Authentic Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

4.96 from 190 votes
467 Comments

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Our easy Authentic Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice rivals anything you can get in a restaurant. It has the perfect consistency and just the right amount of seasoning.

Authentic Restaurant Style Mexican Rice served with salsa and chips

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

This Mexican Rice is slightly on the dry side, which is just how Mexican restaurants serve their sides of rice.

It isn’t wet, clumpy, or sticky like some homemade Mexican rice recipes can be, and it’s definitely more authentic than anything you can buy in a box at the grocery store!

A good Mexican Rice has the perfect texture and is rich in flavor. That is exactly what the result will be when you make this easy Mexican rice recipe.

Be sure to check out all our other tasty Mexican Recipes! We have all kinds of yummy Mexican dishes to round out your meals and celebrations!

Mexican Rice vs Spanish Rice

Have you wondered what the difference is between Mexican rice and Spanish rice? The terms are both used to describe the same basic dish.

Most Spanish rice and Mexican rice recipes have the same ingredients – rice, a tomato based sauce, garlic, and chicken broth.

There can be some minor variations in the seasonings used and additions made to the dish, like onions and peppers. Most restaurants call this dish Mexican rice on their menus.

Recipe Tips

The secret to a delicious Mexican rice is all in the way you cook it. Here are a few tips and tricks to get it right every time:

  • If you want to rinse the rice beforehand, rinse the rice through a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear (As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases). Allow rice to drain off a little before sautéing. If you rinse the rice, reduce the broth amount by 4 ounces (or ½ cup).
  • Mexican rice needs to be fried in oil and browned BEFORE you add the chicken broth and tomato sauce. As a result, the rice really absorbs the flavors yet has the perfect, tender consistency.
  • Mix in the chopped cilantro after cooking. If you add it before, the cilantro gets brown in color and wilted. When you toss it in after, it stays bright and fresh.
  • Use this stove top method. I have tried different methods in my rice cooker, but it just doesn’t turn out the same.
  • For a spicier taste, your favorite medium or hot salsa can replace the tomato sauce.
  • Long grain white rice is the best rice to use for this dish.
A plate of enchiladas with Mexican rice topped with cilantro and refried beans on the side

Is Mexican Rice Gluten Free?

Yes! This Mexican Rice recipe can easily be made gluten free. Use a gluten free chicken broth, like Swanson’s Chicken Broth, for gluten free Mexican Rice. Most chicken broths are GF but always check the labels to be sure.

Mexican Rice and Beans

What about the beans? Mexican Rice and Beans are a match made in heaven! This recipe goes hand in hand with our Restaurant Style Refried Beans. Also, be sure to include our Best Guacamole EVER, and our fresh Homemade Salsa.

With all of these recipes combined, you will have your sides covered for your next big fiesta! Your friends will think you had it all catered in from your favorite Mexican joint. We have tons of great Mexican recipes here on Favorite Family Recipes.

Our Mom is what you would call a Mexican food addict, she would eat it for every meal if she had the choice. Because of this, we learned at an early age how to make all different kinds of Mexican dishes. So as we got older and more adventurous, our Mexican food recipe collection grew even more.

Popular Additions

This rice is great as-is. We like to keep it simple and add as few ingredients as possible but many people like to add more veggies to the mix. A lot of Mexican-style restaurants will also add veggies. Here are some of the popular add-ins:

  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Green chiles
  • Lime juice
A square white dish filled with restaurant style Mexican rice

What to pair with Mexican Rice

Oh, the delicious possibilities are endless! This Mexican Rice tastes so good with any burrito, taco, chimichanga, enchilada, quesadilla, taquito, or flauta you can think of. Here are a few of our favorite Mexican recipes to get the wheels turning. Try one of these or add it to your own favorite Mexican dish.

A Mexican dinner setting consisting of enchiladas with rice and beans on the side and chips and salsa

How To Store and Re-Heat Leftovers

We will often double this recipe just so we can have easy leftovers. It re-heats great! Simply place the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

You can even freeze your Mexican rice by placing the cooled rice in a zip-top freezer bag and laying flat in the freezer. You can freeze it for up to 3 months without losing freshness.

To re-heat, just cover and place thawed rice in the microwave for a minute at a time until heated through. Fluff rice with a fork and add a teaspoon of water at a time as needed.

Mexican Rice Recipe Reviews

My husband is very picky about his Mexican rice, and his love for this dish makes it a staple on the family menu plan. In addition to his 5-star review, we’ve received many rave reviews from people who have made and loved this rice recipe. You can read them all in the comments below, however here are few of our favorites:

“I’ve made this about five times now and I love it! The last two times I was out of tomato sauce so I substituted half a cup of Chipotle Lime Salsa (Aldi brand). Wow! This made it even better. I love how easy it is to make and how beautiful it looks and smells when the time is up and you lift the lid.” – Ed

“This is EXACTLY the rice I have been spending YEARS trying to figure out. Everything was absolutely perfect. Flavor, texture, color, all completely spot on! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! You really just upped my taco game!” – Elizabeth

“I am a Puerto Rican woman married to a hard core Mexican man. I’ve tried just about every recipe available for this rice and it never quite worked. I made this today and IT’S PERFECT!! This is the way my MIL makes it. It is as authentic as it can get! Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is the recipe I will make my family from now on.” – Patty

We are so happy to see this has become a family favorite for so many!

Mexican Rice in a serving bowl with a side of chips and salsa.

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

4.96 from 190 votes
Our Restaurant Style Mexican Rice rivals anything you can get in a restaurant. It has the perfect consistency and just the right amount of seasoning.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
0 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican/Spanish
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Stove Top
  • Large Sauce Pan

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the rice and gently stir until rice begins to lightly brown. Add the garlic, salt, and cumin and stir the rice til it looks golden.
    White rice being browned in a pot to make Mexican rice
  • Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth and turn the heat up to medium high. Bring the mix to a boil then turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. 
    Mexican Rice bing cooked in a pot with a lid
  • Remove from heat and fluff with a fork, then stir in chopped cilantro.
    Mexican rice in a pot after being seasoned with spices and cilantro

Video

Nutrition Information

Calories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 3gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 545mgPotassium: 156mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 102IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Ronald F.
    Over the years I have been unsuccessful at cooking rice. Tried many so called 5 Star receipts off internet. Your recipe is easy to follow, few ingredients with a better than 5 star results. As good if not better than restaurants. Thanks for recipe. Plan to try more of your recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    I have tried for years to get the perfect Mexican rice, I am glad I found this recipe, comes out perfect every time!

    1. 4 stars
      Love this recipe!! Way better than any other I’ve tried. I like a little more spices so I added some diced green chilies, a bit of chili power, extra salt and a whole lot of cayenne. Next time I’m gonna add jalapeños and some onion!

  3. 5 stars
    This is now MY FAVORITE Mexican Rice recipe! So easy to make, and so good. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe : )

  4. This is terrific! I used minute brown rice and salsa in place of tomato paste. Very flavorful and fits into my diet!

  5. 5 stars
    Yummy! If I wanted to double or triple this recipe, would I double or triple the ingredients evenly?

  6. 4 stars
    This is a very good rice, tastier than most I have tried. My son even asked for seconds! I am definitely going to make it again.

  7. 5 stars
    You win! I am 57 years old and I now can make rice! This is the best rice that I have ever tasted. Just like any restaurant that I have ever gone to. Maybe even more flavor. I have never been able to make rice. I can now!!!

  8. 5 stars
    This is THE go-to Mexican Rice in our family now! It is so good we usually double it so we can enjoy it for days!

  9. 5 stars
    After so many years of buying the packaged stuff, I decided to try from scratch with this recipe. My daughter said, “this is what we should have been doing every time, it’s like in the restaurants!” 5 stars, ’nuff said.

  10. I have just begun. I will tell you when I have made something. Your post is very appealing and I will be making one of your recipes soon.

    1. 5 stars
      I rarely cook and I’ve never made rice of any kind, ever. I decided to give this recipe a whirl because I just had a craving for Mexican rice and to my surprise it came out perfectly. My family and I are all vegans so I substituted the chicken broth for Better Than Bouillon chickenless base and it worked great. Also used a few shakes of dried cilantro instead of fresh because I hate cilantro. It added something to the whole dish without being a standout flavor. Everyone *loved* it. 10/10!

      1. Needed a rice dish to go with taco bar birthday bash. Doubled recipe and worked out great. Can’t seem to leave a recipe alone lol so sautéed onions, celery and some peppers while rice was sautéing. Also added chili pepper. Everyone loved it. Soooo quick and easy also

  11. 5 stars
    This Mexican rice recipe is perfect – the one I’ve been looking for. Not wet, but dry. And the flavors are nice and not overpowering. I’ve made it several times and it’s a big hit. Thank you!!!

  12. 5 stars
    Has anyone tried doubling this recipe?

    I made the 1 cup batch – added some veggies and extra pepper for heat – also added a touch more broth. It was great.

    I worked at a Spanish Restaurant in Houston – they would add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil per cup of uncooked rice in the pot with the mix – the rice will never get sticky or clumps etc. It also allows for successful reheating and long holding periods. We would also use in it plain rice – then let it cool to make Mexican Stir Fried special meals. It will not stick or mush in a wok or cast iron pot. It adds no taste or flavor changes.

      1. 5 stars
        Wow! I have been trying to make rice the way my mom makes it, but it would never quite work out for me.. This recipe is absolutely perfect! The flavor and fluff are there any my kids loved it!

  13. I am so glad I discovered this recipe. It makes delicious, authentic Mexican rice to go with my enchiladas, tacos and other Mexican dishes I prepare. For a healthier version, I use olive oil to sauté the rice instead of vegetable oil and I like to add a cup of frozen veggies ( peas and carrots or whatever veggie mix you prefer) just before lowering the heat and putting the lid on. For a spicier version, add cayenne pepper with the other spices and/or a can of drained green chilies. The method of sautéing the rice is what makes it turn out so good. You can use your imagination to make different varieties. For pineapple rice, you can choose different spices, use pineapple juice in place if the tomato sauce and add diced pineapple and ham or bacon. Delish! Thank you for sharing!

  14. I like to add about a cup of frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, carrots & green beans or whatever you prefer) right before I put on the lid and lower the heat. It adds different food textures to the already delicious rice and vitamins for a more healthy version of the recipe. I too love Mexican food but feel you don’t always get enough veggies with most of the dishes. I also use a skillet when making this dish. The larger cooking surface allows each grain of rice to reach that golden brown stage desired in this recipe. So good!

  15. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe dozens of times over the past few years. IT TASTES TERRIFIC!!! It is an absolute perfect restaurant copycat. Thank you for publishing such a delicious and easy to make recipe. This is a standard in my house now. Mexican fare is my favorite!