Perfect Mexican Rice

My family loves this Mexican rice recipe! Sometimes called Spanish rice and inspired by authentic recipes, it is fluffy and flavorful, just like the rice at your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants.

Easy Mexican Rice Recipe Video

I cannot stop making this homemade Mexican rice (aka Spanish Rice). We use the perfect blend of spices, fresh Anaheim peppers, and fresh tomatoes instead of canned to make it extra delicious.

This Mexican-style rice recipe only requires 15 minutes of hands-on time. Then, everything is hands-off while the rice cooks and absorbs all the delicious flavors.

A bowl of homemade Mexican rice (Spanish Rice)

Key Ingredients

  • Long-grain white rice: For the best Mexican rice, use long-grain white rice since it cooks up to be light and fluffy. I especially enjoy aromatic Basmati rice in this recipe, but plain long-grain white rice is fine. Before cooking the rice, rinse and drain it a few times to remove the starch around the grains. Rinsing rice guarantees it will be light and fluffy.
  • Fresh onion, Anaheim pepper, garlic, and tomatoes: I love the fresh ingredients in this rice recipe since they keep the flavors fresh and bright. We do not use canned tomato or tomato paste for this rice.
  • Mexican rice seasoning: Just like many of our favorite Mexican recipes, we use dried oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, and salt. If you have it available, we also add tomato powder to this recipe (optional, but delicious). Our Mexican rice might be a little more spiced than what you are used to, but it’s so delicious this way.
  • Chicken stock: Store-bought or homemade stock will do here. You can even swap for veggie broth to make this recipe vegetarian/vegan-friendly.

How to Make Mexican Rice (aka Spanish Rice)

I use my heavy-bottomed medium saucepan (see video), a Dutch oven, or a cast iron pan with a lid when making Spanish rice. We’ll cook chopped onion, Anaheim peppers, and garlic until soft, which takes about 5 minutes.

Then, for the best taste and texture, toss your rice into the pot and toast it for another 5 minutes. We are looking for it to begin to turn light brown in places. We do the same when making cilantro lime rice.

Toasting long-grain rice with spices for Mexican rice

Now, stir in all the spices and allow them to toast for a minute to bring out all their flavors. And finally, stir in chopped fresh tomatoes and stock. Cover the pot with a lid when the liquid comes to a boil, and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 14 minutes, then set the pot aside, still covered, for 10 more minutes.

Adding fresh tomatoes for the best homemade Mexican rice

Before serving, fluff the rice with a fork and top with fresh cilantro and sliced green onion. I also love serving with a few lime wedges. All optional, but nice touches.

Fluffing cooked Mexican rice (aka Spanish rice) with a fork before serving

What to Serve with Mexican Rice?

Serve Mexican rice with beans, like these homemade refried beans or creamy cooked black beans. This rice dish goes well with just about anything but is especially good served next to Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes like fajitas, chicken enchiladas, shrimp tacos, pork tacos, and carnitas. It’s also great for rolling up in burritos.

Easy Mexican Rice (aka Spanish Rice)

Perfect Mexican Rice

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Learn how to make Mexican rice (sometimes called Spanish rice) just like your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. For the most fluffy rice, use long-grain white rice like Basmati and thoroughly rinse it to remove starch before cooking.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

2 cups (380g) long-grain rice, like Basmati, rinsed and drained several times

2 ½ tablespoons avocado oil

1 large onion, finely chopped, 1 ½ cups

2 Anaheim peppers, seeds and stem removed then finely chopped, 2/3 cup

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups (415g) finely chopped tomatoes, 3 to 4 medium

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3 teaspoons tomato powder, optional

1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt

2 ½ cups (590ml) chicken stock, try homemade

Cilantro, sliced green onion, and lime for serving

Directions

    1Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat.

    2Add the onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions look translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

    3Stir in the rinsed and drained rice and toast, moving the rice around the pan for about 5 minutes. You are looking for the rice to begin to turn light brown in places.

    4Stir in the oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, tomato powder, and salt, and cook for 1 minute.

    5Pour in the tomatoes, all of the tomato juices, and the stock. Stir well, and then bring to a boil.

    6When boiling, cover and cook on low for 14 minutes.

    7Slide the pan off of the heat, but keep the lid on. Rest for 10 more minutes.

    8Use a fork to fluff the rice and serve with optional cilantro, green onion, and lime.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Tomato powder: Add 1 tablespoon of tomato powder to the pot when adding the other spices. Tomato powder adds a richer tomato flavor and color. Find it online or in Mexican supermarkets.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: Substitute the chicken stock for vegetable broth.
  • Storing: Keep rice in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/2 cup (1 of 10 servings) / Calories 209 / Total Fat 4.7g / Saturated Fat 0.7g / Cholesterol 1.8mg / Sodium 444.3mg / Carbohydrate 36.3g / Dietary Fiber 1.7g / Total Sugars 3.2g / Protein 5g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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7 comments… Leave a Review
  • Stacey February 20, 2024, 6:27 pm

    So delicious and makes a big batch. I couldn’t get Anaheim peppers so I used one green bell pepper and one huge poblano pepper. Turned out great.

    Reply
    • Adam February 20, 2024, 6:29 pm

      We love poblano pepper! So happy you loved the recipe 🙂

      Reply
  • Susan January 26, 2024, 10:57 am

    This was REALLY good! Full of flavor of the roasting of the rice, and with all the spices and herbs that are added. I went ahead and added a few other finely chopped veggies that I had in my fridge. Will certainly be making this again!

    Reply
    • Adam January 26, 2024, 6:21 pm

      So glad you loved it and thank you for coming back to leave a comment 🙂

      Reply
  • Terry martin January 19, 2024, 6:33 pm

    Can make this ahead and reheat? What would be the best way to reheat? Thanks

    Reply
    • Joanne February 8, 2024, 8:03 pm

      Absolutely, I usually reheat rice covered with a damp paper towel in my microwave.

      Reply
  • A-A-Ron January 18, 2024, 12:30 pm

    Oddly most Mexican cooks I’ve seen never cover their rice. They cook it down no lid so it stays more “separate” like fried rice consistency.There is also nothing wrong with flavor, in the South here it’s a must. You’re definitely making some Mexican rice I’d love to eat. The “Tomato flavor” or “stock items” you want to use is either Knorrs chicken and tomato bullion cubes or just Knorr’s chicken bullion powder to the desired salt level. Down south in about any Walmart store in the “Latin section” you can find all the stuff and spices or about anywhere else in a large store. Unless you’re growing your own super flavorful home grown tomato varieties or score some in the store I prefer whole canned tomatoes much more flavor than many hot house tomatoes unless you find Campari tomatoes or great flavored “cherries”. Just need a great can of whole peeled San Marzanos or another super flavorful variety like cherry tomatoes (all Italian which are becoming more common and prevalent in America.

    Reply

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