Compounds containing a nitro group may reveal vasodilator properties. Several nitro compounds have a NO2 group in a short aliphatic chain connected to an aromatic group. In this study, we evaluated in rat aorta the effects of two nitro compounds, with emphasis on a putative recruitment of the soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) pathway to induce vasodilation. Isolated aortic rings were obtained from male Wistar rats to compare the effects induced by 2-nitro-1-phenylethanone (NPeth) or 2-nitro-2-phenyl-propane-1,3-diol (NPprop). In aortic preparations contracted with phenylephrine or KCl, NPeth and NPprop induced vasorelaxant effects that did not depend on the integrity of vascular endothelium. NPeth had a lesser vasorelaxant efficacy than NPprop and only the NPprop effects were inhibited by pretreatment with the sGC inhibitors, 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ) or methylene blue. In an ODQ-preventable manner, NPprop inhibited the contractile component of the phenylephrine-induced response mediated by intracellular Ca2+ release or by extracellular Ca2+ recruitment through receptor- or voltage-operated Ca2+ channels. In contrast, NPprop was inert against the transient contraction induced by caffeine in Ca2+-free medium. In an ODQ-dependent manner, NPprop inhibited the contraction induced by the protein kinase C activator phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate or by the tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor sodium orthovanadate. In silico docking analysis of a sGC homologous protein revealed preferential site for NPprop. In conclusion, the nitro compounds NPeth and NPprop induced vasorelaxation in rat aortic rings. Aliphatic chain substituents selectively interfered in the ability of these compounds to induce vasorelaxant effects, and only NPprop relaxed aortic rings via a sGC pathway.