The Arroz con Pollo Made by 6 Generations of the Sanchez Nazario Family

Abuela Approved Badge Arroz con Pollo Maya and Carmen

”My family’s arroz con pollo recipe has been passed down six generations,” says Maya Ri Sanchez, a biotech manager and mom of two, when she sent Familia Kitchen this recipe. ”From the hills of Sábana Grande, Puerto Rico, in the late 1800s to the suburbs of Germantown, Maryland,” where she lives now—this is the recipe her family makes.

It all started with her great-great grandmother Maria Isabel. The beloved receta for rice and chicken then was passed down ”to my great grandmother Isabel (who I got to know, love and spend time with throughout my teens) to my Grandmother Virginia (miss her so much) to my mother Carmen (whom my daughter lovingly named Abby), to me: Maya, and now to my daughter Nysia, 15,” Maya explains.

”It’s with lots of love and pride that we share our family recipe with you. My ancestors and Mom never truly measured ingredients in their cooking, so there are our best approximations. It was done by taste, smell, available ingredients—and love. So as you give our arroz con pollo a try in your kitchen, make sure to add a heaping cup of love to the ingredients!”

Ready to Make This 6-Generations-Old Arroz con Pollo?

The Sanchez Nazario Family’s Arroz Con Pollo

Recipe by Maya Ri Sanchez
4.7 from 7 votes
Cuisine: Puerto Rico


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 lb chicken thighs, skinless

  • 1 lb chicken breast, skinless, chopped

  • 1 cup ham steak, cubed

  • 1 Tbsp adobo

  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp oregano

  • 1 Tbsp cumin

  • 2 packets sazón with achiote

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (divided)

  • 1 medium tomato, diced

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 cup green olives, pitted, with capers

  • 1/2 cup sofrito

  • 3 cups rice, medium grain, rinsed 3 times

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 8 oz tomato sauce

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 2 sprigs cilantro, 2 finely chopped and 2 for garnish

  • 2 bay leaves


  • Marinate the chicken in a bowl with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic, cilantro, oregano, cumin, 1 to 2 packets of sazón, adobo, 3 Tbsp sofrito. Toss well. Set aside for 2 hours to overnight.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large pot, with the heat set to medium high. Add ham, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the marinated chicken and brown for about 5 minutes each side, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  • Once chicken is golden brown, set aside in a bowl.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of oil in the same pot.
  • Add the rice into the medium-hot oil and stir until it is evenly coated. Add a little more oil, if needed. Stir for 3 minutes while it lightly toasts.
  • Add chicken broth and water to the pot.
  • Add tomato puree, olives and 3 Tbsp. sofrito, and stir until well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Adjust liquid as needed to cover rice, by adding extra water.
  • Add the browned chicken back into the pot.
  • Keep the pan uncovered and bring the rice to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add 2 sprigs of cilantro on top of rice for extra flavor. Cover and lower heat , cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • The rice done. Lightly toss the rice and chicken to mix them and you are ready. We recommend serving alongside a nice green salad with a simple oil and vinegar dressing.


  • Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving!
Maya Sanchez Arroz con Pollo ancestors
Maya’s great-great grandmother Maria Isabel started making this very arroz con pollo recipe six generations ago in her hometown of Sábana Grande, Puerto Rico.
Carmen Nazario arroz con pollo
Maya’s mom, Carmen Nazario, loves passing on her Boricua family’s recipes.
Toast the rice for about three minutes in the hot oil before adding the chicken stock and water.
Nysia and Carmen arroz con pollo
Maya’s mom, Carmen, teaches her grandaughter, Nysia, how to make their family recipe.
Maya's arroz on pollo
The rice is bright orange-yellow and deliciously savory thanks to using sazón with achiote.
Maya recommends serving her family’s recipe with a vinegary green salad con tomato and avocado.
Authentic Arroz on Pollo 3 Maya and family
Three generations of the Sanchez Nazario familia, Germantown, Maryland

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