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. 5 stars
    I omitted the cilantro because my wife has that special gene. It was still great. My wife said “better than the restaurants”! Definitely adding this recipe into my rotation.

  2. 5 stars
    Love it! I love this potato salad and I could eat this forever. I love the red onion . Green onion is ok but I prefer the red onion and sweet pickles instead of dill. I could eat this salad at every meal.

  3. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe for Mexican style rice. My daughter cooks it all of the time for her family now, as well. I freeze the other half of the can of tomato sauce (I use a small glass prep bowl and then dump it in a ziplock bag after it’s frozen) so I almost always have the right amount on hand. Thanks so much for the great recipe.

  4. This says it serves 18. How does one cup of rice obviously cooked serve 18?
    Wanted to make this for about 75 but not sure on how 1 cup makes 18. Obviously I would make this recipe x4 but wanted to check the serving size to make sure 18 for 1 is accurate?

    1. There’s no way 1 c. of uncooked rice would serve 18! Rice doubles when cooked, so theoretically 1 c. Uncooked = 2 c. Cooked. The most 2 c. of cooked rice serves at our house is 4! (4, 1/2 c. Servings). Hopefully soon, the author will fix this typo of the recipe serving 18!

      1. I’m not sure where you are seeing that it serves 18. In the recipe card it says it serves 6 as a small side dish.

  5. Just what I was looking for. Don’t know how it turns out to be the drier, fluffier rice I wanted but it did!
    I used Pace picante sauce instead of tomato sauce and it was great! I may use a spicier version of Pace next time. We like spicy.
    I won’t buy any more Spanish/Mexican rice products at the store! I’ve found my favorite here.

  6. Would love to make this but for 50 people. Can I brown and then transfer to an electric roaster or oven?? Would be for a shower and it’s coming up! Also, how many servings would I get with a 5 pound bag of Jasmine rice?

  7. 5 stars
    I have made these once for a taco bar meal at a college graduation party and they were a HUGE success! Several people asked for the recipe. LOVED the flavor and the ease of making it.

  8. 5 stars
    I have made these once for a taco bar meal at a college graduation party and they were a HUGE success! Several people asked for the recipe. LOVED the flavor and the ease of making it.

  9. 5 stars
    Great Mexican rice recipe. Flavors were all balanced very nicely. Definitely a new addition to taco night.

  10. 5 stars
    We made this for the first time. Delicious! Watch how long the rice boils & simmers, it can be crunchy if not cooked long enough. Otherwise, so much better than boxed Mexican rice! I will make this again! Yum!

  11. 5 stars
    I absolutely love it. I’ve never cooked in my life and decided this year it was time to change things. I made this with some taquitos and it was absolutely fantastic!

  12. Quick question, if I wanted to make a batch 3x the size. Should I just x3 everything? Or is there a better way for large batches? Thank you!

    1. Yes, just triple everything. The recipe does have “2X” and “3X” buttons to automatically change the amounts for you.

  13. 5 stars
    Easy to make recipe and everyone loved it! I added a half cup of salsa which made it extra flavorful.

  14. 5 stars
    I used a can of Rotel Mild Tomatoes and Green Chiles in place of some of the tomato sauce and broth. Excellent. My family loved it. Saving this recipe!