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If you love rice with your favorite Mexican dishes, why not step it up and make homemade Mexican rice just like your favorite Mexican restaurants? Every time I make this Mexican rice recipe, the husband and kids make it disappear. I’ve served it with a taco and fajita bar for a family gathering and everyone demanded to know how I made it. Now you can make it too!

Best Mexican Rice Recipe

Brimming with flavor and bright colors, Mexican rice is even better than just serving plain steamed rice. Not that there’s anything wrong with plain, but restaurant style Mexican rice is next level deliciousness. And when it comes to serving Mexican cuisine at home, why not make it more authentic with the best Mexican rice recipe?!?

Mexican Rice Ingredients

  • Rice – Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it? Grab some basmati white rice for this one!
  • Tomatoes – You’ll want a can of whole peeled tomatoes for flavor and that signature color. Some recipes call for tomato sauce, but having the whole tomatoes provides more texture.
  • Chicken broth – Helps your rice simmer and soak in more flavor.
  • Yellow onions and fresh garlic – The way to add more of a savory flavor to your authentic Spanish rice recipe.
  • Red Bell Pepper & Jalapeno peppers – You gotta have some spice!
  • Cumin – Gives your rice that smoky and authentic taste. Cumin is a great Mexican rice seasoning.
  • Cilantro and limes – For the finishing touches and an extra layer of complexity in flavor.

Rice is great when you’re hungry and want 2000 of something.
Mitch Hedberg

Easy Mexican Rice Recipe

This easy Mexican rice recipe takes literally 15 minutes of your time to get going. Then it does its own thing while you do yours. So get it going and get back to setting up your taco bar or whatever it is you were doing, or put your feet up and enjoy a glass of wine. You’ve earned it!

How do you Make Mexican Rice from Scratch

To make an authentic Mexican rice recipe from scratch, you will boil the tomatoes and chicken stock with seasonings. As you do that, you lightly toast the rice in a pan with a little oil. Then add the jalapenos followed by garlic. After you’ve got a fragrant thing going there, you’ll pour that tomato mixture in with the rice, stir, and lower the heat to let it simmer until it’s nice and tender.

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Mexican Rice Every Time

  • Don’t skip toasting the rice. If you’ve made Mexican restaurant rice before and felt just ho-hum about it but you didn’t toast it first, that’s why. Toasting it changes things in the most delicious of ways.
  • Use a nonstick pan. Seriously, you will thank yourself later when you don’t have to soak and scrub to get remnants off your pan.
  • Leave the lid on. Once you put the lid on your homemade Spanish rice, leave it until the timer you set goes off. Lifting the lid too soon releases the steam which is the thing that’s going to make your rice nice and fluffy.
  • Optional rice cooker. For this recipe we’re making rice on the stovetop. However, you can make authentic Mexican rice in a rice cooker.

How to Cook Mexican Rice

This simple Mexican rice recipe is cooked on the stovetop. You’ll only need a nonstick pan and a pot to cook it, plus a food processor (or a blender) to get the canned tomatoes to the right consistency.

What type of rice is used in Mexican food?

Long grain rice is the most common choice for Mexican cookery. I’ve used basmati in this recipe which is one of the most aromatic long grain options.

What is Spanish rice and Mexican rice the same thing?

While the two are quite similar, you’ll find that Spanish rice tends to be firmer and a bit more robust. Meanwhile Mexican rice tends to lend more of a mouth-melting experience.

What to add to rice to make it tasty?

Mexican rice is tasty because it takes tomatoes, onions, garlic, cumin, chicken stock, jalapenos, bell peppers, limes, and cilantro uniting them all together. These flavors infuse into the grains of the rice and make it irresistible.

Why is my rice not fluffy?

The main reason your easy Spanish rice recipe doesn’t get fluffy is if you pull the lid off.  Once the lid goes on and you lower the temperature, leave it be. Resist the urge to lift the lid or the steam gets out and leaves you with rice that is crunchy rather than fluffy.

How do you make Mexican rice not mushy?

By following this recipe, your Mexican rice shouldn’t be mushy. If it still has too much water in it by the time it should be finished, remove the pot and keep cooking over low heat so the water evaporates.

How do you fix mushy Spanish rice?

You can try to dry it out a bit in the oven but don’t overdo it. Mushy rice happens when you add too much liquid. If you follow this recipe, you shouldn’t have mushy rice.

What to Serve with Mexican Rice

The sky is the limit when it comes to serving Mexican rice! You’ll take taco night to the next level with this stuff but don’t forget to make it when you have fajitas, stuff it into your burritos to compete with Chipotle, put enchiladas and sauce on top, flautas, empanadas, and so much more!

How to Store Mexican Rice

Once everyone is full and happy, take your Mexican rice and put it in an airtight container. It needs to go in the fridge from there.

How Long Does Mexican Rice Last?

Mexican rice lasts about 3 days, 4 max, in the fridge. You will want to use it up before then or stow it in your freezer.

Can You Freeze Mexican Rice?

You bet you can freeze it! Make sure it’s in an airtight container and pop in there for up to 6 months.

How to Reheat Mexican Rice?

Mexican rice is easy to reheat. You can use your microwave or the stovetop. You may want to add a little broth or water to moisten it back up.

Watch How To Make Mexican Rice (Video)

Traditional Mexican Rice Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 206
This traditional Mexican rice recipe is that same restaurant style that you're used to. Mexican rice is easy to make and is the perfect side dish to ANY kind of Mexican food you're serving.


  • 1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 jalapeños (chopped)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 6 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 limes (juiced)


  • Add the tomatoes and their juices and onion into a food processor and blend until smooth. Once blended, transfer 2 cups of the mixture to a medium saucepan and stir in the chicken stock, salt, and cumin. Bring this to a boil over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the rice and lightly toast for 4-5 minutes. Once the rice is toasted, add in the jalapeños and cook until softened, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Then add the red bell pepper and stir to combine.
  • Next, pour the tomato mixture over the rice and stir to combine, reducing the heat to low. Cover and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  • Once cooked, remove from heat and fluff the rice with a fork, then cover again and allow to steam for 10 more minutes. Then, add the cilantro and lime juice, fluffing again to combine. Serve with wedges of fresh lime.
Calories: 206kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican


Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 801mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 318IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

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Author Megan Miller

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

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