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Mexican Rice Recipe, 10-Minutes & Easy

I can’t stop making this outrageously delicious 10-minute, easy Mexican Rice recipe.

Easy 10-minute Mexican Rice served in a blue stoneware bowl.
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Mostly because my family can’t stop eating it! Kids, grandkids, friends of kids and grandkids __ you get the idea. It is SO good.

Even better than that, it is SO easy! It’s a simple side dish for your family taco night or your best Mexican dinner main dishes, like Beef Enchilada Casserole. If you’re a fan of Mexican food, this recipe is going to become a favorite.

Do you love restaurant style Mexican rice? If you’ve never had Mexican seasoned rice this will be a happy surprise.

Mine is the closest I’ve ever come to a restaurant style Mexican rice, that is also quick and easy to prepare. I happen to think it’s one of the best Mexican rice recipes that can be completed so easily on a busy weeknight.

Quick, Easy and Budget-Friendly

Best Mexican Rice in a blue stoneware bowl on a wooden table

Though it my not be traditional or considered to be authentic Mexican Rice, this wonderful rice recipe is easy on the budget. And, it can be prepared in minutes. For me and my family that is perfect.

Even on a hectic Tuesday night, it’s no big deal to make a batch of this 10-minute easy Mexican rice. Pair it with my friend Liz’s potato tacos and you’ll have an easy vegan meal in no time at all! I always try to make enough fluffy, well seasoned Mexican Rice for leftovers, because it reheats perfectly in the microwave. It’s a versatile leftover that easily transforms into some of your favorite lunches and dinners, later on.

Honestly, you won’t believe the delicious rice bowls you can create with my best Mexican rice leftovers and some leftover Sheet Pan Fajita Chicken or Easy Southwest Chicken! Those leftover bits from other meals are easily transformed into deliciously simple, brand new dishes when combined with this yummy rice..

Creating Easy Meals with Leftovers

You know I’m all about saving time on hectic weeknights. I love when I get to cook once, and we can eat twice, or even more, from the same delicious (and already prepared) ingredients.

Once you learn to recombine ingredients you already have ready, creating a new and exciting dish, you will literally change the way you feel about leftovers and about making family dinners on weeknights.

best mexican rice recipe

You just need a list of tried and true favorite ingredients and recipes to remind you how simple it can be. Then weeknight family dinners can be about conversation, laughter and making memories instead of stressing over what’s to eat.

So, start YOUR list today, and definitely, this delicious restaurant style Mexican Rice recipe should be on it!

How to Serve Deliciously Seasoned Mexican Rice

My restaurant style Mexican rice is a perfect side for any of your Mexican favorites. Taco Tuesday just moved up the rankings for flavor and for ease!

I usually just serve Mexican seasoned rice, plain, when using it as a side dish for other Mexican food. But, if you want to dress it up, you can sprinkle with minced fresh cilantro or green onions.

Mexican Rice is spectacular served alongside Mexican Shredded Beef or my friend Sue’s Dorito Casserole with Ground Beef. And you’ll always be satisfied if you enjoy it with my Chicken Street Tacos.

creamy chicken enchilada on a white plate
Try my easy recipe for Mexican rice with Creamy Chicken Enchiladas.

It’s also decadently delicious drizzled with queso blanco and some minced jalapeno or my crazy good Southwest Salad Dressing/ Sauce! Mmmmmmm… and now, I’m hungry. lol

The best thing is this leftover rice can be used for creating AWE-mazing rice bowls and simply delicious casseroles. It’s excellent stuffed into burritos. And, have you tried making Mexican chicken fried rice, yet? Your mind will be blown!

It’s even delicious in dishes from other cultural backgrounds, like theses scrumptious Costa Rican Casado lunch options or alongside these Cuban Sliders.

Toss in any add-ins you have on hand, like jalapeno, cheese, black beans, olives, green onions, sour cream, diced tomatoes, guacamole, chicken, beef, pork or any of your family’s favorites. You can simply dress up Mexican Rice, as a side, or make it into a complete and hardy meal. You’re only limited by your imagination.

Enchilada Casserole on a White plate sitting on a wooden table
My Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole recipe is another great dish alongside best Mexican rice.

As one easy leftover rice example, dice up the peppers, onions and chicken leftover from making Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas. Mix those with Easy Delicious Mexican Rice and some grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese.

Drizzle everything with Creamy Salsa Dressing and Homemade Avocado Ranch Dressing. You’ve made a completely new dish, FROM LEFTOVERS, and the flavor is seriously, over-the-top. So good!

FAQs About Mexican Rice

What is the difference between Mexican Rice and Spanish Rice?

They are very similar. But, the easiest to identify difference is that Spanish rice contains saffron and so has a more yellow color.

Spanish rice
Spanish Rice edited and licensed stock photo
What is the difference between Mexican rice and Puerto Rican rice?

Mexican rice can be spicy, or not. Puerto Rican rice is seasoned with lots of herbs and spices but is not spicy.

Is Mexican rice fried?

A true, authentic Mexican rice recipe calls for the rice to be fried in oil and browned before the chicken broth and tomato base are added.

The Ingredients

  • Chicken Broth
  • Tomato Powder (or Caldo de Tomate, if you can’t find tomato powder)
  • Quick Cook (Instant or Minute) Rice – I prefer brown, but white works well, too.
  • Minced Garlic
  • optional garnishes: chopped parsley or cilantro, chopped green onions, queso blanco, diced avocado, queso fresco cheese

What is Tomato Powder?

Tomato powder is fresh, ripe tomatoes that have been dehydrated and then ground into powder. As you can imagine, the tomato flavor is super concentrated from the dehydration process.

pile of tomato powder on white counter next to two whole tomatoes

It does clump fairly easily, so most brands use a small amount of an anti-clumping agent. Even so, it is my preference over caldo de tomate, if I can find it.

The flavor and aroma are exceptional. It adds that savory “meaty” deliciousness to stews and sauces, just like fresh tomatoes. Combined with the cumin, garlic and the chicken stock it creates scrumptious, as close to authentic, Mexican Rice as you’ll ever make in just 10 minutes.

Tomato Powder is more difficult for me to find, here, in small town USA, but I order it online in bulk, so I rarely run out. I’ve had good luck with buying it through Spices, Inc. (That’s not an affiliate link or anything. They have no idea who I am. lol) But I do like their spices and customer service. I’m sure you could find tomato powder online from other companies, too.

And, the Caldo de Tomate is always a good backup if you can’t find tomato powder or run out.

What is Caldo de Tomate?

You may be wondering what Caldo de Tomate is. It’s not as exotic as it sounds.

It’s just tomato bouillon. It does have MSG in it and it’s combined with onions, parsley and other seasonings, plus chicken “flavor”. It tastes delicious, but it’s not the best option, especially since my husband is sensitive to MSG.

I can purchase Caldo de Tomate, here, in my small town Walmart. Look in the ethnic foods section of your local store. I’ll bet you find it. If not, you can purchase it on Amazon [affiliate link].

caldo de tomate

FAQ’s About Instant Rice

Is Instant Rice good for you?

Yes. The debate over long cook or quick cook (minute / instant) rice is one that’s settled for me. The consensus, after an independent study, is that there is no appreciable nutritional difference between long cooking brown rice and quick cooking brown rice. See more info here and here.

The same is true of white rice. Long cook or quick cook the nutritional value doesn’t change much.

What is Instant Rice?

Quick Cook/ Minute/ Instant Rice is regular rice that has been parboiled, meaning partially cooked. Then it is dehydrated again. This allows us to be able to complete the cook in about 1/4 of the normal time! The nutritional loss is negligible and the time gain is HUGE! That’s an easy decision for me.

grains of brown rice on a white counter top
Can I use long grain brown rice, basmati rice or Long Grain White Rice, instead of instant, in this recipe?

No. While all long grain rices, like basmati rice, or even jasmine, can work for Mexican rice, they don’t work in this quick cook recipe. All require a much longer cooking time.

If you want to try to make Mexican rice in a more traditional recipe, I recommend this one for Authentic Mexican flavored rice. Basmati rice, long grain brown rice and long grain white rice should all work well.

How to Make Mexican Rice

It’s as easy as 1-2-3. It cooks in 10 minutes or less regardless of whether you choose white or brown rice. Select your preference in the instruction options, below.

  • Instant White Rice Cooking Instructions
    1. Add Tomato Powder (or Caldo de Tomate) and cumin to the chicken broth and bring to a full boil.
    2. Add the instant white rice. Cover with a tight fitting lid and turn off the heat.
    3. Wait 5 minutes. Remove the lid. Fluff and serve!
dissolve in chicken stock
  • Instant Brown Rice Cooking Instructions
    1. Add Tomato Powder (or Caldo de Tomate) and cumin to the chicken broth and bring to a full boil.
    2. Add the instant brown rice. Cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to medium/low.
    3. Simmer on medium/low for 10 minutes or until broth has been absorbed.
add rice for mexican rice

Is It Really Restaurant Style Mexican Rice?

I’m sure there are lots of purists who will say absolutely not. But let’s compare.

Restaurant Style

  1. Typically, Restaurant style Mexican rice is slightly dry and fluffy. It does not clump or get sticky.
  2. Restaurant style Mexican rice recipes usually call for the rice to be cooked in chicken stock.
  3. Most restaurant style Mexican rice is flavored with some sort of tomato base, i.e. tomato paste, tomato sauce or tomato bouillon.
  4. Restaurant style Mexican rice, like Spanish rice, uses some form of herbs and/or spices for seasoning, i.e. cumin, garlic, cilantro.
  5. Needs 30-45 minutes of combined prep and cook time.

Quick & Easy Style

  1. My Quick & Easy Mexican Rice rice is slightly dry and fluffy. It does not clump or get sticky.
  2. My Quick and Easy Mexican Rice recipe calls for the rice to be cooked in chicken stock.
  3. Likewise, my best Mexican rice uses Caldo de Tomate (tomato bouillon) to achieve tomato flavor. Even without tomato sauce, the flavor is there.
  4. My Mexican Rice, like Spanish rice, uses garlic and cumin and suggests cilantro as an option.
  5. Needs 15 minutes, (or less) of combined prep and cook time.

For being able to be cooked in 10 minutes or less and for delivering delicious flavor with light and fluffy texture, my Easy Mexican Rice wins every time at my house.

It may not be authentic Mexican rice, but it is absolutely scrumptious!

Try it out in your own kitchen and let me know how it goes!

mexican rice

The Recipe

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Mexican rice in a blue stoneware bowl.

Easy Delicious Mexican Rice

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 20 reviews

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 6 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


Make Mexican Rice in only 10 minutes!  Perfect side dish for any taco night.  Great base for Mexican inspired casseroles!  Not a traditional or authentic Mexican rice recipe, but it is an absolutely scrumptious and budget-friendly one.  You’re going to love it!


Units Scale
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups (any brand, brown or white) instant/ minute rice
  • 5 teaspoons tomato powder (or Caldo de Tomate)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • optional variation: omit cumin & garlic and add 1 teaspoon Southwestern seasoning for spicier rice. (Seasoning blend already contains cumin.)
  • optional garnishes: chopped parsley or cilantro, chopped green onions, queso blanco, diced avocado, queso fresco cheese


For White Rice:

  1. Dissolve the Tomato Powder (or Caldo de Tomate) and cumin in the chicken broth, in a 3-quart pan.
  2. Add the garlic and bring the stock to a rolling boil.
  3. Shut off the heat
  4. Add the rice. 
  5. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid.
  6. Let rest, covered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove lid, fluff rice and serve.

For Brown Rice:

  1. Dissolve the Tomato Powder (or Caldo de Tomate) and cumin in the chicken broth, in a 3-quart pan.
  2. Add the garlic and bring the stock to a rolling boil.
  3. Add the rice. 
  4. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to medium low.
  5. Simmer 10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  6. Remove lid, fluff rice and serve.


Make Mexican rice any time you serve your favorite Mexican food.  It will always be a hit!

  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Cuisine: Mexican

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glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

37 thoughts on “Mexican Rice Recipe, 10-Minutes & Easy”

  1. You had me wanting to make this at “10 minutes” but you hooked me with the simplicity and great flavor! The kids loved it because of the color and it made a great side dish!


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