Mexican Rice

Seemingly simple, I’ve been on the search for a quick and easy Mexican rice dish to serve with fajitas, tacos, and other zesty Mexican-inspired dishes for a long time.

This is the one. It comes together in no time which makes me thrilled since I can’t bring myself to spend hours on a side dish. And it tastes fantastic – subtle tomato and garlic flavor with the warm spices of cumin and the fresh bite of cilantro and lime. Since stumbling upon this recipe, I’ve served it several times to rave reviews. Paired with cornbread and these fajitas or these fantastic chipotle chicken tacos, it makes a completely perfect meal.

Mexican rice – I’m so glad I found you. I’ll be making you for forever.

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

Yield: Serves 4-6

Mexican Rice


  • 1 cup of long grain white rice
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice, from about 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup of freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a medium-sized pot, add rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir. Cover the pot, lower the heat to low and simmer for 17-20 minutes. Remove from heat and keep the pot covered for 5 more minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions in the hot oil for 10 minutes, until translucent and starting to brown. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato paste and cumin and cook for another minute or two. Mix in hot, cooked rice, lime juice and cilantro. Mix until well combined. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Homesick Texan

66 Responses to Mexican Rice

  1. Christan Sheppard says:

    This was delicious! We paired it with your chicken fajitas for a lovely midweek meal- it felt more like a treat than a midweek dinner. Thank you once again for rescuing dinner at our house! ❤

  2. Linda says:

    I use chicken broth in every rice I make either that or beef broth and I use a rice cooker. used to swear I would never use one but now that I have one I would not be without it. they make rice so much nicer then you can in a pan and the best part is that you add your ingredients and walk away . it will cook and then go down to warm it is fantastic.

  3. Gaia says:

    I love this recipe! Easy to make and tasty! I would like to link this recipe with the Mexican Template menu on my web-app Getbread which is created to organize Potluck event. Let me know what do you think 🙂

  4. Linda says:

    Silly question, I’m just stressing about serving dinner tonight to visiting in laws and your mexican rice sounds great. Do you think I could pair it with a chicken dish that has bite size chicken sauteed with onions, peppers, chicken broth, seasoned salt, pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper? I know my chicken dish isn’t really a mexican dish but I thought this may be better than plain rice.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Hi Mel! I made this rice last night – followed directions exactly and it turned out very sticky and gummy. Flavor was good, so I’d like to try it again. Any ideas as to what went wrong? Thanks for your insight!

  6. Holly W. says:

    Delish! I made this tonight for taco night and it turned out perfect! I’m from Texas originally and this definitely reminds me of some of my favorite Tex-Mex! I could just eat this by it self and forego the tacos. I didn’t have a lime, but I read online that I could sub some form of vinegar, and so I just threw in a tablespoon of jarred jalapeno juice (that has vinegar, right?) 🙂 Thanks again!

  7. Mexican Rice says:

    […] Recipe adapted from  […]

  8. Jessica says:

    Mel my family & I love your recipes! Could I substitute the cilantro for a can of corn ?

  9. martha says:

    Thanks for another great recipe! My son won’t eat my “plain” rice and I was looking for this recipe without even knowing it- it was perfect last night with tacos. My son took it to school for lunch too.

  10. Danielle says:

    Thank you for this recipe!! I hate using boxed rices because of the sodium and MSG. This was delicious. Took a short cut and made my rice first in my Pampered Chef microwave rice cooker. Only the I changed was to leave out the cilantro since we are not huge fans but it was still great. Paired it with the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas.

  11. ca says:

    Hi I am sorry but the recepie is far away from a real mexican rice, the ingredients are the right ones,but the way to do it is wrong if you want a real mexican rice, unless your recepie is for tex mex food then is probably the way. By the way I am Mexican, living in Mexico and I love cooking!

  12. Irc says:

    Only issue I see is one cup of rice isn’t enough for the way I feed 4 to 6 people. Not even close. But seems simple other then that..

  13. mariss says:

    I will try this as it probably is a nice milder tasting rice which is nice sometimes over a more robust flavor- As with one earlier comment ; I learned from a friend who cooked as her mom taught her Mexican food. I cook the rice in the oil until it has lost it’s translucency, and add can of tomato sauce, or paste would be just as good or better for intensity of flavor. Add the other seasonings and then add broth- cover and simmer low until done.

  14. […] Technique drawn from Mel’s Kitchen Café […]

  15. Deb says:

    I can’t believe I haven’t commented on this one before, I’ve made it so many times! I used the brown basmati rice from Trader Joe’s (SO good) and make that in my rice cooker using the chicken broth and then prepare the rest when the cooker is done. Great addition to any Mexican dinner.

  16. Angela says:

    Looking forward to trying this! My mother’s authentic Spanish rice recipe is very different from this; family recipe handed down from my grandfather. Her Spanish rice is “wetter”…stewed tomatoes, ground meat, etc. Both delicious, not the same thing. 😉

  17. Liz says:

    All the way from London – it is cold and rainy at the moment and I needed something to cheer me up…this was exactly it, it’s amazing – THANK YOU! I’m obsessed with Mexican food after coming close to the real thing when I visited LA, it’s something that we don’t do over here much (or well) I guess it must be the distance… Thanks again for this 🙂

  18. Beth says:

    Thanks Mel. I doubled it and it turned out great. Everyone ate until they couldn’t anymore.

  19. Mel says:

    Beth – I haven’t doubled it or tripled it but I’m guessing it should work just fine that way.

  20. Beth says:

    I love this rice. It’s great with your chicken fajitas and with meatless burrito crockpot recipe I have. I am thinking of doing it for a family reunion. Have you ever doubled or tripled the recipe?

  21. Mel says:

    Juliann – I’ve never made it with Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice and am not familiar at all with that product. Sorry! You might try a “test run” before your family vacation just to see how it goes.

  22. Juliann says:

    I was wondering if you think you could make this with the Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice?
    We are responsible for cooking dinner one night on family vacation and this would be great for our Mexican Fiesta, but I need to be able to cook QUICK! I only cook on a gas stove at home and I think this house will have an electric stove so rice cooking for a crowd of 16 could be super duper tricky too.

  23. Gen says:

    Oooh Lala! Lime and cilantro brought so much flavor and freshness to the rice. Its was so good that I can eat the rice on its own! =) (that’s how much I loved it!) My kids and hubby even asked for seconds and I had a third! We paired this with your Honey Lime chicken enchilada for our Cinco de Mayo dinner. Thank you for another awesome recipe! =)

  24. […] usual, I had to serve my tacos with a side of rice and beans.  I went with my new favorite Mexican Rice and a delicious pinto bean recipe (look for the details in an upcoming post).  I like to switch it […]

  25. […]  Beans and rice.  I was thinking about making some green rice, but opted for a new recipe of Mexican Rice instead.  Another winner 🙂  But when it came to the beans, I decided to turn to an old […]

  26. Mel says:

    Marcy – I don’t own a rice cooker so I’m not sure how chicken broth fares when used in it but my guess (and don’t hold me to this) is that it should be fine.

  27. Marcy says:

    I am trying this recipe tonight. Can I do the chicken broth part in a rice cooker? I have never used chicken broth in mine so I am not sure if it will work.

  28. […] Recipe adapted from  […]

  29. Renee says:

    I just returned from a pastor’s retreat where I cooked for 19 people. I made this on the first night we were there. It was delish! We had something every day from your website. Mexican rice, pumpkin choc chip muffins, cornbread and honey butter and I made homemade rolls for Italian beef using your roll recipe. It was all awesome. I didn’t even try the Mexican rice recipe before I got there because I trust your site so much. I am so particular about where I get my recipes, but because I have tried so many of your recipes and loved them, I completely TRUST your taste. Thanks so much for your site!

  30. Shauntel says:

    Made this tonight with brown rice, and it worked great! (I find that sometimes brown rice doesn’t make the best Mexican or Spanish type rices, but this one was delish.) For anyone who is wondering, I followed the recipe except I threw my brown rice in a rice cooker with two cups of chicken broth (then added when instructed).


  31. Stacie D. says:

    Loved this with your chicken fajitas and guacamole salad. Such a tasty meal! I will definitely make this rice again…and again!

  32. Ela says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all of your recipes!! I cooked this last night and it was great. I love the flavors and how the lime and cilantro make it so fresh. I had one problem though, my rice was all mushy and sticking together. I thought I cooked everything like the recipe said to… Must be user error. In any case, if you know what I did wrong please help me! I love these flavors enough to make it again and again… I just need help with the mushy factor. Thank you!!

  33. Jenna says:

    This is very good rice. I did fry my rice in a little bit of oil first before adding the broth. The thing I like about this is the tomato paste. I made a similar rice recipe before but it had diced tomatoes in it. My kids would always pick them out. So now I can get the flavor and color without bits of tomato. Thanks!

  34. Kate says:

    Mel, just wanted to let you know I made your green chile enchiladas and mexican rice last night for a dinner party and they were a huge hit! Thankfully I have lots of leftovers so I can enjoy more today. Your recipes are consistently tasty and simple. Thank you!

  35. Dixie Caviar says:

    My boyfriend and I frequently make tacos al pastor with homemade tortillas and fresh pico de gallo. It’s our go to for impressing friends. The one missing ingredient is good Mexican rice. You may have just solved all of our problems. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Jenny says:

    I LOVED this recipe!! Thank you so much for posting!

  37. Katy says:

    LOVING this! I don’t do cilantro, but will happily swap it out for parsley. Can’t wait to try this!!!

  38. k says:

    Foolproof recipe. I somehow messed up almost everything (cooked onion too long. Burned cumin to the pan. You get the idea.) and it still came out great! We had Tracey’s dinner it sounds like–shredded chicken, this rice, black beans, etc. in tortillas. Awesome! Thanks for the great recipe!

  39. claire says:

    i cant wait to try this for my next taco night!

  40. Tried this recipe and it really is great. It works well using Tilda basmati rice; very long grains which make it extra fluffy.

  41. Lizzy D. says:

    I LOVE it! I have been looking for a yummy mexican rice recipe since I can’t stand the out-of-box-version. I was just thinking this week, “I need to check Melanie’s website, I bet she has a great mexican rice recipe!” And as I opened your blog today, there it is! Thank you! I will be adding this to my list of favorite recipes!

  42. kristy says:

    This is such a flavourful rice and I like the simplicity fo the recipe. bookmarking this for later use. Thank you so much for sharing it. Have a great weekend.
    Blessings, Kristy

  43. Tracey says:

    Forget a side dish…slap some shredded chicken, black beans and diced tomatoes in there…put it in a tortilla with a little cheese and sour cream, and you’ve got yourself a meal! 🙂

  44. Brooke says:

    this is so funny cause i just made mexican rice yesterday and was searching your site to see if you had a recipe for it…the one i used was too much work, and had to many ‘things’ in it for my kids. thanks, must be on the same wavelength 🙂

  45. Emily says:

    This is a timely post. I made Spanish rice last night along with your baked chicken taquitos and my family loved it! This recipe is only two small ingredients different than the recipe I used, but we’ll try this one next time! Oh, how we love you! Thank you for all your recipes…. And time… And work!

  46. Maybe this is a dumb question, but would this work with brown rice?

    • Mel says:

      Andrea – yes, I think it probably would but you would definitely need to keep an eye on and adapt the cooking time and liquid to rice ratio.

  47. Melanie says:

    I look forward to trying this recipe. I love Mexican food! I am in the habit of asking for recipes when I go to restaurants. I once made the mistake of asking how some Spanish rice was made at a certain restaurant. The manager told me essentially that what I was tasting was lard, and that the flavor of the rice and black beans was from being cooked in lard! Aaah! For some reason, I cannot handle the idea of cooking with lard (I know its authentic for some Hispanic cooking…. I’m sorry) and so I have been on the hunt for a good recipe for Spanish rice with no lard. Muchas gracias! 🙂

  48. I just posted a Spanish Rice last week too! Mine looks pretty close, don’t you love finally being able to make a resteraunt Mexican rice at home!?!? It was something I had tried to achieve for quite awhile.

  49. Jenny says:

    Thank you SOOO much for this! I love mexican rice but have never found an easy, yummy recipe for it. You have made my day! Thanks Mel!

  50. Thanks for this recipe! I always struggle with side dishes because I too don’t have a lot of time to spend on sides. I typically serve Vigo Yellow Rice with Mexican inspired dishes but as much as we love it and it tastes great I get bored with it. Can’t wait to add this to the rotation.

  51. Rachel says:

    Yumm! I’ve wanted a great Mexican rice dish for so long! Thank you!

  52. Denissa says:

    THANK you SO much for sharing this! I too have been on the hunt for easy and good mexican rice and its always a fail! We have tacos or fajitas atleast once a week and I just gave up on the rice because everything that I tried was horrible! Just wish I would’ve seen this yesterday since we had tacos last night..haha Oh well guess we need fajitas now 🙂

  53. Mickie says:

    I bomb this style of rice with every recipe I have tried. Nice, easy and wonderful, your recipes are always perfect. I can’t wait to try it! Thanks Mel!

  54. Birgitta says:

    The best part about Mexican rice (well any kind of rice, as far as I’m concerned) is frying the rice first in oil until golden brown. It gives another depth of flavor! My mom is from Mexico and I have learned how to make rice from her.

    The flavor in this rice with the cumin and lime sound good. I want to try it!

  55. I have been totally guilty of shaking the Mexican rice mix out of a box for a while now, but I’ve always wanted to know how to make it. This recipe is the perfect thing to get me started! Thanks for sharing, Mel. It looks so delicious!

  56. Andi says:

    I just made your “the best choc chip cookies.” They were AMAZING! Best recipe EVER! I was so happy, thank you so much!

  57. Kim in MD says:

    Mel-How did you know that I have been on the hunt for a foolproof Mexican rice? It looks like I found it! Perfect to serve at my next Mexican/Tex-Mex themed party! 😉

  58. Seriously, Mel, when are you publishing a cookbook? Your recipes are exactly what I love to eat. Are you on Twitter? I’d love to spread the love by tweeting about you!

  59. Karen says:

    Mmmm! I LOVE cilantro. Looks yummy.

  60. I really like my Mexican Rice recipe, but your picture looks so great, I’m going to try yours next time. Thanks!

  61. Tami says:

    This recipe looks great. I’m always looking for a “go to” recipe for rice like this one.

    Thanks for sharing it!

  62. StephenC says:

    This is wonderfully simple. I grew up eating what we called Spanish rice. I remember it as tomato and rice and onion. That’s probably simplistic, but my mother did not use cumin or jalapeno or anything other than white bread.

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