Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Comfort Food Classics: Sopa de Arroz (Mexican Rice)

If you have the ingredients pictured below, then you have pretty much all you need to make Mexican rice. Mexican rice is known in Mexico as sopa de arroz. It's not only a staple in the Mexican kitchen, but it's also considered Mexican comfort food. Recipes for sopa de arroz, vary from state to state.

The very first recipe I learned to prepare was my grandmother's. She always used finely chopped onion, tomato and garlic and a can of tomato sauce. In my book, I always considered Gramm's recipe to be the best and thought it to be quite authentic, being that my grandmother had been raised in San Luis, Sonora, Mexico.

But then I got married. Of course, one of the first recipes that I wanted to wow my new hubby with was with Gramm's sopa de arroz. My hubby liked it, but I could tell that something was wrong. My hubby, kindly explained to me, that his mother's rice was prepared without chopped veggies. So, next time I made the rice, I made it without any of the vegetables, I used only a can of tomato sauce. Well, that was probably the worst rice I had ever tasted. Even hubby, had to agree, that this could not be how his mother prepared her sopa de arroz.

Luckily, after we had been married for 6 months, my suegra (mother-in-law) went to visit us in the States. During her stay with us, my mother-in-law shared each and every one of her authentic Mexican recipes, including her recipe for sopa de arroz. After hearing her recipe, all I could do was laugh...a lot!

My suegra explained to me, that some of her 6 children were picky eaters when they were younger. One child didn't care for chopped tomato, another didn't care for chopped onion, and none of the children liked garlic. So, in order to maintain the taste and keep her children happy, she decided to puree the vegetables before adding them to the rice. Hence, the reason my hubby didn't recall chopped veggies in his mother's rice. Here is my version of my mother-in-law's sopa de arroz.

Mexican Rice

  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 3 roma tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 medium onion, cut in quarters
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Puree tomatoes, onion, garlic, water and chicken bouillon in blender until smooth, about 1 minute; set aside. Heat vegetable oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; add rice and saute until rice turns a light golden brown. (DO NOT STIR AFTER THIS POINT!)

Carefully and gradually, pour puree mixture over browned rice; season with salt. Bring rice to a boil. Taste broth and season with additional salt, if necessary. Cover saucepan and reduce heat to low. RESIST THE URGE TO STIR!!! Let rice simmer until all liquid has absorbed, atleast 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let set 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!!

How to Make Sopa de Arroz (Mexican Rice) -


  1. now with the rice do you use plain chicken boullion cube or both the chicken and then the tomatoe?

  2. Jen,
    I use the plain chicken boullion cubes or powder. But experiment with both to see which you prefer!

  3. Ohhh...I'm trying this out tonight. I'll have to let you know how it goes as I only have vine tomatoes!!

  4. Do you use pre-cooked rice or uncooked rice to begin w/?

  5. AnickH: For this recipe, I recommend UNCOOKED Long-grain rice.

  6. I'm a rice freak! But the only rice I do well is chinese fried rice.

    Now I will have two under my weekend I'll give yours a try. It looks so good! Can't wait.

  7. I grew up in southern New Mexico and have had Spanish or Mexican rice from many different kitchens and from cooks from all over NM and Mexico. It is funny that they almost all use the same ingredients, some just pure the veggies or use them chopped. It all tastes great to me. One big key is not to stir the rice when it is time to cook it. You did a great job. Sometimes instead of a bullion cube I add a spoon of caldo de tomate, (tomato flavored chicken bullion) either way for those who aren't used to making this, it shoul be kind of dry at the end, not soupy. Thanks for a fun and authentic blog. Jaime

  8. My Mexican Mother-in-law showed me how she made Rice. She cooked off cubed chicken or Pork Steak. After it was cooked she removed the meat and added the onion and rice. When the rice was browned she added broth, chopped tomatoes and the meat back in and cooked until liquid was absorbed. Oh my goodness... so absolutely deliscious! Garlic, cumin and chilis, were the seasonings along with salt and pepper. My men love it with flour tortillas.

  9. Melinda, that is what I love about Mexican cuisine. There is no wrong or right way to make a recipe. Every state, pueblo and family has their own special way of preparing dishes such as Mexican rice! Your mother-in-law's Mexican rice sounds delicious! :)

  10. I crush my garlic, whole peppercorns and scant whole comino in a molcajete. Saute rice and add chopped onion.  I use chicken bouillon and sazon, also red pepper.  Don't like most mexican rice because it is so bland and over cooked.

  11. Leslie thaaaank youuuu. This recipe has been a lifesaver and is perfect! !!

  12. J Olivarez-MazoneJuly 6, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    I have been working on my rice for a while now and can't seem to get it. Maybe this one will work. Resist the urge to stir will be my new mantra. Resisit ...the ...URGE....Put ...the spoon away

  13. YUMMY!!!!! This rice came out amazing!!! Thank you :)


  15. thanks so much! it was very good! i know what i was doing wrong now.... stirring!

  16. Leslie, by any chance do you wash your rice before frying it? Thanks you Leslie!

  17. I would love to give you my spanish rice recipe so you can give me ideas on how to use more fresh ingredients instead of the canned tomatoe sauce, etc. I do love the brighter color the canned tomatoe sauce can give but would love the fresh better---I also love to toss jalepenos in mine for extra kick!

  18. I'm making this right now! Smells so yummy! I know I've said this before, but don't want to assume you remember little old me! ;) But thank you so much for your amazing recipes! My husband is Mexican (we've been married for 13 years and living here in the northeast the whole time) and he enjoys that I've found some good authentic recipes to make for him! So we both thank you so much for sharing! It truly is appreciated!!!!

  19. Yo hizo es noche. Es MUY MUY bueno. Yo usar arroz con blanco yo penso que mal estado por que eara liquidez. Yo usar caldo de pollo en lugar pollo bouillon es convetito mucho bien! Yo penso que es raro primivara pero despuse yo come mas es saben muy bien. Yo gusta a probe de la misma. Me hizo definitivemente de nuevo.



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