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Southern Tomatoes and Rice

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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

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:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 306Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 522mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g
Side dish of old fashioned Southern Tomatoes and Rice in a vintage serving dish

Diced tomatoes and rice recipe



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Saturday 23rd of January 2021

My grandmother made this also but she would add canned corn beef, to include meat in the meal .

Julia Jordan

Saturday 23rd of January 2021

That sounds delicious. Our grandmothers were great at knowing just how to stretch a meal and fill everyone's bellies.

Cheryl Erb

Thursday 8th of October 2020

Love this! Last time I made it, I followed the ingredients as written. Tonight I added diced jalapeños and a few mushrooms. Can’t wait!! I can smell it cooking now. Thanks for the recipe!

Julia Jordan

Friday 9th of October 2020

I am so happy to hear how much you like this recipe. The jalapenos and mushroom addition sound fabulous!

Cara Cody-Braun

Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Hi! Very delicious! I'm from ND and never heard of a dish called "tomatoes and rice", but then I realized it's basically what we call "Spanish rice". I love it, and it's so versatile! You have a beautiful blog!

Julia Jordan

Thursday 28th of May 2020

Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words and am so happy that you are enjoying the blog. ~Julia


Monday 4th of May 2020

Do you think vegetable broth would work well in this recipe.

Julia Jordan

Tuesday 5th of May 2020

Vegetable broth would work just fine :)

Miz Helen

Tuesday 17th of July 2018

We love tomatoes and rice and your recipe looks delicious and very comforting! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday! Miz Helen