In Central America/ Food

Costa Rican Gallo Pinto Recipe: The Best Breakfast Ever

What can I say about gallo pinto? First and foremost, it’s how I started many a day in Costa Rica. In the land of pura vida, it’s breakfast––rice mixed with black beans, cilantro, onions, maybe a red pepper, and seasoned with Salsa Lizano, a kind of Worcestershire sauce that’s truly the nectar of the Gods. This simple yet delicious combo is typically served with some scrambled eggs and a hot cup of coffee. I came to love gallo pinto in the same way I loved my ridiculously sugary breakfast cereals with cartoon mascots before I hit double digits.

If you’re looking for something different to make for breakfast that isn’t your typical egg-focused dish, pancakes, or cereal, then you ought to start working gallo pinto into your routine. It even stores and reheats nicely if you want to make a big batch. Just be sure to keep a bottle of Salsa Lizano handy so you can top yourself off with each plate.

For more Costa Rica, check out my book “Talking Tico: (Mis)adventures of a Gringo in and Around Costa Rica.

Costa Rican Gallo Pinto Recipe

Costa Rican Gallo Pinto

Gallo pinto is a typical breakfast dish in Costa Rica mixing rice with black beans, cilantro, red pepper, onion, and Salsa Lizano.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Costa Rican
Servings 4 people


  • 2 Skillets one large, one small for the eggs
  • 1 Saucepan to cook the rice


  • 150 grams rice
  • 275 ml water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt more to taste
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 400 grams black beans
  • 15 grams cilantro
  • Salsa Lizano to taste
  • 4 eggs scrambled


  • Add your rice and water to a saucepan over high heat until it starts to boil. Lower to a simmer and remove from heat once the rice has absorbed the water.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat with your olive oil. While it's heating up, chop up your veggies and remove cilantro leaves from the stem.
  • Once the skillet is hot, add your onions and season with kosher salt. Sauté for about seven minutes or until translucent.
  • Then, add your chopped red bell pepper and black beans, washed of their liquid if using canned beans.
  • While those cook, start heating up a small skillet with a drizzle of olive oil to scramble your eggs.
  • Add about 3/4 of your cilantro and the rice to your large skillet and mix well to incorporate. Add Salsa Lizano and mix to taste.
  • Serve on a plate with a few scoops of gallo pinto next to your scrambled eggs. Top with salt to taste, your leftover cilantro, and extra Salsa Lizano.

You Might Also Like