Easy Recipes: Puerto Rican Rice (An Authentic Recipe)

I get emails all the time asking- what is the rice recipe in this picture and that picture. It’s Puerto Rican Rice, baby!

This is a family recipe from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. They taught me how to make it when the twins were little and now it is a regular item on our meal plan. We love it! My husband and kids beg for it.

In the Puerto Rican culture it is called Gandules and Rice. Gandules Verdes are Green Pigeon Peas when translated- they are the shining star of this rice recipe.   You can buy these beans canned. I get them at Target and Kroger all the time. They are on the Latin aisle and made by a brand called Goya.

Here is step by step how we make this recipe. I never measure when I made it, so I am relying on measurements I took long ago with intentions of sharing this with you guys.

There are ingredients listed below that may be new to you, but they are ingredients I use over and over again when I cook Puerto Rican food. I am also providing a link in the ingredient list to each of these items so you know what you are looking for the next time you go to the store. (These ingredients are cheaper at the grocery store then listed on Amazon.) Also at the end of this recipe I will share other dinner ideas to use some of the unique items.

how to make puerto rican rice


  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (or a big heaping spoonful of the minced jarred stuff)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 pkt of Sazon
  • 1 T Adobo
  • 2 T Sofrito (you can buy this frozen, jarred or make it yourself from scratch)
  • 5-6 green olives and a couple of splashes of the olive juice
  • 1 (15 oz)  can Gandules beans, undrained
  • 3/4 of a 2 lb bag of white rice (NOT MINUTE RICE)
  • 4 c water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Get a large pot like what you would cook soup in.

Put the heat at medium.

Pour in the olive oil.

olive oil

Add in the garlic, Sazon, Adobo and salt and pepper.

use sazon garlic pepper for puerto rican rice

Add in the Sofrito.

add safrito

Pour in some green olive juice. I like a good 3 tablespoons or so. Excellent flavor.

Let 5-6 olives fall into your pot.


add a couple of green olives and olive juice

Pour in the small can of tomato sauce.

add tomato sauce

Dump in the can of beans, juices and all.


Bring it to a boil.

add a can of gandules beans

Kick up the heat to high and bring it to a boil.

Stir occasionally, you do not want it to stick or burn.

(Pardon the steam.)

bring the mixture to a boil over high heat

Add in the white rice.


Get that rice coated in the tomato mixture.

homemade puerto rican rice

Add the water.

(When I was taught to make this I was not told measurements. I was told to add about this much of the bag of rice and about this much water until the rice flows at this consistency when stirring it.)

Stir well.

Bring to a final boil still on high, stirring occasionally. You do not want this to burn.

Once the mixture is at a final boil, pop the lid on it and reduce to simmer.

Leave it alone for 25-30 minutes.

add water to the rice

When you take the lid off this is what it will look like.

The water is gone and all of the beans and olives have surfaced to the top.

Stir it up.

There is a hard crust of rice at the bottom of the pot. It is not burned. My husband loves this crust.

(Excuse the steam again.)

puerto rican rice

Plate it up.

We love this with Baked Puerto Rican Chicken, which also uses the Adobo and Sazon.

Look at that!

how to make authentic puerto rican rice

We use leftovers on nachos inside burritos, along side our tacos, etc.


Another recipe that uses the Sofrito, Sazon and Adobo is Puerto Rican Stew– again an authentic recipe.

More Recipes:


  1. says

    Not that I would know but… I had no idea that your husband was Puerto Rican! I love Puerto Rican food. I used to visit a lot when I lived in the Caribbean. Just looking at the picture brings back memories. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Lisa- you’re funny.

      Yes ma’am my husband is Puerto Rican. His father and mother are both Puerto Rican and his mother has some Italian as well.

      My husband and his mom are olive complected. One of our twins looks a lot like them with the dark hair and the olive skin. The rest of us (including my father-in-law) are pale with lighter hair.

      I guess we are a real melting pot. :)

    • says

      Melinda- my mother -in-law ans sister-in-law have been know to add pork chops or chicken to theirs while it is cooking. I have actually never done that, but should.

      I have served it with shredded cooked chicken on top though….. delish!

  2. KC White says

    My mouth is watering…

    My parents were stationed in San Juan for a time when I was young. Some of my favorite memories are from Puerto Rico. Such a beautiful place with the best food!

    Thank you for sharing your family recipe. xo

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