Puerto Rican Fish Stew (Bacalao)

Puerto Rican Fish Stew (Bacalao)

17 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2007

Bacalao, salted dried codfish, is the defining ingredient in traditional Puerto Rican fish stew, but salt cod requires overnight soaking and several rinses in cool water before it can be used, so we opt for fresh fish in this quick version. Serve with crusty rolls to soak up the juices.

Ingredients 4 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound flaky white fish, such as haddock, tilapia or cod (see Tip), cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Anaheim or poblano chile pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water, as needed
  • 1 avocado, chopped (optional)


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Add fish, tomatoes and their juices, chile pepper, cilantro, olives, capers, oregano and salt; stir to combine. Add up to ½ cup water if the mixture seems dry. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with avocado (if using).
  • Tip: Opt for firmer hook-and-line-caught haddock or U.S.-farmed tilapia. Cod also works, but will be more flaky. For more information about sustainable seafood visit Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch at seafoodwatch.org.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Per serving: 188 calories; 8 g fat(1 g sat); 2 g fiber; 8 g carbohydrates; 20 g protein; 31 mcg folate; 61 mg cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 704 IU vitamin A; 44 mg vitamin C; 67 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 758 mg sodium; 616 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (73% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat

Reviews 17

May 23, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
This is a great fish soup, but it is not Bacalao at all.
February 16, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Delicious! This is a very easy and flavorful recipe to make! I love it and so did my family. It has lots of flavor. I added fresh cilantro when served and avacodo cubes and it was awesome! Pros: Easy to make
September 14, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Missing extra virgin olive oil Another bacalao stew recipe I used calls for a lot of extra virgin olive oil--at least a half cup to be added before simmering the stew. Less oil can be used, but the oil adds a rich depth of flavor.
February 26, 2014
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By: wcruns
Yummy! This stew was so easy to make, and was absolutely delicious! I made this for my boyfriend and we ate the entire pot between the two of us! I will definitely make this again! Pros: Easy to make
January 25, 2014
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By: Jane Ann
Great way to eat fish. I would add cilantro, olives and capers the last 3-4 minutes. Pros: No fishy taste
June 10, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Even the Picky Eater liked it! I wasn't sure about this one because the ingredient list was so short and because it was, well... fish and a stew. I was able to throw this meal together in minutes. We don't like avocado unless it's in a chocolate pudding, but I did add carrots at the beginning with the onions to add more veggies to the stew. My 2 year-old and picky eater husband both liked it. I had two helpings and will be making it again and again! Pros: Quick, few ingredients, delicious!
April 05, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Great and easy Made this with tilapia tonight. Very good! Husband doesn't like cilantro but ate it anyway and said its alright. I will make again! Pros: Fast, easy flavorful Cons: Hubster didn't like the cilantro
January 17, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Good fish stew I have some fish stock I have been trying to use up but all I have made with it have turned out too fishy. This did not (used the stock instead of water). Loved the flavors. I added in some extra veggies per another Bacalao recipe (red bell peppers and celery) plus instead of salt I added i the juice from the capers for more flavor. I think I would add some if not all of the capers and olives at the end though as the flavors boiled out (I did add some fresh cilantro on top with the avocados) Pros: No fishy, flavorful, easy to make Cons: Some of the stronger flavored items get lost in cooking
June 19, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
I was very skeptical about this dish at first because I dont usually prepare this genre of meal, but it was awesome. Me and my daughter absolutely loved it. The aromas were great and the taste was perfectly balanced. Great recipe and not hard at all.
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