Spanish Sofrito Recipe

Sofrito is used in Spanish cooking to enhance and deepen the flavor of countless dishes. Make a batch, then spoon it into anything you want.

Photograph: Liz Clayman

Why It Works

  • Adding a small amount of salt early helps draw out moisture from the vegetables and speeds up their cooking.
  • Reducing the heat once browning is underway produces the most melting, sweet results.

Sofrito is an aromatic vegetable base used in many Spanish dishes to enhance their flavor. The main ingredients are onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tomato, all cooked down until sweet and caramelized. Many variations exist depending on personal preference and the recipe in question, including countless Latin American and Caribbean versions, like this Puerto Rican sofrito, as well. This one is along the lines of what you'd be most likely to find in Spain. You can use it as a flavorful base for soups, stews, braises, rice dishes like paella, and sauces; it can even be spooned onto sandwiches and snacks as a condiment.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 16 servings
Makes: 2 cups

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  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 medium yellow onions (1 1/2 pounds/600g), finely diced

  • One large (8-ounce/225g) green pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced

  • One large (8-ounce/225g) red pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced

  • One medium (10-ounce/285g) leek, white and light green parts only, washed well and finely diced (optional)

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) tomato paste


  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic, onion, green pepper, red pepper, and leek (if using), season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring, until vegetables have released their liquid and are beginning to brown lightly on the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes.

  2. Lower heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring and scraping frequently, until sofrito is sweet to the taste and a deep golden brown color, about 45 minutes longer. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. You should have about 2 cups. You can refrigerate the sofrito in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Special Equipment

3-quart saucier or saucepan

Make-Ahead and Storage

The sofrito can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
87 Calories
7g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 87
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 62mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 37mg 186%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 133mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)