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Apr 23, 2022

Mexican Red Rice | Arroz Rojo

This Mexican red rice is the essential time tested side dish for whenever you are serving your favorite Mexican-style meal. 

Mexican Red Rice in pot.

Arroz rojo, or red rice, is one of those dishes served every day with Mexican dishes both north and south of the Rio Grande. When you think of rice and beans, this is pretty much the traditional tomato-y rice, with a couple of twists.

Most of the time, Mexican rice is pretty much taken for granted, but, why should it be? This rice stands on its own as an excellent side dish of which you can be proud. In fact, you don't have to save this rice for serving only with Mexican dishes. 

It can be paired with any protein. In fact, last night we had this rice with meatloaf and a salad. It would be excellent with a chicken enchilada casserole

Mexican Red Rice in a pot.

Traditional arroz rojo begins with frying the rice in oil on the stove top, along with onions and garlic, until the rice is opaque and slightly browned. Then it's traditionally simmered sort of like risotto where the liquid, combined with chicken bouillon and tomatoes, tomato paste, or even tomato bouillon, is monitored and and added as it's absorbed until the rice is done. 

With this rice, you start it on the stovetop and then complete the cooking in the oven without the extra stirring and tending. 

Ingredients You will Need for Mexican Red Rice:

Long grain white rice:

I've used basmati, jasmine, Preferido, and Orgullo de mi Tierra. Just don't use a rice that has been parboiled (or converted) before packaging, such as Uncle Ben's. The water ratio and cooking time might be off. 

Pantry ingredients:

Vegetable oil, salt, and pepper.


Fresh garlic, chopped onions, and cilantro. 


Chopped fresh carrots, frozen peas, minced jalapeño, and frozen corn. Of course, you can make this rice without the vegetables or change them up based on what you have on hand. 

Jarred salsa:

While traditional red rice would include tomatoes, tomato paste, or tomato bouillon, the addition of salsa makes preparing this rice so much easier and adds extra flavor. 

Chicken broth:

While traditional red rice might include powdered or cubed chicken bouillon, fresh or canned chicken broth or stock adds more richness to the rice. 

Mexican Red Rice close up in a pot.

How to Make this Mexican Red Rice:

First, cook the rice in oil, along with some chopped onion and garlic, until the rice becomes opaque. 

Next, add the salsa, chicken broth, jalapeño, chopped carrots, and some salt to the pan and then let everything come to a boil. Add the frozen corn, cover the pot, and move it to a heated oven and bake the mixture for about 20 minutes. 

After that, remove the pot from the oven, sprinkle the peas over the top, re-cover the pot, and bake for an additional five minutes. 

Finally, remove the pot from the oven and fluff the rice and stir in the peas. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Mexican Red Rice in a bowl.

To reheat this rice, you can either place it in a pan on the stove top and sprinkle in some extra water or chicken broth and cook it over low heat. You can also microwave individual servings for leftovers. 

Leftovers are also wonderful in burritos, omelettes, and soups. 

To cook this rice, I used an Emile Henry Flame 2.6 quart Dutch oven. It's safe to use both on top of the stove and in the oven. I love it because it's so much lighter than cast iron. It also is safe for the microwave. 

If you double the recipe, you can use the Emile Henry Flame 4.2 quart Dutch Oven, which is the one I often use for baking bread. 

Rest assured, any pan with a fitted lid that is safe both on the stovetop and in the oven will work just fine. 

Mexican Red Rice in individual bowls.

This week, the From Our Dinner Table Group is sharing recipes for Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla. 

While it's a minor holiday in Mexico, it is very popular in the United States, especially in areas where there are large populations of Mexican Americans. 

From Our Dinner Table Logo.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Originally published in April, 2013, updated in April, 2022 with new photos, recipe card, and instructions. 

Mexican Red Rice in Dutch oven.

Mexican Red Rice

Mexican Red Rice
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 25 MinInactive time: 5 MinTotal time: 1 Hour
This Mexican red rice is the essential time tested side dish for whenever you are serving your favorite Mexican-style meal.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup bottled tomato salsa
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 1/2 C frozen peas
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place an oven proof 3 to 4 quart Dutch oven over medium heat.
  3. Add the oil, rice, onions, and garlic and stir while cooking over medium heat for about five to seven minutes, until the rice becomes opaque. Add the jalapeño and stir.
  4. Add the salsa, broth, salt, carrots, and corn, and let the pot come to a boil.
  5. Cover the pot and place it in the oven.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cover, dump in the peas, recover, and bake for an additional five minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and let stand, covered, for five minutes.
  7. Fluff the rice with a fork, stirring in the peas. Taste and add more salt if needed. If the rice seems too dry, add a tiny bit more heated broth.
  8. Sprinkle with the cilantro.

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Side dish
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  1. I always wait for my secretary to make Mexican rice because she does it so well. I'll have to try this recipe on her!

  2. Yummo! As a vegan I would sub out the chook stock but this recipe is making me salivate at 5.10am on a Monday morning...that can ONLY be a good thing! ;)

  3. I like the idea of all the veggies in this rice! Yum!

  4. This is always loved in our home! Love this delicious rice with lots of veggies! Simple and comforting.

  5. I serve rice a lot but it's getting boring so I need to try this! One of my friends, whose parents were from Mexico, says the same thing about making guacamole with salsa because it basically has the same ingredients for that too.

  6. My son loves rice and I've been looking for new recipes. This will be perfect!

  7. What a great side dish - it goes with just about every Mexican main course I know!

  8. I just made a quick Mexican rice last week for dinner and now I wish I would have waited for your recipe. Saving to make soon!

    1. I have no doubt yours was delicious Lisa.


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