Authentic Nicaraguan Arroz Aguado – Chicken and Rice Stew Recipe

Best Arroz Aguado Recipe - Traditional Nicaraguan Chicken and Rice Stew

Discover the heartwarming flavors of Nicaragua with this traditional Arroz Aguado recipe. This rustic chicken and rice stew is a perfect blend of tender meat, soft rice, and vibrant vegetables, all simmered in a flavorful broth. The addition of yerba buena and cilantro gives this dish its distinctive taste, setting it apart from typical chicken soups.

Arroz aguado, which means ‘soft rice’ in Spanish, is more than just a soup – it’s a hearty stew where rice takes center stage. By adding the rice early in the cooking process, you’ll achieve the signature soft, almost creamy texture that defines this dish.

This one-pot wonder is not only easy to prepare but also incredibly nourishing. It’s the perfect comfort food for chilly days or when you need a boost of warmth and energy. Let’s dive into this delicious Nicaraguan culinary adventure!

Pro Tip: When reheating leftovers, add a splash of chicken broth to maintain the stew’s consistency, as the rice continues to absorb liquid over time.

Arroz Aguado (Nicaraguan Chicken and Rice Stew) Recipe


For the Stew:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 whole canned plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch-thick slices, plus 2 tablespoons liquid
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, cut in half crosswise (about 1 pound total)
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 12 ounces total)
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 10 to 12 stems fresh cilantro with leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 3 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch-thick pieces crosswise (about 1 cup)

For the Assembly:

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • Pickled jalapeño chiles, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes with juice, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until the onion becomes soft and translucent, releasing its aromatic flavors.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then add them to the pot. Pour in the chicken broth and water, followed by the rice, cilantro, and mint. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low and let it simmer. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Allow the stew to cook for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a bowl and discard the cilantro and mint sprigs.
  3. Now, it’s time to add the potatoes and zucchini to the pot. Let them cook until they’re tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork, which should take around 15 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken using two forks, discarding the skin and bones. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. Ladle the hot stew into bowls and garnish generously with fresh mint and cilantro. Serve alongside lime wedges, diced avocado, and pickled jalapeños for an extra kick of flavor and texture.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
275 Calories
8g Fat
34g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 275
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Sodium 616mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 36mg 178%
Calcium 67mg 5%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 1059mg 23%
*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.

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