Puerto Rican Sofrito From Scratch Recipe

Onions, peppers, garlic, and fresh herbs are combined in the food processor for a powerfully flavorful Puerto Rican sofrito.

Small bowl of Puerto Rican sofrito next to rice on a plate.

Joshua Bousel

Why It Works

  • The fresh mixture of onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs can be used as a base for a multitude of dishes.

I first learned of sofrito watching Daisy Cooks on PBS, and have found little reason to veer from the recipe since then. This Puerto Rican version of sofrito—there are many different geographical variations—is a fresh mixture of onions, cubanelle peppers, garlic, cilantro, ajices dulces,* cilantro, culantro,* tomatoes, and red pepper quickly chopped into a fine paste in a food processor. What you're left with is enough sofrito to add some serious flavor to weeks of meals.

* While culantro and ajices dulces are easy to pick up in my neighborhood, Daisy says you don't need to sweat it if you can't find them. The ajices dulces can be omitted; substitute another handful of cilantro if you can't find culantro.

My first use was a big pot of yellow rice, with the sofrito imparting a strong herbal flavor with a hint of spice. This was followed by a chicken and potato stew, where a cup of sofrito served as the main flavoring component in a dinner that could easily feed six to eight hungry bellies.

Even after those, I had barely made a dent in my batch of sofrito, so off to the freezer it went, where I can easily tap into it whenever I'm looking to give something a strong fresh flavor.

Recipe Facts

4.5

(42)

Active: 15 mins
Total: 15 mins
Makes: 4 cups

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium Spanish onions, cut into large chunks (about 2 cups)

  • 4 cubanelle peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into large chunks (about 2 cups)

  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 large bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 18 medium cloves garlic, peeled

  • 8 ajices dulces, stemmed (see note)

  • 4 leaves of culantro (see note)

  • Kosher salt

Directions

  1. Place onions and cubanelle peppers in workbowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

    20120419-202609-sofrito-step-1
  2. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time through the feed tube and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to container and store in refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze.

    20120419-202609-sofrito-step-2

Special equipment

Food processor

Notes

If you can't find ajices dulces, you can omit them. If you can't find culantro, substitute additional cilantro.