The BEST Arroz Verde (Mexican Green Rice Recipe)

This easy Arroz Verde (Green Rice) recipe is inspired by the classic Mexican side dish. Fluffy white rice is mixed with green veggies and lime juice, lending a vibrant green hue and delicious, zesty flavors! Pair it with chicken, beef, or seafood, or use it as the tasty base for a grain bowl.

The best way to add a pop of green to your dinner plate is with this Arroz Verde recipe! Also known as green rice, this Mexican-inspired side dish tosses white rice with a spinach, lime, and cilantro paste. It’s fresh, vibrant, zesty, and the best side dish for a Mexican dinner.

Green rice in serving bowl.

Just like your usual white rice side dish, making green rice from scratch is simple and foolproof. The ingredients are also budget-friendly and super flexible! Upgrade the green paste with even more creative add-ins, like peas, spicy peppers, and avocado.

I highly recommend serving the rice with classic Mexican mains, like fajitas and street tacos, or turning it into a main dish by folding in the protein of your choice, like chicken, beef, or seafood. However you choose to serve it, this zesty green rice is sure to become a new dinner staple!

What is green rice?

Arroz verde, or green rice, is a beloved Mexican rice dish. Unlike the popular tomato-based version, arroz verde is all about the green! The perfectly cooked rice gets its distinctive green hue and herbaceous taste from a blended mixture made of cilantro, spinach, green onions, and fresh lime. 

Ingredients for arroz verde labeled on counter.

Ingredients needed

  • Chicken broth – By cooking the rice in chicken broth instead of water, you infuse it with wonderfully rich and savory flavors! You can use high-quality store-bought chicken broth or go all out with homemade chicken bone broth
  • Bay leaf
  • White rice – Long-grain white rice is best for traditional arroz verde because its neutral flavor and fluffy texture allow the zesty green ingredients to shine. For a low-carb option, substitute cauliflower rice.
  • Baby spinach – Blended fresh spinach is the base for the green paste used to color the rice. It’s not a traditional ingredient, but adds a healthy boost! If you don’t have spinach, use another leafy green vegetable you like, such as parsley, arugula, or Swiss chard.
  • Cilantro – For a pop of freshness in the rice. If fresh cilantro isn’t your thing, substitute it with fresh parsley or use a mix of the two.
  • Green onions
  • Lime zest and juice – The tangy citrus kick brightens every bite. Freshly squeezed lime juice is always best!
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

How to make green rice

Add the chicken broth and bay leaf to a pot and heat to a boil. Add the rice, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, add the cilantro, spinach, green onions, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, salt, and remaining chicken broth to a food processor or blender. Blend until you have a coarse green paste.

Stir the green paste into the cooked rice. Cover and let the rice steam for a few minutes before fluffing it with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy! 

Tips and tricks

  • To make a close-to-authentic version of green rice, I highly recommend using the freshest herbs and vegetables you can find.
  • Before cooking, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This will remove excess starch, yielding super fluffy cooked rice.
  • Remember to take the rice off the heat before mixing in the green paste. This way, you won’t overcook the green herbs and veggies, and you’ll achieve the most vibrant green color.

Variations 

  • Add protein – Stir in shredded chicken, diced chicken breasts, cooked shrimp, grilled flank steak, or crispy tofu for a protein-packed main course.
  • Green veggie boost – Add extra color, flavor, and nutrients to the rice with more green veggies like peas, arugula, zucchini, or avocado chunks.
  • Add peppers – Blend diced jalapenos, poblano, or Anaheim peppers into the green paste for a hint of spice.
  • Instead of white rice – Feel free to make this recipe with something other than white rice, such as brown rice or cauliflower rice.

Serving suggestions

I recommend serving the rice with chicken for a classic arroz verde con pollo or on the side of other proteins, like carne asada, carnitas, grilled shrimp tacos, salsa chicken, or enchiladas verdes. Complete the meal with even more Mexican-inspired side dishes, like Mexican Black Beans, Refried Beans, or Grilled Bell Peppers.

The rice is also fantastic as a base for grain bowls, salads, and stews. Pair it with:

Green rice in green bowl with spoon topped with lime wedges and cilantro leaves.

FAQs

Can I make green rice in a rice cooker?

Yes, you can easily make green rice in a rice cooker. Follow the recipe steps as normal, but cook the rice in your rice cooker according to its instructions. The result will be perfectly cooked green rice with minimal effort!

For more tips, check out my Rice Cooker Rice recipe.

Can I make arroz verde in the Instant Pot?

Absolutely! Cook the rice, broth, and bay leaf using the instructions in my Instant Pot Rice recipe. After letting it steam and fluffing it with a fork, stir in the green paste as normal. Enjoy!

Storing and reheating

Green rice is best served fresh and hot, but in case you end up with leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. 

To reheat, warm the rice on the stovetop or in the microwave with a splash of broth to prevent it from drying out.

Green rice in green bowl with spoon topped with lime wedges and cilantro leaves.

More rice recipes

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Overhead shot of arroz verde in bowl.

Arroz Verde (Green Rice)

This easy Arroz Verde (Green Rice) recipe is inspired by the classic Mexican side dish. Fluffy white rice is mixed with green veggies and lime juice, lending a vibrant green hue and delicious, zesty flavors! Pair it with chicken, beef, or seafood, or use it as the tasty base for a grain bowl.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add 3 ½ cups chicken broth and bay leaf to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add rice, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15-18 minutes, until the rice is tender.
  • Meanwhile, add the cilantro, spinach, green onions, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, salt and remaining ½ cup broth to a food processor or blender and process into coarse green paste. Stir into the cooked rice and allow to stand, covered, for a few minutes.
  • Fluff rice with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Blender or Food Processor

Nutrition

Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 788mg | Potassium: 190mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1114IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

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