Spice Up Your Meal with a Mexican Rice Recipe

Are you looking for a new and exciting rice recipe to add to your repertoire? Look no further than Sopa Seca De Arroz, a traditional Mexican dish that is sure to impress your taste buds. This dish, also known as Mexican Rice, is the perfect combination of flavors – from the fresh cilantro and chilies to the tangy tomatoes and garlic cloves.

But what sets this recipe apart is its unique preparation method. “Sopa seca” translates to “dry soup,” which refers to the process of cooking the rice in tomato sauce until it absorbs all the liquid, resulting in a dry and fluffy texture. This flavorful rice can be served as a stand-alone dish or as a side to complement any protein.

Not only is Sopa Seca De Arroz delicious, but it’s also incredibly versatile. If you’re short on time, you can make this recipe ahead and reheat it later without sacrificing quality. Plus, with easy-to-find ingredients like butter, long-grain rice, and tomato paste, this dish is accessible to everyone.

So why not give this Mexican Rice recipe a try? You won’t be disappointed by its bold flavors and unique preparation method that will leave your taste buds begging for more.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Sopa Seca De Arroz- Mexican Rice
Sopa Seca De Arroz- Mexican Rice

If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine or looking for something new and exciting to try, then this Sopa Seca De Arroz recipe will not disappoint. With its bold flavors, this Mexican Rice recipe is sure to become a household favorite.

First off, the ingredient list is simple and straightforward. You’ll need fresh cilantro, chilies, tomatoes, garlic cloves, onions, butter or margarine, and long-grain rice. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand – I’ll share some substitutions and variations later on that will still result in a delicious dish.

What really sets this dish apart is the unique cooking approach. Sopa seca means “dry soup” in Spanish and refers to the technique of cooking the rice until it’s absorbed all the liquid in the pot. The result? A flavorful and slightly toasted rice with a golden color – truly a treat for both your taste buds and your eyes!

This recipe also offers flexibility for your own tastes. Want to spice things up? Add more chilies! Prefer a milder flavor? Scale back on the amount of chili used. Additionally, you can make it a one-pot meal by adding in cooked chicken or beef at the end.

Lastly, this Sopa Seca De Arroz recipe is not only delicious but also budget-friendly. Feeding a crowd without breaking the bank has never been easier with this easy-to-follow recipe.

Trust me when I say that once you try this Mexican Rice recipe, it will become a staple dish in your home cooking repertoire. So go ahead and give it a try – your taste buds will thank you!

Ingredient List

 A steamy bowl of Sopa Seca De Arroz to warm up your soul on a chilly day.
A steamy bowl of Sopa Seca De Arroz to warm up your soul on a chilly day.

The Essential Ingredients

To make Sopa Seca De Arroz, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of long-grain rice:
    For this recipe, it is essential to use long-grain rice. This type of rice provides the perfect texture and holds its shape well.
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped:
    Chopped onions are an essential ingredient in this recipe, providing a savory flavor.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced:
    Garlic is a must-have for any Mexican dish; it adds a deep umami flavor to the dish.
  • 1 cup tomato sauce:
    Tomato sauce is what gives this dish its characteristic red color and adds natural sweetness.
  • 6 tablespoons butter (or margarine):
    Butter or margarine makes the rice soft and flavorful while adding necessary fat to the dish. You can opt for vegan margarine if you prefer.
  • 2 cups water:
    Water is used to cook the rice, and you need to use it in the correct amount to obtain perfectly cooked grains.

Extra Flavor Boosters

While these ingredients are essential for making Sopa Seca De Arroz, you can add extra ingredients to enhance the flavor:

  • Fresh cilantro:
    Cilantro imparts freshness and herbaceousness, adding a bright flavor profile that complements other ingredients in this dish.
  • Chilies:
    Adding chilies will give your sopa seca de arroz an extra kick of heat. You can chop fresh chilies or use dried chili flakes or powder.
  • Tomatoes – Ripe tomatoes finely chopped add a tangy and slightly sweet taste, which perfectly balances the heat from chilies in this dish.

Make sure to gather all the ingredients before starting with the recipe so that you can easily put everything together.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect combination of Mexican and Spanish flavors in one dish.
The perfect combination of Mexican and Spanish flavors in one dish.

Now, it’s time to flex those cooking skills and get to the actual recipe. Lucky for you, sopa seca de arroz doesn’t require too much effort, but it will make it look like you’re quite the master chef.


First and foremost, rinse two cups of long-grain rice under cold water until the water runs clear. After that, drain the rice and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop two small onions and mince two cloves of garlic. Also, dice two medium-sized tomatoes, and remove the seeds from two chilies before slicing them thinly. Finally, wash and pat dry a few stems of fresh cilantro, then chop them finely.

Sautéing The Rice

Once everything is ready, heat up a large pan over medium heat and add in six tablespoons of butter or margarine (whichever you prefer). Once the butter/margarine has melted, add in the rice and stir constantly until it turns a golden color.

Adding The Vegetables

After the rice has turned golden brown, add in your prepared vegetables: the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and chilies. Continue stirring occasionally until everything has softened and starts to combine (about 5-7 minutes).

Adding Flavorful Liquids

Now, add in one cup of tomato sauce (tomato paste diluted with water works too) and four cups of boiling water or chicken broth (water works perfectly well!). Mix everything well so that there are no clumps or lumps.

Turn down heat to low-medium heat then cover your pan with a lid. Let your sopa de arroz simmer on low for about 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Serving Time!

Once all the liquid is absorbed by the rice and everything has combined perfectly, your sopa seca de arroz is ready to serve. You can garnish it with fresh cilantro or any other toppings you’d like.


Substitutions and Variations

 Say hola to my luscious and hearty Mexican rice!
Say hola to my luscious and hearty Mexican rice!

Are you looking for ways to tweak this classic Mexican rice recipe and make it your own? Here are some substitutions and variations you can try:

– Spiciness: To make this dish spicier, you can add more chilies or hot sauce. If you prefer it milder, omit the chilies or seeds altogether.

– Tomatoes: If fresh tomatoes are out of season or hard to find, you can substitute them with canned diced tomatoes.

– Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic cloves on hand, you can use garlic powder instead.

– Butter/margarine: While the recipe calls for butter, you can also use margarine as a substitute.

– Rice: Although long-grain rice is traditionally used in this recipe, you can use other types of rice like jasmine, basmati or brown rice. Keep in mind that cooking times and water ratios may vary.

– Vegetables: Looking to add more veggies to your rice? Try adding diced bell peppers, peas, carrots or corn for extra color and flavor.

– Meat: For a heartier meal, add cooked chicken, beef or pork to the rice. Shrimp or other seafood can also be a tasty addition.

– Tomato sauce/paste: If you don’t have tomato sauce on hand, you can use tomato paste diluted with water instead.

By experimenting with these substitutions and variations, you can personalize this classic Mexican rice recipe to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Serving and Pairing

 Nestled with tender noodles, juicy tomatoes, and scrumptious garlic, this dish is a hearty comfort food.
Nestled with tender noodles, juicy tomatoes, and scrumptious garlic, this dish is a hearty comfort food.

Once your sopa seca de arroz is ready, it’s time to think about how to best serve and pair it. This savory Mexican rice dish can stand alone as a main course or be served as a complementary side dish. Here are some serving and pairing tips:

– As a main dish: Sopa seca de arroz can be the star of the meal, especially when paired with a fresh salad or roasted vegetables. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve hot.

– As a side dish: Pair sopa seca de arroz with grilled meats, a spicy chili con carne, or cooked beans for a satisfying meal. For an extra pop of flavor, squeeze fresh lime juice over the entire plate.

– With toppings: Sopa seca de arroz can be served with toppings that include queso fresco, avocado slices, roasted tomatoes or bell peppers, or some salsa for variety of textures.

– Wine pairing: A dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio complements this sopa seca de arroz very well due to its slightly acidic character which goes great with the slightly tangy flavour of the tomato sauce.

Serving suggestion: all you have to do is pile the rice high on a serving platter and sprinkle chorizo on top of it for added texture and flavor.

Sopa seca de arroz, also known as Mexican rice, is an easy-to-make classic and ideal for those who enjoy Mexican food with its punchy flavors.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 An ultimate one-pot wonder that requires minimal clean-up.
An ultimate one-pot wonder that requires minimal clean-up.

Whenever I prepare a meal, I like to know what my options are for saving leftovers, reheating meals and if possibly, making some elements in advance. This is why thinking about make-ahead, storing and reheating possibilities has become second nature to me when cooking. This recipe, Sopa Seca De Arroz or Mexican Rice is perfect for this because it is a dish that holds up well in the fridge and can be quickly heated up again.

This meal can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just be sure to cool the rice completely before storing it to avoid any condensation that could spoil the food. When reheating the rice, you can add a splash of water or vegetable broth to moisten it again. I strongly advise that you refrain from using a microwave as it tends to dry out the rice and alter its texture.

If you have any leftovers from this recipe, store them in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat your Mexican Rice again, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator; then reheat in a pan on medium-high heat with some extra tomato sauce or chicken broth.

One helpful tip before serving: if you find that the Sopa Seca De Arroz has dry parts around the edges or has stuck together, don’t worry about it! Simply drizzle some vegetable broth over it or give it a quick stir to loosen it up. And remember – this recipe can also be served as a cold salad-like dish if you’re aiming for something refreshing during summertime gatherings.

Overall, Sopa Seca De Arroz is perfect for those busy evenings when you need dinner on the table fast. The make-ahead and freezing possibilities make this dish so versatile; it works just as well as a quick lunch option throughout the week as well.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Add a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges to elevate the taste.
Add a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges to elevate the taste.

If you want to make sure that your Sopa Seca De Arroz or Mexican rice turns out perfect, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to follow:

1. Use the Right Rice: Long-grain rice is the best choice for this recipe as it gives the dish a fluffy texture and absorbs flavor well. You can use jasmine or basmati rice if you prefer.

2. Rinse the Rice: Rinsing the rice before cooking helps remove any excess starch and prevents clumping. Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.

3. Toast the Rice: To bring out the nutty flavors of the rice, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes before adding it to the pot.

4. Use Fresh Ingredients: To get the most flavor out of your Sopa Seca De Arroz, use fresh ingredients like ripe tomatoes, garlic cloves, onions, and cilantro. Avoid using canned vegetables as they have added salt and preservatives.

5. Add Enough Liquid: The key to getting perfectly cooked rice is to add enough liquid to properly cook it. For every cup of rice, use two cups of liquid (water or chicken broth). If you find that your rice is too dry, add more liquid as needed.

6. Let it Rest: After cooking, let the Sopa Seca De Arroz rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and for any excess moisture to be absorbed.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to make a delicious and authentic Mexican rice dish that’s sure to impress your family and friends!


As a Chef who is passionate about creating delicious meals that everyone can enjoy, it’s essential to me that you have all the information you need so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to preparing your meals. And while this Mexican rice recipe may seem straightforward, I understand there may be some questions and concerns you want to ask to make sure everything goes smoothly. To help with that, here are some common FAQs that should give you a better understanding of the recipe and answer any burning questions you may have.

How do you make Mexican rice fluffy and not sticky?

One important step in preparing rice for cooking is to make sure it is washed and drained properly to remove excess starch. This will help prevent the rice from becoming too sticky and mushy once it is cooked. Using basmati rice is recommended as it is less likely to stick together compared to other types of rice. It’s important to keep in mind that the type of rice used can greatly affect the overall texture and consistency of the dish.

What is the difference between Spanish rice and Mexican rice?

Spanish rice is distinct from Mexican rice due to its firmer texture, stronger aroma, and unique flavor profile. Saffron is the key ingredient responsible for both the sweet yet savory taste and the golden hue of this type of rice. Because of its high absorbency, Spanish rice is the ideal choice for dishes that require longer cooking times.

Why did my Mexican rice turn out mushy?

When cooking rice, it’s important to avoid overcooking it as this can lead to a mushy texture. If the rice absorbs too much water, its grains will split open and result in a gummy, starchy outcome.

What does Sopa mean in rice?

The dish I’m about to share with you is called “Arroz de Polvo” in Portuguese, which translates to “Octopus Rice”. Don’t let the name confuse you though, as it’s not actually a soup but rather a rice dish with all the flavorful liquid completely absorbed by the ingredients.


Bottom Line

In conclusion, this sopa seca de arroz recipe is the perfect dish for those who want to experience the flavors of Mexican cuisine. With its colorful presentation and delicious taste that comes from fresh cilantro, chilies, tomatoes, garlic cloves, onions, and long-grain rice, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to prepare a meal that will leave your taste buds singing! Whether you choose to enjoy this dish as a standalone meal or pair it with your favorite Mexican entree, you can rest assured that it will not disappoint. So what are you waiting for? Bring a little bit of Mexico into your kitchen with this amazing sopa seca de arroz recipe today!

Sopa Seca De Arroz- Mexican Rice

Sopa Seca De Arroz- Mexican Rice Recipe

My BF said this was the best rice he had ever eaten. I adapted this recipe from a Sunset Mexican Cookbook. This recipe can easily be cut in half.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 416.5 kcal


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 6 tablespoons butter or 6 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups regular-strength chicken broth
  • 2 -3 california chilies (optional) or 2 -3 pasilla chiles, medium sized, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 cup pimento stuffed olive


  • In a wide frying pan over medium-high heat, brown rice lightly in butter or margarine.
  • Add onion, garlic, tomato, and chiles, if used and cook for 2 or 3 minutes; add 3 cups of the broth.
  • Cover and simmer 25 to 35 minutes or bake, covered, in a 350F oven 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Add more broth, if needed, to cook rice. However, there should be no liquid remaining when rice is tender to bite.
  • Add cilantro, if desired, during last 10 minutes.
  • Garnish rice with olives.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 445gCalories: 416.5kcalCarbohydrates: 56.7gProtein: 13.6gFat: 14.4gSaturated Fat: 8.1gCholesterol: 30.5mgSodium: 1319.5mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 4.4g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Inexpensive, Long-Grain Rice, Mexican, Rice, White Rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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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.