Restaurant Style Mexican Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Arroz Rojo

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice is easy to make and together with Cilantro Lime Rice it makes the best accompaniment to all your favorite Mexican recipes.

This Mexican rice recipe makes perfectly seasoned rice in just 30 minutes. Prepare a portion to serve alongside camarónes a la diabla, achiote chicken, carne asada platter, taco recipes, and carne asada recipes.

Mexican red rice

There are a few common names for Mexican rice, including:

  • Mexican red rice
  • Arroz Rojo
  • Arroz Mexicano

Carne Asada platter with steak, rice and pico de gallo.

Spanish Rice vs. Mexican Rice

Spanish rice and Mexican rice are two different rice dishes. Spanish rice is firmer and made from saffron. Mexican rice, on the other hand, is softer and contains cumin instead of saffron. Read more about the differences between the two.

Glass bowls with various ingredients for making Mexican rice.


Here are a few key ingredients needed for this recipe. See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients.

Basmati long grain rice – Long grain rice has less starch and is drier than other varieties. Don’t use other varieties or you won’t get the texture and flavor you’re looking for.

tomato bouillon – This offers loads of tomato flavor, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry. Just add regular chicken broth instead.

Diced tomatoes – For an extra layer of flavor, use fire roasted tomatoes or even rotel. Unfortunately I accidentally left her out of this photoshoot. Try not to draw a “darcey” and forget about her.

Rice in a silver pot next to small bowls of ingredients.

How to do

Just a few steps separate you from the restaurant-style Mexican rice. This only highlights the most important steps. For the full list of directions, see the recipe card below.

Wash – Place the rice in a colander and hold under cold running water until the water runs clear. This removes the excess starch from the rice and is a key element in achieving “non-mushy” rice. It takes about 2-3 minutes to rinse. Drain well.

sear Sauté the onions, jalapeños, garlic and rice for a few minutes to soften the vegetables and to toast the rice.

Cook – Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 12-15 minutes until rice is tender.

Wait patiently – Let the rice rest for 10 minutes after removing it from the heat.

premium – Fluff the rice with a fork, then gently fold in the chopped cilantro before serving.

Silver pan full of red rice with a fork in the middle.

recipe tips

  • After cooking, be sure to fluff the rice with a fork (do not stir) to create a nice consistency.
  • Add a few chopped jalapeño or serrano peppers for extra heat.
  • For a vegetarian rice dish, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • For maximum nutrition, use Instant Pot Bone Broth instead of store-bought chicken broth.
  • Don’t have any broth on hand? Here are beef broth and chicken broth substitute lists if you need ideas.

Rinse rice

Do not skip or rush rinsing the rice. It will drastically negatively affect the end result of the recipe. Rinsing the rice removes all of the starch, making it less likely to become mushy and lumpy. It takes about 2-3 minutes to properly rinse the rice.

You can also soak the rice for an hour, as shown in this fried brown rice recipe.

Rice in a colander ready for rinsing.

serving suggestions

There are a plethora of ways to serve red rice, including:

  • Serve as a side dish – Fajitas, tacos, burritos and chicken enchiladas
  • Use as a filling – Add to burritos or stuffed peppers
  • make a bowl – Add your favorite protein and veggies to make a Chipotle-style bowl

Mexican rice and beans

Who doesn’t love some rice and beans. Rice and beans are a main side dish at taquerias. Here are a few bean recipes to add:

Close up of refried beans in a white bowl with jalapenos, cheese and cilantro.

Mexican recipes

Mexican rice can be served with the same things that can be served with tacos (What To Serve With Tacos). Here are some of our favorite dishes to serve this flavorful rice, or even plain Peruvian rice:

Arroz Rojo in a white bowl.

storage and rewarming

Refrigerate – Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 4-5 days.

freezing – Once cool, transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

warm up – Place in a microwave-safe container with a few teaspoons of chicken broth or water and heat for 1 minute. Stir and repeat in 30 second increments until fully warmed up.

drink pairings

When we enjoy Mexican dishes or celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we always reach for a Michelada, Mango Michelada or Margarita.

Mexican Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice Recipe is easy to make and the best side to all of your favorite Mexican recipes. This recipe makes perfectly seasoned rice in just 30 minutes. Prepare a portion to serve alongside taco recipes and carne asada recipes.

Preparation time: 10 protocol

Cooking time: 15 protocol

Relax: 10 protocol

Total time: 35 protocol

Course: garnish

Kitchen: Mexican

Keyword: Mexican side dish, rice recipes

Calories: 213kcal

Author: Darcey Olson

Costs: $7


  • Preheat the oil in a large Dutch Oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, jalapeños (if using), and rice and cook until rice is toasty, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.

  • Stir in the remaining ingredients (except for the side dishes) and bring to the boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring only once halfway through.

  • Remove from the heat and let rest with the lid on for 10 minutes.

  • Add cilantro and lime juice to taste and fluff with a fork. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

note 1 – Basmati rice is by far the best for this recipe. Other varieties don’t have the ideal texture.
Note 2 – For an extra kick of flavor, use fire-roasted tomatoes or rotel.
Note 3 – Replace with chicken broth if you like. Although the tomato color and flavor will not be as intense.

Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 40G | Protein: 4G | Fat: 4G | Saturated Fatty Acids: 1G | Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5G | Monounsaturated fatty acids: 3G | Cholesterol: 0.01mg | Sodium: 354mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 1G | Sugar: 2G | Vitamin A: 153ie | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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