Arroz Caldo (Savory Chicken and Rice Porridge)

A classic rice congee that you can find all over Asia though this one is the Filipino version – Arroz Caldo (Savory Chicken and Rice Porridge). The perfect option for breakfast and also a favorite to serve when one is under the weather or during the cooler season! Gluten-free and perfect as a meal on its own!

Oh Arroz Caldo…it’s been so long since I had a bowl of this thick and delicious Savory Chicken and Rice Porridge that’s similar to the Chinese congee. I think we named it Arroz Caldo as a result of our being colonized by Spain (hence the Spanish name) though if it’s a meatless or plain savory rice porridge we just call it “lugaw” – a Filipino term.

So pretty much it is a thick porridge or soup of rice which has usually disintegrated after prolonged cooking in water. When prepared with meat then it is a meal on its own and in Asia (at least in the Philippines) it is often served when one is ill or sick. However, there many “carinderia” or local eateries who serve this on a daily basis too. So, you’ll always find arroz caldo somewhere and this is especially loved during the cooler weather season from December to February.

Arroz Caldo

Since it’s still wintertime, I thought I would try to make it and I was surprised that after all these years – I still love the good old classic Arroz Caldo. So whether you are feeling fine or a little unwell try this flavorful one-pot meal savory chicken and rice porridge anyway and am sure you’ll be truly pleased!

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3-4  Tablespoon, Oil

2.2 lbs chicken pieces (I used about 4 thighs and 5 drumsticks)*

1 Whole Garlic, cloves peeled and crushed

1/2 cup thin Ginger strips (or just peeled and chopped)

1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice

8 cups chicken stock or broth (water is perfectly fine, too – just adjust the seasoning)

2-3 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (adjust to taste) or plain salt (1 Tablespoon is good for 8 cups of water)

4-6 Scallions or Green Onions, chopped (for garnish)

Fried minced Garlic (optional)

Lemon or lime (to squeeze on top if you want to give it some tang) – optional

*For a lower fat version, I used skinless and boneless thighs but kept the skin on the drumsticks.


In a large deep pan (I used my 6 quartz Le Creuset) heat the oil. When the oil is already hot, saute the garlic and ginger just until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add in the chicken pieces and cook/fry until they turn golden brown on all sides. You may have to do this in batches if the pan cannot accommodate all the chicken pieces in one go. Set aside.

In the remaining fat (if it’s quite dry, add a little oil) add the rice and stir until it’s fully coated with the oil or grease. Return the chicken into the pan. Pour in the chicken stock/broth or water and the fish sauce (if using). Add the salt if you are using the salt instead.

Simmer until both rice and chicken are fully cooked, more or less about 45 minutes. The consistency should be that of a thick soup. Add more water if you desire a less thick soup. Adjust the seasoning with more salt or fish sauce.

Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with chopped scallions and fried minced garlic. Offer the lime or lemon to those who wish to add some tangy bite to their Arroz Caldo. We also usually serve this with some soy sauce or fish sauce on the side! Enjoy!

Here’s another photo to show it’s deliciousness!

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    • March 20, 2013 / 3:02 am

      Thanks, Paige. It is, so you can have it on its own. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. March 18, 2013 / 1:04 pm

    I always feel a lot better, especially when I have a bad day, when I am faced with a really savory Arroz. My mom usually cooks this when we are sick and my dad loves this too. Something great for the family when it's cold outside. Photos are just delectable! Great job!

    • March 20, 2013 / 3:03 am

      Thanks, Micole! I know it seems to be served only when one is sick but it really is good anytime and especially when it's cold as you said.

    • March 20, 2013 / 3:03 am

      Thanks! It is quite lovely and have enjoyed it truly. Thanks for stopping by.

    • March 20, 2013 / 3:04 am

      Ginger gives life to this dish! Thanks for the invite!

  2. Anonymous
    August 6, 2013 / 8:23 pm

    I had this for the first time this past weekend as it was a Filipino summer activities fest I and my family were invited to and the first spoonfull was so yummy i had seconds! if I was not so full I would have had more.

    • August 8, 2013 / 6:37 am

      Arroz Caldo is classic comfort food in the Philippines. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. October 13, 2013 / 2:01 pm

    Mmm sounds yummy! I'm going to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing it 🙂

  4. Anonymous
    October 26, 2013 / 12:40 pm

    Ha-ha-ha:) I don't know what I'm going to call my "new recipe" which I just discovered accidentally. I happened to have only left-over Chicken Tinola and left over rice. I separated the tendrils (spinach) and chayote from my tinola and set them aside. I then added the left over white rice to the tinola with chicken and after re-heating them for about 15 minutes, I turned the heat off, replaced the tendrils and chayote and I ended up with a delicious "all-in-one" soupy meal. Maybe I'll call it > Arrozcaldo'ng Tinola" lolz:).

  5. Anonymous
    December 12, 2013 / 10:13 pm

    We would eat this every Christmas after midnight mass. My dad used to make it, but he passed away years ago. I'm going to make it this year. Will this fit in my 5 1/2 qt. le crueset? Thanks!

    • December 15, 2013 / 2:43 am

      My Le Creuset is about that size – please see photo above – so I think it should be fine. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. January 14, 2014 / 2:45 pm

    My grandfather was from Bangui, immigrated to the U.S. when he was a teen … he made this dish for our family my whole life. Though, he never used fish sauce or anything resembling. And he cooked this dish all day … low simmer, all day long. He cooked it as it was prepared on the islands by his mother. Whole chicken cooked, when cooked, it was removed from bones and put back into the stock, along with several cloves of garlic, fresh ginger root, ground black pepper, and white rice. Then it simmered for hours …. water was added as the rice began to cook up. The end result was the porridge … and he always served it with fresh green onions as well. It is my absolute favorite comfort food, and healer. There's nothing like it. 🙂

    • January 17, 2014 / 6:22 pm

      Thank you for sharing your lovely memory about your grandfather. Everyone has their own cherished recipe for sure. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Anonymous
    July 2, 2014 / 10:08 pm

    What is the best kind of rice to use? I made some the other day and the rice just kept absorbing the liquid. Thanks.

    • abigail
      January 13, 2020 / 7:55 am

      Rice would always absorb the liquid no matter what. You can serve the soup immediately if you like so it doesn’t get too mushy. I would suggest broken Jasmine rice as that’s quite easy to handle. You can find that at any Asian store.

  8. Anonymous
    July 16, 2014 / 11:47 pm

    Jasmine rice

  9. October 20, 2015 / 1:38 am

    thanks for making this website, I can finally remake pinoy dishes when I'm far away from home. This is perfect especially this coming winter season!

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