Sofrito Ingredient Guide

Sofrito is a flavourful cooking base used in many Latin American and Spanish dishes. In modern times, it is well-known as an integral part of authentic Puerto Rican and Dominican cuisine. However, it has its roots in Spain. Sofrito — or sofregit — began as a simple base of slow-cooked onion and oil, and bacon if it was available.

Sofrito Ingredient Guide

Jump to: ℹ️ Overview |👨‍🍳 Types | 📷 How To Make | | 🍽 Sofrito Recipes

What Is Sofrito?

If you’re familiar with mirepoix, it’s very similar in terms of its culinary purpose. Roughly translated, sofrito means to lightly fry. This aromatic base typically consists of ingredients such as onions, garlic, bell peppers (capsicum), and herbs like cilantro (coriander) or parsley, all finely chopped or blended. Optionally, sofrito may also include diced tomatoes and carrots.

The ingredients are then sautéed in oil or lard to release their rich flavours, then used as a base for soups, stews, rice dishes, and sauces, adding depth and complexity to the final dish. Its exact ingredients and proportions can vary depending on regional and individual preferences.

Types Of Sofrito

Since the 14th century, sofrito has evolved and has been embedded into traditional cuisine across the Pacific, each offering a unique twist on the traditional base. Some popular variations include:

Sofrito Ingredient Guide

Cuban Sofrito: Includes ingredients like onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, and sometimes a hint of citrus juice or vinegar. It’s often used in Cuban dishes like black beans and rice (Moros y Cristianos) or picadillo. Additionally, bean recipes often include ham or chorizo in the sofrito. 

Puerto Rican Sofrito (Recaito): This version features similar ingredients to the Cuban version but may include additional elements like culantro (not cilantro!) or annatto seeds (achiote) for colour and flavour. It’s a key component in dishes such as arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) and stewed meats. 

Dominican Sofrito (Sazon): It typically includes onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro, but may also incorporate ingredients like celery, olives, and oregano. It’s used in various Dominican dishes like pollo guisado (stewed chicken) and mangú (mashed plantains). 

Green Sofrito: This one is also known as Recaito and is a flavorful cooking base commonly used in Latin American and Carribean cuisines, but could also be found in some Spanish and Portuguese dishes (slightly different variations). In its green variant, sofrito typically includes ingredients like green bell peppers, onions, garlic, and a mix of herbs such as cilantro and parsley. 

Spanish Sofrito: This variation is commonly made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and sometimes bell peppers, then cooked in olive oil. It serves as a base for many Spanish dishes such as paella, soups, and sauces like sofrito sauce (as the name suggests).

Filipino Sofrito: Known as “ginisa” in Filipino cuisine and very similar to Spanish sofrito, it typically consists of garlic, onions, tomatoes, and sometimes ginger, sautéed in oil. It’s used as a base for many Filipino dishes including adobo, sinigang, and stir-fries.

Brazilian Sofrito: Also known as Refogado (the Portuguese word for sofrito), which is a term commonly used to reference the mix of onion, garlic, and salt sautéed in little oil. It is a classic base for many Brazilian dishes, such as rice,beans, coxinha, or to sauté vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, and spinach. It can be made ahead of time!

These variations showcase the versatility of sofrito, adapting to local ingredients and culinary traditions while adding depth of flavour to a wide range of dishes.

How To Make Sofrito

Sofrito is a great ingredient base to have in your repertoire. It’s versatile, adaptable, and flavourful using fridge and pantry staples to enhance all types of foods whether it’s beans and rice, sauce, or roasted meats.

With its regional variations come familial variations. In homes across Latin America, you’ll likely find sofrito with unique additions that work well in the final dish. When does sofrito become not sofrito anymore? How can you master this recipe for yourself?

To make a great sofrito, follow these general steps:

  1. Gather Ingredients: You’ll need the basics i.e. onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, and herbs like cilantro or parsley. You can also customise it with additional ingredients like culantro, celery, or annatto seeds depending on the variation you’re making.
  2. Prep: Finely chop or dice all the ingredients. You can also use a food processor to save time, but be careful not to over-process as you want the sofrito to retain texture.
  3. Sauté the aromatics: Heat some oil or lard in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers first, sautéing until they soften and become translucent, around 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and tomatoes: Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Then, add the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down and release their juices, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Incorporate herbs and seasonings: Stir in your chosen herbs like cilantro or parsley, and any additional seasonings such as salt, pepper, or annatto seeds for color. Cook for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  6. Adjust consistency: Depending on your preference, you can leave the sofrito chunky or blend it into a smoother paste using a blender or immersion blender.
  7. Store or use: Once the sofrito has cooled, you can use it immediately in your recipes or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. It can also be frozen for longer storage.
Sofrito Ingredient Guide

Here is a recipe for raw sofrito suitable for Latin American and Caribbean cooking.

Recipes Using Sofrito

Here are some sofrito-based recipes from around the world.

Paleo Spanish ‘Rice’ With Shrimp & Chorizo
Paella-inspired Spanish Cauliflower Rice with shrimp, chicken and chorizo is healthy and delicious, perfect for a grain-free, low-carb dinner. Cauliflower is chopped into rice-like kernels and cooked in a fabulous sofrito of onions, garlic and red sweet peppers.
Get the recipe here
Spanish Cauliflower Rice With Chorizo, Chicken & Shrimp
Asopao De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)
This recipe is one of the most popular family-style stews served in PR and its flavour comes from a flavourful blend of adobo and sofrito. Recipe from Salima's Kitchen.
Calories: 553
Protein: 50 grams
Carbs: 48 grams
Fat: 17 grams
Get the recipe here
Asopao De Pollo
Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)
The authentic Puerto Rican arroz con pollo is jam-packed with flavour and easy to make using just a single pan. You can easily tweak this dish or the sofrito and make it your own. Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.
Calories: 485
Protein: 38 grams
Carbs: 47 grams
Fat: 19 grams
Get the recipe here
Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)
Spanish Asparagus With Sofrito
This Spanish-inspired recipe of lightly boiled asparagus is served with a sofrito of red bell peppers, onions and garlic sautéed in lashings of olive oil. It’s a great side dish to a main or a sharing plate at a dinner party.
Calories: 189
Protein: 6 grams
Carbs: 13 grams
Fat: 14 grams
Get the recipe here
Asparagus Recipe With Bell Peppers, Onions & Garlic
Chicken & Seafood Paella
Sofrito is the backbone of a great paella. This traditional Spanish recipe is great to keep in your back pocket with ALL the info you need to master the art and make this dish your own. Recipe from A Bountiful Kitchen.
Nutritional information is based on averages and actual macros may vary.
Calories (per serving): 525
Protein: 31 grams
Carbs: 61 grams
Fat: 17 grams
Get the recipe here
Chicken & Seafood Paella
Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef)
Start things off with a Cuban sofrito blend in this tomato-braised flank steak recipe. Recipe from A Sassy Spoon.
Calories (per serving): 419
Protein: 43 grams
Carbs: 5 grams
Fat: 24 grams
Get the recipe here
Stewed Sancocho
This Caribbean stew is loaded with beef, chicken, root veggies, and corn, flavoured with a generous dose of adobo, sofrito, and sazon. You won’t be hungry after a big bowl of this. Recipe from Salima’s Kitchen.
Calories (per serving): 413
Protein: 41 grams
Carbs: 34 grams
Fat: 15 grams
Get the recipe here
Stewed Sancocho
Corned Beef Hash With Sofrito
This is a popular breakfast in Puerto Rico. It comes together easily. Experiment with sofrito ingredients to give your dish slightly different flair, perhaps trying a Filipino-style hash! Recipe from Latina Mom Meals.
Calories (per serving): 257
Protein: 11 grams
Carbs: 24 grams
Fat: 14 grams
Get the recipe here
Corned Beef Hash With Sofrito
Albóndigas Guisadas (Dominican Stewed Meatballs)
The scent of these simmering on the stove will have the whole house feeling hungry. This dish is great for meal prep. Recipe from Dominican Cooking.
Calories (per 3 meatballs): 563
Protein: 22 grams
Carbs: 30 grams
Fat: 41 grams
Get the recipe here
Albóndigas Guisadas (Dominican Stewed Meatballs)
Sinigang Na Baboy (Filipino Pork Stew)
This spare rib, pork belly, and okra stew is set in a tangy broth, infused with Filipino sofrito and tamarind. Recipe from Hungry Huy.
Calories (per serving): 607
Protein: 17 grams
Carbs: 35 grams
Fat: 46 grams
Get the recipe here
Sinigang na Baboy (Filipino pork stew)
Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice and Beans)
Sofrito is relied heavily upon to spice meat and seafood dishes, but it works wonders in a simple rice and beans dish for a plant-based meal or side. Recipe from Jessica in the Kitchen.
Calories (per serving): 340
Protein: 11 grams
Carbs: 68 grams
Fat: 3 grams
Get the recipe here
Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice and Beans)
Chipotle Copycat Sofritas
This popular restaurant dish is essentially tofu braised in sofrito. It’s a delicious, protein-rich, vegan-friendly taco filling. If you struggle to cook tasty tofu, this recipe is for you. Recipe from Culinary Hill.
Calories (per serving): 128
Protein: 10 grams
Carbs: 10 grams
Fat: 6 grams
Get the recipe here
Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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