Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Quickie Cuban Arroz Imperial or Imperial Rice

Arroz Imperial, is basically a Cuban chicken and yellow rice lasagna. The layering starts with rice, then chicken, followed by a layer of mayonnaise, (mayonnaise? YES mayo) then cheese and repeat, just like you would do with a lasagna.

I know you are still stuck at the word "mayonnaise" and it probably seems rather odd but believe me, it's amazing what it does to this dish. As it cooks the mayo "melts" into the chicken and rice, creating a tangy, creamy texture. Top that with the cheese and now you've got the gooey yummy-ness of the cheese melting through each layer. I'm getting a craving for some just writing about it! Arroz Imperial is typically served at special occasions, like bridal or baby showers - even weddings, a family brunch or celebratory dinner. Me, I like to eat it whenever I get a hankering for it, and that is why I developed my own quickie version. You see, the full-blown version is rather time and labor intensive because it has a number of steps. It's definitely not something you can whip up any old weeknight but with my version that's not a problem.  I plan on making and posting the full-blown version eventually, but for now I think you'll enjoy my quickie Arroz Imperial.

1 ready made rotisserie chicken from your local market
1 - 2 packet yellow rice mix (enough to make 3 cups of cooked rice)
1 12 ounce bottle of beer
12 ounces of chicken stock
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
12 slices Swiss (traditional) or Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare rice mix according to package instructions, substituting the water for the beer and chicken stock.
While rice cooks, remove skin from chicken and discard. Shred all the meat, white and dark.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees
Grease an 8x8 baking dish. Begin by evenly layering a 1/3 of the rice mix. Next layer, evenly spread 1/3 of the shredded chicken over the rice. Evenly spread a 1/2 cup of the mayonnaise over the
chicken, topped with 4 slices of cheese. Repeat the layering process two more times. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the final cheese slices. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until top is bubbly and light golden-brown.

Serve with "maduros" (sweet fried plantains), avocado slices drizzled with olive and vinegar. ENJOY!


  1. THANK YOU Jackie for posting a quick way to make Aroz Imperial. A friend of mine gave her recipe and I was kind of overwhelmed at all the steps. I look forward to Cuban parties because I am always hoping this will be the meal. I am making this on Friday!

  2. Hi Carmen! You are welcome and thanks for commenting. Let me know how it turns out. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. I made this for dinner lastnight. Let me say that I do not know what the "full version" is all about but this was outstanding. It certainly beat the ones I've had at parties. I had to stop my boyfriend from eating more, I stopped him at 3 servings! We had it for lunch today, it was just as good if not better. Thank you again for posting the "quick" version. I am thinking some one will be asking for repeat of this again very soon!

  4. Hi Carmen, so glad you and your BF liked the recipe. And as always thank you for your continued support and comments!

  5. Hi Jackie! Thank you so much for this recipe. My BF loved it. He's Dominican and at first he was a little skeptical but he at two large portions. The only thing that was missing was the platanos maduros. This is one of my favorite dishes and I'm glad that I found the "quickie" version. I will be making this again. Thank you.

    1. Shelby, thank YOU so much for commenting. It never fails to make me so very happy to hear that someone has made and enjoyed one of my recipes! You have made my day. I will have to post the long (laborious) version of this recipe at some point but for now I think the "quickie" version is perfect for today's fast-paced life. Next time you make it be sure to get some maduros, to me that complete the dish!