The 5 Best Substitutes For Rotel

Tomatoes are one of the world’s most beloved foods. It is commonly used in many dishes to add a distinct yet delicious flavor that is truly unique.

The type of tomato that you use can change the flavor of your dish. But the best variety has to be rotel. This delicious ingredient is very popular in Mexican cuisine and once you taste it you will almost certainly see why. 

Rotel is a Southern staple and is made up of dice tomatoes and green chilies to add flavor and kick. But what happens when you run out of rotel or you don’t like the flavor?

The 5 Best Substitutes For Rotel

Well, you use a substitute of course. But what can you use as a substitute for rotel? That is what we are here for! In this article we are going to take a closer look at what you can use as a substitute for rote. 

So, without further ado, let us dive right in and get started!

What Exactly Is Rotel?

If you have never heard of rotel, do not worry! We have your back. It is essentially a delicious mixture of diced tomatoes and chili peppers which has been canned.

Many recipes for queso, soup, casseroles and sauces are made using this delicious ingredient. It adds a delicious punch of flavor that is truly unique. 

What Can You Use As A Substitute for Rotel?

Now that we have gotten all of that out of the way it is finally time to take a closer look at what ingredients that you can use as a substitute for rotel. So, without further ado, let us dive right in!

1. Canned And Diced Tomatoes

If you do not happen to have rotel on hand then you may want to consider using simple canned and diced tomatoes as a substitute.

Rotel is essentially tomato juice, as well as a few other ingredients, but because tomato is one of the main ingredients you can easily use canned tomatoes instead. 

Canned tomatoes also taste very similar to rotel. One thing that you need to consider is the fact that the rotel will have its own consistency. Because of this it is recommended that you do not drain the liquid out of your can of tomatoes. 

2. Green Chilies

Chilies and tomatoes are the biggest ingredients in rotel. For this reason chilies can easily be used as a substitute. So, you can make your own substitute with green chilies and tomato extract.

The flavor is pretty similar and the delicious spiciness adds a wonderful layer of flavor that you won’t be able to get enough of. 

3. Tomato Purée

You can easily use a simple tomato purée as a substitute for rotel. As long as you use the right seasoning. You might think that tomato purée and canned tomatoes are the same, but they are pretty distinct.

Add a few herbs, spices and green chilies if you want to add a little extra flavors and spice to your delicious rotel substitute. 

If you are planning to cook your meals for a long period of time then tomato purée may be perfect for you, no matter how long you cook the pure it will not become mushy.

This is a good ingredient to use if you want your dish to be infused with a strong tomato flavor. 

4. Lemon Pickle

You might think that this alternative is a little strange, but we can assure you that it is actually pretty good. That being said, if you are not a fan of tomatoes then you may find that lemon pickles will be an excellent choice.

This condiment is usually stored in a brine which is made up of water, spices and lemon juice. These flavors work wonderfully to create a very flavorsome alternative. 

But rotel usually has a bit of a kick to it. What do you do if you are using lemon pickles? Well, we recommend that you purchase a variety of pickled lemon that uses Harissa spices. 

Just a little bit of lemon pickle in your dish is sure to transform the flavor of your entire dish regardless of your stew or queso. But that is not all, lemon pickles are also very versatile and can be served as a dip as well.

It comes in a wide variety of forms which are all very healthy and can be used within your cooking. 

5. Make Your Own Rotel

If you are certain that you want to use a rotel but you have none on hand then you may find that the best option is to make your own. But where do you start?

Well, there are a ton of amazing recipes out there. The best one in our opinion is by ‘Mommy’s Kitchen’. Best of all you only need a few ingredients to make your own rotel. 

Below is a list of what you will need to make your own tasty rotel: 

  • Ripe Tomatoes
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Anaheim peppers
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Onion
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Canning Salt
  • Lemon Juice

Now that you have all your ingredients all that toys left is to use them to make your mock-up rotel. In order to whip up your homemade rotel you will need to follow the below steps: 

Step 1 – The first thing you should do is take the skin off your tomatoes. You can make this process easier by filling a pot with boiling water. Cut an ‘X’ on each of the tomatoes.

Step 2 – Now that your tomatoes have an ‘X’ cut into them, you need to place all of them in the boiling water for between thirty and sixty seconds. 

Step 3 – Once that time has elapsed you should use a slotted spoon to scoop out all the tomatoes. Place them in an ice water bath and after five minutes you can take them out. 

Step 4 – Next, you need to peel the skin off all of your tomatoes and then chop them into small cubes. With that done you should toss your tomatoes in a large stock pot.

Chop up onion and peppers and then add them to the pot. With that done you need to add your canning salt, sugar, and vinegar. 

Step 5 – With all of your ingredients in the pot bring the mixture to the boil and then lower the heat so that it is simmering. Leave it for forty-five minutes. 

Step 6 – When your mixture is simmering you can move onto your canning cars. Make sure that they are all clean and sterile. 

Step 7 – Next, take the mixture off the heat and throw in your lemon juice. Stir thoroughly so that it is all combined. Grab a ladle and fill up your canning jars. Make sure that there is about a half-inch of space left in each canning jar. 

Step 8 – Clean the rims of your canning jars and make sure that the lid has been properly sterilized. Next, screw on your ring for each jar and ensure that it is nice and tight. 

Step 9 – Finally, process your jars in boiling hot water for a minimum of five minutes. The jars should be totally submerged in water before you start your timer. 

Step 10 – Grab your canning tongs and take your cans of rotel out of the water and place your jars on a dishcloth until they are 100% cool. 

Step 11 – When you hear a pop or ping for each of your jars you can then ensure that your jars are properly sealed. Store your jars wherever you see fit and enjoy as needed. 

Final Thoughts 

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and learning about these amazing substitutes for rotel.

Each option brings different flavors to your dishes so make sure to consider what you want carefully before you go with one particular substitute. 

With all of that being said, have a fantastic day and good luck with your cooking endeavors.

The 5 Best Substitutes For Rotel

The 5 Best Substitutes For Rotel

Recipe by Jenna

Are you looking for substitutes that you can use for Rotel? If you are then you need to read this article to learn about them.

Course: Substitutes
5 from 1 vote


  • Canned And Diced Tomatoes

  • Green Chilies

  • Tomato Purée

  • Lemon Pickle

  • Make Your Own Rotel


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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