Simple Puerto Rican Sofrito
Updated: Mar 21
Sofrito is the base of sooo many Puerto Rican dishes. Soups, stews, rice, beans, the list goes on! Growing up in a (half) Puerto Rican household, we usually always had fresh homemade sofrito on hand! This sweet, savory, umami mixture is sure to liven up your cooking and make your home smell amazing. It's ridiculously easy to make and naturally vegan!
Don't get me wrong, store-bought sofrito is fine in a pinch. I've used jarred sofrito before, but homemade is 1000% better. The ingredients and flavors are super fresh, and you have control of what's going in it. It's my same philosophy on jarred pasta sauce... it's fine (the other Italian half of my household is probably cringing), but making your own is worth the effort. Check out my recipe for an easy pasta sauce here!
Considering how easy it is to make yourself, why not give it a try! You end up with enough for a ton of meals at a really cheap price.
Sofrito has so many uses. I love using it as a base for arroz, guisados, habichuelas, and tacos!! Just a couple of scoops of this and your entire dish is transformed. It's unbelievably fragrant with an intoxicating peppery and summery aroma.
This recipe yields about 5 cups, which will last you a long time. You can freeze it for months and use it as you need it! I suggest freezing it in a covered ice cube tray or spread out thin in ziplock bags for easy use!
Here's What You'll Need:
Bell Peppers: We're using red and green bell peppers for this recipe. They each have a different level of sweetness and add balance to the final product.
Cilantro: I know cilantro is not everyone's cup of tea. I wasn't fond of it at all for the longest time. Over the last few years I have learned to love it and maybe go a little crazy using it to top tacos... It's necessary for sofrito though! I'm just using regular cilantro here, but you can add a mix of this and recao or culantro! Recao/culantro is in the cilantro family and also super tasty.
Garlic: The more the merrier! We're using a whole head of garlic for this recipe, which gives the final product a nice garlicky taste, but feel free to adjust based on your preference!
Ajicito Dulce: These cute little peppers have the best sweet and savory flavor! They are necessary ingredient for sofrito and pretty easy to find in most supermarkets! Make sure they say dulce or sweet on the package. They closely resemble scotch bonnets which are a super spicy (but fantastic) pepper. Ajicitos are sweet, kind of like the bell peppers!
Here's How to Put it All Together:
1. Remove the seeds from the bell peppers and the ajicitos. It's a little tedious, but makes a difference in the texture and taste of the final product.
2. Give your veggies a rough chop so they'll blend easier.
3. Add everything to a food processor or high-powered blender.
4. Blend until all the ingredients are broken down and well combined.
5. Store in small portions in the freezer for easy use for months!
Simple Puerto Rican Sofrito
5 cups | 15 minutes
* 1 large Spanish onion
* 1 head of garlic
* 1 red bell pepper
* 1 green bell pepper
* 1 bunch of cilantro (or half cilantro and half culantro)
* 8 oz of ajicito dulce peppers (weigh them if you can, either at the store or at home! It's not the same if you try fill a measuring cup with the peppers)
* 1/4 c. olive oil
1. Wash and dry your produce. Remove the seeds from the bell peppers and the ajicitos. Give everything a rough chop so it'll fit in your food processor or blender.
2. I recommend blending a little at a time, as everything may not fit all at once. Just add half of the ingredients, blend, and add the rest when there's more space!
3. Once everything has been added to the food processor, blend for a minute or two until smooth. It's okay if there are flecks of pepper/cilantro left, but make sure there are no chunks!
4. Transfer to ice cube trays and cover with a ziplock bag to keep them fresh, or transfer to ziplock bags in small quantities. Lay it flat and spread it out fairly thin so it's easy to break off a chuck as you need it! You can keep it in your freezer for months!
Use it as a base in rice, beans, stews, soups, chilis, or tacos!