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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!
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 three 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 and easy side dish for just about anything.
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.
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 four 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.
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.
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:
- Green chiles
- Lime juice
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.
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 five 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 three 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 five-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!
Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
- Stove Top
- Large Sauce Pan
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup long grain rice uncooked
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 14 ounces chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 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 until it looks golden.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and fluff with a fork, then stir in chopped cilantro.
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Have made this rice side a few times. First, it is simple to make. Second, it is delicious!
This is so easy to make and it’s my husband’s absolute favorite!!
This recipe didn’t work for me! I followed it closely and it turned out mushy (overcooked?). Also, maybe my chicken broth is more flavorful than some (I used a Kirkland Signature box)- but the recipe also tastes overly chickeny.
I am so sorry this didn’t work out for you. It sounds like you may have used too much of the chicken broth.
What am i doing wrong? Help. I made this years ago and loved it, but the last 2 times it’s mushy and crunchy? Not cooking long enough to a golden color or cooking too long? After 25 minutes, it’s still very wet and won’t fluff.
It sounds like you might need to rinse your rice before using! Rinsing the rice can help remove some of the starches that make your rice clumpy and not cooked through. Hope this helps!
Are you frying it in the oil long enough?
Are you cooking it at high enough temperature? When there is still liquid it should be an incredibly slow boil but should bubble just a tiny bit. Did you somehow use too much liquid? Otherwise I can’t imagine, even if you didn’t brown it long enough.