How To Create The Best Puerto Rican Seasoning In The World

Rican Vegan Recao puerto rican cooking base recipe


While growing up, every once in a while I would stumble into the kitchen and find the counter filled with a bunch of different colored peppers, herbs and onions.  One of two things was happening, either the farmers market moved into our kitchen or my mother was preparing to make a batch of recaito.  Recaito or recao is a cooking base used to build the flavor in Puerto Rican recipes such as rice and beans, stews and soups.  It’s made up of different green herbs and vegetables found locally and in Latin countries.

My mother would go to our local supermarket and the Spanish supermarket to buy all of the ingredients since certain ingredients are not sold in the regular supermarket.  I remember going with her to the Spanish supermarket to buy culantro, not to be mistaken for cilantro like autocorrect is doing as I write this, and the ají dulces.   Culantro is an herb that has long leaves with spiky edges and has a stronger cilantro-like scent compared to actual cilantro.  Ají dulces or sweet chili peppers are small round shaped peppers that are green, red or yellow in color and are sweet in flavor.  They look just like habanero peppers which are hot so be careful not to buy the wrong ones when you are shopping.

Rican Vegan Culantro Leaf

Culantro Leaf


Rican Vegan Aji Dulces for recaito

Ají Dulces

When it was time to make the recaito, my mother would pull out the blender from the cabinet and filled it with the ingredients until blended.  Once she turned off the blender and removed the lid, the kitchen would immediately fill with the scent of cilantro, peppers and onions.  She would pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze so that it would last longer.  Recaito can last for up to one week in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.

Once you have the recaito ready it’s time to use it in other recipes.  To use it heat a pan with oil and depending on how much food you are making put 1-2 tablespoons or one frozen cube or more of recaito in the pan.  Cook it for about 2-3 minutes then add whatever you are going to make such as rice, beans, tofu, seitan, tempeh or anything else.  This will make if more flavorful once it’s finished cooking.

Watch how easy it is to make recaito in this video and get the recipe for it below.

Puerto Rican Recaíto Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 25 servings

2 tablespoons or the size of one ice cube


  • 3 green peppers
  • 3 onions
  • 2 bunches of cilantro
  • 2 bunches of culantro
  • 2 handfuls of ají dulces (sweet chili peppers) seeded
  • 1 head of garlic peeled
  • ¼ cup oil


  1. Roughly chop the green peppers, onions, cilantro, culantro and ají dulces into medium sized pieces so that they fit inside the food processor.
  2. Remove seeds from the green peppers and ají dulce.
  3. Place all ingredients into a food processor/blender and blend it to desired consistency, either smooth or chunky.
  4. Store recaíto in a glass jar and refrigerate immediately or pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.
  5. The ice cube tray makes it easier to portion out the mixture for cooking.


To use the recaíto in other recipes, heat a pan with oil. Depending on the amount of food you are going to cook will determine how much recaíto you will need to add. 1-2 tablespoons or one frozen cube is enough for two servings of food. Cook recaíto until fragrant which is about 2-3 minutes. Put remaining recipe ingredients in the pan and follow the recipe instructions for cooking.

Rican Vegan Recaito


Got any questions, comments, or tips to use this Recaito Puerto Rican Cooking Base.  Share them in the comments below!


  1. I’m a Puerto Rican Vegetarian and would like to try some of the Vegan Puerto Rican recipes.
    I would appreciate it if you can include me in your Rican Vegan Recipe mailings.
    I thank you in advance for including me as part of your club.

    • Sure! You can sign up for the newsletter directly on the homepage where it mentions the ebook. You will receive a confirmation email once you are subscribed. Thanks!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing hour still learning how to cook some Ouerto rican dad only taught me how to make pasteles when I was a kid..but not much else..
    Looking forward to being part of this very delicious cooking experiance again!

  3. All of this sounds great! I love being able to make dishes from different cultures.

    I wasn’t able to sign up for your newsletter. When I tried, I received this message: “Oops! It looks like there was an error: No email service provider has been set for this campaign.” I have no idea what that means. My current “best” email is

    I have one request Would it be possible to put on your recipes how to adapt them to slow/crockpot cooking or pressure cooking? Or maybe it might be even easier if you were able to give a separate instruction for that so you wouldn’t have to put it in every recipe – like maybe just a statement as to how to adapt the recipes to that? Thank you very much. – Stuart

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