Stewed Salt Cod

(Bacalao Guisado)

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The Stewed Salt Cod (Bacalao Guisado) is a popular dish in our culture.  It is mainly served on a plate accompanied with breadfruit, tropical root vegetables or guanimes (boiled wrapped cornmeal).  The Spanish term for the dried and salted cod fish is Bacalao.

In order to consume the salted white fish, we must first desalt, cook and shred the salt cod.   This produces a delicate texture and a milder fish taste.  When our tropical condiments are added to the cooked and shredded salt cod, you will then create the many different layers of flavor and texture to this dish.

You can prepare this dish with authentic salted codfish or with salted pollock fillets.   With the authentic bacalao, you will need to remove the skin and bones.  I, however, prefer the skinless and boneless salted pollock fillets because you will definitely save on food preparation time.

Desalting the Salted Pollock Fillets!

This is 1 pound of boneless and skinless salted pollock fillets.  It is also part of the codfish family and sold as bacalao.  The salt application reduces the water content, creating a firm dried texture. 

Click on this link for authentic salted codfish to learn How to Desalt, Cook and Shred Salt Cod.

Rinse the bacalao with cold water, using a colander.  This will eliminate the excess salt.  After rinsing, place in a bowl.

Cover the bacalao with fresh cold water and soak for 2 hours with 2 changes of fresh water.

NOTE:  You can either soak the codfish or cook it immediately after rinsing.   If you decide to cook it after rinsing, then you might need to cook the bacalao several times to obtain your desired salt content.  This is a personal preference.

Cooking the Salted Codfish (Bacalao)!

Place the bacalao into a 4-quart saucepan and pour enough water to completely cover the bacalao.  Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

NOTE:  The pollock fillets have a white flesh and soft texture when hydrated.

After 20 to 30 minutes of cooking, skim off the foam with a mesh spoon.

Remove the cooked codfish and placed in a bowl.

NOTE:  I only had to cook the codfish once to obtain my desired salt content since I soaked it for 2 hours.

The last step is to shred the cooked bacalao and set aside.

Sautéing the Condiments for the Stewed Salt Cod!

In a 10-inch skillet, heat ⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1 large sliced onion, ½ green pepper and ½ red pepper, cut into small strips and 2 minced garlic cloves.  

Stir well and sauté for 3 minutes.

Stewed Salt Cod

After 3 minutes of sautéing, add 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of sofrito, 1 tablespoon of paprika to add color, 3 sprigs of chopped cilantro and 1 teaspoon of adobo without salt.   Since the bacalao contains plenty of salt, it is not necessary to season this dish with any additional salt.

Click on the link to learn how to make our Sofrito.  If you do not want to make a large batch of sofrito, then here is an easy recipe on How to Make Sofrito for a Single Meal

Stewed Salt Cod

Stir well and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for 5 minutes. 

Stewing the Salt Cod! 

Stewed Salt Cod

Place the cooked bacalao into skillet. 

Stewed Salt Cod

Stir until the bacalao is completed coated with the tomato-oil based sauce.

Stewed Salt Cod

I love to add culantro (recao) to this dish.   If you don’t have culantro, then increase the amount of cilantro to 6 sprigs. 

Click on this link for more information on Culantro.

Stewed Salt Cod

With your hands, tear the culantro leaf into several 1-inch pieces.  Stew the bacalao for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to absorb all the flavors of the herbs, spices and vegetables.  At this point, you can add more olive oil if you feel it is necessary.  

Stewed Salt Cod!

Stewed Salt Cod

The Stewed Salt Cod (Bacalao Guisado) is definitely ready!

Stewed Salt Cod

The stewed codfish (bacalao guisado) is usually served with our tropical root vegetables, breadfruit or guanimes. 

Links for How to Prepare Boiled Breadfruit or Steamed or Boiled Root Vegetables.

Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Make Stewed Salt Cod!

Recipe and Nutritional Facts

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.


Stewed Salt Cod

  • Author: Aida's Kitchen®
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x


An easy and delicious recipe for stewing salt cod that is served on a plate accompanied with root vegetables, breadfruit or guanimes.



  • 1 pound salted pollock fillets, desalted, cooked and shredded
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ green pepper, cut into small strips
  • ½ red pepper, cut into small strips
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sofrito
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 sprigs chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon adobo without salt
  • 1 culantro leaf, cut into 1-inch pieces


  1.  Rinse pollock fillets and soak for 2 hours with 2 changes of water.
  2.  Place in saucepan and fill with water to cover codfish.  Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  3.  Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet.  Add green and red peppers, onions, and minced garlic.  Stir well and sauté for 3 minutes.
  4.  Add the remaining ingredients into skillet.  Stir all the ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5.  Place the shredded pollock fillets into skillet and stir completely until coated evenly with the tomato-oil based sauce.
  6.  Tear a culantro leaf into 1-inch pieces and stew the pollock fillets for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7.   Serve with boiled breadfruit, root vegetables or guanimes.


For the salted pollock fillets’ prep and cook time, add an additional 2 hours and 30 minutes.

  • Category: Lunch and Dinner
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican

Keywords: Stewed Salt Cod

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer

Category: Fish and Seafood, Recipes

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