Mexican food is by far one of my favorite kinds of cuisine. I love the flavor of it! I feel like there are many types of cuisines where there are distinct staples to the meals that instantly make it identifiable as that type of food, like noodles in many Asian foods. Mexican food has distinct dishes, but I think that one particular characteristic of Mexican food is that it has a lot of flavor and spice. Specifically, Mexican food often has a good bit of heat in its flavor, like with this spicy Mexican rice.

I'm lucky enough to have an inside connection to the world of authentic Mexican cuisine. My Mexican mother-in-law is a culinary wizardess who specializes in Mexican food, and I get to be spoiled every time I have a meal prepared by her. Among my favorite recipes of hers (which also include calabazas, her special spaghetti, taquitos, etc.) is this spicy Mexican rice.

Of course, when I make it, even with all the same ingredients, it's never as good as hers. As I said, she is a wizardess when it comes to food! That being said, this is still a super delicious alternative to plain old rice, and I used brown rice, which makes it a bit healthier than white rice.

Arroz con Tomate (Picante)

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr
  • Total Time:1 hr 10 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Easy


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 quarter yellow or white onion
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3-4 whole jalapeños
pork, chicken, meat, vegetable, risotto, rice
Aracelia Skridulis
  • Step 1

    Chop the garlic, onion, and jalapeños. Blend these with the tomatoes in a blender until smooth.

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    Aracelia Skridulis
  • Step 2

    Fry the uncooked rice in heated oil in saucepan for a few minutes.

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  • Step 3

    Pour in blended tomato goodness. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, then add 1 cup chicken broth. Simmer 30 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

    pasta, meat, sauce, chili, vegetable, tomato, soup
    Aracelia Skridulis
  • Step 4

    Add 1 more cup chicken broth. Simmer another 30 minutes.

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  • Step 5

    Garnish with lime if you so desire.

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I found it useful to let the rice sit covered for a few minutes after removing it from the heat. Some substitutions that can be made include using white rice, which shortens the cook time and would basically eliminate step 4, or using fresh Roma tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes, which would just mean that they would need to be chopped into slightly smaller pieces before being put into the blender.

If you want the rice to be spicier, use white onion and add a little more of it in addition to more jalapeños. You can also used canned jalapeños (you can find them in the Mexican section of a grocery store, or just a Mexican store). Canned jalapeños often have carrots with them, which are also good in this rice.

In my experience, this dish is paired with some type of protein, like salmon or variations of chicken – fried, baked, mole chicken, chipotle chicken, you name it. If you’re looking to avoid meat, though, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and cook up some veggies to accompany this flavorful rice.  

This spicy Mexican rice has a nice kick, but it isn't so hot that you can't enjoy it. I find that Mexican rice differs from cook to cook, but this is one authentic version from one cook who really knows her stuff. If you're searching for other ways to mix it up and add some flavor to rice, try making different rice dishes from different cultures, making dessert or breakfast from leftover rice, or even make your own rice from cauliflower.