Authentic Mexican Style Red Rice Recipe

As a culinary enthusiast, I am thrilled to share with you one of my all-time favorite side dishes – Arroz Rojo or Mexican Style Red Rice. A staple in the Hispanic cuisine, this rice dish is not only visually stunning, but also packs a punch of flavor that will make your taste buds dance with delight.

The beautiful red hue comes from the addition of tomato sauce or paste, which also gives the rice a savory tomato flavor. But don’t worry – this arroz rojo recipe is not just about the tomato. It’s bursting with aromatics like onions, garlic, and jalapeños that make it truly irresistible. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile and can be paired with almost any Mexican or American entrée.

If you’re someone who considers themselves a fan of Spanish rice, then you’re going to absolutely fall in love with this recipe. Unlike white rice which can taste bland on its own, arroz rojo is flavorful enough to stand out all by itself. It’s a fantastic addition to your dinner party menu, as well as an easy weeknight go-to side that’ll bring excitement to your regular routine.

So grab your apron and let’s get ready to make some delicious Arroz Rojo that’ll transport you right into la Mexicana!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Arroz Rojo (Mexican Style Red Rice)
Arroz Rojo (Mexican Style Red Rice)

Are you tired of bland, boring rice dishes? Look no further than this delicious and vibrant Mexican Style Red Rice, or Arroz Rojo! This recipe combines the classic flavors of Mexican cuisine with the comfort of a warm and hearty side dish.

But why should you love this recipe? For starters, it is incredibly versatile. Serve it alongside your favorite protein as a main dish, or pair it with beans and vegetables for a filling vegetarian meal. The rich and savory tomato flavor pairs perfectly with spicy meats like chorizo or adobo-seasoned chicken.

Not only is it versatile, but this recipe is also incredibly easy to make. With just a few ingredients and minimal prep time, you’ll have a flavorful rice dish that will impress your family and friends. And if you’re looking to switch things up from plain white rice, this dish is the perfect alternative.

But what sets this Mexican Style Red Rice apart from other rice dishes is its unique combination of flavors. The richness of the tomatoes is perfectly balanced with the tanginess of lime and the earthiness of parsley. Plus, the kick of garlic and jalapeño adds an extra layer of depth to the dish.

Not only is Arroz Rojo delicious, but it’s also a healthier alternative to fried rice dishes. Made with olive oil and chicken broth instead of vegetable oil and salt, this recipe offers all the comfort of a filling side dish without sacrificing your dietary goals.

So whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, give this Mexican Style Red Rice recipe a try. It’s easy to make, versatile, flavorful, and healthy – what more could you want in a side dish? Trust me on this one – once you try Arroz Rojo, you’ll fall in love with it just like I did.

Ingredient List

 Spicy and flavorful Mexican rice to brighten up your meal!
Spicy and flavorful Mexican rice to brighten up your meal!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this Mexican-style red rice recipe:

Main ingredients:

  • 2 cups of long-grain white rice or basmati rice
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Tomato broth:

  • 3 ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of a lime

Chicken broth:

  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • One parsley sprig

Additional ingredients:

  • Salt and black pepper to taste.

Note: You can also use tomato sauce or tomato paste instead of fresh tomatoes to give it more intense tomato flavor. If you’re using these alternatives, adjust the quantity to your preference.

The Recipe How-To

 A colorful twist to your plain old rice dish
A colorful twist to your plain old rice dish

Heat the Oil: In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add Rice and Onion Garlic Mix: Add 1 cup of long-grain white rice and 1 small white onion and 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped to the olive oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly golden.

Preparing the Red Rice Mix: In a blender or food processor, blend 2 medium tomatoes and 1 jalapeño pepper without seeds, with
1 cup of chicken broth, until smooth.

Cooking the Soaked Red Rice: Add the tomato/broth mix to the saucepan, along with 1 cup of soaked red rice. Cook for a few minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

Adding Water and Tomato Concentrate: Add 1 cup of hot water, 1 tablespoon of tomato concentrate, and salt and black pepper to taste.

Simmering the Red Rice: Reduce heat to low and let it simmer, covered for about 20 minutes, or until fully cooked.

Fluff with Lime Juice and Parsley Sprig: When ready to serve, remove from heat, add a squeeze of a fresh lime juice all over your Mexican style red rice, sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley (optional), fluff gently with a fork or wooden spoon, and serve as a perfect side dish for any of your favorite Mexican or American cuisine dishes.

Note: The cooking time depends on the type and the quality of rice used. Adjust cooking time if necessary based on personal preference.

Substitutions and Variations

 Add some zing to your meal with this delicious Arroz Rojo!
Add some zing to your meal with this delicious Arroz Rojo!

Hola amigos! I understand that sometimes you may not have all the ingredients for a recipe, or you may want to switch things up a bit. So, here are some substitutions and variations you can try for this Mexican Style Red Rice recipe:

– Instead of using raw rice, you can use basmati rice or even cooked rice (if using cooked rice, reduce cooking time and broth by half).

– If you don’t have chicken broth, you can substitute it with vegetable broth or water with bouillon cubes.

– For those who can’t handle the heat, omit the jalapeño pepper or replace it with a green bell pepper for a milder flavor.

– If you don’t have tomatoes on hand, you can use tomato sauce or tomato paste diluted with water.

– To give this dish a “fried rice” twist, add frozen peas and carrots and stir in soy sauce to taste. This variation is great as a meal itself!

Remember, these substitutions and variations may change the original taste of the arroz rojo recipe. However, feel free to play around with different ingredients to make it your own! ¡Buen provecho!

Serving and Pairing

 Mexican fiesta in one pot!
Mexican fiesta in one pot!

Arroz Rojo is a versatile dish that pairs well with different types of food from Mexican cuisine and beyond. This recipe can elevate any meal to the next level with its unique savory and tomato flavors.

As a side dish, arroz rojo is an excellent accompaniment to Mexican classics such as carne asada, carnitas, fajitas, and enchiladas. The tomato-based flavors of the rice flawlessly complement the rich and tangy flavors of these dishes.

For a vegetarian option, serve arroz rojo alongside black beans or refried beans. The combination of rice and legumes makes for a nutrient-dense meal that is both satisfying and flavorful.

As for pairing options outside of Mexican cuisine, arroz rojo goes well with grilled chicken, pork chops, or steak. The bold flavors of the rice perfectly balance the rich flavor profile of meat dishes.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try using arroz rojo in burritos, tacos or as a filler for stuffed peppers instead of regular white or Spanish rice. The added kick of tomato sauce will give your Mexican recipes an authentic flavor.

To enhance the flavors of this dish further, serve with freshly squeezed lime juice and chopped parsley sprigs. Lime juice adds a refreshing tang while parsley provides a hint of freshness that balances out the warm spices.

Overall, arroz rojo is a versatile and delicious side dish that can fit any mealtime occasion with ease. So why wait? Trade-in plain white rice for something with an authentic Mexican twist by making this arroz roja recipe.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A reliable side dish for all your Mexican-themed gatherings
A reliable side dish for all your Mexican-themed gatherings

Preparing dishes in advance can be a lifesaver when you’re short on time or looking to save time in the kitchen. Luckily, Arroz Rojo is the perfect dish for that, as it reheats beautifully and can be made ahead of time. You can make a big batch on the weekend and enjoy it all week long.

To store your Arroz Rojo, let it cool down to room temperature before placing it in an airtight container or a covered skillet in the refrigerator for up to four days. When you are ready to reheat the rice, place it in a saucepan over medium heat with a splash of chicken broth or water. Cover the pan with a lid and stir occasionally, adding more liquid if necessary, until heated through. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

If you want to freeze your Arroz Rojo, divide it into suitable portions and store them in freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags. The rice will last for up to three months in the freezer. To reheat from frozen, let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating by following the instructions mentioned above.

When reheating your Arroz Rojo, you may find that it has dried out slightly or lost some of its vibrant red color. Don’t worry; simply add a few splashes of chicken broth or water and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to bring back its moisture and flavor.

Arroz Rojo makes a fantastic meal prep option or side dish for any occasion. It’s delicious, versatile, and easy to store and reheat, making it the perfect choice for busy weeknights or last-minute gatherings with friends and family.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Share the love for Mexican food with this easy-to-recreate recipe!
Share the love for Mexican food with this easy-to-recreate recipe!

When it comes to making the perfect Arroz Rojo, there are a few tips and tricks that can help make your dish stand out. Here are some of my favorite tips for ensuring that your rice comes out delicious and full of flavor.

1. Use long-grain white rice: To achieve the perfect texture and flavor, it’s best to use long-grain white rice in this recipe. While brown rice may be tempting, it won’t have the same consistency as the traditional arroz rojo.

2. Soak the red rice: Red rice can be tough to cook if it isn’t soaked beforehand. Soaking the rice for at least an hour before cooking will soften the grains and reduce cooking time.

3. Sauté onions and garlic first: Sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil before adding them to your rice will bring out their natural sweetness and richness, resulting in a more flavorful dish.

4. Use a mix of tomato sauce and tomato paste: For an extra punch of tomato flavor, I recommend using a combination of tomato sauce and tomato paste in your recipe. This will give your rice a richer, more complex flavor that is sure to impress.

5. Don’t stir the rice too much: Once you’ve added everything to the pot, it’s important not to stir the rice too much. Stirring too vigorously can cause the grains to break down and result in mushy, overcooked rice.

With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to creating an authentic Mexican Red Rice dish that is sure to impress your guests or family. These tips will help you achieve the perfect texture, flavor, and consistency with your Arroz Rojo every time!


Before you jump in and start cooking this delicious Mexican-style Arroz Rojo recipe, take a moment to read through these frequently asked questions to ensure that you have everything you need and know what to expect during the cooking process. These FAQs were prepared with your needs and concerns in mind, so keep reading to learn more.

What is Mexican red rice made of?

Creating a delectable bowl of Mexican red rice requires simmering long grain white rice in a tomato broth infused with onions, garlic, and vegetables like carrots and peas. However, it’s important to master the recipe in order to avoid ending up with unfortunate, flavorless mush.

Is Mexican red rice the same as Spanish rice?

When it comes to comparing Spanish and Mexican rice dishes, an important distinction lies in their appearance and texture. Spanish rice is characterized by a deep yellow tone, whereas Mexican rice possesses a reddish-orange color that comes from being cooked with cumin. Furthermore, the Mexican version is typically fluffier and less sticky than its Spanish counterpart.

Is it necessary to soak red rice before cooking?

When it comes to cooking red rice, soaking is an optional step. However, it can definitely come in handy as it reduces the cooking time when you are cooking it on the stove. If you choose to soak red rice, you can do so for either 2 hours or overnight before cooking. Once you have soaked the rice, make sure to discard the water and continue with the recipe and cooking time.

What gives Mexican rice its color?

The rich tomato puree gives the dish a distinct red color. Many know it as Spanish rice, however, the traditional Spanish recipe is made with saffron, which gives it a yellowish tint.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this arroz rojo recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves authentic Mexican cuisine. The combination of rice, tomatoes, and spices creates a deliciously savory tomato-flavored rice that will have your taste buds dancing with joy. The recipe is easy to follow and the ingredients are readily available at any local grocery store. With a little bit of time and effort, you can make an authentic Mexican side dish that will perfectly complement any main course.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with substitutions and variations to create your own unique version of this classic recipe. Whether you use long grain white rice or basmati rice, vegetable oil or olive oil, you can still achieve the same delicious end result. With so many ways to customize this recipe, you’ll never tire of making it again and again.

So next time you’re in the mood for a tasty side dish, consider making arroz rojo. Not only will it satisfy your hunger, but it will also transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Mexico. Once you try this recipe, you’ll never go back to plain old white rice again!

Arroz Rojo (Mexican Style Red Rice)

Arroz Rojo (Mexican Style Red Rice) Recipe

A delicious and colorful side dish to accompany Mexican meals.This is flavored with tomato like arroz a la mexicana but it omits the vegetables that are usually found in it.Steps 1-3 are optional and may be skipped -see recipe #493472 Arroz Blanco (Mexican Style White Rice) for further details.This recipe is from the cookbook Frida's Fiesta
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Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 262.4 kcal


  • 1 cup raw rice
  • 2 tablespoons lard or 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 celery, cut in half
  • 1 parsley sprig
  • 1 1/3 cups chicken broth (home made is best)
  • 1/2 large lime, juice only
  • salt, to taste (optional)


  • Cover the raw rice in very hot water and set aside to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Drain the rice and rinse under cold water.
  • Drain the rice thoroughly and spread out to dry on a towel or large baking sheet in a ventilated area.Let dry about an hour.
  • Meanwhile,place the tomato,onion,garlic,and pepper in a blender and blend to a smooth puree,adding a little bit of the chicken broth if necessary.
  • Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat.When the oil is hot,add the rice and cook,stirring,for a few minutes,lowering the heat slightly to keep it from burning.When the rice is well coated in oil and sounds like sand when stirred,add the tomato puree.Cook,stirring occasionally,until the puree is slightly thickened.
  • Add the celery,parsley,broth,and lime juice.Add a little salt to tste ,if desired(you may want to omit the salt if the broth is well seasoned).
  • Bring to a boil.Cover the pot,and lower the heat to low.Cook for 20 minutes,or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid.
  • Serve hot.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 213gCalories: 262.4kcalCarbohydrates: 42.9gProtein: 5.6gFat: 7.3gSaturated Fat: 2.7gCholesterol: 6.1mgSodium: 263.5mgFiber: 2.5gSugar: 2.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, Mexican, Rice, Vegetable
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.