whereas cilantro is best added at the end of a dish, or as a garnish, so as to not lose the delicate flavor.


  • Cubanelle peppers are also called Italian frying peppers. Removing seeds from the ajíes dulces is optional.

How to Use Recaito

Recaito is normally used as the starting base of soups, stews, beans, and rice dishes. Swirl a bit into some white rice, use it with arroz con pollo or rice and beans. It makes everything taste better.

It is first sautéed in annatto oil or lard, and then the other recipe ingredients are added. However, there are other recipes where recaito can be added toward the end of cooking time, to add a finishing touch of flavor to the recipe.

How to Store and Freeze Recaito

Because it’s such an essential ingredient, it isn’t uncommon for home cooks to prepare large batches of recaito/sofrito to have enough on hand to use all week long—or even longer.

Store freshly made recaito/sofrito in a covered glass container in the refrigerator for immediate use within a week, or freeze it, covered, for up to six months. To make it easy to defrost and use in your recipes as needed, freeze recaito in 1/4- to 1/2-cup portions for use any time.