Puerto Rican sofrito is easy to make at home! Vegetables and herbs are blended together to form the base for many Puerto Rican dishes. This is why Puerto Rican cuisine is so flavorful!
Puerto Rican Sofrito
In this post I’m going to show you how to make sofrito. This is the foundation for many recipes like the popular Puerto Rican beans, mom’s famous Puerto Rican rice, ground beef picadillo (which is used as an empanada filling) and many more.
I like to think of it as a Puerto-Rican style pesto. Except I wouldn’t eat this raw! It’s always cooked. So I guess it is more similar to the French mirepoix, which consists of onions, carrots and celery, or the Cajun “holy trinity” (onions, celery and bell pepper).
This Puerto Rican sofrito recipe consists of (mostly) easy-to-find ingredients. I’ll talk about what to do when you can’t find a certain ingredient. But traditionally you need bell peppers, onion, aji dulce peppers, garlic, cilantro and recao.
Bell peppers, onion, garlic and cilantro are all common ingredients for me to find. It has become increasingly difficult to find recao and nearly impossible to get aji dulce peppers. I will be ordering some seeds to grow my own, but I know this isn’t a possibility for everyone.
Recao also goes by the name culantro, long coriander and a variety of other titles. It can be found in Hispanic and Asian markets. It is extremely fragrant and smells similar to cilantro, but deeper. If you cannot find recao, increase the cilantro to two bunches.
Aji dulce are a small Caribbean pepper about the size of a habanero. They are not spicy at all, but slightly sweet. If you can’t find them, make the sofrito without them or substitute one red bell pepper. Just note that using a red pepper may change the color of the sofrito and that’s fine!
This recipe will make approximately 4-6 cups of sofrito. Usually you only need about 2 tablespoons of sofrito per recipe. You can certainly par this recipe down, but I like to make a big batch while I have the ingredients and freeze it in ice cube trays for later use.
Each cube is about 1 tablespoon, and there’s no need to thaw before using. Just throw it in the recipe when it calls for sofrito. Store the sofrito cubes in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn and they should stay fresh for some time.
If you’ve never tried cooking with sofrito before, I highly recommend starting with my Puerto Rican Rice and Beans. It is the most popular recipe on the blog…BY FAR. One bite and you’ll know why!
- 3 large green bell peppers
- 3 large Spanish onions
- 2 bags of aji dulce (about 10 peppers)) OR 1 red bell pepper
- 1 head of garlic, peeled
- 1 large bunch of cilantro
- 1/2 bunch of recao (about 15 leaves)
- Remove stems and seeds from bell peppers. Cut into quarters.
- Peel the onion and cut into quarters.
- Remove stems and seeds from aji dulce.
- Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until finely minced.
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator if using within a few weeks.
- Or, freeze in small portions (about 1-2 heaping tablespoons) for later use. Ice cube trays work well for this. After frozen, store sofrito cubes in an airtight freezer bag and use as needed. No need to thaw before cooking.