On the Border Mexican Rice

Copycat On the Border Mexican Rice

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
243 Calories
16g Fat
21g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 637mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 18mg 88%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 329mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

On the Border is a well-known Tex-Mex chain restaurant that is popular in the Southwestern United States thanks to its straightforward and flavorful take on Tex-Mex cuisine, a mashup between Mexican and Texan traditions. Heavy on cheese, cream, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and spices, this cuisine also puts meat at the center of its recipes, with dishes heavy on beef, pork, and chicken. These recipes also feature tortillas in all shapes and sizes and saucy preparations covered in cheese. On the Border also offers delicious red rice, which is a staple of Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants all over the world. The onion, pepper, and tomato give this rice a lot of flavor that makes it a side dish with substance. This rice is a wonderful side dish when served with sautéed vegetables, grilled chicken, beans, stuffed peppers, or fried eggs. Our copycat recipe from the original On the Border dish takes just 40 minutes and could easily become your new go-to dish on busy weekday nights when white rice or mashed potatoes just aren't enough.

Mexican rice is similar to Spanish rice. The names are often used interchangeably and although they do have many similarities, some spices are different. But the overall feeling of the dish is the same, and the red color from tomatoes and peppers is distinctive. In Mexico, the closest dish to what we know in the United States as Mexican rice is called arroz rojo, or red rice, also made with broth, onions, tomatoes, and depending on the cook, with some dried chile for spice. Some Spanish rice recipes use saffron, whereas some Mexican rice recipes use cumin, but the rices both serve the same purpose, to accompany saucy dishes and soak up all the juices on the plate, or to be the base for grilled or roasted meats.

Served with enchiladas, pork, beef, skirt steak, or just vegetables, this rice makes a wonderful and budget-friendly meal. If replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock you can also have a vegetarian and vegan-friendly dish.


Click Play to See How to Make Mexican Rice


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice

  • 1/4 medium onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Copycat On the Border Mexican Rice ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and cook (stirring frequently to prevent burning) until translucent and toasted, about 5 minutes.

    rice and oil in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Add onion, green pepper, and chili powder and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring often.

    onion, green pepper, and chili powder added to the rice in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute longer.

    add garlic to the rice mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.

    rice cooking in a covered saucepan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

    Copycat On the Border Mexican Rice in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg