Arroz Caldoso Recipe: A Hearty Spanish Rice Soup

arroz caldoso recipe

Arroz Caldoso Recipe

Arroz caldoso is a traditional Spanish dish that strikes a delightful balance between a soup and a paella. It’s a comforting and hearty meal that warms the soul, perfect for both chilly evenings and casual gatherings. In this recipe, we will guide you through creating an authentic arroz caldoso recipe that showcases the rich flavors of Spain. Get ready to savor the essence of Spanish cuisine with this delicious arroz caldoso recipe.

For the Sofrito:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Arroz Caldoso:

  • 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice (or any short-grain rice suitable for paella)
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 pound of mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  • Extra olive oil for drizzling


  1. Prepare the Sofrito:
  • Heat the olive oil in a large paella pan or a wide, shallow skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and cook until it becomes translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic, diced red and green bell peppers, and diced tomato.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables soften and release their flavors.
  • Sprinkle in the paprika and saffron threads if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes, allowing the spices to bloom.
  1. Add the Rice:
  • Stir in the Arborio rice, ensuring it is well coated with the sofrito mixture.
  • Pour in the dry white wine and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the alcohol evaporates and the wine is mostly absorbed by the rice.
  1. Simmer with Broth:
  • Begin adding the chicken or vegetable broth, one cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more.
  • Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Continue this process for about 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and creamy. You may not need to use all of the broth, so taste along the way.
  1. Incorporate the Proteins:
  • Once the rice is almost cooked, gently nestle the chicken pieces into the rice, allowing them to cook through. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • Next, add the shrimp and mussels to the pan. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink and the mussels open. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  • Tuck the peas into the rice mixture during the last 2 minutes of cooking to heat through.
  1. Finish and Serve:
  • Remove the arroz caldoso from heat, and sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over the top.
  • Drizzle with a bit of extra olive oil for added richness and flavor.
  • Serve hot, garnished with lemon wedges on the side for a bright, citrusy finish.

Arroz caldoso is a classic Spanish dish that beautifully combines the flavors of the Mediterranean with the heartiness of a comforting rice soup. This arroz caldoso recipe showcases the essence of Spanish cuisine with its aromatic sofrito, tender chicken, succulent shrimp, and flavorful mussels. Share this delightful dish with friends and family to transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Spain. Whether it’s a special occasion or a cozy weeknight dinner, arroz caldoso is sure to satisfy and delight with its rich and savory flavors. Enjoy this culinary journey into the heart of Spanish gastronomy!