Best Easy Imperial Rice Cuban Recipe

Title: Best Easy Imperial Rice Cuban Recipe: A Taste of Tradition


Cuban cuisine is a delightful blend of African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences, resulting in a vibrant and diverse culinary tradition. One of the iconic dishes that perfectly captures the essence of Cuban flavors is the mouthwatering Imperial Rice. This article will guide you through an easy-to-follow recipe that will allow you to recreate this beloved dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.


To make the best easy Imperial Rice, you will need the following ingredients:

– 2 cups long-grain white rice
– 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cubed
– 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1 green bell pepper, diced
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
– 1 cup chicken broth
– 1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
– 1/4 cup green olives, sliced
– 1/4 cup raisins
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Fresh parsley for garnish


1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and shrimp, and cook until they are lightly browned. Remove them from the skillet and set aside.

2. In the same skillet, sauté the onions, garlic, and bell peppers until they are softened and fragrant.

3. Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir well to combine the flavors.

4. Add the rice, ham, green olives, and raisins to the skillet, and mix everything together.

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5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet and let the rice simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.

6. Once the rice is cooked, add the cooked chicken and shrimp back into the skillet. Gently fold them into the rice mixture.

7. Cover the skillet again and let the dish sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

8. Serve the Imperial Rice hot, garnished with fresh parsley.

Questions and Answers:

1. What makes Imperial Rice a traditional Cuban dish?
Imperial Rice combines the flavors of Spanish paella with Cuban ingredients such as chicken, shrimp, and spices. It has become a staple dish in Cuban households, representing the fusion of cultures that make up Cuban cuisine.

2. Can I substitute the protein in this recipe?
Yes, you can use pork, beef, or a combination of different proteins instead of chicken and shrimp. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure they are fully cooked.

3. Are there any vegetarian options for this recipe?
Absolutely! You can substitute the protein with tofu or use a variety of vegetables like peas, carrots, and corn to create a delicious vegetarian version.

4. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Imperial Rice is best enjoyed fresh, but you can make it a few hours in advance and reheat it gently on the stovetop. Add a splash of chicken broth if needed to refresh the flavors.

5. What side dishes complement Imperial Rice?
This dish pairs well with fried plantains, black beans, or a fresh salad to balance the flavors.

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6. Can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes, you can freeze any leftover Imperial Rice in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop, adding a little chicken broth if necessary.

7. Are there any variations of this recipe?
Indeed! Some variations include adding seafood like lobster or clams, or even incorporating saffron to enhance the flavors further. Feel free to experiment and make it your own!


Imperial Rice is a delightful representation of Cuban cuisine, combining various flavors to create a memorable and satisfying dish. With this easy recipe, you can bring a taste of Cuba into your own kitchen. Enjoy the rich blend of spices, proteins, and vegetables to experience the unique flavors that make this dish a Cuban classic.

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