Restaurant Style Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo) + Video

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This simple Mexican red rice recipe is the perfect blend of spice, acidity, and sweetness. With flavor in every bite, it’s dangerously addicting! You’ll love the extra flavor that this adds to any Mexican cuisine! 

titled collage for Mexican red rice


Mexican red rice is the best part of the meal at any Mexican restaurant, right? Well, now you can get that taste right at home!

It’s no secret that most Mexican food at Mexican restaurants is served with a side of rice, so why not make this easy Mexican rice recipe right at home? 

It has great flavor and tastes like the real deal! 

jalapenos and onions in skillet

Mexican Red Rice Recipe

Fresh cilantro and my homemade seasoning blend are the key to this restaurant style Mexican rice dish. 

It has become a fast family favorite in my home, and it’s sure to be one in yours too!

If you love rice side dishes, be sure to also check out my recipes for Popeyes Red Beans and Rice and Taco Rice

They’re both a snap to make and pair well with just about any protein you want to serve them with!

restaurant style mexican rice ingredients in skillet

Red Rice Mexican Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Control the level of spice. Add one jalapeno for a mild taste, two peppers for medium heat, and three for maximum spiciness! 
  • Add protein. Both beef and chicken are great in this dish, but turkey and pork can also be used.
  • Customize for every meal of the day. This red Mexican rice dish has ultimate leftover potential.

    Add eggs and a tortilla and you have a delicious breakfast burrito!
  • Add salsa for freshness. For a refreshing bite and variance in texture, add some salsa on the side to complete the restaurant style Mexican rice!
simmering red liquid

Red Mexican Rice Serving Suggestions

This Mexican red rice recipe is incredibly versatile and leaves tons of room for customization. 

Add all of your favorite vegetables, such as carrots or peas, for a healthy way to work nutrients into your diet.

This will also make an excellent side dish for fajitas or enchiladas!

Mexican Red Rice FAQ

Can I use a prepackaged seasoning blend?

You can! Premade seasoning blends come with all of the ingredients mixed and ready to use. However, I always recommend making your own blends for the freshest flavor.

What is the best way to reheat red Mexican rice leftovers? 

I recommend adding a bit of water to your leftovers and microwaving for a few minutes to make sure the grains aren’t hard after reheating.

Another trick is to cover your bowl with a damp towel, then reheat.

Can I use a different kind of rice? 

Long-grain Jasmine is typically best for stir-fried dishes. It comes out fluffier and doesn’t clump together compared to other short-grain alternatives.

You can use a short-grained alternative, but it won’t have the same texture and will be much stickier. You are also more likely to get mushy results.

Is red rice the same as Spanish rice?

When it comes to the way that rice cooks, there are differences between the two types of rice. Both are made using simple ingredients, but you’ll find red rice is paired with most Mexican dishes. 

Spanish rice is typically yellow in coloring, and while it is paired with Mexican recipes as well, you’ll find that it really comes down to what you want for your personal consumption. 

What if my cooked rice is dry?

It’s true that having the freshest and fluffiest rice is key. Authentic Mexican red rice recipes like this one should be dry, but if they it is, you can add a little bit of vegetable broth or chicken bouillon to the mixture.  

How do I use this red rice?

You can use it as a side dish for any hot meal! I love mixing it with some black beans or pairing it with a side of refried beans. Adding a little bit of pico de Gallo tastes great, too! 

This type of Spanish red rice is also delicious as a filler for flour tortillas and has a lovely vibrant red color that can make any plate or dish look bright and fresh.

What ingredients can I add to my pot of rice? 

You can add fresh tomatoes, diced red onion, sliced bell peppers, green beans, and even a fried egg for a boost of protein. Using fresh ingredients is a great way to add flavor in just a couple of minutes.

wooden spoon stirring fluffy rice side dish

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grains of fluffy basmati with corn and spices in skillet

red rice in skillet

Restaurant Style Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo) + Video

Donna Elick
Mexican red rice has the perfect blend of spice, acidity and sweetness. With our easy rice recipe, you can have this side dish in 30 mins!
4.50 stars from 4 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Method Stovetop
Servings 8


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 –3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (See Notes)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups long-grain jasmine rice
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 14.5 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup corn, frozen, fresh or canned and drained
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican Seasoning Blend, recipe below
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Mexican Seasoning Blend

  • 4 tablespoons New Mexico chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Warm the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand 6 inches above the skillet, add the onion and jalapeños to the pan and cook until the onions begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic and stir. Continue cooking for 30 seconds.
  • Add the rice and stir until it is well coated in the oil. Cook until the rice starts to brown, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the chicken stock, tomatoes,tomato sauce, corn, seasoning blend and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pot, decrease the heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the cilantro.
  • Mexican Seasoning Blend
  • Combine the ingredients in an airtight 8-ounce mason jar. Seal and shake until well mixed. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.


Donna’s Notes

Customize your heat level. Add one jalapeño for mild, two for medium and three for hot.
For maximum freshness and potency, it is best to store herbs in a sealed airtight container, away from light and heat. Also, moisture can cause caking and other problems, so it’s best to avoid keeping them near the stove or in the refrigerator. Replace ground herbs and spices every 6 to 9 months. If the color has faded, it’s likely the flavor has faded too.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 268cal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 285mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled pinterest collage for mexican red rice recipe

Originally published January 2018, updated and republished February 2024

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  1. Ohh thank you for this recipee. Just wrote down all the ingredients to buy. This dish is for this week. Wish I could eat it today…. But I have to wait. Looks delicious and be sure it is….

  2. 10" skillet? I don't have one like straight sided the picture and you also mention to 'cover the pot' later. An awful lot of ingredients for the pan I have. Did you transfer at any time?

    1. No. Perhaps you should use a 12" skillet or a stock pot to make sure you can fit everything. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

  3. I just mentioned earlier today to my husband that i am going to look up a recipe for Spanish rice. My finicky printer won't print this so I am hand copying it.

  4. I’ve made this dish before and even though the rice didn’t cook all the way through I could still taste the tastiness…trying again and cooking the rice a little before hand this time hopefully it comes out good

  5. I have never had corn in Spanish rice at any restaurant…seems kind of strange, so I will leave it out and cut back on all the amounts of spices as they seem excessive.

    1. Corn is very good in Mexican dishes. You really should give it a try. If nothing else, try cooking some corn separately and adding a spoonful or two to your portion and give it a try. I wouldn’t be surprised if you change your mind.

      1. We agree with you, Michael – Corn is a delicious addition to rice side dishes!

        TSRI Team member,

      2. 5 stars
        I’ve made this recipe three times now. It always turns out perfectly. No need to add more water. This recipe makes a ton, so I freeze the leftovers in small containers. Then the next time I’m cooking a tex-mex style meal I just thaw out a container of leftover rice and warm it in the microwave. It freezes great, and it saves me a lot of time on future meal prep.

  6. 5 stars
    Mexican red rice is far better than plain rice in my opinion, and even better when spice is added. This is an awesome recipe, I wonder if it would work in an instant pot too!

  7. 4 stars
    the flavors here are really good and i will def use the mexican seasonings for other things the only thing is the texture of the rice was still on the firmer side after 25 mns i wish it was a bit softer…..

  8. This will now be my “go to” rice recipe! I used two jalapeño peppers, perfect for me. I did not have corn on hand, so just skipped it. I had to cook the rice a bit longer to get the rice to soften up. The recipe for the Seasoning Blend will be used again since it made a nice large amount.

  9. I am allergic to fresh tomatoes because of the acid. I can’t use the roasted tomatoes w/garlic. What is a good replacement?

  10. 4 stars
    I made this today and I agree with everyone had to add more stock. I am thinking it is to be 1 cup of rice not 2. (just my opinion)
    And I am so glad I didn’t use tablespoons on yhe dpices. Don’t get me wrong but I am a spicey eater, but this was to spicy for me.
    All in All it was delicious and will make again with a few adjustments.
    Thanks for sharing!

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