Learn how to make Mexican rice (sometimes called Spanish rice) just like your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. Inspired by authentic recipes, our easy Mexican rice is fluffy and delicious!
Watch the video
I honestly cannot stop making this Mexican rice (aka Spanish Rice). It’s so fluffy and flavorful. It has all the flavors of your favorite Mexican restaurants and cantinas, but we use fresh Anaheim peppers and fresh tomatoes instead of canned to make it extra delicious.
You only need 15 minutes of hands-on time to make this Mexican rice recipe; then everything is hands-off while the rice cooks and absorbs all the delicious flavors. Serve this homemade Mexican rice with beans, enchiladas, tacos, grilled seafood, and slow-cooked meats like carnitas.
- 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.
- The perfect blend of spices: Just like many of our favorite Mexican recipes, we use dried oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, and salt. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 ½ cups (590ml) chicken stock, try homemade
Cilantro, sliced green onion, and lime for serving
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, 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
- More tomato flavor: 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.
- Nutrition facts: The facts provided below are estimates for the basic recipe. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.