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 rich, hearty, and oh-so flavorful. The seasonings, the tomatoes, that lovely color – how can anyone resist?
It’s truly the quintessential Mexican side dish.
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 it 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.
Is Mexican rice the same as Spanish rice?
Many people (including me, at one point) have these two confused for each other all the time. To clarify, here’s a brief cooking lesson:
Mexican and Spanish rice may taste similar, but they’re 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. It’s also what gives it its orange color.
- 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.
Tips For the Best Rice
- Rinse and drain the rice before cooking. This will get rid of extra starch, preventing it from being mushy.
- Use a non-stick skillet to prevent your rice from sticking.
- Toast the rice well before adding the liquid. This will give the rice a deeper flavor.
- To give your rice that signature orange hue, throw in some tomato bouillon cubes into the mixture.
- Don’t lift the lid while your rice is simmering. This will release the steam needed to cook your rice properly.
- If the liquid dries up before the rice cooks, just add a little more.
- 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.
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 it the right way. Here’s how:
- Let the rice cool to room temperature. Place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- If reheating a big serving of rice, it’s best to use the stove. Place the rice in a non-stick skillet and pour over a bit of chicken broth or water. Place the skillet over medium heat and stir the rice until completely warm.
- If stored in the freezer, let the rice thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat using the microwave or stove method.
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.
- If you want to make a complete meal out of your Mexican rice, give it some protein. Ground beef, pork, turkey, shredded chicken, shrimp, fish – whatever suits your fancy.
- 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.
- 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 to make Mexican rice! It gives you all the same flavors, but at a much faster pace.
- You can also 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.
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