Sofrito: The Secret to Hispanic Caribbean Cooking

by Chef Zee

Sofrito is herbaceous, fresh, and flavorful. It’s the foundation to many Hispanic dishes y el secreto del Caribe! (The secret of the Caribbean) It’s quick and easy to make requiring no cooking at all. Therefore, it’s a great recipe for my seasoned and novice cooks. Aplauso! This seasoning base elevates any dish you make whether it’s a traditional Hispanic recipe or your own everyday remixed dish.

There are many different versions of it and if you grew up Hispanic, I’m sure you know someone who it makes with tomatoes and others who add habaneros. Every now and then, I switch it up and add pimento peppers but that’s a different recipe for a different day. The recipe below is fairly traditional with little to no frills. It’s a straight forward good ol’ sofrito recipe that delivers bold garden fresh flavors.




If it seems like the directions to sofrito are understated and easy it’s because it is simply that easy to make sofrito. You can find all of the ingredients in your local grocery store with the exception of culantro. This one may be a little harder to find (sorry!). Feel free to alter this recipe to your taste. For example– I love, love, love a garlicky sofrito but depending on my mood and possible date night, I may opt for a subtle sweet peppery sofrito. Meanwhile, my aunts love to hype up the onions while my mom prefers a more acidic sofrito with paprika. My grandmother would beef up the seasoning by adding much more salt, thyme, oregano, and pepper.

The key take away is that sofrito is versatile and customizable so have fun with it—live a little!
Remember, that the fresher the ingredients, the better. Got fresh ingredients about to go bad? No worries, make sofrito and freeze in small batches. Problem solved.

My advice to you is to be mindful of how salty you make your sofrito because you want to use this to season a variety of dishes. Making it too salty out of the gate limits what you can marinate. Lastly, while sofrito is flavorful it’s usually just a seasoning base and one that you can build upon. Don’t be bashful and think that just because you’re using sofrito that you can’t add some paprika, more garlic or cilantro.

Take a deep breath and go for it y echale sin miedo! Enjoy!



Click here to watch my video: How to Make Sofrito

Don’t forget to Pin the yumminess to your Pinterest boards!


Sofrito | Made To Order | Chef Zee Cooks

Serves: 10-15 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 3.0/5
( 30 voted )


  • *1 whole bunch Cilantro which will yield about 1-1 ½ cups
  • *1 whole bunch of Culantro which will yield about 1cup
  • 1 white onion—roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion—roughly chopped
  • 2 Cubanelle Peppers (or Italian Frying pepper)
  • 1.5-2 heads of garlic (the more the merrier)
  • 1tsp of bouillon cube or to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp of bitter orange juice, lemon, or lime—whichever you have is fine
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp of cumin (A little goes a LONG way)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper (optional)
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (optional)
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper (optional)


1. Wash all of your ingredients and rough chop them. Nothing fancy.
2. Blend fresh ingredients (in no particular order) in your food processor or blender
3. Add your seasonings in the end and give it one last whirl
4. Bottle in a glass jar or Tupperware
5. Refrigerate for 2 weeks or freeze
6. Use freely as needed to season meat, fish, beans, veggies, and rice!


*Please note, I refer to both cilantro and culantro as recao. Others may use recao to referenece culantro



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Roxanne August 21, 2017 - 2:04 pm

Good morning I’ve just tried to make your sofrito and for some reason it came out very bitter is there a way to salvage it or do I have to throw it away

chefzee August 22, 2017 - 8:13 pm

Hey! I just saw your comment on my YouTube channel. Thanks for watching!

YouTube Response: “Hey! So sorry that your sofrito came out bitter. That’s never happened to me before but nonetheless, this is something that you can fix. I’ve had Mojo sauces in the past that came out bitter and that’s because I used too many oranges, lemons, limes, or too much zest. I imagine that the bitter oranges you used may have been the culprit. In order to counteract the bitterness, I would add some sweet peppers, sweet onions, and sweet herbs to the sofrito. Culantro is much stronger than cilantro so I would add a handful of that to the batch if you can find it at your local grocery store. Otherwise, adding more cilantro with also help. You can also add some honey, brown sugar, or regular sugar. Just add enough to mellow and kill the bitterness. Don’t add so much that it makes the sofrito sweet– unless of course you want a sweet sofrito 🙂 Hope this helps!”

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