In this paper, we develop a new mixed finite element method for elliptic problems on general quadrilateral and hexahedral grids that reduces to a cell-centered finite difference scheme. A special non-symmetric quadrature rule is employed that yields a positive definite cell-centered system for the pressure by eliminating local velocities. The method is shown to be accurate on highly distorted rough quadrilateral and hexahedral grids, including hexahedra with non-planar faces. Theoretical and numerical results indicate first-order convergence for the pressure and face fluxes. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.