Head to flavor town each and every time you take a bite of this Mexican rice! Not only is it easy to make, but it goes with so many different dishes. If you wanted to, you could even add a protein in with it to make it an easy one pan meal.
We love eating it with carnitas and sheet pan fajitas. It’s also nice to have when you serve up other Mexican-inspired recipes like homemade salsa and shrimp ceviche. Don’t be alarmed when you see peppers in the recipe, it actually has a mild to medium spice level – just enough for the added kick.
Another way you could use Mexican rice is by adding it to a burrito bowl with traditional toppings such as black beans, corn, avocado, or even other vegetables. It also adds a nice twist to the average taco night or when you have enchiladas, which is a go-to for us because they are so easy.
Table of contents
Easy Mexican Rice Ingredients
- Canola oil – or your favorite cooking oil (vegetable oil will work just as well)
- Veggies: Onions, jalapenos, Rotel tomatoes
- Herbs and Seasonings: minced garlic, cumin, cilantro, creole seasoning (we like Tony Chacer’s and we use it in our Dirty Rice too)
- Tomato paste
- Rice – Jasmine or any long grain white rice will work. We prefer a white rice variety.
- Water – you can substitute chicken broth or add a teaspoon of chicken bouillon along with the other ingredients.
- Lime juice – try to use fresh if possible, it makes all the difference
How to Make the Best Mexican Rice on the Stove top
Saute the diced onions, peppers, and garlic in oil over medium heat in a large skillet until they are soft and tender.
Stir in the cumin, creole seasoning, and tomato paste.
Add the rice, followed by the water and Rotel.
Bring it to a simmer (boil) over medium high heat, then reduce. Cook for 30 minutes, covered with a lid, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
Fluff with a fork and remove from the heat.
Squeeze a little lime juice, garnish with cilantro, and serve! If needed, season with salt to taste.
Store leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container for 4-5 days.
Variations and Substitutions
- Add more jalapeno, chili powder, and/or a spicier creole/cajun seasoning to increase the spiciness.
- Substitute fresh or canned tomatoes (plain) for the Rotel and reduce spicy seasoning/omit the jalapeno for a very mild rice.
- To make a cauliflower spanish rice – substitute one head of finely riced cauliflower for the rice and omit the water in the recipe. Cauliflower rice takes only 5 minutes or so to cook rather than the 30 minutes that jasmine rice will take.
Is there a difference between Spanish rice and Mexican rice?
In today’s world, most people just use these terms interchangeably. Technically Spanish rice is supposed to be a little firmer than the melt in your mouth Mexican restaurant style rice.
Spanish rice is also traditionally made using Saffron rather than tomatoes and includes diced onion and bell pepper.
Can Mexican rice be frozen?
Sure can! Once the rice has cooled completely, transfer it to a freezer safe bag or airtight container. To reheat, let it thaw overnight or cook it straight from the bag. Use the microwave or the stovetop and heat until it’s warmed all of the way through.
Can Mexican rice be made with brown rice?
As long as it’s a long grain variety, it may just take a little longer to cook.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or your favorite cooking oil
- ½ large yellow onion diced (1 cup)
- 1-2 fresh jalapenos diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2-3 teaspoons creole seasoning we like Tony Chacer’s
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups jasmine rice or long-grain rice
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 15oz. can Rotel tomatoes (undrained)
- Juice of 1 lime
- Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil over medium in a large skillet. Saute diced onion, jalapeno and garlic for 8-10 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Mix in the tomato paste, cumin, and creole seasoning until combined – mixture will be thick and paste-like.
- Stir the rice into the mixture and then stir in the water and the can of Rotel.
- Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from heat and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Garnish with fresh squeezed lime juice and chopped cilantro.