Mexican Rice

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Mexican rice is a delicious and easy side dish to accompany tacos, fill burritos, or otherwise enhance your Mexican style meal. This dish is perfect for your Cinco de Mayo Dinner!

Mexican Rice | Life as Mom

Mexican food is a cuisine near and dear to my heart. Growing up in Southern California, my family loved, loved, LOVED to visit Downtown Los Angeles and the historic Olvera Street. The original neighborhood of the City of Angels, Olvera Street features some of the best eating I’ve had in my life. The corner restaurant, La Luz del Dia is my favorite.

Carnitas Tostada, por favor — y dos tacos de carnitas.

And a 7-Up. (I was a French major, remember?)

Such a creature of habit, I order the same. thing. every. time.

But, we can’t go to Olvera Street every week, can we? So, over the years I’ve learned to make many things myself: tortillas, tamales, salsa, and today’s recipe: Mexican Rice. This is very versatile; it’s great as a side dish, but can also make a frugal, meatless main dish, like beans and rice. This is an easy rice pilaf that will astonish you at its simplicity. Promise.

Tools I use for this recipe

And if you’re truly a visual person, here’s a video to help you through the steps.

What’s a favorite Mexican dish that your family makes?

We’d love to hear about it!

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. Anonymous says

    For the Mexican Rice, do you use “minute” rice or the longer cooking rice? The minute rice is probably not as frugal, but CAN you use it?


  2. Liz@HoosierHomemade says

    Thanks for hosting! The rice looks great!

  3. I make mexican rice very much like this. But I put some seasoning in mine like cumin. I think the trick is frying the rice.

  4. Karen says

    Your rice recipe looks simple and delicious. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Gina K says

    I goofed! I put just my name in the widget above for the recipe swap, and forgot to add the recipe name…I tried to delete it and redo it but don’t know how to. Please delete the Gina Koston link and leave the second one I put in that has the Mexican Breakfast Casserole recipe title in it. Thanks so much and sorry for the goof!

  6. Megan says

    It’s great to have a simple yet delicious side dish like this for all those heavy mexican dishes! Thanks for hosting the exchange.

  7. Charissa says

    This is the first time I have read your blog & I LOVE your Ultimate Recipe Swap! Great idea 🙂

  8. Amy @ Finer Things says

    I didn’t add one this time, but Mexican is a fave here. Can’t wait to check out some of these recipes!

  9. Marshall says


    We have just added your latest post "Life as Mom: Ultimate Recipe Swap: Mexican Food" to our Food Directory . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory for getting a huge base of visitors to your website and gaining a valuable backlink to your site.

    Warm Regards Team

  10. My Mexican rice (which my husband who normally hates rice absolutely loves) is made like this: Saute 1 cup parboiled rice and some chopped onion (usually 1/2 onion) in some oil till the rice is somewhat browned and the onions are translucent. Then stir in one can of Rotel, one cup water, and half a package of taco seasoning. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed. You can have it just like that, but what we usually do is grill a couple chicken breast tenderloins on the George Foreman, chop them into small cubes, and add to the rice mixture as it cooks…then pour a little italian dressing over it right before eating it…YUMMY!!

  11. Whew! That was close. I had been browsing your site so intensely that I didn’t realize that my laptop battery was about to die. I almost lost your site…which I love!
    My husband and I have been debt free for 3 years now (oh man, it feels gooooooooood!) and with recent prices at the grocery store going back into an upswing, we’ve had to tighten the budget’s belt a bit. Beans and rice sounds like the perfect answer. You’ve really inspired me with frugal meals, and I’ve started to look into Once A Month cooking too.
    Thanks for such a fabulous blog! I will be back often.

  12. Serenity says

    Does this anyone know if this recipe works with brown rice?

  13. Gail says

    sounds great – I would only make one change. I would use salsa instead of the tomato sauce.

  14. Sarah G says

    I just made the Mexican Rice last night and it was fabulous! I am so excited b/c making from scratch (using a very easy recipe) is going to save me lots of money over buying the Uncle Ben’s ready to go Spanish Rice…plus, I know exactly what’s in my rice! Thank you so much for sharing – like one poster mentioned, I added chopped onions to mine, and will try it with salsa and corn next time – gotta sneak in those vegetables whenever I can! Thanks again for sharing!

  15. Katie says

    I came across this recipe over a year ago, and it has NEVER FAILED ME! For the rehearsal dinner before our wedding, my husband and I cooked a meal for everyone that included this rice, and we got rave reviews! Thank you for sharing this amazingly simple dish!

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Wow! Rehearsal dinner? I’m honored. So glad that it has been successful for you!

  16. Danielle says

    I have tried this recipe many times. I love this recipe and so does my family, but I continue to get crunchy rice instead of soft, cooked rice. What am I doing wrong?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      I’ve had that happen before, usu when I’m not patient enough to cook it the entire time, or if there isn’t enough liquid.

      • Danielle says

        I figured it out! My lid wasn’t sealed tight enough (it’s from another pan)-so I put foil between my lid and pan. And I got that yummy rice you talked about! Yeah! Not a rice-cooker-failure after all. 🙂 about to surprise the fam at dinner

  17. made the rice today..had the slow cooker pinto beans cooked from yesterday. what a great make ahead meal! had a good amount of ‘liguid’ with the beans and so i drained that out and plan to use IT for something else. mashed the beans alittle and fried them up before serving with shredded cheese on top and green tabasco sauce. topped the rice with sour cream and green tabasco. very good! anyone have any ideas for what to do with the leftover ‘liguid’ from the beans? has a nice flavor to it..must be good for SOMETHING! thanks!

  18. Kristen says

    Oh my cow. This was FANTASTIC! I just made it tonight along with your Pintos and tostadas and my whole family raved. This is definitely in our rotation now! Thank you!!

  19. This was an awesome dinner! I made this rice with your pintos that I’d cooked in the slow cooker yesterday. I added generous amounts of cumin, chili powder, garlic and onion powder, etc. to it because that’s how we like it. Sooooo much better than those Knorr rice packets I was using. This is fine eating, I tell ya! You’re my dinner hero, as usual!

  20. I made this months ago and let the race burn in the oil. Ruined it! I gave up trying to make it until yesterday. I made it correctly & watched it so I wouldn’t burn it. It turned our fabulous! We all loved it! Hubby & all 5 boys! My daughter is 3 & picky. LOL. I will be making this simple dish many times to come.

  21. Katie says

    Jessica (and others who’ve made this), do you rinse the rice before cooking it? I just made this to go with your bean recipe (which I made with black beans – it tastes great!), but the rice turned out really gloppy, and I wonder if it’s the extra starch. I used plain ol’ long grain white rice. One difference, that could have made a difference, is that I used a low, wide pot instead of a saute pan. My saute pan doesn’t have a lid; the pot did.

    • I don’t rinse the rice. I’ve found that when I did, it made it gloppy. Did you saute the rice in oil until it was started to brown lightly? That usually helps it not be sticky. (I use a low wide pan with a lid, so I think that part was fine.)

  22. Fiona says

    This looks like a great recipe, one small catch, my husband is allergic to tomatoes, any suggestions for a possible substitute? Would apple sauce or puréed carrots work? Absolutely loving the website, it’s given me loads of ideas for dinners and make ahead tips, cheers!

  23. Melissa says

    This recipe looks great 🙂 Could you please tell me what is in the tomato sauce? I’m in Australia – what we call tomato sauce Americans call ketchup. So I’m not sure what I should use.

    • Definitely a good question. It’s more like a tomato purée that’s been thinned down a bit. Nothing much added except maybe salt, pepper.

  24. Maria Pimentel says

    Can this be frozen or will it have a weird texture?

  25. Marci says

    Just made this, finished it off in the oven instead of on the stove. added onions and cilantro. Yummy- thank you!

  26. TSandy says

    Jessica I make something similar. Next time substitute the cup of tomato sauce with a cup of salsa. Yum! It’s even good cold. I do the same thing. Use leftovers in burritos etc.

  27. Marge Fox says

    This looks so good and so easy I can’t wait to try it. Is there a way to share this on FB?

  28. We were fortunate to receive some homemade tamales from a dear friend, and the rice recipiyou shared is cooking as I write, so looking forward to the lunch we are going to have. Thank you so much!

  29. I use your yellow rice recipe with taco seasoning (both from your cookbook) for my Mexican rice. So good!

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