This authentic Mexican rice recipe is the perfect complimentary side for your favorite Mexican dish! Or simply add a can of beans to the rice and you have an easy, satisfying one-pot meal in less than 30 minutes. Either way, you can’t go wrong. This authentic recipe gives you perfect restaurant-quality Mexican rice every time!
Mexican rice is my go-to side dish for so many meals! I love Mexican food (my favorite thing apart from Chocolate Chip Cookies!) so this rice makes it into our dinner rotation quite often. This recipe is a very slight adaption to my Grandma Linda’s authentic Mexican rice. My Grandma Linda was a very good cook from what I remember – I wish she could have taught me to make this herself. Luckily she taught my mom, who then taught me.
Let’s get cooking!
Just like all the recipes on my blog this rice recipe is allergy friendly! It’s free from all top food allergens such as wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, and peas.
Are Mexican Rice and Spanish Rice the Same Thing?
Guess what – they’re not! Many people use the names Mexican rice and Spanish rice interchangeably, but they’re actually not the same thing!
My husband grew up eating Spanish rice and I grew up eating Mexican rice. So what’s the difference? Mexican rice has tomato sauce and tomato bouillon in it – which gives it a more reddish hue. Spanish rice doesn’t contain the tomato – and is more yellow in color. Spanish rice often contains saffron (although not always, which gives it the yellow color.)
Additionally, Mexican rice is a little softer and Spanish rice has a little more of a firmer texture.
So which is better? They’re both good! My husband and I each prefer the one we grew up eating – but we love them both and so do our kids. Both are great choices to pair with tacos, enchiladas, or fajitas.
What You Need for this Authentic Mexican Rice Recipe
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This is a true one-pot dish so all you need is a pan, a metal or wooden spatula, and a few measuring cups and spoons.
Ingredients for Authentic Mexican Rice
- White rice: Long grain rice is best for Mexican rice.
- Oil: Your favorite oil for cooking/sauteing/ I use avocado oil in this recipe.
- Onion: I looooove onion in Mexican rice. It gives it so much delicious flavor. Unfortunately my husband hates onion so I usually leave it out. However, when he won’t be home for dinner you bet that onion is going in!
- Broth or bouillon: This recipe traditionally calls for water and tomato bouillon, however, if you can’t find tomato bouillon (usually located in the Hispanic foods aisle) then you can use chicken broth or vegetable broth instead. You can also find the tomato bouillon that I use here.
- Water: If you choose to use canned or packaged broth you’ll need 1/4 cup of water in addition to the broth. If you use tomato bouillon then you’ll use that 1/4 cup of water PLUS the water you need for the bouillon (2 cups ) – so 2 1/4 cups total.
- Tomato sauce
- Garlic powder
How to Make This Authentic Mexican Rice Recipe
- Chop: Peel and chop the onion if you are including it. I highly recommend it!
- Fry: Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the rice, onion, cumin, and garlic powder. Fry the rice, while stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes until it is golden in color.
- Cook: Add the water, tomato bouillon, and tomato sauce to the rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low (all the way down!) and then cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes of until rice is fully cooked and the broth is absorbed. Make sure to leave the lid on during the cooking process!
How to Make Mexican Rice a Complete One-Pot Meal
Mexican rice is my go-to dinner when I need a quick and easy one pot meal in a hurry! It’s easy to take Mexican rice and turn it into a complete satisfying meal. Here’s how to do it:
To turn this Mexican rice recipe into a complete on-pot meal, simply add a drained can of black or pinto beans to the rice after it is finished cooking. Keep the heat on low, add the can of beans, and add the lid back on top. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heat through – about 5 minutes.
What to Serve with Mexican Rice
So many dishes go perfecly with Mexican rice. You can serve it with beans, as above, or serve it alongside your favorite Mexican dish! This easy authentic rice goes perfectly with:
- Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos
- Oven Chicken Fajitas
- Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas
- Taco Sweet Potato
- Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato Tacos
- Taco Soup
And for dessert? These gluten free and vegan churros are soooo good! You haven’t lived until you’ve had a homemade churro.
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Authentic Mexican Rice Recipe (Easy One Pot Meal!)
This authentic Mexican rice recipe is quick and easy! You’ll have delicious restaurant quality Mexican rice in 30 minutes or less with hardly any work on your part!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Mexican
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 tomato bouillon cube *see note
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- Heat oil in a medium-sized pan. Once hot, add in chopped onion, rice, cumin, and garlic powder. Fry, while stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until rice is golden in color.
- Add water, tomato bouillon, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to lowest setting. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked and water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and serve.
*Alternatively, you may use 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth instead of the water and tomato bouillon.
- Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
- Calories: 178 calories
- Fat: 7 grams
- Carbohydrates: 25.5 grams
- Protein: 2.5 grams
Keywords: authentic Mexican rice recipe, Mexican rice, restaurant Mexican rice
Love this recipe! Mexican rice is my favorite (and way better than Spanish rice in my opinion.)