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Easy Mexican Rice

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This simple one pot Authentic Mexican Rice is the perfect side dish to any Mexican meal. It’s easy to make and tastes delicious! Reheats well & tastes great!


Main image for recipe of mexican rice on a plate with a fork scooping a portion out.


Tasty and simple, but packed with authentic flavor, your family is sure to love this delicious Mexican rice recipe. It’s a great addition to any Mexican or Latin inspired meal, and is a quick and delicious way to make sure everyone at your table is full and satisfied after dinner. 

This is the best Mexican rice recipe because it’s not only authentic, but it’s easy to make and only requires one pot to cook! I love, love, LOVE recipes that can be prepared in one pot, especially when it comes to side dishes. Anything that reduces the dishes needing to be cleaned afterward is a win to me. 

And better yet, you probably have everything you need to make this delicious dish in your pantry right now! Made with pantry staples, this is sure to become your go-to side for every taco, burrito, or enchilada night. 


rice, onion and oil in a skillet.

What is Mexican rice?

Mexican rice is a side dish typically made from white rice, tomato, garlic, and onion. It is sometimes called Spanish rice, red rice, or arroz rojo (translated as “red rice”). In Mexico, the dish is typically called Mexican arroz or arroz rojo


rice browned in skillet with onion cooked.

What is the difference between Mexican rice and Spanish rice?

It’s difficult to trace the differences between Spanish and Mexican rice. Some sources say they are the same thing, just called by different names. Some people even refer to the dish as a “Mexican Spanish rice recipe” (talk about confusing!).

Others say that there is one fundamental difference between a Spanish rice recipe and a Mexican rice recipe: saffron. 

While the methodology for preparing an easy Spanish rice and an easy Mexican rice are nearly the same, some cite the inclusion of regional ingredients (such as the saffron) as the defining difference between the two.

Others say there is a slight difference in texture; Mexican rice is said to be “softer,” while Spanish rice is more “firm.” 

Whatever the difference, whether supposed or denied, you’re sure to find this authentic Mexican rice a great addition to your side dish repertoire! 


chicken broth added to pan fried rice.

How to make Mexican rice?

To make this easy Mexican rice recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients: 

  • Cooking oil – authentic Mexican rice is sautéed in a fat source (in this case oil, but butter would also work) until the rice is a nice, golden brown. This is why it is sometimes called “Mexican fried rice,” because of this frying or toasting method. Toasting the rice in this way brings out richer, nuttier flavors. 
  • Raw rice – you’ll want to use uncooked, dry rice for this recipe. I used Jasmine because it’s my favorite, but feel free to use your personal favorite. Keep in mind that if you use brown rice, it will require more water (or broth) and cooking time. 
  • Garlic – minced or garlic paste would use about 1 teaspoon, or you can use 2 whole cloves. 
  • Onions – I recommend using yellow or white; white is most typically used in Mexican cuisine. 
  • Chicken or turkey broth – this is a great recipe to use with repurposed leftover turkey meat. And check out our recipe for turkey bone broth as an additional option. 
  • Tomato sauce – tomato is an essential part of any authentic Mexican rice recipe. Tomato can be used in diced or sauce form, but it’s always there! I like the ease of using tomato sauce, because it makes this recipe something you can put together with pantry staples. 
  • Salt and pepper – salt and pepper is, as usual, to taste. 
  • Dried cilantro – you can optionally choose to garnish your authentic Mexican rice with dried or fresh cilantro! I wait to stir this in until I’m “fluffing” the rice after cooking. 


tomato sauce and seasonings added to broth and rice

How to cook Mexican rice?

Whether you call it a homemade Mexican rice or a homemade Spanish rice, this part is fairly standard and simple! It’s all done in one pot and the results are delicious. 

  1. Stir rice and onion in hot oil until rice is golden.
  2. Add garlic and continue to stir so no ingredients burn. 
  3. Pour in broth and tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Simmer, covered, and stir occasionally. 
  5. Serve once liquid is absorbed and rice is tender! 


Everything but the cilantro mixed in skillet ready to cook.

How much Mexican rice per person?

This Mexican rice recipe uses 1 cup of uncooked rice and is intended to serve 6 people. One cup of uncooked white rice typically yields 3 cups of cooked rice, which means each person is getting about ½ cup serving. 


Rice cooked and in skillet, ready to fluff and serve

Is Mexican rice healthy?

Rice is a starchy food/grain and a great carbohydrate source. A healthy diet typically recommends a little more than ⅓ of your calories come from carbohydrates/starchy foods.

This rice has no added sugars, is rich in vitamins and minerals — thanks to the tomato, onion, and garlic — and only contains ¼ cup of oil, so it’s a relatively healthy and filling side dish.


Wooden serving spook scooping out a portion of rice to serve

What to eat with Mexican rice?

Mexican rice is typically a side dish, but you can make a whole meal out of it by serving it with beans and salad. Or consider serving it as a side dish to one of the following meal ideas: 


plate full of rice, top side view.

Can you freeze Mexican rice?

Yes, you can freeze your leftover Mexican rice! Here’s how you do it:

  1. Place cooled rice into freezer-safe zipper bags or another airtight container. I prefer to use quart-sized portions as they’re easier to work with and reheat.
  2. Place flat in the freezer (this makes it much easier to stack/store the frozen foods once they are solid!). 
  3. Frozen rice is good for up to 2 months in the freezer. 

To reheat your frozen rice, simply break into chunks, place in a microwave safe covered dish or bowl, and reheat in bursts of 1-2 minutes at high heat. Fluff rice between microwave bursts and continue to heat, covered, until heated thoroughly. It’s that simple! 


fork full of rice, ready to eat

Can dogs eat Mexican rice?

While rice is fine for dogs, according to the American Kennel Club, onions are NOT. Onions are considered toxic to dogs and should not be given to your pet. Since this recipe contains onion, it is NOT ADVISABLE that you give this food to your furry friend. Save it for the humans this time! 


plate full of rice, close up image


I’m sure you’ll love this Authentic Mexican Rice recipe, whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just your family. It’s a simple, one-pot side that can easily be doubled to serve more, frozen for a later day, or gobbled up in one dinner! Enjoy! 


Yield: 6 Servings

Authentic Mexican Rice

fork full of rice, ready to eat

This simple one pot Authentic Mexican Rice is the perfect side dish to any Mexican meal. It's easy to make and tastes delicious! Reheats well & tastes great!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1/4 cup vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 cup raw Jasmine rice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro (optional)


  1. In a deep skillet over medium heat, add oil to pan and let oil get hot - about 3 minutes.
  2. Once oil is hot, add dry uncooked rice and onion. Stir constantly until rice begins to turn golden and onion is cooked.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute stirring frequently so garlic doesn't burn.
  4. Pour in chicken broth to rice mixture.
  5. Add tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Thoroughly mix.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally so rice doesn't stick to bottom.
  7. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce to low heat, put lid on pan and cook for 20 minutes until rice is done and liquids have been absorbed.
  8. Serve Immediately.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 357mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 11g

Originally Posted: April 23, 2014

Photos & Text Updated: March 22, 2021

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Tuesday 9th of January 2024

Thanks !! I will make this from now on Daughter said best rice I've ever made only change I made was I used On the Border Salsa instead of tomato sauce Since having covid twice smell and taste are way off need to spice up everything


Saturday 30th of September 2023

So good I make it every other day with some variation like add carrots. My youngest who is now 29 will eat it with anything.


Saturday 30th of September 2023

Thank you for your kind comment Vickie! I love that you adapt it to your likes!


Sunday 2nd of July 2023

Can I use olive oil instead? I have high ldl cholesterol


Thursday 28th of September 2023

Hi Raven. Olive oil should work fine. Good luck!


Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Why doesint any think to put the tomato sauce, water, and rice ratio?


Saturday 30th of September 2023

Hi Phoenix. I'm not sure I understand your comment. If you click the "Jump to Recipe" button at the top of the page it will take you to the recipe card. Hope that helps.


Wednesday 3rd of May 2023

Excellent recipe!!!! I doubled it (used the rice in burrito's), and it was perfect! Texture was spot on and the flavor was amazing. Look no further, this is the keeper recipe.

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