Arroz a la Mexicana Recipe - Traditional Mexican Rice Dish

Arroz a la Mexicana

Arroz a la Mexicana Recipe - Traditional Mexican Rice Dish
Region / culture: Mexico | Preparation time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4


Arroz a la Mexicana
Arroz a la Mexicana

Arroz a la Mexicana, or Mexican Rice, is a vibrant and flavorful dish that serves as a staple in Mexican cuisine. It's a versatile side dish that complements a wide range of Mexican meals, from tacos to enchiladas. This recipe combines the earthiness of cumin, the richness of tomato, and the freshness of vegetables to create a colorful and delicious rice dish that's sure to be a hit at any table.


The origins of Arroz a la Mexicana are deeply rooted in Mexican culture, with variations of the recipe dating back centuries. It is believed to have been influenced by Spanish cuisine during the colonial period, incorporating ingredients like rice and tomatoes, which were introduced by the Spaniards. Over time, it has evolved into the beloved dish known today, with each region in Mexico adding its own twist.


How to prepare

  1. Cook rice in hot oil in a 2- to 3 qt (2.84-liter) saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in onion and garlic; cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
  3. Add broth and cumin. Heat to boiling; stir once or twice. Lower heat to simmer; cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.


  • For a spicier version, add diced jalapeños or a pinch of chili powder. You can also incorporate other vegetables, such as bell peppers or corn, for additional color and flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best results, use long-grain white rice for its fluffy texture. Rinse the rice under cold water before cooking to remove excess starch, which can make the rice sticky. Sautéing the rice in oil before adding the liquid ensures each grain is well-coated, enhancing the flavor and preventing clumping. For a richer taste, you can substitute chicken or vegetable broth for the beef broth.

Serving Suggestions

Arroz a la Mexicana pairs well with grilled chicken, beef, or fish. It can also be served alongside beans for a vegetarian option. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice for added freshness.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is sautéing the rice until it's slightly golden, which enhances its texture and flavor. Simmering the rice on low heat after adding the broth and spices allows it to absorb the flavors fully.

Ingredient Substitutions

If tomato paste is not available, you can use diced tomatoes or tomato sauce as alternatives. Chicken or vegetable broth can be used instead of beef broth for a different flavor profile or dietary preference.

Make Ahead Tips

Arroz a la Mexicana can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little broth or water to prevent the rice from drying out.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the rice in a colorful bowl, garnished with chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes, and avocado slices for an appealing presentation that highlights the freshness of the ingredients.

Pairing Recommendations

This dish pairs beautifully with a light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a Mexican beer like Corona or Modelo. The acidity and freshness of the beverage complement the flavors of the rice perfectly.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, add a splash of water or broth and warm over medium heat on the stove, or microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Arroz a la Mexicana contains approximately 200 to 250 calories, making it a suitable side dish for those monitoring their calorie intake. The exact number of calories can vary based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes.


A serving of Arroz a la Mexicana is a good source of carbohydrates, providing the energy needed for daily activities. One cup of cooked rice contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates, which includes a small amount of dietary fiber beneficial for digestive health.


This recipe is relatively low in fats, with the primary source being the vegetable oil used for cooking the rice. One tablespoon of vegetable oil contains about 14 grams of fat, but since it's distributed throughout the dish, the amount per serving is minimal.


Arroz a la Mexicana provides a modest amount of protein, mainly from the peas and broth used in the recipe. One serving can contain between 4 to 6 grams of protein, depending on the specific ingredients used.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, particularly from the vegetables included. Carrots and peas add vitamins A and C, which are important for immune function and vision, while the rice and broth contribute B vitamins and iron, essential for energy metabolism and oxygen transport.


This recipe is free from common allergens such as nuts, dairy, and gluten, making it suitable for individuals with these allergies. However, those with sensitivities to specific vegetables or ingredients should adjust the recipe accordingly.


Overall, Arroz a la Mexicana is a balanced dish that provides carbohydrates for energy, a low amount of healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. It's a nutritious addition to any meal, offering both flavor and health benefits.


Arroz a la Mexicana is a classic Mexican side dish that's easy to make and packed with flavor. With its combination of rice, vegetables, and spices, it's a nutritious and versatile addition to any meal. Whether you're serving it alongside meat, fish, or as part of a vegetarian feast, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

How did I get this recipe?

I have a strong memory of the first time I saw this recipe for Arroz a la Mexicana. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl, visiting my aunt in Mexico City. My aunt was a fantastic cook and she always seemed to effortlessly whip up the most delicious meals. One day, as I sat in her kitchen watching her prepare dinner, she began to make this fragrant and colorful rice dish that would forever change my perception of Mexican cuisine.

I remember the vibrant red color of the tomatoes and peppers, the earthy aroma of the cumin and garlic, and the fluffy grains of rice that soaked up all the flavors like a sponge. My aunt moved around the kitchen with grace and precision, her hands working deftly as she chopped, stirred, and seasoned the ingredients. I was mesmerized by the sight and smell of the dish taking shape before my eyes.

As dinner was served that evening, I eagerly dug into my plate of Arroz a la Mexicana and was immediately transported to a world of bold and complex flavors. The tangy tomatoes, spicy chilies, and fragrant herbs danced on my taste buds, creating a symphony of tastes and textures that I had never experienced before. From that moment on, I knew that I had to learn how to make this dish for myself.

When I returned home from my trip to Mexico, I set out to recreate my aunt's Arroz a la Mexicana in my own kitchen. I gathered all the ingredients I needed – tomatoes, onions, peppers, rice, and a myriad of spices – and set to work following the recipe that my aunt had shared with me. As I chopped, sautéed, and simmered, I found myself transported back to that sunny kitchen in Mexico City, watching my aunt work her magic with such skill and love.

After hours of cooking and tweaking the recipe to suit my own tastes, I finally sat down to taste my creation. The first bite brought back a flood of memories from that summer in Mexico, and I felt a deep sense of satisfaction and pride in being able to recreate a dish that had meant so much to me. From that day on, Arroz a la Mexicana became a staple in my repertoire of recipes, a dish that I would make time and time again for family and friends.

Over the years, I have continued to refine and perfect my recipe for Arroz a la Mexicana, adding my own twists and variations to make it uniquely mine. I have shared the recipe with countless people, passing on the tradition of this delicious and comforting dish to the next generation. Each time I make it, I am reminded of my aunt and the joy and love that she infused into her cooking.

As I sit here now, reflecting on the journey that led me to discover the wonders of Arroz a la Mexicana, I am grateful for the memories and experiences that have shaped me into the cook that I am today. This recipe will always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of the power of food to connect us to our past and to those we love. And so, I will continue to make this dish with the same passion and reverence that my aunt instilled in me all those years ago, keeping her spirit alive with every fragrant spoonful.


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