Cuban Sofrito Recipe

This sauce is basic to Cuban cuisine because it is the basis for ensuring the distinctive flavor of their food.

It is a combination of aromatic ingredients chopped into small pieces and fried in oil to cook slowly for 15-30 minutes. The Cuban sofrito distinctive ingredients are: bay leaf, cumin, oregano and tomato sauce. In Cuban cuisine is used as the basis for beans, stews, rice and other dishes such as ropa vieja and picadillo.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 cup canned tomato sauce


  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until onion is translucent. Add the bell pepper, and saute until tender. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and bay leaves. Continue cooking until the mixture looks like a yummy green paste with oil around it. Add the tomatoes, if using, and cook stirring until all of the liquid is released. Gradually stir in the tomato sauce simmer until the sauce looks really red. Taste, and adjust seasoning if desired. Remove bay leaves.
  2. Now the sauce is done. You can add it to meat, rice, beans fish or potatoes. Thin the sauce down if necessary with water, wine, beer, or whatever is handy.