Tomato Rice

This tomato rice is one of my favorite sides — it’s so versatile that you can serve it with nearly any protein or vegetable. Plus, you can easily customize it.

overhead shot of tomato rice in pan


Why You’ll Love Tomato Rice

This easy tomato rice recipe puts a spin on plain rice by adding zesty seasoning and bright tomato flavor. 

  • Dresses Up Plain Rice – Instead of using plain white rice or brown rice as a side dish for your proteins and veggies, make tomato rice to brighten up the colors and flavors on your plate. 
  • Fantastic Foundation – This rice is a great base over which you can ladle chicken tortilla soup or beef stew. It’s also perfect topped with loads of veggies, slow cooker cowboy chicken, or strips of beef like you’d make for sheet pan beef fajitas. Or, use it to stuff into your burritos with your favorite fillings.
  • Cost Efficient – With just a box of rice and a few other easy ingredients that are typically reasonably priced, you can make a stellar side dish.   
overhead shot of plate of tomato rice


When you combine these simple ingredients they make the most moist, fluffy, and delicious rice. 

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – While I prefer using olive oil you can use other neutrally flavored oils like avocado oil, canola oil, or coconut oil.
  • Small Yellow Onion – Dice the onions into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly.
  • Minced Garlic – Be sure to only briefly saute the garlic before adding the other ingredients so that it doesn’t overcook. 
  • Tomato Paste – The tomato paste helps to thicken the mixture and gives concentrated tomato flavor to the rice. 
  • Vegetable Bouillon Seasoning – You can use a paste or powdered version of bouillon in this dish. 
  • Long-Grain Rice – Cook the rice according to the directions on the package before adding it to the other ingredients in the pan. Medium grains and brown rice won’t work with the liquid ratio, so please look for a long grin.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes With Juice – The diced tomatoes themselves add texture while using the juice helps to infuse tomato flavor into the grains of rice. 
  • Italian or Greek Seasoning Blend – Either of these will add depth of flavor to the rice and what you are trying to complement.
  • Chopped Parsley for Garnish – While optional, parsley adds bright herbaceousness to the rice.
overhead shot of tomato rice ingredients

How to Make Tomato Rice

This flavorful rice is so easy to make it may become part of your weekly routine.

  1. Sauté onions. Add oil to a large frying pan or pot and heat. Pour the diced onions into the pan and sauté briefly. 
  2. Add garlic, tomato pasta and bouillon. Add garlic and continue to cook. Using a rubber spatula, mix the tomato paste and bouillon with the aromatics. 
  3. Add rice and tomatoes. Lower the heat and stir in the cooked rice, canned tomatoes with juice, and your preferred seasoning. 
  4. Simmer. Heat the rice mixture until it is warm throughout and no excess moisture remains. Avoid bringing it to a boil — allow the ingredients to simmer.
  5. Garnish and serve. Spoon the rice into a serving bowl and top with parsley if desired.

What to Serve Tomato Rice With

Tomato rice is a fabulous side dish for so many recipes! Try it with oven baked chicken thighs, chicken birria tacos, red wine braised brisket, or baked cod.

You can also use it in place of pasta for seafood fra diavolo, as a base for chicken and sausage gumbo, or in place of plain rice to brighten up chicken soup with rice


This basic rice recipe can easily be modified to create your own customized rice dish. 

  • Herbs and Spices – Add your favorite fresh herbs for more flavor. Or, spice it up with crushed red pepper, mustard seeds, red chili powder, or cayenne pepper. You can also add some turmeric for flavor and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Vegetables – Mix in diced veggies like green peppers, red peppers, mushrooms, or any leftover vegetables from the refrigerator. 
  • Meats – Stir in ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey. Or, add grilled chicken or strips of cooked beef over top. 
  • Spiciness – Chop up some jalapenos or other chiles and fold them into the finished rice. 
  • Cheese – Sprinkle some shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack over top. 
  • Garnish – Instead of parsley, try sprinkling green onions, cilantro, or chives over top.
  • Salt – While some of the other ingredients may incorporate sodium, you can also add salt to taste.
  • Rice – Choose a different style of rice. Jasmine rice and basmati rice are two good choices.

Storage and Freezing

Store this simple rice in the freezer or refrigerator. It lasts a long time in both, making it perfect for meal prep. 

Make Ahead: Make the rice and store it in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. 

Refrigerator: Store leftover rice for up to 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. 

Freezer: Freeze leftover tomato rice for up to 6 months in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. 

angled shot of fork in tomato rice

Common Questions About Tomato Rice

What is tomato rice made of?

Tomato rice is a simple dish that’s made with cooked rice, canned diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, and seasonings. It’s an easy recipe that gets a side dish on the table quickly.

What are the benefits of eating tomato rice?

Rice is known to be helpful to the digestive system and it can be filling, too. Tomatoes are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants.

What can I add to rice for taste?

Rice is known to be good for digestion and it can be filling, too. Tomatoes are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. You can also try cooking it in vegetable broth, chicken stock, or beef broth (and add a bay leaf) for extra flavor.

angled shot of fork in plate of tomato rice with text overlay for pinterest

More Savory Side Dishes

We all get into a side dish rut- here are a few side dish recipes to get you out!

angled shot of bowl of cauliflower rice

Cauliflower Rice Recipe

5 from 4 votes
It's easy to transform a fresh head of cauliflower into cauliflower rice that you can use in so many different, easy recipes!
See The Recipe!
angled shot of wild rice salad in white bowl

Wild Rice Salad Recipe

4.67 from 6 votes
With greens, wild rice, pomegranates, and dried cranberries along with an easy vinaigrette, this EASY Wild Rice Salad is packed flavor!
See The Recipe!
bowl of stick of butter rice

Stick of Butter Rice

4.66 from 20 votes
Stick of Butter Rice will soon be your favorite side dish. This simple recipe uses only a few ingredients like beef broth and onion soup mix!
See The Recipe!
angled shot of fork in tomato rice

Tomato Rice Recipe

5 from 6 votes
This EASY Tomato Rice is so versatile — you can serve it with nearly any protein or vegetable. Plus, you can customize it so easily!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion , diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon seasoning (paste or powder)
  • 5 cups long grained rice , cooked according to package directions*
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3 teaspoons Italian or Greek seasoning blend
  • parsley , chopped for garnish, optional


  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Saute the onion for 3 minutes or until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one additional minute.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and bouillon until well combined.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the cooked rice, canned tomatoes and juice and the Italian or Greek seasoning.
  • Cook for 3 additional minutes or until heated through and juice is absorbed.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and serve topped with the fresh parsley.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, please come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.


*Long grain rice can be basmati or jasmine


Calories: 635 kcal, Carbohydrates: 130 g, Protein: 12 g, Fat: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g, Sodium: 289 mg, Potassium: 406 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g, Vitamin A: 179 IU, Vitamin C: 9 mg, Calcium: 89 mg, Iron: 3 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 635
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: tomato rice
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage of tomato rice for pinterest
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I love this simple recipe. We just made it yesterday for a side dish and I cannot wait to enjoy it again for lunch today. It is so comforting and delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    What fabulous, fresh flavors in this tomato rice. It goes well with so many proteins and will soon be a favorite in my house.