A Puerto Rican Food Staple: How to Make Homemade Puerto Rican Sofrito {Recipe}

by Melanie Edwards on July 1, 2013 · 45 comments

in Puerto Rico, Recipes

Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe

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Sofrito is something you will find in every Puerto Rican household – it is a staple for cooking Puerto Rican food and found in many Puerto Rican dishes. A blend of herbs and vegetables, Puerto Rican sofrito is a seasoning base for cooking and is a bit different than other Latino cultures’ sofrito in that it usually doesn’t include tomato. I have always used pre-made frozen sofrito, but was recently inspired to try making homemade sofrito when I was sent a complimentary sampling of Gourmet Garden herbs and spices through my participation in the Walmart Moms program.

Gourmet Garden Herbs and Spices

Gourmet Garden has a variety of herbs and spices available and they are all organically-grown. The great thing is that you can keep them fresh in the fridge for up to 3 months, so you don’t have to worry about your herbs spoiling before you get to use them. I was honestly surprised at how great the garlic and cilantro smelled when I squeezed them into the blender for making my sofrito! I loved that it saved me some time too from chopping. You can find the Gourmet Garden herbs and spices in the produce section of Walmart, so you too can make your own batch of homemade Puerto Rican sofrito with this simple recipe!

Puerto Rican Sofrito {Recipe}

Ingredients

  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 2 Tbsp garlic (either from Gourmet Garden tube or chopped)
  • cilantro, about 3 bunches (either from Gourmet Garden tube or chopped)

Puerto Rican Sofrito Ingredients

Directions

  1. Rinse and loosely chop onions.
  2. Rinse and loosely chop green bell peppers.
  3. Add onions and green bell peppers to blender. (I used my new HealthMaster Elite Blender!)
  4. Pulse blender to finely chop and combine ingredients.
  5. Add garlic and cilantro to blender.
  6. Blend all ingredients on low speed until mixed well and you have a semi-smooth texture.
  7. Store your homemade sofrito in a plastic container and either freeze (for long-term use) or refrigerate in smaller batches if you’ll be using often.

Homemade Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe

You can use your homemade Puerto Rican sofrito as a seasoning for stews, beans, and yellow rice, along with other ingredients. Puerto Rican sofrito is traditionally also made with recao (also called culantro) and ají peppers, but both are pretty hard to find unless you go to special Latin markets. As told to me by my mami, you can skip both of these ingredients and still have a good sofrito mix.

Do you think you’ll give Puerto Rican sofrito a try?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I received samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chantilly Patiño July 1, 2013 at 8:11 pm

This looks great Melanie and I can’t believe the Gourmet Garden options!? Are these available at all Walmart stores? I would love to try them! Would be great for my mole recipe and a few other items!

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2 Melanie Edwards July 1, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I was surprised about the options too! As far as I know, they should be available at all Walmart stores, but let me know if you can’t find them! I love that I can have herbs and spices in my fridge on a constant basis now. 😉

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3 Tracy López / Latinaish.com July 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I’ve definitely seen these at Walmart. They’re in the produce section, upper shelf, in the area where you’d find bunches of cilantro and parsley, fresh jalapeños and fresh ginger.

Honestly I haven’t tried them because the herbs in a tube thing was kind of odd to me. My mother has tried them and told me they’re great though. I have to admit, that sofrito looks really good, and since my cilantro usually goes bad before I can use it all, I may give the Gourmet Garden things a try 🙂

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4 Lucy Miranda July 1, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Melanie thank for putting the real sofrito recipe. Most people think that sofrito must have Sazon. For generations Sazon did not exist. Sofrito was may with fresh products. Thanks again.

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5 Lucy Miranda July 1, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Sorry “made”

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6 Leila July 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Nice recipe but I would use Italian Frying Peppers or Cubanel Peppers, they are closer in taste to the Aji Dulce……. from the Valldejuli cookbook

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7 fay July 2, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Am sorry that is not an original Puerto Rican recipe for sofrito. Its sad that our recipes are being lost. I still make sofrito as I was taught and believe me it didn’t come in a tube. I guess its easier but not the same.

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8 Harry October 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I agree. I love authentic Sofrito and fresh sazon and not the powder for.

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9 Melanie Edwards October 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

This was my first time making it homemade!

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10 Ginny March 20, 2016 at 5:50 pm

I have a Sofrito recipe handed over to me by my dad and believe me no one have been able to even come closer to make it the way I do. None of the Sofrito’s in the market can’t be compared to mines.

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11 Ida D. July 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm

It’s an easy way to make a good base for your dishes, but not traditional sofrito. I have a video on my blog on authentic sofrito. It’s still tasty!

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12 Roxana July 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Thanks for posting this, Mel! I’m definitely going to give it a try — or at least let my husband know about it. Like Tracy, I was kind of wary of herbs in a tube, but I trust your judgement, so we’ll just have to see.

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13 Scarlette October 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Thank you so much for posting this!! I bought fresh herbs but there is nothing wrong with using the tubed brands either. As you said, its nearly impossible to find recao & aji peppers. Plus, as a working mom, recipes that are quick, tasty & easy are perfect. Please continue to post more recipes. Awesome job Melanie!!

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14 Melanie Edwards October 22, 2013 at 11:45 am

Thanks so much Scarlette! Quick, easy, simple recipes are my favorite!

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15 Mary November 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm

This is so good well it looks good so I’m going to try it for my family and my self and if it comes out good then I will help my family with it

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16 Melanie Edwards November 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Hope you like it when you make it!

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17 taf November 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Love your website! My daughter just began dating a Puerto Rican young man, and I want to invite him over for dinner…want to present some delicious meals from his childhood…think this will do the bill..the beef looks amazing. Not quite ready to be brave enough to try the fried plantains, yet…but will try the beef. Thanks again for your well presented, easy to follow recipes/site.

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18 Melanie Edwards November 28, 2013 at 11:17 am

I’m so glad to hear this! Good luck trying out the recipes. I do try to make them simple and easy to follow. I hope you like them and that your daughter’s boyfriend enjoys them. So sweet of you to embrace his heritage and welcome him to the family in such a nice way!

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19 Angel J. Gonzalez February 12, 2014 at 5:55 am

Sorry but sofrito doesnt have cilantro, its culantro recao and dont use bell peppers use sweet peppers or cubanel peppers

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20 Melanie Edwards February 28, 2014 at 11:42 am

Hi Angel! Yes, as I said in the article, sofrito traditionally uses recao, but since it can be hard to find, you can substitute with cilantro – even my own mami approved and told me to make that substitution! 😉 The same for the pepper substitution, which I also explained in the article. Thanks for the comment!

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21 Tammy April 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Hi I found this very useful…I have a question… if I use the culantro and the aji peppers den I won’t have to use the cilantro or the green peppers? And how much do I use? Cause I know they are a lot smaller then the regular pepper… thank you 🙂

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22 Melanie Edwards April 18, 2014 at 4:53 pm

That’s correct, Tammy – if you use culantro and aji, you don’t use cilantro or green bell peppers. How much you use of each is up to you. You’ll need to find the right mix to your liking, but if it was me, I would start with about 5 and see how it tastes/looks.

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23 Shari May 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Thank you for posting this recipe… my neighbor gave me some of her homemade sofrito last summer, and we loved it… Mixed it into our burger meat and grilled them, and they were the best tasting burgers we’ve ever made! I just mixed up a batch, and we’re ready to go now! It looks and smells just like hers… we’ll find out if it tastes as good in about 20 minutes! 🙂

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24 Melanie Edwards May 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

How was it??? You left me in suspense! LOL I hope you enjoyed your homemade sofrito! 😉

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25 Margaret August 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I can see this short way of making sofrito as convenient for people just getting to know puerto rican cooking, and may just want to explore the flavors. But once you learn how to make a real authentic recaito, you make it in one big batch, portion it off in ice cube trays or plastic baggies, and freeze it so you can just add it to whatever you need it for, and it’s super-handy. Just as convenient as the store-bought, simplified options, if you make it in bulk!

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26 Wendy Gates June 28, 2016 at 10:11 am

My neighbor makes me delicious authentic PR sofrito, but I’m going through it too fast to keep asking her for it. I literally add it to almost everything. I have a Latin market in the city, so I have access to ingredients. Please help!

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27 Sandy September 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm

I tried this recipe and it was delicious. I did find the ajices but not the cilantro. I did add a little more garlic because I love the taste. I cooked with it and everyone said it came out fantastic. Thank you.

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28 Sandy September 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I meant I didn’t find the culantro.

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29 Sandy September 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I meant I didn’t find the cilantro.

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30 Sandy September 30, 2014 at 3:56 pm

culantro…. my cell keeps spell correcting. sorry!

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31 Melanie Edwards October 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm

That’s great to hear! Yes, if you can’t find the culantro, you can substitute it with cilantro, as I did in the recipe.

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32 Sherri Gallant September 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Hi Mel – if using the tube cilantro, what measure would replace three bunches of fresh?

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33 Melanie Edwards September 3, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Sherri, I believe an entire tube is equal to 3 bunches.

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34 Carmen Driggs September 15, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Hi, I’ve been making my own Sofrito for years using cilantro with green bell,peppers as I cannot find aji in my neighborhood. Lately I’ve noticed the smell is,awful,after a few uses. I store it in a plastic container in the fridge and use it daily but I freeze most of it for later use. Why do you think it’s been going bad on me? I have ruined quite a few dishes after adding the Sofrito……

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35 Melanie Edwards September 15, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Hi Carmen, if it’s been fine for years and the problem just recently surfaced, I wonder if it could be the container itself? Have you changed anything in the ingredients (different brand even) or how you store it? I’ve heard of people that freeze their sofrito in ice cube trays and use just the one cube for each dish. It would melt during cooking, so there would be no need to store in the fridge at all.

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36 Vitaqueen December 29, 2015 at 6:49 pm

I made my first one today with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, basil and spices. Used as a bed for my pork tenderloin. Everything looked so nice! Won’t know how it is till its done but it smells great! No use spending a fortune on it when you can make it for mere pennies!!

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37 Melanie Edwards January 15, 2016 at 11:07 am

Sounds delicious!

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38 Toni Clemens June 15, 2016 at 6:17 pm

I’m so glad to have this recipe. My stepmother used to cook P.R. Food at home constantly, and I grew eating Goya Sofrito and Recaito. I have moved to Colorado, and didn’t account for the fact that Goya is a very strong product line in Florida, but not in Colorado. Now, I can make my own and get back to eating my P.R. Comfort foods I miss so much!! Thank you!!

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39 Melanie Edwards June 15, 2016 at 11:08 pm

You’re so welcome! It’s so hard when you can’t find the products you like in a new area, isn’t it? I hope you enjoy eating your PR foods again! 🙂

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40 Yaya September 26, 2016 at 12:55 pm

I think this posting is great. It’s got great color and texture.

It may not be the way my mom made it but it looks great and I’m sure it’s full of flavor 🙂

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41 Melanie Edwards September 30, 2016 at 10:03 am

Absolutely! It adds plenty of flavor to recipes. How does your mom make her sofrito?

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42 Nelson Roman September 29, 2016 at 10:21 am

Why are people complaining about this recipe? It doesn’t say authentic it’s her mom’s take on it. Remember there’s always more than one way of doing something.

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43 Melanie Edwards September 30, 2016 at 10:01 am

😉 I think people took issue with the herbs in the tube, however they are still fresh herbs that are packaged in a tube for convenience. It’s actually an authentic recipe for sofrito, except that I was unable to use recao due to not being able to find it in our area.

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44 Nelson Roman November 30, 2016 at 10:50 am

I for one am thankful for your post, keep it up?

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45 Melanie Edwards November 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm

I appreciate that, Nelson! Many thanks for your encouraging comment!

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