When you want a restaurant-worthy side dish to complement your Mexican entree, this Mexican Rice recipe is the answer. It is a quick and easy side dish ready in about thirty-five minutes.

It costs approximately $6.55 to make this rice. The recipe makes eight servings and costs around $0.81 per serving.

Mexican rice topped with chopped cilantro.

You will love this Easy Mexican Rice Recipe

Take plain rice to the next level with this Mexican Rice recipe. With just a few ingredients, you bring a flavorful side dish alive.

This Mexican Rice is so simple to make and tastes better than anything you can order at a restaurant; you will never want to order Mexican Rice again after making this recipe at home.

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This Mexican Rice recipe would be a great accompaniment to my Chicken Tacos, Oven TacosEnchiladas, Mexican Street Corn Casserole, and Shrimp Fajitas.

What is Mexican Rice?

Mexican rice is a side dish made with white rice, tomatoes, garlic, and a few spices. It is a popular dish served alongside refried beans with an entree at Mexican restaurants.

Mexican Rice Ingredients and Estimated Cost

Per Serving Cost: $0.81

Recipe Cost: $6.55

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil – $0.28
  • 1 large white onion – $1.04
  • 3 large garlic cloves – $0.12
  • 2 cups long grain rice – $0.78
  • 10 ounce can Rotel – $1.33
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes – $0.72
  • 1 teaspoon cumin – $0.03
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt – $0.03
  • ⅛-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper – $0.02
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth – $2.00
  • ¼ cup cilantro – $0.20

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in December 2023.


All of the ingredients needed to make homemade Mexican rice.

Mexican Rice Recipe Easy ingredients

Mexican Rice is made with:

  • white rice
  • tomatoes
  • garlic
  • onions
  • cumin
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • Top it with cilantro for a delicious blend of flavors.

Cook’s Tools for Quick Mexican Rice

  • deep pan with lid
  • wooden spoon

Can I use brown rice?

You can use brown rice instead of white rice. It is a great healthy substitute. Just keep in mind that brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice. Especially minute rice! You will need to plan on 35-40 minutes to cook the rice, adding 10 minutes to ensure it is fully cooked. If you are using a rice cooker to cook the brown rice, you can just push the “brown rice” button. It will take about 50-55 minutes to cook. So while it takes a little longer than white rice, it’s nutritional values make it worth it.

How to make Homemade Mexican Rice

***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.

  1. Heat the oil in your skillet.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook them for a few minutes.
  3. After reducing the heat add in the rice and garlic. It is important to stir constantly to ensure the rice doesn’t burn.
  4. Cook it for a few minutes over low heat and then stir in the tomatoes and seasonings.
  5. Add the broth and bring it to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover it and let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice is done. You can add more liquid as needed. You do not want the rice to be sticky.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve!

Cover and cook until the Mexican rice is done.

How to serve this Easy Mexican Rice Recipe

This Mexican rice is the perfect complement to most Mexican dishes. A few of my favorite dishes to serve this rice with include my Chicken TacosOven TacosEnchiladas, Mexican Street Corn Casserole, and Shrimp Fajitas.

How to store Homemade Mexican Rice

Store the leftover cooked rice in an airtight container. It will stay fresh if kept in the fridge, for up to five days.

How to reheat Mexican Rice?

Reheating Mexican Rice is a cinch. Just add a sprinkle of water to the Mexican rice dish before you cover it with foil. Place the dish in a 300-degree pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes. If you just need to reheat a single serving size, just place the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl and add a little bit of water. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and cook it in 1-minute increments until it is heated all the way through.

Mexican rice side dish for any Mexican entree.

Easy Mexican Rice FAQs

Why is my Rice Mushy?

The main culprit of mushy rice is probably due to overcooking the rice. Another possible cause of mushy rice is not cooking the rice in oil. When you cook the rice in oil it prevents the starch from creating a sticky texture.

What is the difference between Spanish Rice and Mexican rice?

Spanish and Mexican rice have a couple of differences. The biggest difference is that Mexican rice tends to be fluffier than Spanish Rice. The other way to tell the difference between the two types of rice is the color. Mexican rice has a reddish-orange color, while Spanish rice is yellow.

Why is Mexican rice orange?

The infamous color comes from the addition of cumin. In addition to the reddish-orange color, the cumin adds a delicious nutty and spicy flavor to the dish.

ONE YEAR AGO: Homemade Croutons

TWO YEARS AGO: Mom’s Zucchini Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Cherry Crumble Pie

Mexican rice is bowls ready to eat.
Cover and cook until the Mexican rice is done.
5 from 10 votes

Quick Mexican Rice

Recipe Cost $ 6.55
Serving Cost $ 0.81
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
8 people
This quick and easy Mexican Rice recipe is the perfect compliment to any Mexican meal! It’s restaurant-worthy and it will quickly become a family favorite! 



  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic, then cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add rice and garlic. Stir constantly, making sure the rice doesn’t burn. 
    Sauté the onion and garlic.
  • Cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Add Ro-tel, tomatoes, cumin, salt, and cayenne (if using). Stir to combine. Let cook for 2 minutes.
    Add the rice, rotel, and spices to the pan.
  • Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 additional minutes or until rice is done.
    Pour in the chicken stock.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle lots of freshly chopped cilantro over the top. Serve immediately.
    Close up of Mexican rice.


Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 383mg | Potassium: 357mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 9.9mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1.7mg

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This post first appeared on Food Folks and Fun on September 12, 2012. I have since updated the pictures, and the originals are below.

Easy Mexican Rice in a saucepan
The Best Mexican Rice

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Recipe Rating


  1. I love this Mexican Rice!

  2. Alexandra says:

    Delicious! My new favourite rice dish – full of lovely flavour, and looks fantastic.

  3. OMG! Yum! I made this tonight it was AMAZING!! I love Mexican rice and now I can have it at home!!

  4. Jacqueline Debono says:

    Love the sound of this Mexican rice! I’m already thinking of making it as a side for my birthday lunch on 12th May. One question. I don’t know the brand Ro-tel. Is it chopped tomatoes or a sauce?

  5. Mexican rice is such a versatile recipe. I have been using it to accompany so many other dishes (and not only Mexican). I can’t way to try your recipe because I always keep the one that is easier to make, and yours looks amazing!

  6. Katherine says:

    Such an awesome Mexican rice. Love the cayenne in there.

    1. So glad that you enjoyed it!

  7. Renee Goerger says:

    Your Mexican rice recipe is something I find myself making quite often. We really love the flavor!

  8. I made this tonight for Fajita night and it was amazing! It tasted like I was in a restaurant! A bit spicy for my 11 year old, but very tasty!!

  9. Can I used jasmine rice? Or normal white rice.. That’s all I have and I want to try this tonight without going to the store!

    1. Either should work, but I’d use the normal white rice over the Jasmine rice. Enjoy.