Skip to Content

Southern Tomatoes and Rice

Try the classic Southern dish of Tomatoes and Rice. With a couple of special touches, you can set this dish apart from the rest.

The combination of rice and tomatoes has been around for quite some time. While I do not know the history on this old fashioned recipe, I do have my own personal opinion on the matter.

My theory is since rice was plentiful and readily available being cultivated throughout the South, as were tomatoes. It makes sense this would become a well known side dish using local resources. Rice has been grown in South Carolina for centuries and still is today.

“Carolina Gold rice, a long-grain rice of slender size and ambition, first surfaced in South Carolina just after our Revolution. Clean, sweet and non-aromatic, it prospered in coastal Carolina and Georgia bogs and did its fluffy separate-grain thing in a traditional black iron hearth pot” ~  Rice Preservationist, Anson Mills

Rice with tomatoes and onion

Southern Tomatoes and Rice Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need to create the recipe: butter, olive oil, uncooked rice, an onion, cooking stock, seasonings and canned or fresh diced tomatoes. Find the printable recipe with step by step instructions at the bottom of this post.

Rice with Tomatoes and Onions

Red Rice Ingredients

“In practically every good and lasting memory any Southerner holds — of family and friends, of home and countryside, of school and church, of joyful and even solemn occasions — food is there, working through all the senses to leave a powerful and permanent impression.”  ~ John Egerton

Step 1:Toast the Rice – taking a few extra moments to toast the rice adds a delicious element of flavor to this dish. Add the butter to a large pot and melt over medium heat. Next add the olive oil and stir to combine with the butter. Finally, add the rice to the pot and stir to incorporate it with the butter mixture. Stir constantly for about two minutes to toast the grains.

Toasting rice to add flavor

Step 2: Add the diced onion and sauté with the rice for about a minute then add the stock. Using stock rather than water is another simple way to impart additional flavor to rice. Season with salt and black pepper, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Red Rice - tomatoes rice and onion

Step 3: Next, add the canned diced tomatoes with the juices. Stir to combine all of the ingredients together. Return the cover to the pot and bring back to a simmer and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Southern Side Dish Recipes

Old fashioned Southern tomatoes and rice recipe
Looking for a rice recipe? Southern Tomatoes and Rice is an easy side dish and classic favorite #tomatoes #sidedish #delicious #familydinner

You might also enjoy this recipe: Scalloped Tomatoes 

See this recipe shared at: Weekend Potluck and Meal Plan Monday

Side dish of old fashioned Southern Tomatoes and Rice in a vintage serving dish

Printable Recipe Card

Southern Tomatoes and Rice

Classic Old Fashioned Southern Tomatoes and Rice Side Dish Recipe

Classic Southern side dish of tomatoes and rice

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tbs Butter
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 c Uncooked Rice
  • 1 small to medium Vidalia Onion (yellow onion will work too)
  • 4 c Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper, or to taste
  • 28 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes, with the juice (If using fresh tomatoes, use 2 lbs. small diced)


Begin by heating a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil and allow the butter to melt completely. 

Next, add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and olive oil. Stirring constantly, toast the rice for 2 minutes to add flavor.

Next, add the diced onion and saute with the toasted rice for another minute or two, just until it begins to soften.

Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. I recommend using stock for the added flavor but you can use water if needed.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Next, add the canned diced tomatoes with the juices and stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Cover the pot and bring back to a simmer, cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

3/4 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 306Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 522mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g
Diced tomatoes and rice recipe

Check out the Latest Recipe Posts

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am so glad that you did.

Be sure to subscribe to my email list while you are here. Subscribers receive a weekly newsletter delivered straight to your inbox with the latest recipes and news here on the blog so that you never miss a thing.

Until next time, Love and Happy Cooking, Friend!

Home » Southern Tomatoes and Rice

Meet Julia

Author of Julia's Simply Southern

Sharing is Caring

Barbara Miller

Monday 8th of April 2024

You shared this again last night on Facebook. It was 11:30pm when I saw it. I had to have some. I made it. I'm so glad I did. I ate it with some of your Amish Coleslaw that I keep in my fridge for snacking. TY for all that you do.


Thursday 28th of March 2024

Tomatoes and rice brought back childhood memories. Being raised by my grandmother on a very tight budget this was a staple at her house. I have tried making this from memory but it never turned out like Grannies. Just made and had for lunch. Will definitely be making again. Thank you.

Julia Jordan

Friday 29th of March 2024

I am so happy that you enjoyed using this recipe to make a much loved dish that you grew up with. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories with us. ~Julia


Wednesday 21st of September 2022

What type of rice, long grain, instant??

Julia Jordan

Thursday 22nd of September 2022

Long grain rice :)


Monday 14th of February 2022

I may missed this - how many servings does this make? Also, I'm curious, what amount are your servings, 1/4 cup, or a 1 serving spoon size, etc? I look for to both, trying this recipe & your response.

Julia Jordan

Monday 14th of February 2022

The recipe makes 8 servings, depending on appetite maybe a few extra, and the serving size is around 3/4 cup :) I hope that you enjoy this classic recipe. ~Julia

Donna sheffield

Sunday 7th of November 2021

What kind of rice do you use

Julia Jordan

Monday 8th of November 2021

I used Mahatma but any long grain white rice should work.

Skip to Recipe