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The 5 Best Rotel Substitutes For Your Recipes

Rotel tomatoes and green chilies blend represent an essential ingredient that adds the delicious Southern flavor and needed heat in tortilla soup or queso. Although Rotel canned tomatoes are quite popular in the South, they can be tricky to find in other parts of America or the rest of the world. 

This doesn’t have to stop you from cooking all your delicious recipes. In this detailed guide, our experts suggest fantastic options that can work as a Rotel substitute. All you have to do is give them a try and see how they work for you. 

The Best Substitutes For Rotel

The original Rotel recipe includes diced tomatoes and zesty green chilies, with a secret blend of spices that add heat and character to every dish. Although this sounds mouth-watering, you might be more interested in finding a reliable Rotel replacement.

There’s no doubt that Rotel shines as a dip or a crucial component of a side dish, but some people don’t like its taste. Some people can also find the mix too spicy for their liking. As a matter of fact, Rotel is not that easy to find once you get a little bit away from the Southern States.

There are different versions of Rotel that are either hotter or milder than the original blend. But some people can’t stand the heat or don’t like to buy products that include lots of spices. 

This is why finding a reliable and delicious substitute for Rotel can literally save the day. If you’re allergic to any of the ingredients, can’t find enough Rotel for your recipe, or simply don’t like the taste, you can try different substitutes and see how they complement the other flavors in your dish

Luckily, there are lots of amazing Rotel alternatives that you can work with. We’ll explain how to use each one of them to add a little edge and special taste to your gatherings, parties, and family dinners. 

1. Homemade Rotel

What if you like Rotel but simply can’t find it? This Southern specialty is sometimes difficult to find, but you can make your own homemade version which serves as the perfect substitute for Rotel tomatoes and green chilies in any recipe. 

Preparing your homemade Rotel is a good decision if you want to have more control over the spices and herbs that add a unique taste to your Rotel. It will also help you create the perfect tomatoes to green chilies ratio to prepare unique dips that everyone will absolutely love. 

The good news is that the ingredients are easy to find even if you don’t have access to actual Rotel. This is the recipe to prepare the amount equivalent to a single can of Rotel.


  • 2 pounds of Roma tomatoes.
  • 1 pound of fresh Anaheim peppers or Habanero peppers if you prefer your dishes to be spicier. 
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander.
  • 1 teaspoon of dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppers
  • 1 tablespoon of salt.


  • Line a baking dish with parchment paper and arrange the fresh green peppers. Remove all the seeds if you want your homemade Rotel to be milder
  • Place under the broiler for 4 minutes, then turn to the other side until both have darkened. 
  • Bring some water to a boil and remove the cores of the tomatoes. Score the bottom with an “X” to remove the peel easily.
  • Blanch each tomato for 2 minutes, and then transfer to a bowl of icy water. Remove the skin, then dice the tomatoes. 
  • Cook the diced tomatoes with all the juice you could capture over medium heat for 45 minutes
  • Keep on stirring the tomatoes to prevent them from burning, and wait until the liquid has reduced.
  • Wait until the tomatoes and chilies have cooled.
  • Add the spices, salt, and pepper to the tomatoes.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of lemon juice at the bottom of a jar
  • Add the tomatoes and chilies to a jar and leave half an inch of space. Use a wooden chopstick to push the tomatoes and green chilies and remove any air bubbles
  • Apply the lid to the jar and put the jar in boiling water for 30 minutesLet the jar cool in the water for 10 minutes, then fold it in a kitchen towel. 
  • Put in the fridge until needed.

You can manipulate the ingredients to create your own version of Rotel for multiple dishes. The jar can last up to 2 months in the fridge, and once you open it, it can last for up to 2 weeks

2. Canned Diced Tomatoes

Diced tomatoes are one of the main ingredients of Rotel, but can work as an excellent Rotel alternative if you don’t like the heat or the spicy taste. In addition, the juice of the canned tomatoes guarantees that you will be able to enjoy the same texture as the Rotel when you’re serving cheesy queso

Canned tomatoes are different from fresh tomatoes because they are peeled and preserved in their juices after being processed by heat. Canned tomatoes are low in sodium and calories, so they will work for various diet plans or if you’re simply trying to eat healthily.

You can find different versions of diced tomatoes that can be packed with garlic or basil to add a special taste to your dish. Then, all you have to do is add the canned diced tomatoes to your dish and follow the rest of the steps to complete your recipe. 

This option works if you’re allergic to chilies and it can also make your Southern dishes more appealing to kids and adults who can’t stand the heat of green chilies or the herbs in Rotel. 

3. Tomato Puree

With the right seasoning, your tomato puree can be the perfect substitution for Rotel. Although diced tomatoes and tomato puree are made using the same ingredients, they add unique tastes and textures to the same dish

This is why tomato puree can be used as a Rotel tomato substitute if you’re not fond of the taste and texture of Rotel. If you’re making stew or soup, tomato puree can definitely work as a reliable Rotel alternative that gives you the texture and taste of diced tomatoes. 

You can add herbs and spices to your tomato puree and add canned green chilies if you want the recipe to be hot and spicy. 

Tomato puree will also work if your recipe involves an extended cooking time because it won’t get soggy. At the same time, cooking tomato puree helps incorporate the taste of tomatoes into your dish

However, you should read the ingredients carefully for the amount of sugar and salt in your tomato puree. This will allow you to adjust the seasoning accordingly. 

4. Canned Green Chilis

If you don’t like the taste or texture of tomatoes, you can use canned green chilies as a substitute for Rotel in queso. There are several types of green chilis on the market, and you can try all of them until you find the right Rotel substitute. 

Anaheim or California peppers are among the mildest chilies, so they will add color and a little bit of heat to your dip. They’re usually canned in a salty solution, so you might need to add more herbs to your dish. 

Jalapeno peppers can be pickled to add a zesty taste in addition to the heat when you’re preparing a dip. The peppers are preserved in vinegar or lemon juice to make your recipes more delicious. 

One of the problems that spicy lovers encounter when they add Rotel to their recipes is that they always have more tomatoes than chilies. Serrano chilies are the main ingredient of the hottest version of Rotel, so they will work for those who enjoy more spiciness in their queso or Southern dips

There’s even a Habanero mix of Rotel that you can replace with canned Habanero peppers. Habanero chilies are different from other types of chilies because they’re floral with a fruity flavor and aroma. Adding them to your recipes will add a unique taste that appeals to spicy food lovers. 

Chilies are roasted and stored in lemon juice to add a little zest. If you don’t like the taste of lemons or think that it doesn’t go well with the rest of the ingredients, you can pick a version that doesn’t contain lemon juice. 

5. Lemon Pickle

Lemon pickle can be a great Rotel tomatoes substitute. If you have no access to Rotel and not a big fan of the taste of tomatoes, preserved lemons can do the trick. 

This condiment is preserved in a brine of water, lemon juice, and several spices that enhance the flavor of your dish. You can find a hot version with Harissa spices to compensate for the absence of green chilies in your recipe

Just a little bit of lemon pickle can totally change the way your queso or stew tastes. You can also serve lemon pickle puree as a dip. 

Lemon pickle comes in several versions, but it’s rich in healthy nutrients. It won’t mess up with your diet plan and provides your body with Vitamin C and essential fibers. It also adds a zesty twist to your dishes while adding the same Rotel texture

How to Choose a Rotel Substitute

Finding a substitution for Rotel tomatoes can be crucial if you can’t find the canned Rotel or need to adjust the taste of your recipe. Luckily, there are several substitutes that you can try if you want to prepare delicious queso or stew. 

Your own version of homemade Rotel can be the perfect substitute for Rotel tomatoes. You will be able to control the saltiness of the recipe and the tomatoes to chilies ratio. This recipe will replace the taste, texture, and flavor of Rotel with a special twist depending on the herbs and spices you add. 

If you’re not into spicy food, you can use canned diced tomatoes or tomato puree. Canned diced tomatoes can be enhanced with the addition of a little lemon juice or some green chilies. Tomato puree works in stews and soup and can also handle longer cooking times. 

For spicy food lovers, diced green chilies will be the perfect Rotel alternative. There are different types of canned green chilies, so you can choose a hot or mild one depending on your preferences.

For a unique taste, you can try pickle lemons in your recipes. This unusual substitute for Rotel tomatoes and green chilies will add a twist to your dishes. 

Cooking involves a lot of creativity, and we recommend that you try these alternatives and see which one works best for you. 

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