Easy Mexican Rice

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    Easy Mexican Rice – 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 recipes, but this Mexican rice recipe is definitely one of my favorites. It’s so easy and tastes super authentic. I also love Mexican street corn, enchiladas, carnitas and chicken tinga.

    spanish rice

    Authentic Mexican 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 Mexican rice 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!

    how to make mexican rice

    Is there a 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, the Spanish rice will have more of a yellowish tent versus an orange or red color.

    Why is Mexican rice orange?

    Mexican rice is also referred to as “arroz rojo,” which means “red rice.” The main reason that Mexican rice gets it’s 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 in the Mexican rice.

    Mexican rice recipe

    Ingredients for Mexican rice

    The ingredients that you need in order to make this Mexican rice are so simple! If you like heat, feel free to add more cumin and some minced jalapenos. I like to top my Mexican rice with fresh cilantro for some added flavor.

    • Chicken bouillon cubes
    • Oil
    • Long grain white rice
    • Onion
    • Garlic
    • Crushed tomatoes
    • Cumin
    • Salt

    How to make Mexican rice

    I love that this Spanish rice is made in just one pot! It makes it so simple and easy to clean up. Follow the steps below and scroll down for the printable Mexican rice recipe.

    1. Place chicken bouillon cubes in a bowl with the warm water.
    2. Add oil to large skillet over medium heat. Mix in rice and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Push rice 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Once boiling, cover with lid and simmer for 25-35 minutes, until rice is cooked through and has absorbed liquid.
    5. Remove Mexican rice from heat and mix in fresh cilantro if desired. S&P to taste. Enjoy!

    Mexican rice

    Favorite ways to use Mexican rice

    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.

    Mexican rice

    Easy Mexican Rice

    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Keyword: mexican rice
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 241
    Author: Jamielyn Nye
    Easy Mexican Rice - Made in just one pot in a little over 30 minutes! Full of flavor and so easy to customize. The perfect side dish for all your favorite Mexican recipes.


    • 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!


      If you don't like tomatoes, try using an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and add in an extra 3/4 cup of water. 
      If you like more spice, add in some minced jalapenos or more ground cumin.


      Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 803mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 7.4mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1.3mg


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