Mexican Rice

Classic Mexican Rice

The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 28 mins
Total: 33 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
110 Calories
3g Fat
18g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 110
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 631mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 15mg 73%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 324mg 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.)

This restaurant-style Mexican rice will rival any you'd find in a Tex-Mex restaurant. The rice is toasted in the skillet with oil for the perfect texture—no mushy rice here. Then, it's cooked with tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, and broth for tons of flavor.

At its heart, this dish is rice and peppers, so feel free to add jalapeño peppers for some heat or add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes. Chicken stock can be used in place of the beef stock, or substitute vegetable broth for a vegetarian version. A squeeze of fresh lime is a nice touch.

Serve Mexican-style rice with tender pinto or black beans for a classic pairing. It's also delicious with marinated and grilled meat, like steak or pork, or as a filling for burritos.


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth, or chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Chopped cilantro, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Mexican Rice With Tomatoes and Peppers ingredients

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  2. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, green bell pepper (if using), and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring frequently.

    Onion, green bell pepper, and garlic in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  3. Add the rice to the skillet and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the rice has browned slightly.

    Rice and vegetables in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  4. Add the tomatoes, broth, chili powder, salt, and cumin. Bring to a boil and cover the pan.

    Add tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, salt, and beef broth to the rice mixture in the skillet

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

    Mexican rice cooking in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve.

    Classic Mexican rice with tomatoes and peppers

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

How to Store and Freeze Mexican Rice

  • Store leftover Mexican rice in a covered container in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Reheat in the microwave, stirring a few times, or on the stovetop. Sprinkle with water if it looks dry.
  • You can also freeze Mexican rice. Spread out on a flat surface or platter and let cool for a few minutes. Then add to a freezer container or zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge before reheating.

Recipe Variations

  • Add up to 1 cup of frozen peas and carrots along with the canned tomatoes.
  • Add chopped jalapeño or serrano peppers for some kick.
  • You can also make this recipe using brown rice. Add 1/2 cup more broth and cook for 35 to 40 minutes instead of 20.
  • Try topping with thinly sliced green onions.
  • Add up to 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice or serve with lime wedges.

What is the difference between Mexican rice and Spanish rice?

In store-bought mixes, Spanish rice and Mexican rice are often used interchangeably on labels. They are both rice cooked with seasonings and tomatoes. Some Spanish rice recipes use saffron for a lovely yellow color.

How do you keep Mexican rice from getting mushy?

The key to perfectly textured Mexican rice is to fry the rice in a bit of oil before boiling it. This helps keep the rice from becoming mushy.