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Quick and Easy Mexican Rice

This Quick and Easy Mexican Rice is the perfect restaurant-style side dish to go with all of your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes – and it’s made with basic pantry staples!

All you need is a few simple ingredients and about 30 minutes to make your own homemade Mexican Rice that is just as good as the rice at your favorite Mexican restaurant (actually, I think it’s even better!). It’s fluffy, flavorful and fast!

Since I have several Mexican-inspired recipes here on the blog, I thought it was high time time to share my favorite recipe for Mexican Rice… because I think every entrée needs a side dish. Plus, sides help you to be able to stretch out the main dish to feed more people.

But first, a quick disclaimer: I am not claiming that this is an authentic Mexican Rice recipe. In fact, it’s probably not. It’s just the recipe that I like because it’s quick, easy, and absolutely delicious!

Anyhoo…This rice is my go-to side for everything from tacos to quesadillas to fajitas to enchiladas because it’s flavorful but simple enough that it doesn’t overpower, compete or conflict with the main dish. It’s also delicious stuffed inside burritos or used in burrito bowls.

And you know what? You don’t have to pair it up with a Mexican dish. It’s also excellent next to some chicken, pork chops, or even steaks.

You could even make it a meal by adding some beans or cooked chicken and maybe some salsa or pico de gallo (maybe with a little sour cream and cheese on top!). Or you could jazz it up by adding bell peppers, jalapenos, corn, or other veggies.

It’s very versatile and totally up to you!

pot full of mexican rice with a serving spoon

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Onion
  • Long-grain white rice (I like to use basmati)
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Roasted chicken base (such as Better Than Bouillon) or chicken broth or stock
  • Water
  • Tomato sauce
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE QUICK AND EASY MEXICAN RICE:

three images showing the steps to make quick and easy mexican rice
three images showing the steps to make mexican rice
three images showing how to make quick and easy mexican rice

TIPS & TIDBITS:

  • Use long-grain white rice for this recipe (basmati is my favorite) for rice that is fluffy rather than sticky and clumpy.
  • Don’t skip the step of frying the rice before adding the liquids. This is a key step that also helps keep the rice nice and fluffy. Just keep an eye on the heat and turn it down if needed so you don’t burn the rice. You just want it lightly golden brown.
  • If you’d like peppers in your rice, sauté them with the onions.
  • If you’d like a little heat, add jalapenos (sauté them with the onions) or you could add some cayenne or hot sauce.
  • The amount of salt you will need to use will depend on how salty your chicken base or broth is.
  • I use a roasted chicken base (such as Better Than Bouillon) and water for the broth because I think it has much more flavor than boxed or canned broth.
  • For a vegan version, use vegetable base, broth or stock instead of chicken.
  • You can freeze leftovers! Once it’s cooled, place the rice in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, and freeze. It should last for several months in the freezer. Just thaw, reheat, and enjoy!
forkful of mexican rice being lifted out of the bowl

I love that this rice is made with basic pantry staples that I always keep on hand, so I can whip it up any time I want!

I hope you try this Mexican Rice recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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mexican rice in a white bowl with a fork

Quick and Easy Mexican Rice

This Quick and Easy Mexican Rice is the perfect restaurant-style side dish to go with all of your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes – and it's made with basic pantry staples!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 4
Estimated Calories: 300

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, I use basmati
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons roasted chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • fresh chopped cilantro, optional, for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan (I use a 3-quart saucepan), heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, just until the onion begins to soften and becomes translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until it turns light golden brown. Keep an eye on the heat, turning it down if needed so that the rice does not burn.
  • Add the garlic powder, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add salt to taste, keeping in mind how salty your broth is.
  • Combine the roasted chicken base and water and add it to the pot along with the tomato sauce. Be careful, as it will generate a lot of hot steam when the liquid is added. Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

Notes

  • 2 cups of chicken broth or stock can be used in place of the roasted chicken base and water. 
  • For a vegan version, use vegetable base or vegetable broth or stock.
  • You can freeze leftovers! Once it’s cooled, place the rice in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, and freeze. It should last for several months in the freezer. Just thaw, reheat, and enjoy!
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
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