Sofrito is a base for many Puerto Rican recipes. You can think of it as the Spanish version of mirepoix. While you can find jarred, pre-made versions (affiliate link), there’s nothing quite like homemade sofrito for your Puerto Rican cooking. Since sofrito doesn’t have that many ingredients and is quick and easy to make, I always have a few portions of homemade, authentic Puerto Rican sofrito in my freezer, ready to use the next time I whip up some arroz con gandules or habichuelas.
I plan to share more of my family’s Puerto Rican food recipes on the blog this year, and since sofrito is the base for so many of our family’s recipes (like my dad’s Arroz con Gandules recipe, my Habichuelas Guisadas recipe, and my Instant Pot Arroz con Pollo recipe), I thought this would be the best recipe to share first. This is my dad’s homemade sofrito recipe, so if you make it and love it, just remember that mi papi deserves all the credit!
The full recipe for homemade Puerto Rican sofrito is at the end of this post, but first I will share a bit about the method and some answers to common questions.
What is sofrito?
Sofrito is a base for many Puerto Rican recipes. It is a blend of savory ingredients similar to a mirepoix. As I shared above, you can find prepared sofrito and the similar recaito in jars. However, since homemade sofrito is easy to make and only has a few ingredients, I recommend making sofrito yourself and keeping it portioned in your freezer (yes, you can freeze homemade sofrito!).
What are the ingredients in Puerto Rican sofrito?
The ingredients in sofrito are simple, but amazingly fragrant when they cook. Garlic, yellow onion, green bell pepper, oregano, and culantro (also called recao) are all you need to make homemade Puerto Rican sofrito.
Culantro (which is not a typo – this is what is used in authentic Puerto Rican sofrito recipes), pictured above is also known as recao, or ngo gai in Vietnamese cooking. I find ngo gai at a local Asian market. If you can’t find culantro or ngo gai, cilantro may be substituted in this sofrito recipe.
Here is a picture of culantro/ngo gai and cilantro side-by-side:
How do you make homemade sofrito?
Homemade Puerto Rican sofrito is really easy to make, which is why I recommend making it yourself. All the ingredients are placed in a blender or food processor and pureed until finely chopped.
Can you freeze homemade sofrito?
Yes, you can store sofrito in the freezer, or you can use it immediately. I always have a few portions in my freezer at any given time. After pureeing, I separate the homemade sofrito into usable portions. I find that most recipes I make call for 1/2 cup or one cup of sofrito as a base, so I usually freeze them in 1/2 cup portions. Sofrito will last a few months in the freezer.
Trust me on this… there’s not much that smells better than sofrito sautéing in some olive oil with salt pork and achiote when you start cooking a Puerto Rican recipe!
Stay tuned for more Puerto Rican recipes using my dad’s sofrito as a base, but for now, have fun making this versatile sauce! Here is the recipe for homemade sofrito:
Puerto Rican Sofrito (My Dad’s Recipe)
Ingredients for Puerto Rican Sofrito:
- 1 medium to large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 whole bulbs of garlic, peeled
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium bunch of culantro,* coarsely chopped (include most of the stems)
*Culantro (sometimes called recao) is also known as ngo gai in Vietnamese cooking. I find ngo gai at a local Asian market. If you can’t find culantro or ngo gai, cilantro may be substituted.
Directions for how to make Puerto Rican Sofrito:
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until finely chopped and all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Separate the homemade sofrito into usable quantities (I recommend 1/2 cup portions) and store what you don’t need immediately in the freezer for future meals.
More Puerto Rican recipes:
- Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) recipe
- Habichuelas Guisadas, Puerto Rican-Style Beans recipe
- Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo recipe (my family’s recipe – adapted for the pressure cooker!)
- Instant Pot Estofado de Pollo (or Pollo Guisado – Puerto Rican-style chicken stew)
- Shortcut Puerto Rican Picadillo Empanadas recipe
- Air Fryer Tostones (Fried Green Plantain Chips) recipe
- The best Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog) recipe