Easy & Authentic Restaurant Style Mexican Rice Recipe (ready in 25 min)

4.82 from 240 votes
484 Comments

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This Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice is the perfect side dish for your next Mexican feast. With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to make and ready in less than 30 minutes. It is a perfect addition to any meal!

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. 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.

You can make this Mexican Rice recipe in bulk and freeze it for up to 3 months without losing freshness. This is great if you want to save money by buying your ingredients in bulk or trying out a new recipe but want to make a manageable amount.

If you’re looking for a recipe to pair with our Mexican Rice, we recommend our Grilled Steak Tacos and Hatch Chiles Rellenos but it goes as a great easy side dish for just about anything that’ll last you a while.

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

4.82 from 240 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

Video

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

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. Looks delicious! What is it pictured with, on a plate, please? The photo with the rice plus 2 rolled up tortillas covered with melted cheese. I would love the recipe for whatever that tortilla/cheese dish is, please. It looks so good! I’m trying the rice tonight, with chili-lime chicken.

  2. 5 stars
    Love it, kids love it and husband loved it!

    Only issue I’ve had is with the measurements. Our standard Pyrex stuff doesn’t have 14 ounces. Also I have been doubling the recipe – fam loves rice, and that’s probably messing it up even more. Made it twice and it came out hard and I had to add water and simmer longer. It’d be nice to have same recipe in more standard measurements. I’m going to try to do that until I get it right.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and the 5-star rating. We are so happy you like our Mexican Rice!

  3. 2 stars
    I made this recipe exactly as it described and it came out really bland. In the end I tried adding vegetables and more spices to save it… And its still just not very good. Ive never had a rice like this at any GOOD mexican restaurant… maybe a not so good tex mex one. I probably should have gone for an authentic mexican rice but this recipe just seemed easy. Im glad so many other people liked this recipe, but it was definitely not for me.

  4. What a day. I finally found the holy grail of Mexican restaurant rice recipes. I have tried many and this is the best by far. Follow every step, rinse the rice too, makes a huge difference. Thank you so much.

    1. What a compliment! I am so happy you found our recipe, and even happier that you love it as much as we do! Thank you for your comment. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    It’s true! It turns out just like the mexican rice I love in restaurants. Hubby said, “you need to make it this way from now on – delicious!”

  6. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Low salt, as a diabetic and kidney patient, its great. Whole family loved it. Better and healthier than boxed versions.

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I did add some onion, red, green and orange bell peppers and blended up some medium salsa for a little kick instead of tomato sauce. I also reduced the broth a little since the veggies release juices when I sauté them. I think I’m going to try adding corn next time to give it a little sweetness.

    1. Thank you so much for the 5-star rating! I’m very happy you like the recipe, and I love your addition ideas. Corn in this recipe will be delicious.

  8. 5 stars
    This rice perfectly completes any Mexican style dish! It’s perfect because you can control the heat/spice to your liking by using tomato sauce or sub hot salsa. My family loves this with “2 ugly mugs muggin’ hot salsa” instead of tomato sauce. A winner!!!!!

  9. 5 stars
    YIPPEE!! This works! I made Mexican food for my son’s birthday dinner and I tried your Mexican rice recipe. It was the BEST I ever made and everyone wanted the recipe. This is the only Mexican rice I will ever make again!

  10. 5 stars
    This was a delicious way to prepare rice. The tomato sauce must have been the “secret ingredient” cause it tasted like my fave Mexican restaurant’s!

  11. Thanks for this recipe- it was so easy to make a really delicious side to tamales. My partner really enjoyed this and made sure I kept the recipe! ( too late, I’d already pinned it!!! 😄)

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe was awesome ! I’ve been searching for a recipe similar to our area restaurants’ flavor and consistency ! Can’t wait to make it again !!

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe has gotten me into a lot of trouble. I am German/Dutch and my wife is from Guanajuato, Mexico. My mother in law is quite upset that her grandchildren prefer my “secret recipe” over her rice. Thank you. I think the MIL still loves me though…

  14. 5 stars
    Love the recipe! Tastes just like Mexican restaurants. I used blended up Cosco brand diced tomatoes and it tastes great!! 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe so many times I’ve lost count. Best rice outside of a Mexican restaurant hands down!

  16. Found this at least a couple of years ago, bookmarked it and have made it so many times I have it memorized. Love it!! I’ve never been good at making any kind of rice, but this one is so easy! I never deviate from the recipie, but am thinking of trying with salsa…I’m sure it will be good! Thanks for a killer recipie!