Top Rated Mexican Rice Recipes
Seasoned with garlic, brown sugar, lemon pepper and more, this arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) does not shy away from season, a cooking tip our abuelas knew well. Recipe courtesy of Muy Bueno
The classic sizzling fajita platter found in Mexican restaurants across the globe is a cinch to replicate in your own kitchen. Fajitas can be made with almost any protein, but my favorite is steak. For this dish, I used boneless New York strip steak, but other cuts like flank steak and skirt steak would work great as well. Click here to see Beef Recipes for Any Night of the Week
Mexican rice is the anchor of many excellent Mexican spreads, and having recently posted our recipe for Chiles Rellenos, I’m back with the perfect Mexican rice to go alongside.
I’m a big believer in the accoutrements that come with food—the sides, the sauces, the extras, the add-ons, the toppings—the trappings that make the dish a MEAL.
I recently was out with friends at a Mexican restaurant, and when we realized that the tacos were NOT served with rice and beans, we very nearly walked out. Save yourself this terrible existential struggle by learning how to make Mexican rice at home!
Copycat Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
This easy to make side dish tastes just like the rice from your favorite Mexican restaurant.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup finely diced onion
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until just golden. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, pepper and cayenne and cook a few minutes more.
- Stir in onions and cook until onions are tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is tender. Fluff with a fork. Stir in cilantro.
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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT COPYCAT RESTAURANT STYLE MEXICAN RICE
Wow! This Mexican Rice recipe is exactly what I have been looking for. It was just perfect in every way! I have pinned it and will return again and again to it. Thank you so much!
I had planned on buying an easy prep package of mexican-style rice to have as a side this evening but I forgot. I went online to see if I had enough to toss a rice dish together with what I have on hand. Alas, no tomato sauce but I did have tomato juice…..This dish was delicious. As I generally have tomato sauce on hand and not tomato juice, I will make it again as directed. But, it was great even with my needed substitutions.
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How to Make Mexican Rice:
This recipe comes down to the method.
- Fry the rice. I always use a long grain white rice. Add a small amount of oil or lard in your skillet, stir in the rice. Cook this over medium heat while stirring. We want the rice to start to get toasted. You will see bits of golden brown come through in the rice. This is also where I add in the onion. I quarter the onion into large chunks and saute it while I’m cooking the rice. This lets me get the flavor of the onion, and once the rice is cooked I can remove it and my husband will always eat the onion with whatever our main dish is, and my kids are happy theres no bits of onion in their rice.
- Add the water. Always use 2x the amount of water that you used rice. If you’re making 1 cup of rice, use 2 cups of water. 2 cups of rice will need 4 cups of water. During this, keep the heat up at medium high. It will sizzle when you pour the water in, it’s ok.
- Add in the seasoning. Measure out the tomato and chicken bouillons. Stir to ensure that all the rice is getting seasoned.
- Bring this to a boil and let the rice simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Cover the rice and turn the heat to low. Let this cook for 20 minutes undisturbed. DO NOT LIFT THE LID.
- After 20 minutes, peek through the lid, if you have a glass lid (I LOVE my Green Pan skillet with the glass lid!) make sure all the liquid is gone, if you don’t have a glass lid just have faith. Turn the heat off, and leaving the lid on, let the rice sit for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and fluff the rice. After the 10 minute cooling off time, you can remove the lid, and fluff the rice up to serve!
Let it simmer
Once the ingredients saute together, add in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. This gets the liquid nice and hot so that once the pot is covered and the heat is lowered, it can gently soften the grains using the absorption method.
It takes about 20 minutes for the rice to soak up the water and cook the starch granules. To fully soften the grains, keep it covered for 10 more minutes before opening the lid. Stirring at the end allows the residual heat from the steam to do its final cooking.
Add That Spanish Rice Flavor
CAREFULLY stir the tomato mixture into the rice. Adding the wet ingredients to the hot skillet will cause some splattering, so add them very slowly, a few tablespoons at first, to temper the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes to develop depth in the tomato and onion flavoring.
Stir in the chicken broth. Chicken broth adds saltiness and a richer flavor to this rice dish than plain water will. Or, dissolve chicken bouillon into plain water for that extra oomph.
How to make Mexican rice
- long grain white rice
- olive oil
- roma tomato
- tomato paste
Pretty much just the good stuff!
Toast the rice in a large skillet with some olive oil until some of the grains begin to brown and slightly pop and open up.
Add in the tomatoes, onions and garlic. Cook for another 30 seconds and add in the water and tomato paste. Stir and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 more minutes. That’s it!
The tomatoes and tomato paste give the rice the beautiful reddish hint that everyone knows and loves about Mexican rice. However, if you don’t have tomato paste, you can use a tomato bouillon cube like these.
(Be sure to check out my recipe for Arroz Verde (Green Rice), too!)
Mexican Rice Recipe
This rice is such a favorite dish in my house that sometimes it is the main dish, accompanied with beans, avocado or topped with a fried egg as it is served in some restaurants in México.
Like in most recipes, there are several variations to this recipe. Some cooks will use lard or margarine instead of oil, others will add Chicken bullion dissolved in water as a substitute for both. This last ingredient is very common in Mexican kitchens where it is also used to enhance the flavor of other meals.
This is one of my favorite side dishes for anything mexican. I love serving it with fish tacos. It is so full of flavor and great hot or room temperature.
Got rave reviews at the work potluck. Packed cilantro leaves equal about two bunches. Used basmati rice and only 1/3 cup olive oil in cilantro dressing.
I made this last night and followed Haeolebrah's suggestion to toast the rice until golden brown and add more onion and serrano. The toasting added a nutty flavor. This rice was outstanding. My boyfriend said he could "eat this by the bucketful." I agree, and I have disliked rice since I was a kid. I'll probably make it again as written to see what the difference is, but either way, this will be my go-to rice side. The extra cilantro sauce was great on our chicken tacos too.
If you want to make this right, you need to cook the rice in oil until golden brown. Also, I never cook garlic that long as it will get bitter. I add the garlic about a minute before the liquid which I also reduce so the rice isn't too wet. Also double the onion and serrano! I learned how to make this dish from my wife's abuelita who was from Nicaragua.
The cilantro dressing is one of my husband's favorite things - the recipe makes enough for this delicious rice dish and more to slather on tacos, anything! I can't understand people calling this bland. Maybe it's the quality of ingredients being used. Great summer dish!
This is an amazing rice recipe! I didn't have a food processor for the dressing, but it still tasted great when it was all stirred in. I just made sure to chop everything as finely as possible! My husband loves burritos and I'll be sure to make this rice with it every time.
Great rice recipe with the Cilantro Dressing. Used about 2/3 of the cilantro dressing on hot rice as it was very flavorful. It was delicious.
This recipe was totally boring, and I thought the texture was marginal. I've had much better Mexican rice from a box. Sunset has a great Mexican rice recipe so I'm sticking with that one from now on.
This is one of my favorite dinner party dishes. The dressing gives the rice a perfect texture and hue. I serve this with Grilled Cumin Chicken and Avocado Salsa.
Followed others advice and halved the olive oil. Paired it with the Tequila tri tip. People used it as salad dressing as well. Enjoyed by many.
Made this with for a Mexican night for company. It definitely needs to gel together. I put it together with the Cilantro dressing about a 1/2 hour prior to serving and it was good. Ate it the next day and it was excellent. I suggest making it a day ahead.
Thought this was the most boring, bland rice dish I have made in a very long time.
deliscious - cilantro dressing makes it - i even do it with brown rice in my rice cooker - easy and no fuss.
I have to agree with all the raters - it was EXCELLENT. I will double the cilantro sauce because people came back to put more. It was amazing - there were NO leftovers!
Yum! Very good with the delicious cilantro dressing. I was worried about the serranos for my toddlers, but they are really quite subtle so don't skip them (or add more!)
I hate it when I agree with the minority, but this rice is just okay. not very flavorful. The cilantro dressing helped, but it's too vinegary. Not sure Iɽ make again.
I stumbled across this recipe in 2005 and have been making this side dish ever since. I am always asked to bring this to every mexican-themed potluck and guests to my home are very disappointed if I don't serve this with our meals. 'Nuff said. Good Stuff Maynard!
I made this rice dish recently for a football party and it was a hit. I couldn't keep my family's fingers out of the rice while it was cooling, it was that good. When serving, I kept the Cilantro Dressing separate as I wasn't sure everyone would like it. That's an understatement, the guests drizzled it over everything (taco's, enchiladas, rice, etc). I did finally mix the leftover cilantro dressing and rice together and reheated the next day. It was like heaven!
Delicious! Perfect potluck dish! It goes well with grilled meat, Mexican food, and any bean dish. Friends always request the recipe. Fixing it tonight with pork tamales, heirloon beans, and a simple salad. I've been making it for years.
This recipe has been around since 2004 with a 91% would do again rate. Nuff said.
I'm only reviewing the rice since I haven't made the cilantro dressing yet. The rice has very good flavor. Took the advise of a previous reviewer and sauteed the onion, garlic, pepper and rice together for 10 minutes. Before serving rice added some fresh cilantro, chopped green scallions and squeeze of lime juice. Will definitely make again.
Easy, flavorful, serves well hot, warm or cold and the Cilantro dressing really kicks it up! Just looking for excuses for 2nd and 3rds. Make extra, you'll be happy IF you have leftovers! Only change I made was using a "generic" red chili from my window box. It had heat and that is the fun key.
I agree. This is an exceptional rice dish, with the cilantro dressing. I made it for a big Mexican buffet dinner I hosted for my daughters' college friends. They kept coming back for heaping plates of seconds and thirds of rice only! Good thing I made a double batch. I sauteed the rice with the onion mixture for a full ten minutes, as recommended by the reviewer below. The rice browned nicely and turned out very light and fluffy. Definitely will do again!
Delicious! Much better than the any reddish Spanish style rice. Served as an accompaniment to Grilled Pork Chops with Tomatillo/Apple Sauce from this site.
The flavor on this is very nice, but mine came out a bit soggy. I'll be sure to cook the rice in onions and oil longer next time for the right texture.
Mexican Red Rice
Put the garlic in a small microwave-safe bowl, cover with water and microwave at 100% for 1 minute. Drain, scoop into a blender or food processor and add the canned tomatoes. Process to a smooth puree.
In a 6-cup rice cooker, stir together the oil and rice. When the rice is thoroughly coated, stir in the tomato puree, broth (or water) and 1 ½ teaspoons salt if using unsalted broth or water, 1 teaspoon if using salted broth. Nestle in the chiles. Cover the rice cooker, turn it to “cook” and set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, gently stir the rice to incorporate the tomato mixture. Re-cover and let the rice cook until the cooker changes to the “keep warm” mode, about 20 minutes. Taste a grain of rice: It should be very close to done at the core. If not, sprinkle in a little water, re-cover and cook 5 minutes more.
If you’re using carrots, scoop them into a microwave-safe bowl, splash with a couple of tablespoons water, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave at 100% for 2 minutes. Carefully uncover (it’s steamy and hot) and tip off the water.
When the rice is done, uncover it and sprinkle in the carrots, peas (if you are using them) and the parsley or cilantro. Use a fork to gently fluff the rice, reaching all the way to the edges of the bottom, to release steam and slow the cooking. Re-cover, let stand 5 to 15 minutes and the rice is ready to serve. In my rice cooker, I can hold this warm for about 30 minutes without having the peas turn gray.