Sofrito (Spanish, pronounced [soˈfɾito]), sofregit (Catalan, pronounced [sufɾə'ʒit]),[1] soffritto (Italian, pronounced [sofˈfritto]), or refogado (Portuguese, pronounced [ʁɨfuˈɣaðu]) is a basic preparation in Mediterranean, Latin American, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese cooking. It typically consists of aromatic ingredients cut into small pieces and sautéed or braised in cooking oil for a long period of time over a low heat.

Sofrito being prepared in Spain
Region or stateLatin American, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Main ingredientsGarlic, onion, peppers, and tomatoes
Ingredients generally usedOlive oil

In modern Spanish cuisine, sofrito consists of garlic, onion and peppers cooked in olive oil, and optionally tomatoes or carrots. This is known as refogado, sufrito, or sometimes as estrugido in Portuguese-speaking nations, where only garlic, onions, and olive oil are considered essential, tomato and bay laurel leaves being the other most common ingredients.[citation needed]


In Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil is heavily emphasized as the third critical component in the base along with tomatoes and onions. Garlic is optional, as it is not considered an integral part of the standard sofrito recipe.[citation needed] The earliest mentioned recipe of sofrito, from around the middle of the 14th century, was made with only onion and oil.[2] Tomatoes and peppers, both New World vegetables, were not cultivated in Europe until the 1540s, and are a later addition.

In Italian cuisine, chopped onions, carrots and celery is battuto,[3] and then, slowly cooked[4] in olive oil, becomes soffritto.[5] It is used as the base for many pasta sauces, such as bolognese sauce, but occasionally it can be used as the base of other dishes, such as sauteed vegetables. For this reason, it is a fundamental component in Italian cuisine. It may also contain garlic,[6] shallot, or leek.[7]

In Greek cuisine, the term sofrito refers to a specific dish native to, and almost exclusively to be found on, the island of Corfu. Sofrito is a veal steak slow-cooked in a white wine, garlic, and herb sauce, and is usually served with rice.[citation needed]

Latin AmericaEdit

In Brazilian cuisine, the verb refogar also encompasses dishes that are fried in vegetable oil before being boiled or steamed, even when the actual fried seasoning is not there. Similarly, rice that has been toasted in vegetable oil before it is boiled is technically refogado.[citation needed]

In Colombian cuisine, sofrito is called hogao which is made with only long green onion and tomato, or guiso is made mostly of tomato, onion, coriander, cumin and sometimes garlic; it is used when cooking stews, meats, rice, as a dip or spread for arepas or other street foods and other dishes.[citation needed]

In Cuban cuisine, sofrito is prepared in a similar fashion, but the main components are Spanish onions, garlic, and green or red bell peppers. Ají cachucha is also often used instead of or in addition to bell peppers. It is a base for beans, stews, rices, and other dishes, including ropa vieja and picadillo. Other secondary components include tomato sauce, dry white wine, cumin, bay leaf, and cilantro. Chorizo (a kind of spicy, cured sausage), tocino (salt pork) and ham are added for specific recipes, such as beans.[8]

In Dominican cuisine, sofrito is also called sazón, and is a liquid mixture containing vinegar, water, and sometimes tomato juice. A sofrito or sazón is used for rice, stews, beans, and other dishes. A typical Dominican sofrito is made up of very finely chopped green, red, and yellow bell peppers, red onions, garlic, ground oregano, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, water, and cilantro. Ingredients vary and can change, for instance cubanelle peppers can substitute for bell peppers, celery can replace onions, and parsley or culantro can be used in place of cilantro.[9]

In Ecuadorian cuisine, sofrito is called refrito, and it is made of Spanish onions, cubanelle peppers, fresh tomatoes, roasted garlic, cilantro, and ground toasted cumin.[citation needed]

In the Mexican state of Yucatán, habanero chiles are essential to the local variation of sofrito.[citation needed]

In Peruvian cuisine, sofrito is called aderezo, and it is made of red onion, garlic, one or more chili paste (ají), according to recipe, salt and black pepper. Aderezo could also incorporate tomato or achiote. Some regional variation is known, as the inclusion of loche squash in north coastal Peru.

In Puerto Rican cuisine, sofrito is mostly used when cooking rice dishes, sauces, and soups. Sofrito is closely related to recaíto. The two main ingredients that give Puerto Rican sofrito its characteristic flavor are recao (culantro) and ají dulce, but red and green cubanelle peppers, red bell peppers, pimientos, yellow onions, garlic, plum tomatoes, and cilantro are also added. All red peppers are roasted, seeded, and then added to the sofrito. Sofrito is traditionally cooked with olive oil or annatto oil, tocino (bacon), salted pork and cured ham. A mix of stuffed olives and capers called alcaparrado is usually added with spices such as bay leaf, Bixa orellana (achiote) and adobo.[10]

In Haitian cuisine, the flavor base of most dishes is epis, a combination sauce made from cooked peppers, garlic, and herbs, particularly green onions, thyme, and parsley. It is also used as a basic condiment for rice and beans and is also used in stews and soups.

In some Caribbean cuisine, sofrito is seasoned lard and functions as a base for many traditional dishes, but prepared differently from the method described above. Lard (acquired from rendering pork fat) is strained, and annatto seeds are added to colour it yellow, and later strained out. To the colored lard is added a ground mixture of cured ham, bell pepper, chile pepper, and onion; after this, mashed coriander leaves (cilantro) and oregano leaves are added. Garlic cloves are added in a tea ball, and the sauce is simmered for half an hour.[11] The term also refers to a number of related sauces and seasonings in the Caribbean and Central and Latin America.


In Filipino cuisine, ginisá is a culinary term that refers to a base of garlic, onions, and tomatoes sautéed together with cooking oil. It is essentially similar to the Spanish sofrito.[12][13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Andrews, Colman (2005) [Originally published: New York: Macmillan, 1988]. "Part Two: SAUCES - Sofregit". Catalan Cuisine, Revised Edition: Vivid Flavors From Spain's Mediterranean Coast (Revised ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: The Harvard Common Press. pp. 37ff. ISBN 9781558323292. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  2. ^ The book of Sent Soví : medieval recipes from Catalonia. Santanach i Suñol, Joan., Vogelzang, Robin M. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Tamesis. 2008. ISBN 978-1-85566-164-6. OCLC 183149198.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ "Onions, Carrot and Celery". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  4. ^ "The Secret Weapons in Italian Cooking". 5 July 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  5. ^ Howald Patton, Lindsey (4 April 2020) [May 2014]. "All About Mirepoix, Sofrito, Battuto, and Other Humble Beginnings". Serious Eats. Dotdash. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Marinara Sauce - Soffritto Style". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Chef Jerry Corso Gets Cooking with Soffritto". 15 March 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Hector (October 16, 2017). "All About Sofrito: Origins, History, and Variations" Archived 5 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine. The Spruce Eats.
  9. ^ "Dominican Sofrito & Sazón – 4 Versions"., January 1, 2011.
  10. ^ S, Lucille (January 26, 2014). "Sofrito (Daisy Martinez)". Genius Kitchen.
  11. ^ Rombauer, Irma S.; Marion Rombauer Becker; Ethan Becker (2006). "Sofrito (Seasoned Lard)". Joy of Cooking. Scribner. pp. 1013. ISBN 978-0-7432-4626-2.
  12. ^ "Ginisa". December 2003. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  13. ^ "Giniling Guisado/Ginisa - Basic Recipe". 2 May 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2014.

Further readingEdit

  • Roden, Claudia, A New Book of Middle Eastern Food: London 1986 ISBN 0-14-046588-X
  • Roden, Claudia, The Book of Jewish Food: New York 1997, London 1999 ISBN 0-14-046609-6

External linksEdit