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Mexican red rice in a skillet with avocado slices and cilantro and a spoon.
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5 from 5 votes

Mexican Red Rice

This sumptuous Mexican Red Rice is wonderful in burritos, bowls and tacos. The rice is perfectly cooked, smoky with roasted tomatoes and Mexican oregano, and all round delicious. All you need to make it are a handful of pantry ingredients. A vegan, soy-free, nut-free and gluten-free recipe.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Mexican Red Rice
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 221kcal



  • 4 medium tomatoes (cut each in half)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (You can skip the paprika and add a serrano chile pepper instead for a spicier Spanish rice. Blend the serrano with the tomatoes).
  • 2 cups long grain rice (like jasmine rice or basmati)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/230 degrees Celsius.
  • Cut the tomatoes in half, then place them, cut side up, on a baking tray with a rim to catch any juices that overflow. I line the baking pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of the Mexican oregano followed by the salt and ground black pepper to taste. Drizzle on a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Wrap the garlic cloves in a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Ball up the foil and place in the baking tray with the tomatoes.
  • Place the baking tray in the oven and roast 25-30 minutes or until the tops have black spots and the tomatoes look really soft.
  • Let the tomatoes and garlic cool enough so you can handle, then place the tomatoes and peeled garlic in a blender. Process into a coarse puree--don't add any water.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tomato puree and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the Mexican oregano followed by the tomato paste. Mix well.
  • Stir in the rice. Cook for a couple of minutes until the rice grains look a little opaque. Stir in paprika and four cups water or vegetable stock. Mix well.
  • Let the rice cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until a good deal of the water has been absorbed but there is still some moisture left in the pot.
  • Give the rice one final stir. Check for salt and add more if needed at this time.
  • Lower the heat to the lowest setting on your stove, cover the rice with a tight lid, and let it cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Don't peek.
  • Turn off the heat after 20 minutes and let the rice stand, undisturbed, for 10 more minutes.
  • Uncover, fluff up the rice grains with a fork, garnish with cilantro, and serve hot.


  • I like using a long grain rice for this recipe so the grains remain nice and separate but you can use medium grain rice if that's what you have. The medium grain will clump up a bit more.
  • If you don't want to go through the additional step of roasting tomatoes, use a 15-oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes instead.
  • Some versions of the red rice include vegetables like carrots and peas. If you want to use these, add the carrots with the tomato puree and the peas after you've added the rice and vegetable stock to the pot. Bell peppers would work great here too.
  • The Arroz Rojo stores nicely in the fridge for up to four days. For longer storage you can freeze in an air-tight, freezer-safe container for up to three months.
  • Vegetable stock adds more rich flavor to the rice, but if you don't have it water will work perfectly fine as a replacement.
  • You can cut down on the oil in this recipe by replacing the tablespoon of oil to saute the tomato puree to one teaspoon.


Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 492mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg