Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice)

A tried and true recipe with tips and detailed steps to help you achieve flavorful and perfectly fluffy Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice).

A tried and true recipe that includes all the tips and detailed steps to help you achieve flavorful and perfectly fluffy Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice).

Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice) #mexicanrice #arrozrojo #arrozmexicano

Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice)

Arroz Rojo or Mexican Red Rice is a staple in Mexican cuisine, and perhaps the most commonly served side dish. I often have to push myself to make other side dishes because I could pretty much serve arroz rojo with every dinner. It’s just so good though!

Click here for an interesting article about the history of rice in Mexico.

Today’s recipe for arroz rojo comes from my beautiful mom. Like me, my mom makes red rice all the time. She’s so masterful at it that she could probably make it with her eyes closed and it would still come out perfectly fluffy and delicious.

In this post, I have included all of the tips and detailed steps I have learned from my mom to help you achieve flavorful and perfectly fluffy Mexican red rice. The technique might be different from what you are used to. However, if you are also tired of eating mushy, overcooked rice, then trust me, these steps are tried and true. I highly suggest you read all of the tips and steps before attempting the recipe so you too can make amazingly fluffy rice.

Special Tips for Making Arroz Rojo

  • This first tip is actually from me. You will notice this recipe does not use chicken bouillon as many other Mexican rice recipes. Instead this recipe calls for chicken broth, which has a lot more nutrients and does not have the unhealthy additives found in bouillon.
  • Do not add all the water at once. The recipe calls for adding smaller amounts of liquid at three different times. This is the key to the fluffiness of this rice. By adding smaller amounts of liquid at a time, you have more control over the consistency and can ensure the rice ends up fluffy.
  • Do not over-stir the rice. I have specifically noted when to stir the rice, follow those steps closely. Over-mixing will cause the rice to fall apart and stick together.
  • When you do stir the rice, use a fork which helps avoid ending up with mushy rice.
  • Watch the rice closely. Since you are adding smaller amounts of liquid, you need to be sure you do not leave it unattended. As soon as the water dries up, the rice will begin to stick to the pan and burn.
  • If you use low-sodium broth or tomato sauce, here’s a trick to ensure your rice is seasoned properly. When you add all the ingredients plus the water the first time, use a spoon to taste the liquid. The liquid should taste just a tad salty. If it doesn’t, sprinkle a little additional salt and use a fork to stir it in.

Measuring one cup of rice #mexicanrice #arrozrojo #arrozmexicano

How to Make Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice)

In a medium saucepan (preferably nonstick), heat 1/4 cup of oil on medium heat. Once hot, add one cup of long grain white rice.

Sauté the rice until it turns a golden-brown color (be careful it does not burn). This should take about 5-7 minutes.

Next place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl or heat-resistant container.  Pour the rice and the oil into the sieve and allow the oil to drain from the rice.

Add diced onion and diced garlic to the saucepan where you cooked the rice. There will be just enough oil left in the saucepan to sauté the onion and garlic. Sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Then, add the rice back in, along with 1 cup of hot water, 1/2 cup of hot chicken broth (or vegetable broth), 1/3 cup of tomato sauce, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Using a fork (and only a fork), carefully stir everything together just until combined. This is the only time you want to stir during the cooking process. Too much stirring will break up the rice and make it mushy.

Cooking rice #mexicanrice #arrozrojo #arrozmexicano

Bring the mixture to a simmer, turn down the heat to medium-low and cover.

After about 10-12 minutes, use a fork to dig a small hole in the middle of the rice until you reach the bottom of the pot. If there isn’t anymore water left, add another 1/2 cup of hot water and cover again. However, if there is still water, wait another minute or two to make sure the water has dried up before adding the 1/2 cup of water.

After about 5 minutes, make a small well again and check for water. If there isn’t anymore water left, add another 1/2 cup of hot water and cover again.

This last time the water should dry much faster, in about 2-3 minutes. Be sure to not leave the rice unattended so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

As soon as the water has dried up, take the rice off of the heat.

Carefully fluff with a fork, being sure not to over-mix or break up the rice pieces.

Following these techniques really does lead to beautiful Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice). The more you make it, the more comfortable you’ll be with the timing.

I hope you enjoy!

Please leave me a comment below if you make this or tag me on Instagram @everydaylatina.

Click here for a great white rice recipe using the Instant Pot.

Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice) #mexicanrice #arrozrojo #arrozmexicano

Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice) #mexicanrice #arrozrojo #arrozmexicano
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5 from 1 vote

Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice)

A tried and true recipe with tips and detailed steps to help you achieve flavorful and perfectly fluffy Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice).
Servings 5
Author Gemma from Everyday Latina

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 diced onion
  • 1 medium diced garlic clove
  • 2 cups hot water (divided, see recipe)
  • 1/2 cup hot chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan (preferably nonstick), heat the oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the rice.
  • Using a wooden spoon, sauté the rice until it turns a golden-brown color (be careful it does not burn). This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl or heat-resistant container.  Pour the rice and the oil into the sieve and allow the oil to drain from the rice.
  • Add diced onion and diced garlic to the saucepan where you cooked the rice. There will be just enough oil left in the saucepan to sauté the onion and garlic. Sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  • Then, add the rice back in, along with 1 cup of hot water, the 1/2 cup of broth (or vegetable broth), tomato sauce, and the salt.
  • Using a fork (and only a fork), carefully stir everything together just until combined. This is the only time you want to stir during the cooking process. Too much stirring will break up the rice and make it mushy.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer, turn down the heat to medium-low and cover.
  • After about 10-12 minutes, use a fork to dig a small hole in the middle of the rice until you reach the bottom of the pot. If there isn’t anymore water left, add another 1/2 cup of hot water and cover again. However, if there is still water, wait another minute or two to make sure the water has dried up before adding the water.
  • After about 5 minutes, make a small well again and check for water. If there isn’t anymore water left, add another 1/2 cup of hot water and cover again.
  • This last time the water should dry much faster, in about 2-3 minutes. Be sure to not leave the rice unattended so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  • As soon as the water has dried up, take the rice off of the heat. Carefully fluff with a fork, being sure not to over-mix or break up the rice pieces.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • This recipe does not use chicken bouillon as many other Mexican rice recipes do. Instead the recipe calls for chicken broth, which has a lot more nutrients and does not have the unhealthy additives found in bouillon.
  • Do not add all the water at once. The recipe calls for adding smaller amounts of liquid at three different times. This is the key to the fluffiness of this rice. By adding smaller amounts of liquid at a time, you have more control over the consistency and can ensure the rice ends up fluffy.
  • Do not over-stir the rice. I have specifically noted when to stir the rice, follow those steps closely. If you over-mix then the rice will start falling apart and stick together.
  • When you do stir the rice, use a fork which helps avoid ending up with mushy rice.
  • Watch the rice closely. Since you are adding smaller amounts of liquid, you need to be sure you do not leave it unattended. As soon as the water dries up, the rice will begin to stick to the pan and burn.
  • If you use low-sodium broth or tomato sauce, here's a trick to ensure your rice is seasoned properly. When you add all the ingredients plus the water the first time, use a spoon to taste the water. The water should taste just a tad salty. If it doesn't, sprinkle a little additional salt and use the fork to stir it in.
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2 Comments to “Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice)”

  1. Kimberly

    5 stars
    The roasty flavor in this rice is delicious! We paired it with a recipe for southwestern grilled catfish, and we will pair this with many other meals going forward. Thanks for all of the helpful tips!:)

    Reply

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