Traditional Spanish Sofrito Recipe

Today David shares an easy recipe for the base of many Spanish classics. His simple sofrito recipe is an essential ingredient!

The secret to Spanish cooking is sofrito

You might not know it, but it’s the base of most of Spain’s most iconic dishes. Paella, empanadas, different stews and slow-cooked meats… they all start with sofrito


All Spanish home cooks keep a jar or two of this sauce handy in their kitchens, adding it to brighten up their food. It might simple (at its most basic it’s just onions, garlic, tomatoes, and green peppers), but tapas wouldn’t be the same without it. 

Like all good things, sofrito takes time. And patience… lots and lots of patience. The vegetables are all diced finely and then cooked slowly over low heat to release their flavor. You don’t want to caramelize or toast the veggies, just get them almost to a puree. Make sure to use only ripe vegetables, good quality olive oil, and real smoked Spanish paprika.

Keep a few jars handy in the fridge for future paellas, to mix into scrambled eggs, or to coat meat and seafood in before cooking!

Making the sofrito for paella.
Sofrito is the traditional way to start a classic paella!

Classic Spanish Sofrito Recipe

Traditional Spanish Sofrito
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sofrito is the base sauce for all Spanish cuisine! Slow cook finely diced vegetables to a puree and keep it handy for paellas, stews, and egg dishes.
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Spanish
Serves: 3 cups
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 long green pepper (sweet, not hot)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  1. Gather the ingredients. Finely dice the onions, garlic, pepper, and tomatoes.
  2. Place a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat and add the olive oil, turning the pan to coat the bottom evenly.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sautee them until transparent.
  4. Add the long green pepper and continue to saute for another 5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning the vegetables, and reduce the heat if necessary.
  5. Add the garlic and sautee for a minute.
  6. Next, add the tomatoes and paprika, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir often and continue to cook for around 15 minutes, or until the mixture takes on the consistency of a thick sauce.
  7. Pour the finished sofrito into mason jars and store in the fridge for up to a week.

What’s your favorite way to use your sofrito recipe? Do you prefer it in paella, seafood, stews, or just buy itself with eggs? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I am making the sofrito right now but I don’t have the green pepper. I will be cooking seafood paella later for dinner. I haven’t made paella with sofrito before.

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