Restaurant Style Mexican rice is super easy to make from home and so yummy! The perfect side dish to go with all your favorite Mexican recipes. Using simple ingredients, rice, onions, garlic, and some spices this Mexican rice dish comes together in 30 minutes!
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This easy Mexican rice recipe is a versatile side dish with authentic flavor. That can be served as a side dish alongside your favorite Mexican-inspired main courses such as Chicken Enchiladas, Baked Chicken Tacos, Beef Burritos, or my Grilled Skirt Steak.
Why this recipe works
Mexican rice is easy to prepare and so delicious just like your favorite restaurant! With a few basic ingredients and easy steps, you can create a flavorful and delicious side dish that will impress your guests or satisfy your own cravings. Perfect for a crowd or your next taco Tuesday, but easy to cut in half like my Cilantro Lime Rice.
- Rice: Long-grain rice such as jasmine rice or basmati rice.
- Onion: White or yellow onion.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is always best.
- Chicken stock: Low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth to help cut back on the sodium.
- Tomatoes: Fire-roasted or Rotel works great.
- Tomato sauce: Gives the rice its signature red color and a hint of tomato flavor. Cook the tomato sauce with the aromatics to develop its taste.
- Spices: Chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin.
How to make Mexican rice
- Step 1: Heat a large skillet with olive oil on medium-high heat, add onions, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Step 2: Add in the white rice and cook another 3-4 minutes or until the rice starts to brown. Add in garlic and cook another minute.
- Step 3: Add in stock, tomato sauce, fire-roasted tomatoes, and spices, and mix just until combined. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Step 4: Remove the lid and fluff rice with a fork add in the chopped fresh cilantro and more salt to taste if needed.
Spanish rice is typically fluffy and light while Mexican rice tends to be slightly clumpy or sticky due to the use of tomato sauce.
If the heat is too high the water evaporates too quickly not allowing the rice to cook all the way.
If you didn't add enough water the rice will end up dry and crunchy.
White rice is generally what is used but you can use a long grain. Add an additional 1/2 cup of liquid and it will take about 15 minutes longer to cook brown rice.
Yes let your Mexican rice cool completely and place in a freezer-safe bag or freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced white onion
- 1 1/2 cups long grain rice Jasmine or basmati rice
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes do not drain
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt- plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- lime slices optional
- Heat a large skillet with olive oil on medium high heat, add onions and cook 1-2 minutes. Add the rice and cook another 3-4 minutes or until rice starts to brown. Then add in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
- Pour in the stock, tomato sauce, fire-roasted tomatoes and spices mix just until combined. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes (do NOT lift lid)
- Remove lid and fluff with fork, add more salt to taste if needed. Garnish with chopped cilantro and fresh limes if desired.