How to Cook Mexican Red Rice

The secret to cooking flavorful red rice is using garlic, scallions, tomato sauce, chili powder, chicken stock, and other spices.

Red Rice
Tomato sauce and chili powder give this rice its vibrant color and flavor. Get the recipe. Photo: Jonny Valiant
Cook Time:
35 mins
Hands On Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

These days, there are many healthy grains available, ranging from the now-ubiquitous quinoa and couscous to trendier options like farro. They're often touted as a healthier alternative to white rice, and generally, that's true. But you can also prepare white rice in a way that adds fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Red rice, or arroz rojo, is a popular Mexican side dish that does just that. It's made with white rice that's sautéed, then simmered in tomato sauce, chicken broth, garlic, chili powder, and various spices. You can use this basic recipe or add veggies (like diced carrots and peas) to make it your own. Serve it alongside tacos, carnitas, or any Mexican main dish.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 6 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice

  • 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the scallion whites and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the grains are opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add the broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

  5. Remove the rice from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

  6. Fluff with a fork and fold in the scallion greens before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

236 Calories
4g Fat
43g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 236
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 439mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 6g
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 2mg 11%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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