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Arroz con Bacalao - Rice and Salt Codfish


Arroz con Bacalao - Rice and Salt Codfish photo by Hector Rodriguez

Arroz con Bacalao - Rice and Salt Codfish

(c) Hector Rodriguez
Arroz con bacalao, or rice with salted cod is a delicious one-pot meal that's popular throughout the Spanish speaking islands. You’ll find variations of the recipe on other islands as well. I prefer to use long grain rice in my recipes, but this dish works really well with short grain or medium grain rice, too. Rinsing the rice helps remove excess starch.

If possible, use boneless, skinless salt cod for easier shredding. Depending on the salted cod you buy, it may require a longer soak time. Read my tips on de-salting codfish.

This recipe tastes best with homemade recaito (or sofrito of your choice) and achiote oil. If you don’t have achiote oil, you may use one packet of Sazón with annatto/achiote such as Goya brand.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1/4 pound salted codfish fillet
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons achiote oil
  • 3 ounces of diced bacon
  • 1/4 cup recaito (or sofrito of your choice)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (canned or frozen will work in a pinch)
  • 6 Spanish olives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons capers
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4-ounce jar pimento pepper slices
  • 4 cups water


  1. Cut the salted codfish into 2 to 3 inch pieces and soak in enough cold tap water to liberally cover the fish pieces for one hour.
  2. Drain the fish. Remove any skin and bones from the fish. Pull the fish apart with your fingers or shred it with two forks. Set aside.
  3. Using the pot you plan to cook the rice in, sauté the bacon in achiote oil over medium low heat for five minutes.
  4. Add the recaito (or sofrito) and minced garlic. Cook for five minutes more.
  5. Add the tomato paste, olives, capers, black pepper, one or two slices of pimento peppers, and reserved codfish. Continue to cook for another five minutes.
  6. Add the water and raise the temperature to bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. While the mixture is simmering, rinse the rice until the water is clear. This step removes excess starch.
  8. Taste the mixture for seasoning. Add salt and adjust seasoning if needed.
  9. Add the rice, stir, and lower the heat to medium. Cook until the liquid reaches the level of the rice.
  10. Place a lid over the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook with the cover on for 15 minutes.
  11. Stir the rice from the bottom up, mounding the rice. Cover and cook another 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Fluff the rice with a fork.
  12. Garnish with remaining pimento pepper slices. Serve with tostones or avocado slices.

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