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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 Mexican Rice in a blue stoneware serving bowl on a wooden table
Post may con­tain affil­i­ate links. See my Affil­i­ate Disclosure.

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 Favorite 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. 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. 

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! 

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?

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].

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

  • 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

More Delicious Mexican Recipes

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