It doesn’t matter where you were born or where you grew up; rice was probably a staple of your diet. Rice is one of the most popular grains in the entire world, and every culture and cuisine has its unique take on this staple. Mexican rice, also known as arroz rojo or red rice, is a delicious and easy side dish that pairs well with any Mexican meal.
You are probably familiar with this delightful side dish as many use it as the side to most entrees in Mexican cuisine. Mexican rice is different from other rice kinds because of its beautiful color, savory flavors, and texture.
The good news is that you no longer have to go to a Mexican restaurant to get Mexican rice. Keep reading to learn an easy Mexican rice recipe that you can whip up in your kitchen in no time. Your taste buds will thank you.
What Is Mexican Rice?
Mexican rice, also known as arroz rojo or red rice, is made by cooking white rice with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs. The tomato sauce and vegetables give it a beautiful reddish hue and bold flavor. You often serve Mexican rice as a side dish alongside tacos, enchiladas, or burritos.
It achieves its color and flavor from tomatoes, onions, garlic, and broth. This dish includes vegetables like peas or corn; some even top it with cilantro.
The origins of Mexican rice can be traced back to the early 20th century in Mexico City, when white rice was cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and other ingredients like spices, vegetables, and even diced chorizo or chicken.
Mexican rice has become a popular dish in Mexican restaurants worldwide and a staple side dish in many American households.
Easy Authentic Mexican Rice Recipe
- 1 cup White rice
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 Small onion diced
- 1 Diced jalapeno
- ½ cups Bell pepper
- 2 Cloves garlic minced
- 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup Fresh corn kernels
- ½ cups Diced carrots
- ½ cups Frozen peas
- ¼ teaspoons Chili powder
- ¼ teaspoons Cumin
- 2 Roma tomato diced
- 2 Tbsp Chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 cups Chicken broth or vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoons Salt
- ¼ teaspoons Pepper
- Prep your vegetables. Cut the corn off the cob, cut your onions and pepper into similar sizes, dice the jalapeno, and mince the garlic. It is essential that the onions and peppers are the same sizes, or they won't cook evenly.
- Heat the vegetable oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Once the pan has come up to temperature, add the onions and peppers. Sautee the vegetables with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or until the onions are translucent.
- Once the onions are translucent, add the rice and toast the rice until the grains are a beautiful golden brown color. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Adding the spices at this stage toasts the spices, giving you a deeper flavor. Stir the rice constantly. Otherwise, it will burn.
- Add the tomato sauce and the broth, and bring the mixture to a simmer (around two minutes). Add in the corn, carrots, and frozen peas, and bring to a boil.
- Once the rice has come to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the rice is cooked, 20-40 minutes.
- Once the water absorbs, the rice is ready. Remove the pan from the heat and fluff with a fork. Garnish the diced Roma tomatoes and the chopped cilantro.
Tips & Tricks for Mexican Rice
- You can quickly turn this side dish into a complete meal with diced chorizo or cooked chicken. Cook the meat separately and then add it before fluffing the rice.
- This recipe can also be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth and adding beans or tofu instead of animal protein.
- You can also make Mexican rice in a rice cooker instead of the stovetop.
- You can store this Mexican rice in the fridge for up to 4 days. To keep it in the refrigerator, wait for it to come to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. To reheat, simply microwave or heat on the stovetop until hot. When reheating it, add a sprinkle of water to help the rice rehydrate.
- Jasmine rice is the best type of rice to use for this recipe. You can substitute short grain, long grain, or brown rice, but you must adjust the amount of liquid used.
- There are many substitutions you can make in this recipe. You can use salsa instead of tomato sauce for an extra spicy kick and add canned green chilis for color and flavor.
- Don’t be afraid to adjust the seasoning used, either. This recipe responds well to many different spices, so use your favorite to create something unique and personal.
- You can also freeze Mexican rice. After it cools, put it in a freezer-safe plastic bag and remove as much air as possible. It can last up to six months this way. You can defrost it in the refrigerator or microwave.
- Serve this authentic Mexican side dish with your meal, or use it as a base for burrito bowls or tacos. For a delicious meal, top it with black beans, avocado slices, and salsa.
Nutrition Information of Mexican Rice
One serving of this easy homemade Mexican rice recipe is approximately 250 calories, with 7 grams of fat, 37 carbohydrates, and 5 grams of protein. It is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin A. Enjoy it as a balanced meal for a delicious and nutritious dinner.
This authentic Mexican rice recipe will draw rave reviews from your family and friends. The toasted spices and vegetables create a depth of flavor, while the corn and peas give it a touch of sweetness.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with this dish and make it your own. The possibilities are endless to create a personalized Mexican rice recipe to please the entire family.
Great flavor and so simple to throw together on a weary night.
Followed this recipe exactly (including the foil step) and mine looked exactly like the picture!
This is very good.