This Mexican rice recipe is restaurant style rice simmered in tomato sauce and broth with plenty of spices. A quick and easy side dish that pairs perfectly with fajitas, tacos or carnitas, and makes a perfect filling for burritos.
Everyone needs some great side dishes in their cooking repertoire, and this Mexican rice is one of the best options. I always keep the ingredients on hand so that I can whip up a batch at a moment’s notice. This recipe is sure to get rave reviews from both kids and adults alike.
Mexican Rice Ingredients
All you need is a handful of pantry items, plus one secret ingredient to make the best rice.
- Rice: I prefer to use a medium to long grain rice in this dish, as it has the best flavor and texture to complement the tomato and spices, and is most authentic to what you’d find in a restaurant.
- Chicken Broth: The use of chicken broth gives the rice a more complex flavor. Look for low sodium broth if you’re sensitive to salt. Vegetable broth can also be used if you’re feeding vegetarians.
- Spices: Add a little spice to make your rice taste authentic. I use fresh minced garlic, chili powder and cumin.
- Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce gives the rice its distinctive color and flavor. Don’t use spaghetti sauce, look for small jars of tomato sauce that contain pureed tomatoes, salt and often garlic or onion.
- Bell Pepper: This is the secret ingredient in the dish! Place a few slices of bell pepper in the rice while it simmers, then remove the peppers before serving. You can use a red or green pepper, although I prefer red because it has a milder taste.
How do you make Mexican rice?
Start by cooking the raw rice in a little oil to toast the grains. Add the chicken broth, spices, tomato sauce and bell peppers to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer until the rice is tender. When the rice is finished cooking, remove the bell peppers and discard. Fluff the rice with a fork, then serve and enjoy.
Tips for the perfect dish
- Mexican rice will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the rice for later use.
- This dish will makes about 6 generous portions, but can feed up to 8 as a smaller dish. You can easily double the recipe if you have more people to serve.
- Feel free to dress up your rice with a variety of toppings such as fresh pico de gallo, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, sour cream or olives.
- You can also make this recipe with brown rice, but you will need to add more liquid and add another 30 minutes to the cook time.
While this rice is fabulous as-is, you can add other flavors to make it your own.
- Vegetables: Stir some cooked veggies into your rice such as corn, roasted green chilies, onions or dice up the bell pepper slices and add them to the finished dish.
- Spice: If you prefer spicy rice, you can add crushed red pepper flakes to taste, or add 1 minced canned chipotle pepper for a smoky heat.
- Beans: Add one can of drained and rinsed black or pinto beans to the cooked rice for extra protein and flavor.
Once you try this Mexican rice, you’ll find yourself making it on a regular basis. It’s just that good!
More Mexican Inspired Dishes
Mexican Rice Video
For the Rice:
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded and quartered
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- diced tomatoes, cilantro and lime wedges for garnish optional
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated in the oil. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the rice is toasted and lightly browned.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients, then bring the pot to a boil.
- Cover the pot and turn the heat to low; cook for 17 minutes.
- Take the pot off the heat and let it stand, covered for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bell peppers. Fluff with a fork, then serve.
- Garnish with tomatoes, cilantro and lime wedges if desired.