One-Pot Wonders

Mom’s Portuguese Rice

June 23, 2021
21 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Ali Slagle. Food Stylist: Pearl Jones.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

I grew up in a household that was both Italian American and Portuguese American. My mom’s side of the family is Portuguese, and I was lucky enough to eat her delicious Portuguese food throughout my entire childhood. She was not alone; all of my many tias (aunts) were very active in the kitchen, and when the whole family got together, the feasting was unparalleled. (Please don’t tell anyone on the Italian side of my family that I said that, okay?)

One of my favorite dishes that Mom made was her Portuguese rice. Variations on this dish exist throughout Portuguese cuisine, and like most things, everyone adds their own special touch. The star ingredient here is linguiça, which is a smoked pork sausage flavored with paprika and garlic. It’s a perfect one-pot situation and very much a “mom” recipe, which is probably why we ate it so often.

I recently got together with my mom, and we embarked on the journey of re-creating her Portuguese rice recipe, which, of course, was never written down, like so many of the best recipes. We called a few tias and got their takes on it, and then set a course recipe-testing together. We didn’t stop until we were transported back in time to our kitchen table, enjoying a meal together as a family, my face covered in rice and hers covered in a smile.

This recipe was featured on our new cook-along podcast Play Me a Recipe. Listen as Dan Pelosi cooks his way through this recipe, offering insider tips and backstory along the way.Dan Pelosi

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Mom’s Portuguese Rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 pound linguiça, cut into 1/8-inch coins on a diagonal
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon (heaped) smoked paprika
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Add the olive oil to a medium-sized oven-safe pot or Dutch oven. Over low heat, let the oil heat up for about 5 minutes. Add the linguiça coins to the pot and spread them out evenly. Cook until the sausage is brown and crispy on both sides, flipping halfway through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the cooked linguiça from the pot and set aside on a plate.
  3. Your pot will have a gorgeous orange oil left in it. To this, add the bell pepper, onion, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Cook over medium heat, stirring until the vegetables browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add the smoked paprika and stir until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato paste and stir until everything is combined and the paste starts to caramelize, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock to deglaze the pan, stirring until all the crispy bits come off the bottom into the mix.
  7. Add the rice, bay leaves, and reserved linguiça (scraping any oil off the plate into the pan!) and stir until everything comes to a boil.
  8. Cover your pot and place it in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the rice is cooked through. If you find your rice needs more liquid toward the end of the cooking time, add the extra ½ cup of chicken stock to the pot, stir, and place back into the oven.
  9. When the rice is fully cooked, remove the pot from the oven and keep it covered, off the heat, for 5 to 10 minutes. This will make the rice extra creamy.
  10. Served topped with the chopped parsley and enjoy!
  11. Bonus: If you wanted to bulk up this dish with crispy chicken thighs, they really make a great addition. Just start off with some chicken thighs skin side down in your pot and cook them over medium heat until the skin releases from the pot, maybe 8 to 10 minutes. Flip over and cook about 5 minutes on the other side. Set the thighs aside, then start your recipe at step 1, using the grease from the chicken instead of the ¼ cup of olive oil. Place the chicken thighs skin side up on top of rice before you place the pot in oven, and they will finish cooking with the rice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Elizabeth Jackson
    Elizabeth Jackson
  • Smaug
  • whym
  • Kate Phillips
    Kate Phillips
  • Jessica Suszek
    Jessica Suszek

32 Reviews

Elizabeth J. August 16, 2023
I have never used linguiça but I was interested and bought some at a butcher shop where they make their own. I made this recipe with chicken thighs on top and it was delicious! A keeper and it was even put on the list of recipes to cook when we entertain! I followed the directions and didn’t add or change a thing…
ostap B. May 15, 2023
Delicious dish. Came out really good except it had way too much tomato paste taste. I used the whole 6oz can as is called in the recipe. I used Cento, perhaps it's not a good one to use, although I did use it before and it was fine.
G G. July 31, 2023
I usually use whatever tomato paste I have on hand, which often is Cento. We've never noticed a "tomato paste" taste -- but I do know what that is, and it would be a bummer in this dish. I'd suggest making sure you get the paste good and caramelized (darkened) as the recipe calls for; the tinned taste does go away!
Rose April 26, 2023
Smoked,dried,fresh sausage
Gerri B. April 23, 2023
I made this recently and it was AMAZING! SO good!
Smaug March 29, 2023
Hm- I was all set to try this recipe, but a couple of things stopped me. The amount of liquid is way high for the amount of rice; I wonder if that was a typo and it was supposed to be 2c. rice- or maybe the author is using a pot with a very ill fitting lid; I checked a few similar recipes in Portuguese cookbooks and they all used more normal ratios of liquid to rice. Also, in my experience white rice cooked by any method (other than paella) takes right about 20 min, and I don't see why this should be more.
I can see no reason for cooking the linguica in added, oil, it can provide more than enough on it's own. Among my Portuguese relatives and friends, some like things greasy and some don't; I'm a definite don't. I think I'll just roll my own on the recipe; I'd much rather use tomatoes, or maybe passata, in place of the tomato paste, which really doesn't taste much like tomatoes.
RoLee72 August 25, 2022
Excellent recipe! I've only used linguica to make paella and decided I wanted to try something new. Took the suggestion of adding the chicken thighs. Makes the house smell like a restaurant. Yummy!
Saboo April 23, 2022
Happened to have linguica and made this and was very pleased with the excellent effort to reward ratio. Very tasty.
Charles April 20, 2022
Followed the recipe as written, except substituting andouille for linguiça 'cause that's what we had. May have gone a little heavy on the pepper flakes. A great, spicy dish! We served it with Spicy Shrimp (recipe also on this site). We like spicy food and these two are a terrific match. Washed it down with a chilled, Rioja rose. Doesn't get any better than that.
Juls4510 April 4, 2022
I've been wanting to make this recipe forever and WOW it blew me away. In typical Grossy Pelosi fashion, the simple ingredients combine to make a "how is this so good, omg I need thirds" kind of meal. Adding this to the rotation!
G G. February 19, 2022
Finally had an opportunity to make this and it is at least as good as everyone says! Made it with the chicken thighs, which were fall-off-the-bone tender, and deelicious. Also, made it with brown rice(!), which is what we had on hand, and which of course takes a LOT longer to be completely cooked. To compensate, we held off adding the chicken back to the pot until about 30 minutes in (rice took over an hour to be done). Taste-wise, the brown rice was fine. But were I to use it again, I'd look into parboiling or somehow otherwise making that cook time quicker - it was agony waiting with those succulent scents in the air!
G G. July 31, 2023
Just following up to say this recipe has been in regular rotation ever since that first, pandemic-constrained take. We always make it with the chicken thighs, and usually with Calrose (medium-grain) rice, which we find gives it a nice, almost risotto-like consistency; have never needed more than the initial 2 1/2 cups liquid. Yesterday we substituted farro, looking for a little more nutritionally-dense grain: it took twice the cooking time, but boy was it good! Now I need to go stock up on more smoked paprika... :)
Elise M. September 12, 2021
Truly a hug in a bowl and one of the best almost-pantry recipes I've cooked over the course of the pandemic when I wanted to limit grocery store trips but still wanted a dinner that made me feel like I splurged a bit. I literally cannot shut up about this recipe and I ALWAYS recommend watching the accompanying video for technique + much-needed feel-good smiles! I want to cook with Dan before I leave this earth.

I couldn't find linguica so I used a package of the handcrafted chorizo from Wegmans + used water since I didn't have chicken stock and just kept tasting for salt. I invest in some spices here and there but the Trader Joes smoked paprika is the best I've had so far. DO NOT SKIP FRESH PARSLEY. I'm an intermediate home cook and this is one of the only recipes where the final bite post-parsley took me to another plane of earthiness vs the final bite pre-parsley.
Jerseygirl August 7, 2021
I couldn’t find chorizo at the market and happened upon linguica - never used it before so I googled recipes and came up with this one. Hit the jackpot of Portuguese rice with this one - truly a comfort food - creamy rice in a thick porridge with tasty linguica all crusty around the edges. Added boneless skinless chicken thighs and some peas and had two helpings. Like a cousin of paella, not as dry and no seafood so reheating is just as good as the day made. The ratio of rice to meat is perfect. Definitely a keeper, easy to throw together and pop in the oven.
altodd320 July 1, 2021
This meal is amazing - as a Louisiana native, I immediately thought of jambalaya when cooking it - but dare I say, I liked it better than jambalaya when eating it. My husband asked for seconds :)
whym June 23, 2021
I've made this recipe twice, and it might just be THE perfect comfort food. The creamy, tomato-ey rice is so flavorful and tender, and paired with the coins of linguica? It's heaven. I already can't wait to make it again.
Kate P. June 15, 2021
Just made this - it’s excellent! I added an extra tablespoon of hot paprika and fresh shelled peas. I also didn’t have a bay leaf. Really really delicious
NancyFromKona June 6, 2021
Next time you guys are in Hawaii take some Portuguese sausage home! Seriously we have multiple brands in our local grocery store because those of Portuguese descent are an important part of our ethnic mix. Our packages are all 1# and not wanting any leftovers I put all that in which made a very rich dish perhaps better used as a stuffing for peppers.
Carole M. May 12, 2021
My Portuguese mom made this all the time, amazing. She would also put chicken thighs in with it. We use Chourico, another Portuguese sausage that is similar to lingucia but a bit spicier. I am going to try this, can't wait. So happy to see this on Food 52!!!!!! Also so happy to now follow GrossyPelosi! YAY!
Jessica S. May 10, 2021
This was so good, like a big comforting hug in a bowl! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Nancy M. May 10, 2021
This is so good. I couldn't find the sausage that the recipe specified so I used andouille. Next time I might add some chicken and maybe some olives like Massman mentions. Delicious.
Smaug May 10, 2021
Andouille would make a good dish, but vastly different; linguica is a pretty unique sausage- well, group of sausages, really- like chorizo, there are some very different styles (I prefer the drier varieties). If you can find some decent stuff, definitely worth retrying the recipe.
Smaug May 9, 2021
You're fortunate- my Portuguese/ American mother and her very Portuguese mother mostly stayed away from Portuguese cooking- like many immigrants, they were intent on being American. Linguica, however, was used a lot. Unfortunately, decent linguica has become hard to find. In my area, the only generally available brand is Silva, which I don't consider edible. I don't get around a lot anymore, but there are still small scale makers who sell at small markets in areas with a large Portuguese population and Spanish Table stores will have some good stuff.
Picholine May 10, 2021
I’m saving this recipe and I’m wondering why you have so much knowledge about all things food. You haven’t submitted any recipes! Sadly!
Smaug May 10, 2021
I'm old and I like to eat. I seldom work from recipes, and I cook to my own tastes, which often vary quite a bit from what's considered "proper"; I have put a few recipes in comments and so forth, but I doubt anyone's tried any of them.
Smaug May 10, 2021
Also, I very seldom do anything the same way twice; so suggestions of things to try are more my forte than fixed recipes.
Picholine May 10, 2021
Much appreciated
Massman June 7, 2021
Actually, you can order it online from Mello’s in Fall River, MA. My cousin in CA has had success with them.
Smaug June 7, 2021
You don't have to go quite that far- makers like Fernandes (Tracy, CA) and Duarte's in Pescadero, CA make good linguica- I think both mail order. You can get it through Spanish Table stores, who will also mail order, and there are other small makers locally. I don't know what's with Amaral's- they used to sell decent California made linguica in supermarkets, but suddenly disappeared, I heard because their plant didn't pass health inspections, though I'm not sure of it. Apparently they're still alive and well in Massachusetts, and will also mail order. Shipping on perishable food items is pretty high, though, makes it pretty impractical.