Arroz Rojo

Arroz Rojo

Arroz rojo (literally “red rice”), sometimes also called “Arroz a la Mexicana“, is a great side for any Mexican meal. Much like risotto or paella, the rice is fried in oil before any liquid is added, but unlike those dishes, the frying time is extended to about 7-10 minutes, which allows the rice to toast. This dish is best made on the stove top (rice cookers tend to produce mushy rice). Make sure you use long-grain rice- short-grain rice like Calrose or converted rice can turn gooey or crunchy in this recipe. If you like, you can add some extra veggies to this rice for some added color and flavor (peas work well- just mix in a cup of defrosted frozen peas shortly before serving, and let stand, covered to heat the peas through). You can omit the chile pepper if you can’t handle spicy food, or substitute a little minced bell pepper in its place.
This recipe makes about four servings.


  • 2 plum tomatoes, cored
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup minced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño chile, minced
  • 1 fresh cilantro sprig
  • salt


Using a box grater, grate the tomato into a medium bowl, discarding the tomato skin.

Heat the oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and cook until slightly toasted, about 3 minutes.

Add the broth, tomato sauce and grated tomato and bring to a boil. Add the cumin, oregano, chile, cilantro sprig and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat under the skillet. Cover the rice and let stand for 8 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, transfer to a serving bowl and serve.