Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

Cooking your own restaurant-style Mexican rice is very easy. It only requires a few basic ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. It is delicious, made in one pot, and is done in about 30 minutes.  You could not ask for anything more in a recipe.  You will be making this authentic Mexican rice all the time once you find out how flavorful and easy it is to make.  It is the best side dish to serve with tacos, enchiladas, tamales, or quesadillas.

Mexican rice is a recipe that I recommend that everyone learns to make and do it well.  As Mexican food is popular all over the United States, cooking more of it at home has become more common. Whether you are having taco Tuesday or grilling Carne Asada with friends, having a great side dish like Mexican rice ensures the meal is complete and satisfying. This recipe I have been making for years and is one of my kid’s favorites (Landon even wants leftovers for breakfast sometimes!)

This recipe will go great with the following recipes:


Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice and tacos
Taco Tuesdays need Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice


Authentic Mexican Rice

There are many versions of what people think is considered authentic when it comes to Mexican food and the rice is one of those dishes that surely has many recipes out there considered “authentic”.  Having grown up in California, I have eaten a fair share of rice dishes but all my friends with Mexican heritage swear by this recipe also.  They also all agree that Mexican rice never has cilantro, corn, or chunks of tomatoes in it.  They also agree that using long grain rice and chicken broth is a must.

This Mexican rice recipe is great also for burritos.  It is the ideal rice to add to beans, cheese, meat, and all the other goodies you may like wrapped up in a tortilla. I will take mine with lots of cheese and avocado, please.  What do you like in a burrito?


How to Make Mexican Rice

Making amazing restaurant-style Mexican rice is easy and is the perfect side for any taco, enchilada, or carne asada. Here are the foolproof step-by-step instructions for fluffy and flavorful Mexican rice that is cooked on the stovetop. I have tried numerous rice cooker recipes, and Mexican rice just tastes so much better and is less sticky when you do it right, on the stovetop.

For vegetarian Mexican rice, use vegetable bouillon instead of chicken broth.  To make the Mexican rice without tomato sauce you can use tomato paste instead.  If you have salsa you can use that too.  But for what I consider the best restaurant-style Mexican rice with a tint of red/orange, please use the tomato sauce.


Mexican Rice Ingredients


Here are the ingredients for homemade Mexican rice:

  • Long grain white rice (do NOT substitute with any other type of rice)
  • Chicken Broth (do not use just water, you can use vegetable broth instead if vegetarian)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Minced Onion
  • Vegetable oil

Here are the steps you must do:

  • Saute the rice in oil to bring out a nutty flavor
  • Add the spices and brown those with the rice before adding the liquid
  • Simmer slowly in the broth to flavor every grain
  • Add tomato sauce for some acidity and for that orange-red color we all recognize


First, add the vegetable oil to a large saucepot and bring to medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir to toast /fry some of the grains.  Some will become white as they heat up and a few will become a bit brown as they toast. This is what you want to see.


Saute rice in vegetable oil for mexican rice
Saute rice in vegetable oil


Next, add the minced onion, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir and toast about for a minute to really get the spices mixed with the warm rice and hot oil.  You should be able to smell the spices and the onions as they release their own oils.


Add spices and toast


Once all the dry ingredients are combined add the broth (water/bouillon combination) and the tomato sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a slow boil.


Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
Add chicken broth and tomato sauce


Once everything comes to a slow boil, turn the heat down to low and cover.  Stir a few times during the cooking process but try to not remove the lid which lets out the heat or stir too often, which breaks up the rice grains and can make it mushy.


Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low


Once ready, spoon into a serving dish or alongside your favorite tacos, enchiladas, chile rellenos, etc.  This rice is also fantastic in burritos.  Ian and Landon both love this rice with refried beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream for a no meat burrito.

Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice


Look at all those wonderful rice grains and that orange-red color.  This is is what Mexican rice should be.  Make sure you save this recipe on Pinterest.






Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice PIN
Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice PIN



Product Recommendations for this Recipe:

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This Recipe Will Go Great with these Recipes:

Hot Ones Grilled Pineapple Hot Sauce by Living Smart Girl
Hot Ones Grilled Pineapple Hot Sauce by Living Smart Girl



Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup ready
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup


Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

Easy Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

Tastes just like the flavorful, bright, and fluffy Mexican rice you get in your favorite authentic Mexican restaurant.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6


  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 & ½ C long-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ TB minced dry onion
  • 3 C chicken broth OR vegetable broth works too
  • ½ C tomato sauce


  • Heat oil on medium-high in a large saucepan. Add rice and saute to brown and toast the grains. Some should be slightly brown and others white as they heat.
  • Add the garlic, cumin, and dry onion. Stir to saute and toast the spices along with the rice for about a minute.
  • Add in the broth and stir. Next, add the tomato sauce and stir.
  • Bring to a boil and then turn down to low. Put the lid on your saucepan and continue to cook on a very slow simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Try and only remove the lid and stir 1-2x during the 20 minute cooking time.
  • When done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl.
Keyword easy, international, kid favorite, one pot

This Recipe was Featured on the Weekend Potluck 



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