This authentic Arroz Blanco (Puerto Rican White Rice) is delicious, fluffy and perfect with any meal. With just 4 ingredients, you can quickly and easily whip up a batch that will feed the entire family. Bonus: Although optional, we love to elevate our rice with a few pieces of crispy and irresistible “tocino” (fatback).
Puerto Rican white rice or “arroz blanco Puertorriqueño” is the perfect rice dish because it complements a wide range of meals. Its mild and neutral flavor acts as a harmonious backdrop to any main course, allowing the flavors of any accompanying dish to shine.
It pairs perfectly with saucy meats, flavorful stews, seafood or even just a side of vegetables.
Reasons to Love this Recipe
- Versatility: Is incredibly versatile and pairs well with a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re enjoying it with flavorful stews, saucy meats, or seafood, it complements the main dish while allowing its flavors to shine.
- Simplicity: Preparing white rice is pretty straightforward and requires just a few ingredients. White rice, water, salt, and a little bit of oil, and you will have created a quick, easy rice dish that goes with anything!
- Ideal Side Dish: White rice serves as an excellent side dish to anything. Its neutral taste and fluffy texture allow it to absorb and complement dishes like Carne Guisada (Puerto Rican Beef Stew), Carne Deshebrada (Puerto Rican Shredded Beef), and Puerto Rican Chicken Soup (Sopa de Pollo). Just a few of our favorites!
- Fluffy Texture: When prepared correctly, it has a fluffy, light texture with each grain distinct and separate.
- Comfort Food: Overall, Puerto Rican white rice’s simplicity, versatility, and ability to enhance the flavors of other dishes make it a beloved staple and comforting dish that’s cherished for both its taste and cultural significance.
- Rice – I use medium grain rice but if you prefer long grain, that works too!
- Tocino (Fatback) – using “tocino” is optional but adds a delicious homey taste to arroz blanco.
- Vegetable or Canola Oil – helps to keep the rice fluffy and grainy and prevents it from becoming sticky.
- Salt – adds flavor so your rice doesn’t taste bland.
*See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements and instructions.*
Substitutions and Variations
Can I Use Long Grain Rice Instead of Medium Grain?
- Absolutely! If you prefer long-grain rice, go ahead and use it instead of medium-grain. Just keep in mind you will have to adjust the amount of water used as long grain requires more water to cook.
What if I Don’t Have Fatback to Flavor My Rice?
- I use “tocino” because growing up my mother always made “arroz blanco con tocino” and I love the flavor that fatback adds to the rice. However, if you don’t have any or simply don’t like it, that’s okay, your rice will still come out delicious, fluffy, and flavorful!
Can I Add Veggies to My Rice?
- Sure! Add a can of drained corn or a cup of frozen mixed vegetables at the very beginning of the cooking process.
How to Cook Puerto Rican White Rice
Step 1: Add oil to a caldero or dutch oven pot and heat over medium heat. When the oil is slightly hot, add the tocino (fatback) pieces if using and stir. Cook until slightly golden brown.
Step 2: Add the water and salt and stir. Bring the water to a medium boil.
Step 3: While water is boiling rinse the three cups of rice in water until the water runs clear, usually about 3 rinses (Images 3 and 4). Strain the water with your hand or through a colander (Image 5).
Note: Rinsing the rice, removes the talc coating “peril” that helps preserve the rice.
Step 4: Add the rice to the pot and stir with a large spoon. *TIP: You know you have added enough water to rice when a large spoon is almost fully covered by the liquid in pot.
Step 5: Cook rice for about 5 minutes on medium high heat until water has almost completely dried out.
Step 6: Stir rice with a large spoon and then cover immediately with a lid. Lower heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes. Note: Once you have stirred and covered the rice, DO NOT REMOVE the lid to check on it until it is time. Doing so will cause the rice to “stun” causing it to remain raw and will never cook properly.
Step 7: After 15 minutes, remove lid and stir again (rice will be even drier now, which is good!), cover pot and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove lid and stir again. Rice is done and should be dry, not wet and sticky.
Tip: When stirring the rice, do not disturb the “pegao” that has built on the bottom of the pot. You do not want to distribute the pegao into the rice.
Expert Cooking Tips
Use the right pot!
- The key to making any Puerto Rican rice dish is to use a “caldero.” A caldero is made of cast aluminum and allows the rice to cook uniformly. Using the proper pot also creates a crispy bottom layer known as “pegao” which are crispy bits of rice that’s extra yummy with a side of habichuelas guisadas (Puerto Rican stewed beans).
- Do not use a non-stick pot as it will not cook the rice the same at all. If you do not have a caldero, use a dutch oven pot instead.
Using the Right Amount of Rice to Water Ratio
- You know you have added enough water to rice when a large spoon is almost fully covered by the liquid in pot (refer to image).
Use Medium Grain Rice
- Authentically, Puerto Rican arroz blanco is made using medium grain but there are also many homes that love to use long grain instead. Use what you prefer in your own home. Do not use parboiled or instant rice as you will not get the same results.
Using a Rice Cooker
- You can use a rice cooker, just note that you will not get the crispy bottom as you would when using a caldero.
What to Serve with Arroz Blanco Puertorriqueño?
There is a myriad of dishes to serve with Puerto Rican white rice. Everything from Puerto Rican Fried Pork Chops (Chuletas Fritas), Chuletas a la Jardinera (Puerto Rican Garden Style Pork Chops), and Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew), are just a few delicious ideas.
If you have a good bit of rice left, you can simply store leftovers right in the pot.
Wait until the pot cools a little bit and then place it in the refrigerator. If you do not have a whole lot left, simply store in an airtight container.
Consume the rice within 4 days.
Absolutely! For easy and best results, wait until the rice has cooled and add to plastic bags in serving portions. Freeze up to two months.
Other Rice Dishes You Will Love
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Arroz Blanco (Puerto Rican White Rice)
- 3 cups medium grain rice rinsed I use Goya brand
- 2¾ cups water
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil If not using tocino, use 2 tbsps otherwise use 1 tablespoon of oil
- 2 teaspoon salt this amount is an approximate amount, use more or less to suit your preference
- ½ cup tocino (fatback) cut into ½ inch pieces
- Add oil to a caldero or dutch oven pot and heat over medium heat. If using the tocino (fatback), add the pieces now and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly golden brown, stirring in between cooking.
- Add the water and salt and stir. Bring the water to a medium boil.
- While water is boiling rinse the three cups of rice in water until the water runs clear, usually about 3 rinses. Strain the water using your hand or through a colander.
- Add the rice to the pot and stir with a large spoon.*TIP: You know you have added enough water to rice when a large spoon is almost fully covered by the liquid in pot.Cook rice for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat until the water has almost completely dried out.
- Stir the rice with a large spoon and then cover immediately with a lid. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. TIP: When stirring the rice, do not disturb the “pegao” that has built on the bottom of the pot. You do not want to distribute the pegao into the rice. Note: Once you have stirred and covered the rice, DO NOT REMOVE the lid to check on it until it is time. Doing so will cause the rice to "stun" causing it to remain raw and will never cook properly.
- After 15 minutes, remove the lid and stir again (rice will be even drier now, which is good!), cover the pot and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir again. Rice is done and should be dry, not wet and sticky.