Puerto Rican Rice With Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules)

Puerto Rican Rice With Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules)

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 42 mins
Total: 52 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
322 Calories
6g Fat
53g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 322
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 281mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 342mg 7%
*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.)

Any special occasion meal in Puerto Rico would not be complete without arroz con gandules, or rice with pigeon peas. After all, rice with pigeon peas is one of Puerto Rico's national dishes. The recipe is seasoned with sofrito, a blend of herbs and spices popular in Latin Caribbean (and some Latin American) cuisine, and is studded with diced ham and pigeon peas. Pigeon peas are legumes that have a nutty flavor and are frequently paired with rice and other grains. They are sold dried, canned, or ground into a flour.

This Puerto Rican rice recipe calls for canned pigeon peas, and those can be found in most large grocery stores, specialty groceries, or online. Arroz con gandules can be served alone or with a variety of sides such as pollo guisado (chicken stew), tostones, and a light salad.


Click Play to See This Puerto Rican Rice With Pigeon Peas Recipe Come Together

"Authentic Puerto Rican Rice with Pigeon Peas comes together quickly and is the perfect side to just about any meat. The substantial flavors of ham and pigeon peas make this savory rice a meal in itself." —Diana Andrews

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 cup sofrito

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cooked ham, or pork pieces

  • 2 cups raw white rice

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 packet sazón, such as Goya brand

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pigeon peas (gandules), drained and rinsed

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Arroz con Gandules recipe ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart pot on medium heat until it shimmers. Add the sofrito and chopped ham and sauté for 1 minute.

    Sofrito and chopped ham in a pot for arroz con gandules

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Add the rice, water, sazón, and pigeon peas.

    Water, rice, and pigeon peas added to pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Arroz con gandules ingredients boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not use a lid with a vent that allows the steam to escape and never lift the lid while cooking.

    Puerto Rican Rice With Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules) cooking in a covered pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. When finished cooking, stir the rice before serving. It should be light and fluffy.

    Rice with pigeon peas recipe during cooking process

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  7. Serve hot and enjoy.

    Puerto Rican Rice With Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules) in a pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

What Is Sofrito?

sofrito is a blend of herbs and spices used to season countless dishes, such as stews, beans, rice, and occasionally meat. Sofrito exists in Latin Caribbean and other Latin American countries, and comes from the Spanish word which means "to fry something." It can be added at the start of the recipe, toward the end of the cooking, or used to top grilled meats and fish. The ingredients will differ depending on the origin of the sofrito.

  • Spanish sofrito uses tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, paprika, and olive oil.
  • In the Dominican Republic, sofrito is called sazón and is made with vinegar and annatto for color.
  • In Puerto Rico, sofrito is called recaito and includes the herb culantro and ajies dulces (sweet chile peppers).
  • In Cuba, sofrito is made with tomatoes, red bell peppers, and ham.
  • In the Yucatán area of Mexico, sofrito is extra spicy with the addition of habaneros.