This Easy Mexican Rice Recipe is ready in 30 minutes with pantry ingredients. Better than many restaurants, it is perfect for your favorite homemade Mexican dinner.
Restaurant-quality Mexican Rice, also known as red rice or Arroz Rojo, needs three things. Many restaurant versions lack at least one of these areas — many in 2 or even all three. A few will get it all right.
- Texture—not sticky—each grain of rice needs to stand out and not stick together.
- Tenderness—soft but not mushy.
- Tastiness—it needs excellent taste.
👍Why you should make this recipe
- Easy to make with pantry ingredients in 30 minutes.
- The perfect side dish for burritos, enchiladas, or (my personal favorite) taco chips and cheese—take Taco Tuesday up a notch.
- Using your favorite salsa as flavoring simplifies the ingredients, and you will love the flavor.
- Long Grain White Rice - If using other rice, adjust the time accordingly.
- Salsa - Use salsa you like. It will provide much of the taste and replace tomato sauce or diced tomatoes, onion, chili powder, and green chiles.
- Spices - Cumin and crushed garlic. Garlic powder could be used instead of fresh garlic cloves. Also, no taco seasoning is needed, thanks to the salsa.
- Broth - Chicken or vegetable stock or broth. You may use bouillon cubes in water, or just water will work with only slightly decreased flavor.
- Optional Additions - Jalapeno, peas, corn, or carrots.
👨🍳How to Make Mexican Rice
- Brown the uncooked rice over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
- Cook until nicely toasted—no need to rinse the rice before browning. If using fresh garlic, add it at the last minute of browning.
- Add the salsa, broth, and other seasonings. Also, if using the additions, add them at the same time.
- Bring to a boil and then decrease to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender.
- Remove from heat and let set for a few minutes, then fluff with a fork.
↕️How to make this a "for two" or "family size" recipe
This is a very easy recipe to cut in half or double. As written, it makes 4 servings.
- Use the recipe card and adjust the number of servings to the number of servings you want.
- Use the amount of ingredients in the ingredient list, not the instructions—those do not adjust.
- Cook for the same amount of time.
What is the difference between Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice?
Many people will use the two terms interchangeably, but there are not quite the same.
The two use similar ingredients, except that the Spanish recipe will usually have firmer rice and frequently saffron giving it more of a yellow color and different taste. Mexican rice is fluffier and uses cumin.
If you want firmer rice, brown it a bit more. I call my Mexican rice but call it what you want.
Serve on a plate with your favorite Mexican foods and some refried beans with a sprinkle of cheese and chopped cilantro.
You may also use Mexican rice as part of burritos, burrito bowls, or other dishes.
To make Mexican rice ahead, cook as directed and allow it to cool. Seal in an airtight container in the refrigerator for the next day. You may store it for 3-4 days, but the longer it is stored, the poorer the texture.
You may freeze the rice for 2 months airtight in a container or ziplock bag, then thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. I do find frozen rice loses some texture.
Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop for a few minutes.
Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole in 60 Minutes
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Long-grain rice is preferred. Some people like to rinse the rice but you need to brown the rice and wet rice does not brown well.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat until hot. Add 1 cup of long-grain rice.
Toast until nicely brown, about 8-9 minutes. In the last minute of toasting, add 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic if using fresh garlic.
Add 1 cup of your favorite salsa and 1 cup of chicken broth. Add ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder if not using fresh, and ½ teaspoon salt. You may add optional jalapenos, peas, corn, or carrots. Bring to a boil, then decrease to low heat and cover. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender.
Remove from heat, let sit for a few minutes, then fluff. Cover until serving.
Easy Mexican Rice
- 1 cup long grain rice - rinse optional
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 cloves crushed garlic - or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1-2 tablespoons oil - for browning rice
Optional ingredients - add with broth
- 1 jalapeno - diced or minced
- ⅓ cup peas - frozen or fresh
- 1 carrot - small, diced
- Long-grain rice is preferred. Some people like to rinse the rice but you need to brown the rice and wet rice does not brown well.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat until hot. Add 1 cup of long-grain rice.
- Toast until nicely brown, about 8-9 minutes. In the last minute of toasting, add 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic if using fresh garlic.
- Add 1 cup of your favorite salsa and 1 cup of chicken broth. Add ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder if not using fresh, and ½ teaspoon salt. You may add optional jalapenos, peas, corn, or carrots. Bring to a boil, then decrease to low heat and cover. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender.
- Remove from heat, let sit for a few minutes, then fluff. Cover until serving.
Your Own Private Notes
- This recipe adjusts up or down in size easily.
- You can use different rice and adjust the cooking time. Always simmer until tender.
- Rinsing the rice is felt by some to prevent sticking of rice. To me, the browning takes care of that and it is hard to brown wet rice.
- Add the optional jalapeno, peas, corn, and carrot if you want.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days, but I do not like to freeze rice, but it may be frozen for 3-4 months but may lose some texture.
- The serving size is ½ cup.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published August 10, 2014. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.
what is the purpose of u browning rice before cooking ? can u give me some advice please
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
The browning does two things. First, it will firm up the surface of the rice and make it less sticky, and each gain is more distinct... so better texture. Second, the browning is a Maillard reaction and will add flavor. https://www.101cookingfortwo.com/abbreviations-salts-and-oven-temperature/#the-maillard-reaction
Skip it if you want but the rice will be mushier...
I only have short grain Indian rice which requires 2 1/2 cups of liquid for every 1 cup. Does that mean I should use 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Most standard rice needs 1 cup rice to 2 cups of water or liquid. So yours needs a bit more liquid or a little less rice.
In this recipe, the salsa plus the broth make up the 2 cups of liquid for the standard 1 cup of rice. For yours, I would increase the liquid, probably the broth, by 1/2 cup to make a total of 1 cup salsa + 1 1/2 cup broth = 2 1/2 cups to 1 cup of your rice.
I enjoyed this recipe a lot. Was impressed by the amount of flavor using only a few ingredients. Only change was I had to add 1/2 cup more liquid at the end (water). Otherwise prepared as written.
Excellent straight forward recipe, made as per instructions with carrots, peas, jalapenos and added lime juice and chili powder. I'm getting rid of my other Mexican rice recipes. Next time I'll sub with black beans and corn instead of peas and carrots.
Great recipe, very easy to make. Made this because the kiddo wanted Mexican Rice. It was a hit and she wanted more, so this is a keeper in this house. Misread the recipe and accidentally used 1 tsp of cumin instead of 1/2 tsp; it turned out fine. Also used more cloves of garlic because we love garlic. Left out the jalapeño since it is too spicy for the kiddo. Made this in a stainless steel pan, and roasted the rice with coconut oil because it prevents that sticky film that covers and gets stuck on the pan whenever I cook with olive oil on high heat.
Welcome to the blog.
Thanks for the comment and how it worked for you.
turned out awful
Love this recipe, it's on speed-dial. 😊 Made again last night with addition of black beans & sweet corn. Thank you!
I have done it with the beans and corn and it is great. I thought nobody saw this recipe.
Thanks for the note.
The taste of this dish was wonderful, but it needed an increase of liquid in order to cook the rice all the way through. So next time I will use a cup and a quarter of liquid. This is a keeper. Thanks.
I kept it a little dry to prevent sticking but a little more liquid wouldn't hurt.
Thanks for the comment and rating
Similar to what I do, except I used Pace Picante sauce and no cumin. Great minds think alike! (I've never posted mine, now I don't have to, ha ha).
Come on Chris, post it. I see all your sides and things you do, I want to copy everything
Note to readers: Check out Chris's blog Nibble Me This