Mexico in my Kitchen: How to Make Mexican Style Rice / Cómo Hacer Arroz a la Mexicana|Authentic Mexican Food Recipes Traditional Blog

Monday, March 2, 2009

How to Make Mexican Style Rice / Cómo Hacer Arroz a la Mexicana

When I was young, something that I would frequently hear from my mom and my aunts was that "I had to learn how to cook". They would say, “Es bueno que aprendas a cocinar, para que si algún dia te quieres casar, al menos le puedas cocinar un buen arroz a tu marido”. (You better start learning how to cook if you ever want to get marry someday, so you can at least be able to cook a good rice for your husband). I still wonder if that happens to every woman, or it’s just something that runs in my family. Anyway, I did learn to cook rice, and also got married. My husband always give me praises for my cooking, so I hope I had fulfilled my mother’s wishes!
This rice is such a favorite dish in my house that sometimes it is the main dish, accompanied with beans, avocado or topped with a fried egg as it is served in some restaurants in México.
Like in most recipes, there are several variations to this recipe. Some cooks will use lard or margarine instead of oil, others will add Chicken bullion dissolved in water as a substitute for broth. This last ingredient is very common in Mexican kitchens where it is also used to enhance the flavor of other meals.
To cook this rice, make sure to used a heavy pot at least 4 in. deep and 9 in. wide.
Ingredients for 6 servings
  • 1 1/2 cups medium size grain
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • About 3-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 medium tomatoes about 1-1/2 cup chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons white onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • Salt to taste
The following items are optional:
  • 1 small carrot finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 spring of cilantro
  • 2 serrano peppers
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Place the rice in a large heat-proof bowl and pour in hot water to cover. Stir once, then let stand for 5 minutes.
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Transfer to a strainer over the sink,rinse under cold water, then drain again. Shake the strainer well to remove any excess water. Set aside to dry slightly. If using frozen peas, please defrost them ahead of time. For this rice I used 1 cup of peas. This is a personal choice, you can also add carrots if you like.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan, add the rice. it should sizzle as it touches the oil. Cook over medium heat until it starts to become a delicate golden brown. This step will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Carefully tip the pan and remove the excess oil using a spoon.
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Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes, garlic and onion into a food processor or blender, process until smooth.
Add the tomato mixture into the rice and stir over medium high heat.
Keep cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. It takes about 5 minutes for this step.
Stir in the broth and optional vegetables (carrots, peas, serrano and cilantro)  and salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Using a fork, carefully dig to the bottom of the rice to see if any moisture remains; If so, continue cooking over low heat for a few more minutes, still covered, until tender. Remove pan from heat, without uncovering it, and let it stand for 10-15 minutes, to give the rice a chance to continue steaming. Using a fork, lightly fluff up the rice and serve.
Note: Some cooks in Mexico will never stir the rice when it is cooking because it will become mushy. I am one of them.
My son loves to eat his rice with a sliced banana and I like it with avocado.
¡Buen provecho!


  1. Mely, no lo puedo creer! Has de cuenta que estoy viendo u oyendo a mi mama cocinar el arroz. Hasta lo de sacarle el aceite despues de dorar el arroz, y el arroz con platano! Estoy asombrada! Mil gracias por cumplirme el deseo! Me has recordado varios detalles que ya no hacia en el proceso, creo que haran toda la diferencia para mejorar mi arrocito.
    Te mando un abrazo fuerte fuerte!

  2. Mely, eso, saber hacer arroz y un huevo estrellado (frito) sin que se rompiera, y ya podías casarte!!! Jajajaj, muy bueno tu arroz así lo hago yo, idéntico.(Que bonita tu cazuela de barro) Ahora las casaderas no saben hacer nada. Somos la ultima genaración de cocineras! Bueno no hay que generalizar... SALUDOS!

  3. Hola Silvia,
    Pense que solo nosotros comiamos el arroz con platano. Es bueno saber que no somos los unicos. Saludos!

  4. Hola Nora,
    Me pregunto si seremos una especie en extincion.
    Jajajaja! Saludos!

  5. This rice recipe creates a masterpiece. I absolutely love it. Adding tomato mixture is a great idea! Actually, we have such a dish in Turkish cuisine, but not so common. I also don't stir it while cooking. Just I'm not sure about bananas. Rice is something savory for me, so putting something sweet, I don't know. But avacado is a great idea for it.

  6. im so happy this is up here because im doing a project on mexico for school and this is exactly what i need

  7. I made the rice dish last night for my family and everyone absolutely loved it!I have to admit i was a little skeptical at first, but it turned out great. I opted to add cilantro for garnish and did not choose to add the peas.

  8. mmm me encanta la arroz con platano tambien! lol

  9. Excelentemente bién explicada tu receta y me encanta lo perfecto que usas el idioma. felicidades por hacer TODO bién.Toda una mujer.

  10. hoy comi arroz con crema y la revuelvo y le agrege platano. I love it. Arroz con platano i thought we were the only ones.....

  11. Lady, I'm so glad I found your blog! You seem like a nice person with many great authentic recipes to offer. I made your rice tonight and it was delish! I only had long grain rice on hand but I plan to buy the medium grain for the next time I make it. You never did say to seed those serranos and I didn't because I've used them before without the seeds for a fruit salsa(a recipe whose reviewers complained about the heat from the serranos), but I found that in seeding them, the salsa was bland. I was a little worried about using two and I have to admit there was quite a heat kick to the rice(however so good no one complained), so the next time I make it I will only use one serrano with the seeds. I'm not at all new to making white rice and I use my trusty stainless steel deep frying pan or a 4 qt sauce pan when making more than 1 1/2 cups. I don't use a rice cooker as I've developed my own method that produces perfect rice. It's a technique I've used for a number of years, so as a result didn't soak my rice beforehand and didn't bother to rinse so as not to lose the vitamins(the USA requires it's rice to be enriched). I've made mexican rice many times before so I always brown my rice before adding the broth. A favorite style of mexican rice around my home that I make is annatto and coriander rice. Not sure if it is really considered mexican, but Goya sells the packets I use to make it. Basically, I brown one cup of dry rice and 1/4 cup of diced onion in 2 tbsp butter, add in 2 tsp minced garlic, then add 2 1/4 cup of chicken broth(I use chicken granules and water in place of canned broth)and lastly 1/2 tsp of table salt. I bring it to a boil, turn down the heat(on my electric smooth top stove)just up a notch from the lowest setting until the liquid stops furiously boiling and wait a minute or so until I put the lid on. I don't remove the lid and let it cook for 25 minutes without stirring at all. When it's done, I turn the burner off, remove it from the heat, usually let it sit covered on a cold burner until I'm done with the rest of dinner(5-10 min)and when I'm ready to serve, fluff it with a fork. I also used this cooking method for your mexican rice recipe, but followed your instructions after browning by adding the blended tomato, onion, and garlic, letting the rice soak up the tomato mixture, and then proceeded to make the rice how I've always made it. It was great and I learned some new ways of doing things, thanks to you! I will also be trying out other recipes of yours like the pork carnita--I was just amazed at the techniques you use for that recipe and plan on trying them! Thanks for taking the time to share your kitchen with the rest of us. I'm by no means a newbie at cooking(been doing it awhile and while taking advantage of some modern conveniences like buying broth instead of making, store bought spices, I tend to avoid relying too much on processed foods) but, one can always be better at things.

    1. Thanks Zoe for your kind words, love to get to know about you.


  12. Can u use a cast iron dutch oven pot??
    That's probably the only thing I have that Is thick! Lmk!

  13. Can I use a cast iton dutch oven pot?
    Its the only thing I have that is thick

    1. Hello Tabitha,

      Is your cast iron is well seasoned, then cook the rice without turning the heat to high.

      Happy Cooking!


  14. Mely,

    Found your blog today when I googled cafe de olla. You're recipe is exactly what I was looking for. Funny story about the rice! My dad says the exact thing. When I learned to make Mexican rice just like my mom my dad would say "ya te puedes Casar". Regarding the recipe- glad you shared the step about rinsing the rice. I find this step is skipped quite often and the flavor is not the same. I can actually taste the difference from unrinsed rice and rinsed and if you ask me it's just not authentic if it's not rinsed. Looking forward to trying out some of your recipes!

    Lisa Diaz

  15. Many Years ago I was living below a Young Mexican Lady and she taught me how to make Mexican Rice, She took the rice and browned it in the pan, then just took the onion and cut it into quarters and added it in the rice to cook,, then added the rest of the ingredients.. Yum.. I like yours and know that every cook has a different way of preparing it...

    1. Yes, Barbara every cook adds it special touch to their way of cooking. Thank you for your kind comment.


  16. Hello! This will be my first try at this recipe. I'm planning to use long grain rice, since my store only sells short or long grains. I usually use a 1 to 1 ratio of water and rice. Sometimes, 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water. Here, you have 1.5 cups rice, which, for me, I'd usually only use 2 1/4 cups liquid. I'm concerned that, if I use the 3.5 cups you recommend, it'll be mushy/runny? I'm so sorry to ask this question, since I don't even know if you've made it with long grain! It's for my son's birthday party on Saturday, so I want to be certain we get it right! Thank you so much!

    1. Hello Megan,
      Long grain rice has a different starch content that medium or short. And you are right to be concern about the amount of liquid added since no one likes a mushy rice. :) Follow your experience using your own personal way of cooking rice. If after a while of cooking you see that the rice needs more liquid, then add some more hot liquid, just enough to finish cooking to your liking.

      I hope every comes out delicious for the party.


  17. I read and re-read your recipe and I never see the serrano peppers appear. Anyway, I use half of one and just throw it in there when the liquid is boiling down. Great recipe =)

    1. Hello Ms. Casas,
      In the step where it says add the broth and the rest of the optional vegetables. I added a note to be more especific.

      Thanks for letting me know. Happy Cooking!

  18. Thank you for this amazing blog. When I was younger I would always go to my friends house and her mother would be cooking amazing authentic Mexican food. She would tell me when I was older she would show me how to cook. Unfortunately they moved away. Thank you SO much for sharing these amazing recipes brings back so many memories.

  19. wow Rice looks awesome Can we also use them in burritos ? or there is another recipe for that?

    1. Hello anukampa,

      Yes, you can use this rice for burrito.


  20. I made your rice recipe today and it came out excellent!!!! I used long-grain rice (what I had on hand) and it didn't get mushy. I substituted one freshly diced zucchini for the peas & carrots.I also omitted the Serrano. I served the rice with your recipe for picadillo stuffed chile rellenos & my husband raved about the stuffed chiles!!!! I found your blog after googling "chile relleno stuffed with picadillo." I'll be coming back for more!!! Gracias, Brenda C.

  21. Hello Brenda C.,

    Excellent choice! Using calabacitas, sometimes I use them too with fresh corn. Thank you for taking the time to write.



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