International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Cooking sofrito

(Latin flavoring base)

Image by Javier Lastras

Average: 3.5 (16 votes)

Sofrito is a mixture of flavorful vegetables and sometimes herbs that is lightly sauteed and used as a base for Latin soups, stews, rice, beans and braises.

The original Spanish version of sofrito contains only onions, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil. Caribbean versions contain chopped peppers and sometimes cilantro, culantro and ham.

Make a double batch and freeze portions to have sofrito on hand as you need it.

Makes about 3 cups


  • Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Onions, finely chopped -- 2
  • Garlic, minced -- 4 to 6 cloves
  • Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 2
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Olive oil -- 1/2 cup


  1. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and simmer to cook the tomatoes down somewhat and evaporate any extra moisture.
  3. Remove the sofrito from heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil.
  4. Store refrigerated for up to a week, or freeze in small portions for up to 3 months.

Sofrito Variations

  • Cuba: Add 2 finely chopped bell peppers to the sauteing onions and garlic.
  • Puerto Rico: Use achiote oil or lard instead of olive oil if you like. The tomatoes are optional. Add 2 finely chopped ajís dulces or bell peppers, 3 tablespoons of chopped culantro or cilantro and 1 cup of chopped ham to the sauteing onions and garlic.
  • Other possible additions: Oregano, cumin, cayenne, bay leaf, chopped chorizo, pitted and chopped green olives. Stir in a splash of sherry.


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