Mexican Red Rice

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This Mexican red rice recipe (Arroz Rojo recipe) is fluffy, perfectly seasoned, and loaded with vibrant flavors. Learn how to make easy Mexican red rice that pairs brilliantly with all your favorite dishes for the ultimate meal!

Mexican Red Rice

Say goodbye to bland, mushy rice and hello to the best-tasting, fluffiest Mexican rice recipe. In English, Arroz Rojo, also known as Mexican red rice, is a staple dish in authentic Mexican cuisine.

It’s made with a simple combination of chicken or vegetable stock, tomatoes or tomato puree, and flavorful seasonings like Mexican oregano.

This delicious and easy Mexican red rice recipe works great on a big plate of food alongside shredded beef barbacoa, grilled fish, or chicken. I also love adding some corn salsa, pico de gallo, or refried beans.

Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a handful of chopped cilantro to garnish. Just like that, you’ve got the perfect dinner to share with your friends or family.

All you need are a few basic ingredients and about 30 minutes of your time to whip up this fluffy red rice. If you like Spanish rice, you’ll love this Mexican version. The two dishes are pretty similar, except that Mexican rice is softer and fluffier. Get ready to enjoy a side dish that’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

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What is Mexican red rice made of?

Let’s talk about the basic pantry ingredients you’ll need to bring this authentic Mexican rice to life.

  • Medium Grain Rice: This is the most commonly used in Mexican rice recipes and is essential for making authentic red rice.
  • Tomato Puree: You can roast and puree fresh tomatoes from scratch, but I prefer to save time by grabbing canned tomato puree from the grocery store.
  • Chicken Stock: Feel free to swap for vegetable stock to make this red rice vegan-friendly.
  • Peas and Carrots: This is totally optional, but I like to beef up this dish and make it a more filling side by adding a bag of frozen peas and carrots.
  • Mexican Oregano: Any kind of dried oregano you have will work well, but in my experience, Mexican oregano yields the most incredible flavor of any variety.
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How to Make Mexican Red Rice

Ready to make the best red rice ever? Just follow the quick and easy steps below. Check out the recipe card at the bottom for exact measurements.

Step 1: Prep the Rice

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and rice, then cook for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and oregano, then cook for 30 seconds.

Step 2: Cook and Garnish

Pour in tomato purée and stock, bring to a boil, and cover. Turn the heat to low and cook the rice for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in peas and carrots, then cover for 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with cilantro for more flavor.

Mexican Red Rice

Recipe Notes and Variations

Here are some of my top tips and variation ideas to help you make the best authentic Mexican red rice:

  • Rinse and drain rice before cooking it to remove excess starch. This helps to avoid mushy rice.
  • If preferred, you can use fresh tomatoes instead of tomato purée to make your tomato sauce.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the rice. This often leads to broken or sticky rice rather than perfectly fluffy rice like we’re going for. If you want to give it a quick stir, make sure to use a fork instead of a wooden spoon.
  • If you want spicier Arroz Rojo, feel free to add in some diced jalapeno pepper or serrano chile pepper. Alternatively, you could add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Use low sodium broth (or low sodium chicken stock) to keep the salt levels down.
  • Keep an eye on the pot to make sure the liquid doesn’t get absorbed too quickly and result in burnt rice.
  • Before serving the rice, give it a taste test to see if you need to add any more salt or other seasonings.
  • Add a pinch of smoked paprika or chili powder for a smokier flavor profile.
  • When making Arroz Rojo, you can add a teaspoon of tomato paste for a deeper red color.
  • To garnish, serve with some fresh chopped cilantro and a few lime wedges if desired for the best flavor.
  • You can use another type of rice like brown rice, jasmine rice, or long-grain white rice if needed. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time and liquid to rice ratio accordingly.
  • Avoid using a small pot to make Arroz Rojo. The last thing you want is for the liquid to overflow and make a giant mess. Stick to a medium or large saucepan for the best results.

What to Serve with Mexican Red Rice

There are plenty of great ways to serve this easy Mexican red rice. You can keep things simple by adding the protein of your choice or go one step further with an additional side recipe like beans, vegetables, or a side salad. Not sure what to make? Here are some of my favorite ways to serve Arroz Rojo:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this traditional Arroz Rojo recipe:

What is Mexican red rice?

Mexican red rice, or Arroz Rojo, is a traditional Mexican rice side dish made with the following pantry staples: medium grain rice, pureed tomatoes, and chicken broth. Many Mexican restaurants cook with seasonings like oregano and cilantro for added flavor, along with vegetables like peas, carrots, and onion for a heartier side.

How long does Mexican red rice take to cook?

This varies depending on the recipe, but I’ve found the best results by cooking my red rice for 15 minutes and then removing it from the heat but keeping it covered for an additional 5 minutes. This is how to get fluffy, perfectly cooked red rice. So easy you’ll be tempted to make a second batch!

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What spices are used in a Mexican rice recipe?

Spices like oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper are commonly used to add flavor to Mexican rice. Many people, myself included, also add fresh cilantro to the cooked rice dish to liven things up.

Is Mexican red rice gluten-free?

Yes! Mexican red rice (much like Spanish rice) is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and can also be made vegan if you swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

Latest Recipe Video:

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How to Store the Dish

If you want to make enough for leftovers, you can double or triple the recipe depending on how many servings you want to make. Keep in mind that this recipe is meant to serve 4 people. Allow your rice to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container to store leftovers. Then, store in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

To store for longer, you can freeze red rice in an airtight container or freezer-safe storage bag for up to 3 months. To reheat Mexican red rice, transfer it to a pot on the stove with a ¼ cup of chicken stock or cold water to rehydrate it and cook over medium heat until warmed through.

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More Delicious Side Dish Recipes

If you liked this red rice recipe, try these dishes next:

Ready to make this deliciousness in your kitchen?! This Mexican red rice recipe is one you’ll want to keep on hand for all your favorite dishes. Don’t forget to leave me a rating and review after making it. I love hearing what recipes you loved (or didn’t love) and how they turned out. Let’s Eat!

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Mexican Red Rice

Kenneth Temple
Discover how to make a tasty, fluffy, and satisfying Mexican red rice recipe that's packed with authentic flavor and easy to master.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 persons
Calories 340 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 cup medium grain rice
  • 1 small onion chopped small
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 7 oz. tomato puree
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup thawed peas and carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Turn on the heat to medium, in a medium pot, add oil and rice, cook for 5-7 minutes until both are lightly browned. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper and oregano, cook for 30 seconds.
  • Pour in tomato puree and stock, bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in peas and carrots, cover for 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with cilantro.

Notes

Recipe Notes and Variations:
  • Rinse and drain rice before cooking it to remove excess starch. This helps to avoid mushy rice.
  • If preferred, you can use fresh tomatoes instead of tomato purée to make your tomato sauce.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the rice. This often leads to broken or sticky rice rather than perfectly fluffy rice like we’re going for. If you want to give it a quick stir, make sure to use a fork instead of a wooden spoon.
  • If you want spicier Arroz Rojo, feel free to add in some diced jalapeno pepper or serrano chile pepper. Alternatively, you could add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Use low sodium broth (or low sodium chicken stock) to keep the salt levels down.
  • Keep an eye on the pot to make sure the liquid doesn’t get absorbed too quickly and result in burnt rice.
  • Before serving the rice, give it a taste test to see if you need to add any more salt or other seasonings.
  • Add a pinch of smoked paprika or chili powder for a smokier flavor profile.
  • When making Arroz Rojo, you can add a teaspoon of tomato paste for a deeper red color.
  • To garnish, serve with some fresh chopped cilantro and a few lime wedges if desired for the best flavor.
  • You can use another type of rice like brown rice, jasmine rice, or long-grain white rice if needed. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time and liquid to rice ratio accordingly.
  • Avoid using a small pot to make Arroz Rojo. The last thing you want is for the liquid to overflow and make a giant mess. Stick to a medium or large saucepan for the best results.
How to Store:
If you want to make enough for leftovers, you can double or triple the recipe depending on how many servings you want to make. Keep in mind that this recipe is meant to serve 4 people. Allow your rice to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container to store leftovers. Then, store in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
To store for longer, you can freeze red rice in an airtight container or freezer-safe storage bag for up to 3 months. To reheat Mexican red rice, transfer it to a pot on the stove with a ¼ cup of chicken stock or cold water to rehydrate it and cook over medium heat until warmed through.

Nutrition

Calories: 340kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 8gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 361mgPotassium: 463mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 3649IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Mexican Red Rice
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