Authentic Mexican Rice Recipe for a Flavorful Dinner

The aroma of Mexican rice, also known as Arroz a La Mexicana, wafting through the air is enough to make your mouth water. This side dish made with long-grain white rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and serrano chilies bursting with flavor is perfect for any meal. A staple in Mexican cuisine, arroz la mexicana pairs perfectly with just about anything – from your favorite protein to a delicious salad.

As a chef specializing in both Brazilian and American cuisine, I can attest that there is nothing quite like the taste of authentic Mexican rice. The subtle blend of spices and vegetables mixed with the long-grain rice creates an explosion of flavors in your mouth that leaves you wanting more. Plus, this dish is quick and easy to make – perfect for those busy weeknights when you want something tasty but don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen.

In this article, I’ll be sharing my go-to recipe for Mexican rice that’s sure to impress family and friends alike. But don’t just take my word for it; give it a try yourself and experience the deliciousness firsthand. So let’s get started on learning how to make arroz la mexicana!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Mexican Rice - Arroz a La Mexicana
Mexican Rice – Arroz a La Mexicana

Mexican rice, or arroz a la Mexicana, is a staple side dish in Mexican cuisine. This recipe is not only delicious, but it’s also easy and quick to prepare. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:

First and foremost, the combination of flavors in this Mexican rice recipe is out of this world! You start with long-grain white rice cooked in olive or canola oil and garlic until it gets lightly brown. Then the rice is mixed with a tomato-onion sauce made from ripe tomatoes, onion, serrano chilies, garlic cloves, and parsley. This unique blend of ingredients gives the rice a slightly tangy flavor with a little heat from the serrano chilies.

Secondly, the recipe couldn’t be easier to follow. The ingredient list is straightforward consisting of ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry or can easily find at your local grocery store. Once you have all your ingredients ready, it takes less than an hour to make this classic Mexican dish.

Lastly, this arroz la Mexicana recipe is versatile and can easily adapt to dietary restrictions. For example, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can use vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth for cooking the rice. You could also add peas and diced carrots or any other veggies that you like to incorporate into your diet plan.

Overall, whether you’re hosting a family dinner or want to make something simple during the weeknights or weekends, arroz la Mexicana is sure to please everyone at your table – from adults to kids alike!

Ingredient List

 A colorful and flavorful dish that will transport you to Mexico with every bite
A colorful and flavorful dish that will transport you to Mexico with every bite

The ingredients for this Mexican Rice – Arroz a la Mexicana recipe are easy to find in your local grocery store. This side dish made with white rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and serrano chilies, among other seasoning ingredients, is perfect to pair with any Mexican main dishes. Here is what you’ll need:

Base Ingredients:

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 2 small Serrano chilies (optional)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • Salt to taste

Stock Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
  • Canola oil as needed

Additional Ingredients:

  • Peas and carrots (optional)
  • Parsley for garnish (optional)

Make sure to use long-grain white rice instead of short-grain sticky one to keep the texture of the dish nice and fluffy. You can also substitute vegetable oil for olive oil or canola oil.

The Recipe How-To

 Fresh tomatoes, onions, and chilies add some extra zing to this classic rice dish
Fresh tomatoes, onions, and chilies add some extra zing to this classic rice dish

Now that we have all the ingredients ready and prepped, it’s time to cook the Mexican rice – Arroz a la Mexicana recipe. Follow these simple instructions to make a delicious side dish that pairs well with any Mexican or Tex-Mex food.

Step 1: Rinse and Drain Rice

First things first, rinse 2 cups of long-grain white rice under running water until the water runs clear. Drain the excess water thoroughly.

Step 2: Blend the Vegetables

In a blender, add 2 ripe tomatoes, 1 small onion chopped, 2 garlic cloves finely chopped, and 1 serrano chili pepper chopped. Add ¼ cup of hot water and blend until smooth.

Step 3: Toast the Rice

On medium heat, in a large pan or pot with a tight-fitting lid, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil or vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot add in the rice and keep stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until you notice that they are light golden brown.

Step 4: Cook Vegetables and Spices

Add in the blended vegetables into your pot or pan over the rice. Stir for 1-2 minutes until you start to see a thick mixture starting to form around your rice. Then, add your salt to taste, one teaspoon of dried parsley flakes, and one teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder or 2 cups of homemade chicken broth.

Step 5: Bring to Boil Then Reduce Heat and Cover

As soon as you add the broth bring it up to boil then immediately lower it down to low heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid to trap in all that steam and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until you see all liquid has been completely absorbed by your rice.

Step 6: Let It Rest

Once cooked let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before fluffing it with a fork. This is a vital step as it will ensure your rice is light and fluffy.

Congratulations! You have made yourself a delicious bowl of Mexican rice. Don’t forget to add in some fresh chopped parsley, carrots, or peas for an even tastier result.

Substitutions and Variations

 Your taste buds won't be disappointed after trying this dish, trust me
Your taste buds won’t be disappointed after trying this dish, trust me

If there is one thing about Mexican cuisine is that it provides a lot of room for experimentation, and the Mexican Rice or Arroz a la Mexicana recipe is no exception. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try while making this delicious dish:

– Spiciness Level: If you like your food spicy, feel free to add more serrano chilies to your recipe, and if you are looking for a milder taste, you can reduce the amount of chilies in the recipe or even omit them altogether.

– Peas and Carrots: Although peas and carrots provide a nice crunch and sweetness to this dish, you can replace them with other vegetables such as corn or diced bell peppers.

– Chicken Broth or Vegetable Stock: This recipe calls for chicken broth, but if you prefer a vegetarian version of this dish, feel free to replace it with vegetable stock instead.

– Type of Rice: As long as it’s long-grain white rice, feel free to experiment with brown rice, jasmine rice, or basmati rice to give your Mexican Rice a unique twist.

– Tomatoes: For added color and flavor to your Mexican Rice, feel free to experiment with different types of tomatoes. Roma tomatoes provide a more intense flavor while heirloom tomatoes add sweetness and depth to the dish.

– Herbs and Spices: While this recipe calls for fresh parsley, you can use cilantro instead or add other herbs such as oregano or thyme. You can also experiment with spices such as cumin or smoked paprika to give your Mexican Rice more depth of flavor.

Remember that cooking is an art form and every artist likes putting their spin on their creations. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients until you find the perfect combination that works for your taste buds!

Serving and Pairing

 Serve up this dish at your next fiesta for a true Mexican experience
Serve up this dish at your next fiesta for a true Mexican experience

Mexican rice, also known as Arroz a la Mexicana, is a versatile side dish that pairs well with a variety of main dishes. This flavorful rice dish adds color and texture to any meal, and it’s perfect for adding a touch of Mexican flair to your dinner table.

Some great options for pairing Mexican rice include dishes like chicken fajitas, carne asada, enchiladas, or any other spicy Mexican-inspired main course. You could also try serving it alongside simpler dishes like grilled marinated shrimp, roasted vegetables, or even just some fresh guacamole and crispy tortilla chips.

To really transform this side dish into the star of the meal, consider adding some protein and veggies right into the rice itself. One delicious variation is to add in cooked and shredded chicken or ground beef along with some peas, diced bell peppers, and corn kernels. This will turn your Arroz a la Mexicana into a complete one-pot meal that’s both satisfying and delicious.

Whether you’re serving it as a side dish or making it the main attraction at your next family gathering, this flavorful rice dish is sure to be a hit with everyone at your table. So go ahead and give it a try–you won’t be disappointed!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The perfect side dish to complement any Mexican-inspired meal
The perfect side dish to complement any Mexican-inspired meal

Mexican Rice or arroz a la Mexicana is a delightful side dish that can be made a day before and reheated with ease. Once cooked, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for up to one month.

To make-ahead, prepare the rice as instructed and transfer it to an airtight container for storage. If you are going to reheat immediately, allow the rice to cool and cover it with plastic wrap or a lid before storing in the refrigerator. For freezing, divide the cooked rice into smaller containers that are freezer-safe and label them with the date.

When it’s time to reheat, there are different options available. You can microwave the rice by placing it in a microwave-safe dish and heating at 30-second intervals until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat on the stovetop. Place the refrigerated or frozen rice in a saucepan on medium heat, add some water or broth, stir occasionally and let it cook until hot.

Remember not to store leftover rice at room temperature for more than two hours to prevent bacteria growth. Also, when reheating frozen rice, allow it to thaw completely before reheating.

With this make-ahead option through refrigeration or freezing, Mexican Rice is an ideal choice of side dish that’s effortless yet tasty during meal prep days. Additionally, its versatile nature means you can accompany it with delicious chicken dishes like arroz con pollo, zacatecas-style Tacos or any other goodies you love.

Tips for Perfect Results

 This arroz a la Mexicana recipe will make you feel like a true chef in the kitchen
This arroz a la Mexicana recipe will make you feel like a true chef in the kitchen

To achieve a perfect result, there are some key tips to keep in mind when making Mexican Rice – Arroz a La Mexicana.

Firstly, it is important to sauté the rice before adding any liquid. This will help to add depth of flavor and ensure that the grains cook evenly. Secondly, be sure to use long-grain white rice for this recipe.

Additionally, make sure to use a good quality chicken broth or stock as it will enhance the overall taste of the dish. And whilst homemade chicken broth is far superior in taste, you can also opt for store-bought varieties.

Another tip to keep in mind is to use a serrano chili with caution when making this recipe. These chilies pack quite the punch, so be sure to remove any seeds and membranes before adding them to the mix.

Furthermore, letting the rice rest after it is done cooking will help to develop extra flavors, so leave it covered for at least five minutes before serving.

Lastly, consider doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing portions of cooked Mexican rice for later use as a time-saving hack. You can easily reheat by steaming or microwaving it in a covered dish with a splash of water.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to achieve perfect and flavorful Mexican Rice – Arroz a La Mexicana every time!


Before concluding, let me go through the frequently asked questions to make sure that you have all the answers you need to make this Mexican Rice – Arroz a La Mexicana Recipe an outstanding dish. Below are some commonly raised questions and their corresponding answers.

Why does Mexican restaurant rice taste better?

Mexican Rice is distinct from Spanish Rice not only because of its reddish-orange color, but also due to its unique flavor profile. This signature color and flavor are achieved by cooking the rice with cumin, which lends a nutty, mildly spicy taste to the dish.

How do you make Mexican rice fluffy and not sticky?

Before cooking the rice, it’s important to wash it thoroughly to get rid of excess starch that may cause it to become sticky and clumpy. Once it’s been rinsed, make sure to drain it well to eliminate any excess water. For the best results, I recommend using basmati rice as it tends to cook up fluffy and separate, unlike other varieties that may stick together and become over-cooked.

What is the difference between Spanish rice and Mexican rice?

When it comes to Spanish rice, its texture is distinct from that of Mexican rice – it is firmer and has a bit more bite. You can expect a stronger aroma from Spanish rice, and it tends to hold up better in dishes that require longer cooking times.

What kind of rice is Mexican rice made from?

A popular side dish in Mexican cuisine that goes by different names, such as Spanish rice or red rice in Tex-Mex cuisine, is the Mexican rice. It is usually made with white rice, mixed with tomato, garlic, onion, and potentially other ingredients.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Mexican Rice (Arroz a La Mexicana Recipe) is a side dish that you don’t want to miss out on. It’s a delicious and flavorful addition to any meal, whether you’re serving it with arroz con pollo or any other Mexican-inspired cuisine. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this recipe is perfect for beginners or experienced chefs.

Not only is this tasty and satisfying, but it’s also healthy! The long-grain white rice, garlic clove, tomatoes, onion, and chicken broth offer essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and protein that your body needs. Even better, this recipe contains no added preservatives or unhealthy fats found in ready-made dishes.

So why not make the switch from plain white rice to a more vibrant dish that will add some spice to your life? Enjoy the rich flavor profile of Mexican Rice (Arroz a La Mexicana Recipe) alongside your favorite meats, beans or veggies. Who knew such a small change could make such a big difference? Give it a try today – your tastebuds (and stomach) will thank you later!

Mexican Rice - Arroz a La Mexicana

Mexican Rice - Arroz a La Mexicana Recipe

This is from Diana Kennedy's book, "From My Mexican Kitchen". I usually have varying results when I make rice but this recipe made it come out perfectly. It is tender like my dad likes it and sprinkled with a touch of carrots and peas like my Nana used to make. It can be prepared several hours ahead and then reheated. Leftovers can be frozen for a couple of weeks without losing flavor. Do not thaw before reheating; put the frozen rice directly into the pan so you do not lose the flavor in the melting juices.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 210.1 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1/4-1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped white onion
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small carrot, trimmed, scraped, and thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons peas (optional)
  • 1 sprig parsley (optional)
  • 2 serrano chilies, left whole (optional)
  • salt, to taste


  • For this quantity of rice you will need a flameproof pan about 4 inches (10 cm) deep and 9 inches (23 cm) across. Pour hot water to cover over the rice and let soak for about 5 minutes. Strain, rinse in cold water, and strain again. Be sure to shake the strainer well to remove the excess water. Do not do this step ahead of time or the rice will become too damp.
  • Heat the oil in the pan and stir in the rice - it should sizzle as it touches the oil. Stir until the grains are evenly coated and continue frying over medium heat until they sound brittle and are just starting to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Tip the pan to one side and drain off the excess oil.
  • Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, onion, and garlic into a blender jar and blend until smooth. Stir the puree into the rice and continue frying over fairly high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid sticking, until the mixture has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the broth and the optional ingredients; stir the rice well, adjust the salt, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat until all the broth has been absorbed - air holes will probably form. Carefully dig to the bottom of the rice with a fork to see if any moisture remains; if so, then continue cooking over low heat for a few minutes more. Set aside, still `covered, to give the rice a chance to continue steaming evenly for about 15 minutes.
  • When serving, gently stir the rice from the bottom with a fork.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 188gCalories: 210.1kcalCarbohydrates: 29.5gProtein: 4.9gFat: 7.7gSaturated Fat: 1.1gSodium: 329.9mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 1.2g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Kid-Friendly, Long-Grain Rice, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, Mexican, Rice
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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.