Comfort Food Classics: Sopa de Arroz (Mexican Rice)

Sopa de Arroz (Mexican rice) is a traditional Mexican dish. Recipes for sopa de arroz vary from state to state, and even from family to family. Today I'm sharing my recipe for Mexican Rice, which I make at least once a week for my family.

how to make mexican rice -

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.

When I got married 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 there was something he wasn't telling me. My hubby kindly explained that my rice was nothing like the rice his mom prepared during his childhood in Mexico.  His mother's rice didn't include chopped onion or tomato. So, the next time I made Mexican rice, I made it without any of the vegetables and only added a can of tomato sauce. Well, that was probably the worst rice we had ever tasted. Even hubby agreed that that could not be how his mom prepared her sopa de arroz.

restaurant-style Mexican rice -

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 out loud. My hubby had gotten it SO wrong!

My suegra explained to me that some of her 6 children were picky eaters when they were younger. One child didn't care for tomato, another didn't care for onion, and none of the children liked garlic. So, in order to maintain the taste of her sopa de arroz and keep her children happy, she'd puree the vegetables before adding them to the rice. Hence, the reason my hubby didn't recall chopped veggies in his mom's rice. This is my mother-in-law's recipe for Mexican Rice. It's very similar to my grandmother's recipe except with pureed veggies and no tomato sauce.

authentic mexican rice recipe -

Mexican Rice

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

Puree the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and water in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute; set aside. Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; add rice and saute until rice turns a light golden brown.

Carefully and gradually, pour the puree mixture over the browned rice. Add the chicken broth and chicken bouillon cube; 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. Remove from heat and let set for at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

easy Mexican rice recipe -

Receta en español 


  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.

  20. I'm sorry but this recipe poor, not in flavor components but the amount of liquid for 1cup of rice. By the time all the liquid was absorbed by the rice, it was way over cooked and a mushy mess. I'd say back off a cup of broth or stock.