Authentic Puerto Rican Sofrito


Sofrito is the secret to many Hispanic Caribbean recipes. It is a fragrant aromatic puree of peppers, onions, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. The magic herb in this fragrant mixture is cilantro. My family's Puerto Rican recipe produces a sofrito that is very flavorful, complex, and oh-so-delicious! Use it in soups and stews as well as in rice dishes. Freeze whatever portions will not be used within 2 weeks. They will keep for about 3 months in the freezer.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
4 16-ounce containers


  • 1 large green bell pepper

  • 1 large red bell pepper

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 10 sweet chile peppers (ajicitos dulces), seeded

  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered

  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed

  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded

  • 25 cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed

  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro, ends trimmed

  • 2 bunches culantro

  • ¼ cup pimento-stuffed green olives

  • 5 large leaves Caribbean wild oregano (oregano brujo)

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • ½ cup olive oil, or more as needed

  • ¼ cup water


  1. Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven's broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Cut green bell pepper and red bell pepper in half from top to bottom; remove stems, seeds, and ribs. Place peppers cut-side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush with 2 teaspoons olive oil.

  3. Roast under the preheated broiler until skin on peppers has blackened and blistered, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Seal to let peppers steam as they cool, about 15 minutes. Remove skins under running water and discard. Chop flesh into large pieces.

  4. Place pepper pieces, sweet chile peppers, onion, scallions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, culantro, olives, oregano, and capers in a blender or food processor. Blend, adding 1/2 cup olive oil and water in batches, until mixture is pureed but some chunks remain.

  5. Divide blended mixture among four 16-ounce containers, filling each 3/4 of the way. Top each with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil to help preserve mixture. Close containers and refrigerate.

Cook's Notes:

Substitute yellow onion with white Spanish onion if desired. Substitute green and red bell peppers for a cubanelle (Italian frying pepper) and a roasted red pepper if desired. If doing so, skip steps 1 to 3. Sweet chile peppers (ajicitos dulces) can be substituted with small Italian sweet peppers. If you are unable to find culantro, use 2 more bunches cilantro. If you are unable to find Caribbean oregano brujo, use 2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried oregano instead. Plum tomatoes can be replaced with 2 teaspoons tomato paste. Substitute vinegar for water if preferred.

Sofrito also makes a great marinade when combined in a 2-to-1 ratio with an acid (vinegar, lemon, lime, or bitter orange juice), oil, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

The mixture can also be frozen in cubes — just remember to float olive oil on top of cubes as well. When frozen, separate cubes and store them in freezer bags.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

29 Calories
2g Fat
3g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 64
Calories 29
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Sodium 29mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 42mg 209%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 92mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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