This easy Mexican rice is made in just one pot in 45 minutes! Full of flavor and so easy to customize. The perfect side dish for all your favorite Mexican recipes.
I’m a huge lover of Mexican food and could literally eat it every day. There are so many delicious Mexican side dish recipes, but this rice is definitely one of my favorites. It’s so easy and tastes super authentic. I also love Mexican street corn and cilantro lime rice.
One of my favorite side dishes to make is Mexican rice (also known as Spanish rice or arroz rojo). Whenever I eat out at a Mexican restaurant, I always have to order a plate. Just pass me the bowl and spoon and I’m happy. Anyone else the same way? Well now you can make it in the comfort of your own home. :)
This recipe is made in just one pot in about 45 minutes. It’s full of flavor and easy to customize. I love to top it with some fresh cilantro, however feel free to add a sprinkle of fresh lime juice or some minced jalapenos for some additional heat. Yum!
Difference between Spanish rice and Mexican rice
Spanish rice and Mexican rice are often interchanged and are basically the same dish. Both have similar base ingredients, like rice, tomatoes (or tomato sauce), chicken bouillon or broth. Depending on who makes it, the only small difference may be that Spanish rice is made with saffron instead of cumin. If made with saffron, it will have more of a yellowish tent versus an orange or red color.
Why is it orange?
Mexican rice is also referred to as “arroz rojo,” which means “red rice.” The main reason that it gets a red/orange color is from the diced tomatoes. The tomatoes, along with the tomato juice, are added to the skillet and simmer with the rice for about 20 to 25 minutes. The color is really infused during this cooking time. The chicken bouillon cubes and cumin also add to the vibrant orange tone.
The ingredients that you need are so simple! If you like heat, feel free to add more cumin and some minced jalapenos. I like to top mine with fresh cilantro for some added flavor.
- Chicken bouillon cubes
- Long grain white rice
- Crushed tomatoes
How to make Mexican rice
- Soak the bouillon. Place chicken bouillon cubes in a bowl with the warm water. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve.
- Brown the rice. Add oil to large skillet over medium heat. Mix in rice and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Push to one side of skillet, then add onions and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 more minute until fragrant. Combine onions and rice.
- Bring to a boil. Add diced tomatoes (including juice) to rice mixture. Press down on some of the tomatoes with fork to smash. Then add in water/bouillon mixture, cumin and salt and stir. Bring to a boil.
- Let simmer. Once boiling, cover with lid and simmer for 25-35 minutes, until rice is cooked through and has absorbed liquid.
- Serve and enjoy. Remove from heat and mix in fresh cilantro if desired. S&P to taste. Enjoy!
Favorite ways to use it
There are so many ways to serve this Mexican rice! You can enjoy it as a side with your favorite Mexican dish, or use it as a component when making a meal. Below are a few ideas.
- Serve as a side dish alongside enchiladas, taco lasagna or carnitas
- Add it as a topping for tacos (my favorites are chicken tinga tacos and fajita tacos)
- Use when making burritos or burrito bowls
- Top a Mexican or Fajita salad with it
- Serve mixed in with ground beef (or shredded chicken) and beans
More easy rice recipes:
Mexican Rice Recipe
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes , chopped
- 2 1/4 cups warm water
- 3 Tablespoons canola oil
- 1 ½ cups long grain white rice
- 1/2 cup onion , finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes , or petite diced tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin , more to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt , more to taste
Optional: Chopped cilantro
- Place the chicken bouillon cubes in a bowl with warm water. Microwave for 1-2 minutes to allow dissolve.
- Pour oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add rice and cook for about 10 minutes or until golden. Then push rice to one side of the skillet. Add diced onions and cook 2 to 3 minutes and then stir in garlic and cook an additional minute. Combine onions and rice.
- Add tomatoes, including juice to rice mixture. Press down on some of the tomatoes with a fork to smash. Add in water/bouillon mixture, cumin and salt, stir and bring to a boil.
- Once at a boil, place lid on the pan and simmer for 25-35 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and the rice is cooked through.
- Remove from heat and stir in fresh cilantro if desired. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with your favorite Mexican dish!