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    Dominican Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)

    Let me tell you about Pollo Guisado, a classic dish from the Latin Caribbean that’s close to my heart. It’s all about tender chicken, caramelized to perfection and then simmered in a flavorful sauce. Its dynamics and taste changes from Dominican to Puerto Rican to Cuban.

    Served over rice, it’s pure comfort food bliss. Trust me, you’ve got to try it to believe how deliciously simple it is!

    pollo guisado alongside a scoop of white rice on a blue plate

    What is Pollo Guisado?

    Pronounced as “poy-yo gweeSAH-doh”, it translates as chicken stew. It is braised low and slow until the chicken is tender in the most flavorful sauce or stew. It comes in variations, evolving from island to island, with the family recipes passing from generation to generation.

    The pollo guisado that first came into my life wasn’t Dominican, but Puerto Rican (which is coming to GypsyPlate in the near future… another reason to subscribe?). That has a bit more Latin ingredients and spices, so I decided to introduce this simple and easy Dominican version first.

    It has a beautiful sauce created by veggies and a few Latin spices, with the occasional tanginess of olives.

    Ingredients Needed

    ingredients for pollo guisado arranged on a white background
    • Chicken – Any stew is best with bone in chicken parts. I use thighs and drumsticks, with skin removed.
    • Onion – Yellow Spanish onion.
    • Bell peppers – I am using three colors, to reflect the colorful island life.
    • Fresh tomatoes – To create the sauce.
    • Tomato paste – To enhance the flavors.
    • Garlic – Plenty.
    • Cilantro – An important Latin herb
    • Green olive – You will find this in most guisados to create that Spanish flavor.
    • Adobo – Their seasoned salt.
    • Oregano – That’s the only spice I am using for this simple stew.
    • Chicken broth – The base for the stew.
    • Lime – For that freshness and tang.
    • Olive oil – To tenderize the meat while marinating.
    • Black pepper – A little extra flavor.
    • Sugar – To caramelize and brown the chicken.

    How to Make Pollo Guisado

    1. Prep the vegetables: First, I dice my veggies, garlic, and cilantro, and halve my olives.

    chopped veggies on a cutting board

    2. Prep the chicken: I keep the chicken pieces large and remove the skin. Then, I place them in a large bowl and coat them with adobo, black pepper, and oregano.

    raw chicken pieces with seasoning added

    2. Marinate: I add the chopped veggies, garlic, olives, cilantro, lime juice, and olive oil, mixing everything well. If I have the time, I like to marinate the chicken in all these delicious ingredients for a few hours. The longer, the better, as it allows all the flavors to seep into the meat.

    chicken marinating with chopped veggies in a bowl

    4. Brown the chicken: When I’m ready to cook, I start by adding cooking oil to a big stew pot over medium-high heat. Then, I toss in some sugar and keep stirring until it caramelizes, which takes about a minute. Next, I add my chicken pieces and let them cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side until they get beautifully browned. This is the secret for that amazing caramelized chicken you get in these Caribbean stews.

    browned chicken in a pot

    5. Add the veggies: Once that’s done, I add the remaining marinade mixture, mix well, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.

    browned chicken and chopped veggies in a pot

    6. Simmer: Next I stir in tomato paste and chicken broth and again cover. I reduce heat to medium low and cook until the chicken is cooked to fall of the bone tender, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    chicken, veggies and broth in a pot with a glob of tomato paste

    7. Customize: You can add more chicken broth according to the consistency you like. I like it on the drier side with a nice thick sauce. Once done, I squeeze in more lime and garnish with more fresh cilantro.

    cooked pollo guisado in a pot

    Serving Suggestions

    I love pairing Pollo Guisado with a generous helping of my favorite white rice. Then, I dive right in, and let me tell you, the flavor that comes out of such simple ingredients is truly mind-blowing!

    If you want to go all out with your Latin night, you can have a side of Black Beans and fry some Tostones.

    Recipe Notes and Tips

    • Marination Time: I find that the longer I marinate the chicken, the tastier it gets. Aim for a few hours or overnight if possible.
    • Caramelizing Sugar: I always keep a close eye on the sugar caramelization. It adds such a rich color to the dish, but if you overdo it, it can turn bitter. So, I make sure to watch it carefully to get it just right.
    • Meat Check: I like our stewed chicken falling off the bone tender, that’s why I prefer dark meat here. Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. Chicken is safe to eat at 165 degrees, which is the correct temperature to cook breast to, but dark meat is not really tender till about 185 degrees.
    • Stir: I make sure to stir the dish occasionally while it cooks to prevent it sticking to the pot.
    pollo guisado alongside a scoop of white rice on a blue plate

    So my friends, this coming week, if you don’t know what to do with that chicken, try my Dominican style Pollo Guisado.

    pollo guisado alongside a scoop of white rice on a blue plate

    This will make your life so easy, colorful and flavorful! In no time this is going to be your family favorite too… Buen Provencho!!

    Dominican Pollo Guisado, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    pollo guisado alongside a scoop of white rice on the gypsy plate

    Try these other great Latin Stews:
    Fricase de Pollo
    Carne Guisada
    Habichuelas Guisadas
    Asopao de Camarones
    Chile Verde
    Beef Birria

    featured image for dominican pollo guisado recipe

    Dominican Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

    Pollo Guisado, a classic comfort food in many Latin countries. This Dominican version uses simple ingredients to create an amazing depth of flavor.


    • 3 lbs bone-in, skinless chicken
    • 1 onion
    • 3 bell peppers
    • 3 medium tomatoes
    • ¼ cup green olives
    • 6-8 garlic cloves
    • ¼ cup cilantro
    • 1 Tbsp adobo
    • 1 Tbsp oregano
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • ½ cup chicken broth
    • 1 Tbsp tomato paste


    1. Chop veggies, garlic, cilantro and olives. Remove skin from chicken. Add chicken to large bowl and top with adobo, oregano and pepper. Add chopped ingredients and olive oil. Mix well and marinate (the longer the better).
    2. Heat cooking oil in a large pot over medium high heat.. Add sugar and stir continuously, about one minute, until sugar is caramelized. Add chicken, brown each side 5-6 minutes.
    3. Add remaining marination ingredients. Mix, cover and cook 4-5 minutes.
    4. Add chicken broth and tomato paste. Mix well. Cover and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check your chicken with a fork. Is it falling off the bone? If not, continue cooking until it is.
    5. Serve alongside a heap of white rice.


    1. We prefer dark meat chicken for this recipe. If using breast, you may wish to reduce cooking time to avoid it drying out.
    2. Keep a close eye during the caramelization of sugar. This step adds a rich color to the dish, but overdoing it can lead to bitterness.
    3. Leftovers: As any with other stew, pollo guisado gets better and better as the days go by. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It’s a great leftover on a busy weeknight. You can also freeze in an airtight container for 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a covered skillet over medium heat, adding a bit more water or chicken stock if necessary.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 565Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 202mgSodium 427mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 2gSugar 5gProtein 68g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

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    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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