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Easy Mexican Rice

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.

Mexican rice in a pot with a wooden spoon.
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Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice

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!

Browning rice on stove.

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 Broth
  • Oil
  • Long grain white rice
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cumin
  • Salt
Mexican rice in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon.

How to Make Mexican Rice

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 broth, tomato sauce, salt and cumin. Stir and 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.

Mexican rice with wooden spoon.

More Easy Rice Recipes

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Mexican rice

Mexican Rice Recipe

4.91 from 11 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
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.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 6


  • 3 cups chicken broth , or water (see notes)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons oil , I use canola or olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups long grain white rice
  • ½ cup onion , finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic , minced
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt , more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin (or taco seasoning) , more to taste

Optional: Chopped cilantro


    • Pour oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add rice and cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Stir constantly so it doesn't burn.
    • Then push rice to one side of the skillet. Add diced onions and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Then stir in garlic and cook an additional minute. Combine onions and rice.  
    • Add broth, tomato sauce, salt and cumin. stir and bring to a boil. 
    • Once at a boil, turn heat to low and place lid on the pan. Simmer for 25-35 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and the rice is cooked through.
    • Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in fresh cilantro if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with your favorite Mexican dish!


    Broth: You can use water if you prefer. I like to dissolve 2 chicken bouillon cubes in the water. 
    Variation: If you like tomatoes, try using a 14.5 ounce can of petite diced or crushed tomatoes in place of tomato sauce. If adding a whole can, remove 1/2 cup of broth/water. 
    Spice: If you like more spice, add in some chili powder, 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

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Mexican

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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