Gollita’s Essential Mexican Rice

Mexican rice arroz

This family-famous Mexican rice is served with just about every meal one of our favorite abuela cocineras Gollita González serves her family. Her go-to side dish is a savory, golden-yellow, super-traditional arroz recipe that has been in her family forever.

As with most of the favorites in Gollita’s treasury of traditional recipes, this one begins with recaudo—the essential tomato, olive oil and garlic cooking base that gets most good things going in Mexican kitchens. (What sofrito is to Puerto Ricans, red-sauce ragú is to Italians, and sausages are to Germans: recaudo is to Mexicans, says one of Gollita’s three daughters, Ana González Quaid.) If you haven’t yet whipped up a batch of this tomato sauce-broth—to freeze in batches for future dishes—Gollita’s recaudo recipe is included below.

Rice is a daily staple at every Mexican—and just about every Latino—dinner table. It fills your belly, warms your home and nourishes your family. Ask any Latino cook, they’ll know: Arroz es vida. Rice is life.

Which is why it’s important to get yours delicious, not too wet, not too dry: just right. The key to making super-rico and traditional Mexican rice that’s not mushy is to let it sit after it’s cooked. Don’t lift that lid—resist the temptation (it’s hard, we know). Leave it alone for a good 10 minutes, at minimum, covered. This lets the the cooked rice grains—use long-grain, por favor, says Gollita—absorb all the steam and emerge moist but not watery, and nicely chewy with a solid al-dente to it. Fluff with a fork and you’re good to go.

If you’re lucky enough to have arroz leftovers, go ahead and freeze them. Mexican rice will taste just fine when thawed within 6 months and reheated stovetop or in the microwave. Just add 1 Tbsp or 2 of water, 1 tsp of oil, and a hint of salt to help it come back to full vida.

Ana learned to make recaudo when she left home for the first time and missed Gollita’s cooking. “I knew what it was and how it was made, but I never had to cook it myself until I went away to college. My mom learned it from her mom, when she was a young girl in a family of seven kids in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. She was one of the oldest and helped make meals and take care of the other kids.”

The absolutely best thing about this savory, delicioso family recipe for arroz Mexicano? According to Ana, who usually leaves the family-gathering cooking to her mom and sisters: “It’s just so simple.”

If you like this recipe, check out more recipes from Gollita’s family: her daughter Sagra’s shrimp, cucumber and chiles ceviche, her daughter Gracie’s chilaquiles verdes, her daughter Ana’s nopales with pickled jalapeñosher sister Nata’s pozole rojo, and her son-in-law Brian’s take on Gollita’s killer porkchops stewed with tomato sauce and onions. And last but not least is Gollita’s essential guacamole, the winner of Familia Kitchen’s Your Favorite Guacamole Recipe Contest!

Ready to Try Gollita’s Delicioso Essential Mexican Rice?

Gollita’s Essential Mexican Rice

3 from 4 votes
Recipe by Gollita González Cuisine: Mexican


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Recaude
  • 7 to 8 7 to 8 roma tomatoes

  • 1/4 1/4 yellow onion, medium, in chunks

  • 3 to 4 cloves 3 to 4 garlic, peeled

  • The Rice
  • 1 cup 1 rice, long grain

  • 1 Tbsp 1 canola oil or olive oil

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 recaudo

  • 1 cube 1 chicken bouillon

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 water

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 carrots, diced (optional)

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 peas (optional)


  • To make the recaudo: place tomatoes in a large pot or caldero of boiling water. Gently boil for 4 to 5 minutes, until the skin of each tomato starts to blister and is almost ready to burst. Set the tomatoes aside to cool. Peel. Cut each tomato in half.
  • In a mixer, blend peeled tomatoes, garlic and onions for 3 to 5 minutes, until creamy and thoroughly dissolved. Set recaudo aside.
  • Now: the rice. Place washed arroz in a large pan with the vegetable or olive oil, set to medium heat. Stir frequently.
  • After 5 to 8 minutes, when the grains are golden brown, add the recaudo and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Separately, add the chicken bouillon cube to the water and stir to make sure it dissolves.
  • Add water–bouillon mixture to the pan with the rice. Turn up heat to medium high. Once the water boils, lower heat to simmer.
  • If desired, add optional carrots and/or peas and stir.
  • Tightly cover pan with aluminum foil, and then cover with the lid. Cook on low heat for 18 to 20 minutes. Turn off burner.
  • Remove covered pan from hot burner. Let sit (still covered) for 10 minutes, without lifting the lid to peek. (Resist the urge to lift that lid!)
  • After 10 minutes, remove both the foil and the lid. It’s done. Fluff with a fork. The rice will be a beautiful, yellow–gold color. Serve to people you love.


  • Gollita recommends using 1 tsp. of chicken bouillon powder instead of in cube form, if you can find it. It dissolves more quickly and thoroughly.
  • Also recommended: doubling or tripling the recaudo and freezing the leftovers in small plastic zip bag batches of 6 to 8 oz. each—for future use cooking your favorite Mexican dishes.
browning the Mexican yellow rice
Brown the rice in canola or olive oil with recaudo—before adding water.

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Suggestions and questions from our readers

  1. Are you blanching the tomatoes or actually cooking them? If I’m just supposed to be able to peel them, then 15-20 seconds will work fine. 15-20 mins in boiling water for a tomato will just turn it to mush. Also, I’d recco just pounding the boullion cube in a little plastic baggy to pulverise into a powder.

    1. We really love your tip on pulverizing the bouillon in a plastic bag, Eric. As to cooking time, 15 to 20 minutes is what she said. (It seems to really be about cooking, not blanching.) We will double check with Gollita and let you know what she says!

      1. Hi Eric, we checked in with Gollita and she says, yes, you are correct. The cooking time for the tomatoes in the boiling water is 4 to 5 minutes. We included the total time including the water to boil, incorrectly. Fixing the recipe now and mil gracias for catching that for us.