Did you know that you can make an awesome Rotel substitute in your very own home? Better yet, using simple ingredients!? This simple and quick recipe will give you a flavor packed addition to your favorite recipes like Queso, Chicken Spaghetti, and more! Freezes well too.
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Some years back, I took a particular liking to Rotel. I had an interest in trying several recipes I had seen featuring the slightly spicy can of diced tomatoes and green chilies, and I was eager to try. There was just one tiny problem: I couldn't get Rotel where I lived! My in-laws took frequent visits across the border, so I asked them to pick me up some to try. Well, I was in love!
I went about cooking all kinds of easy and flavorful meals, until one day...I ran out. It was a sad day indeed. But through all that, I learned how to make a quick and easy substitute using ingredients I could easily source. Now Rotel is easily accessible to me, but I still run out from time to time. Not to fear, I can always fall back on this trust Rotel substitute!
What Do I Need to Make a Substitute for Rotel?
The beauty of this quick and easy recipe is that you need very little in the way of ingredients!
You will need:
- Diced Tomatoes: You will need a 15oz can of diced tomatoes. I like to use fire roasted diced tomatoes, because the flavor compared to standard canned tomatoes is phenomenal!
- Diced Green Chilies: You will need a 4oz can of diced green chilies in order to make this Rotel substitute. If you can only find whole chilies, you will have to dice them yourself.
- Lime Juice: Since one of the ingredients in Rotel is citric acid, I decided to add a splash of citrus. Lime is perfect because it compliments the classic combo of tomatoes, chilies, and cilantro.
- Chopped Cilantro: This is an optional, but highly recommended addition. Rotel contains the addition of cilantro, and to keep it authentic I recommend including some if at all possible. Fresh cilantro is recommended. If you want to use dried cilantro, use about ½ tsp.
How to Make a Substitute for Rotel
Once you've made this Rotel substitute, you won't believe how easy it is to make!
There really is just ONE STEP for making a tasty Rotel Substitute: Mix together fire roasted diced tomatoes, diced green chilies, lime juice, and a little bit of fresh cilantro. This makes the equivalent of 2 cans of store-bought diced tomatoes and chilies! You can use this as you would Rotel in all of your favorite recipes.
Yes, it really is that simple! You can check out my video embedded in the recipe card below if you'd like a visual representation of just how easy this process is!
Can you Freeze Rotel?
Yes, you can! Since this Rotel substitute makes about 20oz, you may have some leftovers. That's okay, because you can easily freeze it for later!
One regular sized can of Rotel is about 10oz, so this recipe makes enough to substitute about 2 cans. I like to freeze 10oz (if my recipe only calls for one can) portions for ease of use in the future.
All you need to do to freeze Rotel (or a substitute/copycat version) is to place it in a plastic freezer bag. Seal the bag and remove excess air. Then, label and freeze flat in your freezer. Make sure to use within 3 months in your favorites recipes featuring Rotel.
Recipes Using Rotel:
- Rotel Dip - Spend with Pennies
- Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup - Little Home in the Making
- Rotel Chicken Spaghetti - Let's Dish Recipes
- Queso Chicken Casserole - The Pinning Mama
And don't forget to check out my recipe for Slow Cooker Queso Chicken Tacos!
- 1 (15oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (4oz) can diced green chilies, undrained
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- 1 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
- Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well with a rubber spatula.
- Use 10oz (about 1 heaping cup) in place of Rotel in any of your favorite recipes.
You can keep this Rotel substitute in your fridge in an airtight container for up to three days. See freezing instructions if you wish to keep it for longer.
You can freeze this Rotel substitute! Simply place the portion you wish to freeze in a medium sized freezer bag, remove excess air, seal, and place on a flat surface inside your freezer. Use within 3 months.
Use one can of undrained diced tomatoes for this recipe. Fire roasted are preferred, but you can use standard diced tomatoes as well. If you are using a low or no sodium can of tomatoes, you will need to add additional salt. Start with ½ tsp. and adjust based on taste.
You will use 1 (4oz) can of diced green chilies in this recipe. If you can only find canned WHOLE green chilies, you will need to dice them at home. They should be about the size of a pinky finger nail when diced.
Serving Size:¼ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g
Nutritional information is an estimate only.