Rice with chicken is one of the most classic and traditional Costa Rican dishes. You can find this dish at any traditional Costa Rican restaurant (called sodas in Costa Rica) and it is normally accompanied with fries and salad.
If you feel like cooking up a bit of Costa Rica for dinner, here is our Costa Rican rice with chicken recipe. This dish is not too difficult but it does require a few key Costa Rican ingredients which you may be able to find at your local Hispanic or international food market or you can buy online.
I got learn how to make this arroz con pollo from our Costa Rican neighbor who kindly gave me her Costa Rican rice with chicken recipe. This is Yeison’s favorite dish so I put a lot of love into it! There are Amazon affiliate links in this post.
- 2 cups of cooked white rice. You can substitute for brown to make it healthier.
- 1 medium red onion (or white), chopped.
- 2-3 stalks of celery, diced.
- 1 sweet pepper, diced.
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped.
- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded.
- 1 packet of chicken consomme (a little over half a tablespoon).
- 1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded.
- Salsa Lizano. Sauce of Costa Rica. You can buy it on Amazon.
- 1 bunch of cilantro.
- 1 tablespoon of Achiote paste (you can purchase this in most Hispanic markets or you can buy it online on Amazon. This paste is mostly just for color). Achiote paste is normally made of up annatto, oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, and salt and then dyed red.
If you are in Costa Rica, you can find achiote paste at any supermarket. This is the one I use.
You will need to first cook the rice and chicken breast. When I’m short on time, I actually buy a whole roasted chicken (like from Costco) but you can cook the chicken breast if you like yourself. The best way is to steam or slow cook to make it tender and juicy since it needs to be shredded.
While you’re cooking the rice and chicken breast, you can cut the veggies.
Steps for Costa Rican Rice with Chicken Recipe
This recipe is enough for 3-4 people.
- Cut onion, celery and pepper into small square pieces. Also cut garlic cloves. Set aside.
- Shred carrots and cut cilantro into small pieces. Set aside
- In a wok or a deep frying pan, put some vegetable oil and add garlic. Let that saute a minute and then add celery, pepper and onion.
- Saute until onion is clear and celery is soft.
- Add carrots and saute a few minutes
- Add shredded chicken. Mix and stir fry about a minute
- Add cilantro and sautee and mix for a minute.
- Add rice, one packet of chicken consomme (optional), two tablespoons of Salsa Lizano (or more to taste) and one tablespoon of Achiote. Mix well. If you don’t want to put consomme, you can use a seasoning mix with garlic powder, salt, onion powder and basil but traditionally, Costa Ricans use chicken consomme.
After all the vegetables, chicken and rice have mixed, you’re done! That is your Costa Rican rice with chicken! It should have a nice orangeish/reddish color from the achiote.
Serve with salad, fries, or eat alone. We personally love to eat it with salad and mashed beans. Yum!
And that’s it! As you can see, it’s not too difficult but it sure is delicious and hearty!
You can add different vegetables if you like. Some rice with chicken recipes use peas and carrots instead of pepper, celery and onion. You can add any vegetables you like, but traditionally it comes with cilantro, pepper, onion and shredded carrots.
Costa Rican Recipes
This post has affiliate links.
Very delicious. I’ve made this several times. Can I freeze leftovers?
I have never froze it or seen it sold frozen, you can probably do it but it’s best to eat this fresh or leftovers can last a couple days in the fridge
I’ve frozen it and it’s fine. Just add a bit of water before you reheat it. Worked well as a filling for empanadas or burritos.
This dish turned out fantastic. My whole family loved it.
Cheri Crist says
This looks delicious! Wondering if I can substitute a chicken bullion cube for the consumme packet?
AnnMaria Siciliano says
Thank you for an authentic recipe! I made this for a close friend of mine who was born in Costa Rica and missing her mother’s cooking. I did change a few minor things to build more flavor but this recipe is solid. I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and cooked them first then using the same pan with the chicken fat and bits I added the veggies and did your recipe from there. I highly recommend getting all of the specialty items bc they help build the flavor profile correctly as well as adding color etc.
Glad to hear! Buen provecho 🙂
I have visited Costa Rica a couple of times and was blessed to enjoy meals prepared by a few different local families and this recipe was very close to what I remembered eating. It has become a family favorite. Thanks for sharing.
Jeffrey Reamy says
The recipe is spot on. Thanks for all your info, itade our trip much easier.
Sammi – this is DELICIOUS! Thanks for letting me make one of my favorite dishes from one of my favorite vacations while I’m home in the United States (Pennsylvania). I had to order the achiote paste & Salsa Lizano from Amazon – they were a bit pricey, but worth it!!!
Hi Jess! Glad it worked out for you! I love this dish too, it’s not too difficult to make and it’s such a classic Costa Rican dish! You may be able to find achiote in Hispanic stores since it’s common in Latin American cooking but definitely Salsa lizano isn’t as common, thank goodness for Amazon! Thank you for the feedback, I’m happy to hear you made it!!