Home Recipes Easy Mexican Rice Recipe (Restaurant-Style)

Easy Mexican Rice Recipe (Restaurant-Style)

Looking for the perfect side dish to serve on Taco Tuesday? Look no further, this easy Mexican rice recipe is all you’ll need.

It’s fluffy, filling, and oh-so flavorful. The seasonings, the tomatoes, that lovely color – how can anyone resist?

It’s truly the quintessential Mexican side dish.

Rich, Hearty and Flavorful Mexican Rice
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And if you think it’s difficult to make, think again. This recipe proves that you need not be an expert in the kitchen to make the most stunning Mexican rice. 

Don’t believe me? Well, there’s only one way to find out! Try this easy Mexican rice recipe, and let me know what you think.

Easy Mexican Rice Recipe 

Light, fluffy, and full of tomato goodness – that’s what Mexican rice is all about. It’s a great side to any Mexican dish, be it burritos or tacos or taquitos. 

And it’s also a cinch to make! Just a few ingredients and a little bit of stirring are all it takes.

Mexican Rice Ingredients - Long Grain Rice, Garlic Salt, Ground Cumin, Chopped Onions, Tomato Sauce and Chicken Broth


You’ll need the following six ingredients to make fluffy, flavorful Mexican rice:

  • Long-grain rice. While you can use any long-grain rice, basmati has the best flavor and texture – nutty, soft, fluffy, and not sticky. 
  • Garlic salt and ground cumin. You can add more seasonings, but these two are enough to give you that authentic Mexican rice flavor.
  • Chopped onion. Real onions are best, but you can also use onion powder instead. This will save you some time and tears!
  • Tomato sauce. For that rich tomato flavor.
  • Chicken broth. Regular chicken broth is fine, but if you want to control the amount of salt that goes into your dish, use low-sodium broth instead.

How to Make Mexican Rice

And here are the steps for making it:

1. Cook the rice. Add oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. When it’s warm, add the rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice puffs up and turns golden.

Remember to sprinkle the rice with salt and cumin while it’s cooking.

2. Add the other ingredients. Add the onions first, and cook them until they’re translucent. Then, add the tomato sauce and broth. Stir both in until they’re well incorporated.

3. Simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the saucepan and let the rice simmer for 20-25 minutes.

4. Fluff and enjoy. Fluff the rice with a fork, serve, and enjoy!

Bowl of Homemade Mexican Rice with Herbs

Tips For the Best Rice 

Remember these tips for the best rice:

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  • Rinse and drain the rice before cooking. This will get rid of extra starch, preventing it from being mushy.
  • Use a non-stick skillet. It will prevent your rice from sticking. 
  • Don’t add the liquids too soon. Toast the rice well before adding the liquid. This will give the rice a deeper flavor.
  • Add tomato bouillon. It’ll give the rice its signature orange hue.
  • Don’t lift the lid while your rice is simmering. This will release the steam needed to cook your rice properly.
  • Add liquid as needed. If the liquid dries up before the rice cooks, just add a little more.
  • Tip for fixing soggy rice. If the rice gets a little too wet, just let it sit on the counter uncovered for about 5 to 10 minutes. The rice will absorb the liquid and dry it out.

Variations for Mexican Rice

What makes Mexican rice even more fantastic is that it’s so easy to customize according to your taste and preferences. Here are some good ideas.

  • Add carrots, peas, and corn. It won’t only add flavor and texture, but a pop of color as well! 
  • For a bit of a kick, add some peppers! Serrano peppers, jalapenos, bell peppers, hot sauce – take your pick. They’ll all make your rice more flavorful, but not too spicy. 
  • Add protein. If you want to make a complete meal out of your Mexican rice, give it some meat. Ground beef, pork, turkey, shredded chicken, shrimp, fish – whatever suits your fancy. 
  • Add beans. Transform your Mexican rice to Mexican rice and beans by adding, well, beans! Rinse and drain black beans and add them to the mix the same time you do the chicken broth and tomato sauce. 
  • Give it more Mexican flair. This Mexican rice is already tasty, but a bit of cilantro and lime juice will further enhance its flavor. But if you are serving this dish to guests, you may want to ask ahead if they’re all okay with the cilantro. I personally like it, but many find its flavor too soapy!
  • Short on time? Use your Instant Pot! It gives you all the same flavors, but at a much faster pace. 
  • Use brown rice for a healthier dish. The taste and texture will be different, but amazing just the same. Be sure to soak the rice in water for 30 minutes before cooking. Also, brown rice cooks longer than white rice, so you’ll have to adjust accordingly. 
Mexican Rice with Herbs in a Bowl

How to Serve Mexican Rice

Mexican rice is so delicious and filling that you can easily enjoy it by itself. However, you can also pair it with any number of main courses.

Try it with other popular Mexican dishes, such as tacos, burritos, taco casserole, enchiladas, quesadillas, and more.

Or pair it with non-Mexican dishes like steak, grilled chicken, or even fish! It’s one of those sides that goes with pretty much anything.

How to Store and Reheat

Need tips on storing and reheating your leftover Mexican rice? No problem! See the following sections for more information.

How to Store Mexican Rice

The great thing about Mexican rice is that it gets yummier as you store it. As time passes, the rice absorbs the flavors of the rest of the ingredients, giving you an even more heavenly dish.

So, in case you have leftovers, be sure to store them the right way. Here’s how:

  • Refrigerate. Let the rice cool to room temperature. Place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. 
  • Freeze. You can also freeze it to increase its shelf-life by up to 5 to 6 months. Again, let the rice cool to room temperature first. Then, transfer it into a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. If using the former, be sure to squeeze out as much excess air as you can before sealing to avoid freezer burn. Label it accordingly and freeze.

Here’s How to Reheat Mexican Rice:

You have a couple of options for reheating:

  • Microwave small portions. If stored in the fridge, transfer a small portion of rice in a greased microwave-safe container. Microwave for 60-90 seconds, or until completely warm.
  • Use the stove. If reheating a big serving of rice, it’s best to use the stove. Place the rice in a non-stick skillet and add a bit of chicken broth or water. Place the skillet over medium heat and stir the rice until completely warm.

If you stored the rice in the freezer, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat using the microwave or stove method.

Hearty Homemade Mexican Rice with Herbs and Chopped Onions

Is Mexican Rice the Same as Spanish Rice? 

Many people (including me, at one point) have confused these two for each other many times. To clarify, here’s a brief cooking lesson:

Even though they taste similar, Mexican and Spanish rice are two different things.

Sure, lots of their ingredients are the same – rice, seasonings, broth. But Spanish rice uses saffron, giving it a yellowish hue. 

Mexican rice, on the other hand, uses tomatoes or tomato sauce for flavoring. That’s also what gives it its orange color. 

Mexican Rice



Prep time


Cooking time






  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce

  • 2 cups chicken broth


  • Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add oil. Add rice and stir constantly until puffed and golden. Sprinkle over salt and cumin while cooking.
  • Add onions and cook until tender. Mix in tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cover the saucepan. Let it simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Fluff rice with a fork. Enjoy!
Mexican Rice Recipe

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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