Mexican Rice in 3 Simple Steps

This recipe has been a family favorite for years! In fact, it is one of the first recipes I posted here but I think it’s time to shake the dust off and put it center stage.

I’ve seen this recipeĀ discussed in online communities and while everyone said it was delicious some insisted it should be called Spanish Rice instead of Mexican Rice. If you have time to kill, feel free to google the difference, everyone has an opinion and everyone insists they are right.The PERFECT Mexican Rice recipe that is easy, cheap and delicious!

This recipe was adapted from the recipe my husband grew up eating. When I started making it I removed the oil and started measuring the ingredients. At the time we lived in the South where Tex-Mex reigns. You can add optional veggies like onion, peas and carrots. I usually leave them out due to forgetfulness and ease.

This recipe can be made with basic pantry staples and can serve 4 generously as a side dish. I’ll warn you though, if there is a little left it is really hard to save the leftovers without eating it straight from the skillet.

The PERFECT Mexican Rice recipe that is easy, cheap and delicious!

Mexican Rice


  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of brown rice (I use short grain)
  • 8 oz tomato sauce (you can make do with 6 oz if you need the extra 2 for Lentil Tacos)
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • handful of chopped cilantro, optional


  1. Dump all of the ingredients except cilantro (is you are using it) into a skillet and turn on medium heat.
  2. Cover skillet with a lid and set timer for 45 minutes.
  3. When timer beeps give the rice a good stir. If liquid remains remove lid and let the rice cook a few more minutes to allow liquid to evaporate.

If using cilantro toss it on top and cover with the lid for a few moments.


This Mexican Rice is the perfect side dish to tacos, but can also be used in a Bean and Grain Bowl, burritos, or Taco Salad.

If you are looking for more delicious Mexican inspired recipes take a look at my Mexican Food Page or my Pinterest Board for Plant-Based Mexican Food.

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  1. That would be great with pinto beans added in as well!

    • This with beans is basically my Mexican Casserole recipe. I always eat leftover straight out of the skillet, they never make it to the fridge! šŸ™‚

  2. This is my kind of recipe……..simple, nutritious and cheap! Do you know if it would work in a rice cooker??

    • I haven’t made it in a Rice Cooker but I think someone has. Let me know how it turns out, just adapt the liquid to suit your rice cookers directions.

  3. Two questions: 1) Is there a preferential rice brand? 2) has any one tested it out in rice cooker, and what where your results, and what size and brand of rice did you use? Thank you! Sounds delicious and no guilt compared to the oil fried one…,happy happy joy joy

    • Hi Indi,
      I love Lundberg organic short grain brown rice. I buy it in bulk at Costco. It has a great flavor! Short grain brown rice i my favorite!

      I don’t have a rice cooker but I have an Instant Pot! I make this in my Instant Pot and cook it on manual (high pressure) for 23 minutes.

What do YOU think?