Restaurant-style Mexican rice can easily be made right at home, and it tastes a million times better too!
Growing up in a very traditional Korean household, we had fried rice for dinner at least once a week. It was my mom’s go-to clean-out-the-fridge meal, especially on those busy nights where she was too tired to cook. Now I love fried rice just as much as the next person, but I realized it was time to change it up with this restaurant-style Mexican rice.
This Mexican rice comes together so easily and quickly in a single pot, which makes for an easy clean-up. You can also throw in your favorite veggies but I kept it simple with onion, corn kernels, peas and carrots. From there, the rice is simmered in tomato sauce and chicken broth, along with some cumin and chili powder for that extra kick of flavor.
You can serve as is or alongside some tacos or enchiladas. We loved it as a main dish, digging our way in with tortilla chips. Either way, we loved the change from our usual Asian-style fried rice and have made this at least 3 times this week!
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Restaurant-style Mexican rice can easily be made right at home, and it tastes a million times better too!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in rice until toasted, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in tomato sauce and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer, about 2 minutes. Stir in corn, carrots, peas, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 13-16 minutes. Stir in tomatoes.
- Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, if desired.
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I bet this is packed with so much flavor! And it’s so you! The skillet, the flavors, the lighting, it’s just…such a signature dish for you! I love that you have a style that is so unmistakably YOURS. That is awesome!
Will be making this very soon, sounds so yummy and easy!! Better than that cable car city stuff in a box.
This rice looks EXACTLY like the one at my fav little Mexican Joint! I am super pumped to have a recipe that I can make at home…especially one so simple.
I don’t know how ya made rice so dang pretty…but you did! Pinned
Yum, I’d love a huge bowl of this!
Thank you for the nice recipe. Have a Great and Happy Day!
I just discovered your blog, I love it. Thank you for your yummy recipes, really inspiring !
OK, being a full blooded Mexican, my mother’s rice was the best. When ever my friends wanted to go out for Mexican food, I would sigh, knowing that it could not compare to my mom’s rice and my dad’s beans. Even as an adult, I still haven’t found a Mexican rice that will do my mother justice so I am very eager to try Chung-Ah’s version. I have made several recipes thus far, and they have all been great, so I am super excited to try this Mexican rice, and I will update on my tastings!
Let me know how it turns out, although I bet it’ll be a bit difficult for me to beat your mother’s cooking!
Your pictures are gorgeous! Love that you added corn 🙂
Thank you for such a great recipe!
I have a question, can you use long grain rice to make this dish?
Yes, absolutely. I highly recommend long grain rice for this dish.
I confess that I’m guilty of buying those packets of Mexican rice at the grocery store. But this look seriously simple, being made all in one pot. I can do this. And I will – I’m making Sonoran hot dogs this weekend, and need a side dish!
I love Mexican rice, what a great skillet recipe!
That looks so yummy! My husband always teases that if I weren’t Chinese, I’d be Mexican. I just put some leftover pork fajitas in rice porridge. Fusion dish 😉
my family is off white rice, can brown rice be subbed instead?
Yes, absolutely. It’ll make it a bit healthier too!
I love Mexican rice. I like the vegetable additions to make wholesome dish. Yum!
Tell me must the rice be boiled first( mexican rice)
No, the rice does not need to be boiled first.
I’ve made this twice now. The rice does not get fully cooked in the time period specified. Both times, I’ve had to cook it at least 45 minutes
What kind of rice are you using? I’ve made this a dozen times now and have never had an issue with the rice cooking through by the 15 minute mark.
Having cooking time issues as well. Using the Basmati rice called for in the recipe and am nearing the 40 minute mark as well.
I just made this for the first time and I had the issue with the rice not cooking through as well. Next time I’ll try and give it closer to 40 minutes I guess.
All you have to do is fry the rice along with garlic and onion before boiling until the majority of the rice turns a different shade of white.
Its best if the lid is not removed during the cooking process. Not even once. Letting out the steam interrupts the rice cooking process which can be very sensitive and cause it to not get done. My rice comes out perfect everytime.
I, too am having cooking time issues. Just passed 45 min. and not done. Meanwhile the veggies are looking over cooked. Used Basmati rice. Since I live on the Arizona desert, altitude is not an issue. I regularly use a rice cooker and don’t have this trouble. Next time I’ll precook the rice somewhat. Looks and smells good.
For those having a time issue with the rice, there is a definite reason for this. I am a HVAC contractor and former instructor. Water boils at 212 degrees farinheight at sea level. For very 1000 feet in elevation, that drops the boiling temperature by 2 degrees. The higher you area above sea level, the lower the water boiling temperature drops and thus, the longer cooking times will be needed due to a lower boiling temperature. If one is cooking off the coast of Florida, the cooking time will be less than say in Colorodo. Hope this helps and Happy Cooking!
Beautiful and love all the ingredients and flavours in this one!
When I go to a Mexican restaurant, I love the flavored rice. I always thought it is hard to make. But your recipe looks very easy. I would love to try it!
I think I need to try your recipe… I love Mexican rice and have been looking and testing recipes for years. Yours looks fabulous!
This is my favorite kind of rice! Thanks for posting. :0)
This looks insanely good. My husband and daughter would love it.
I could make a meal off of this delicious rice. Love!
This looks so yummy! I like the idea of using chips as a utensil. ; ) That’s definitely how I would eat it too!
Please, what’s a ‘can of tomato sauce’? We buy tomato sauce in bottles (it’s more or less equivalent to your ketchup) in Australia. Is it passata? Or would a can of crushed tomatoes do the job? Someone once said we were two countries divided by a common language, and it’s never so true as in the kitchen! I’ve sorted out biscuits (scones) and cookies (biscuits) but a can of tomato sauce has me flummoxed. HELP!
MaryAnne, a can of tomato sauce is not the same as ketchup. I like to use this brand of tomato sauce for my recipes. Hope that helps!
American tomato sauce is basically a thin tomato puree with spices… sounds like it could be similar to passata? It is cooked and has a smooth texture though, not chunky.
Tomato sauce is thicker than passata, perhaps adding a few tablespoons of tomato paste would work.
Oh my, that looks amazing! I love Mexican rice. I’m definitely going to have to give this a try. 🙂
I like to add little chunks of cooked chicken and diced bell peppers (different colors) to mine. I agree that the veggies really make this rice delicious!
I’m a huge sucker for mexican dishes…making and pinned 🙂
Chung-Ah I love your blog, your photography is top notch. I am such a fan of Mexican food and this rice looks amazing. Beautiful!
I love homemade mexican rice 🙂 it is so full of flavor! Saving this recipe!
I love one dish meals. This is fabulous! Pinned & shared!
Can I use cooked rice or just use rice straight from the bag?
I recommend using uncooked rice for this recipe.
this looks amazing! as a 17 year old, I can bake very well but I’m just starting to learn how to cook and this recipe is perfect for beginners! gonna make this for dinner tomorrow, and I cannot wait to taste it
This was delicious. I made it with Colorado Burritos and it made an awesome side dish. BTW: Have you ever had a day in the kitchen when nothing is going right? I had no frozen peas (my bad as I almost always do) so to compensate I had a bag of mixed vegetables and picked out by hand the peas. Crazy!! Also, I ran out of chili powder so I got a crash course on how to make my own. I must have every spice ever invented/made so I saved the day by making my own. Hope everyone enjoys this as much as we did. I did pin this recipe as it is well worth it. Thanks Chung-Ah.
It is best to use tomato sauce for this recipe. Tomato paste is not an appropriate substitute.
Hi, thank you for your recipe. Can’t wait to try it but can I use extra long grain rice? Thank you.
Yes, that should be fine. Although you may have to adjust cooking time as needed.
Just made this! So yummy. Better than a Mexican resturaunt says the hubs! I used a can of diced and fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies instead of tomato sauce and a little extra chicken stock.
Hi, your recipes look amazing and I can’t wait to try them. I do however have a stupid question. I live in Australia so I am just wondering the can f tomato sauce, is that the usual tomato sauce you would have with burgers and chips? We don’t sell sauce in a can simian just trying to see what I should be using.
Not a stupid question at all! I’ve received similar questions from others overseas. Now in response to your question, you should not be using the tomato sauce for burgers and chips. Tomato passata would be your best bet.
Ok great, I can get that passata everywhere. Thank you 🙂
I made this for my family and they LOVED it!! It was amazing.
Could this recipe be made ahead and frozen? Also, I would like to make it for a large party, would it work to quadruple the recipe at one time and make it in a large pot? Thanks
Unfortunately I have never tried freezing this so I cannot answer this with certainty. As for quadrupling the recipe, that should work out just fine but you may have to adjust cooking time as needed.
Just made your mexican rice…delicious! Although I ended up taking the peas out, it was nice that they added colour but I found their taste/texture detracted from the rice. I think that next time I might use some finely diced green pepper instead. Thanks for the tasty and easy recipe!
Hello that dish looks lovely having a bbq on Saturday can this dish be eaten cold
I personally think it’s best served warm but it’s really based on personal preference.
What a delicious looking recipe! Did you use fresh, canned or frozen veggies?
I used a combination of all 3! It just really depends on what you have on hand.
This is bubbling on the stove top as I write this. I used brown basmati rice and the cooking time is significantly longer than written so I’ve been adding additional water as it cooks. I added some red pepper flakes to the oil, garlic and onions for some heat. I’m going to serve this with plenty of cilantro, black beans, and whole wheat flour tortillas.
Edited: yum! My family loved it.
I just tried this recipe and it came out fantastic! Thank you! I normally don’t care for most jambalaya/spanish rice recipes that involve rice and tomato, but this was a home run. The only major difference was that I used fresh tomatos from our garden that were overripe instead of the can of sauce and roma tomatos, and boiled them down first in the stock. The wife was pleased!
I tried this recipe and the rice was not cooked thoroughly. What might have gone wrong? Would appreciate ideas. I was thinking maybe there was not enough liquid…for basmati rice, typically, I do parts water to 1 part rice. This recipe says equal parts water (broth) and rice. Could it be that? I should have added more broth or water and cooked rice longer? Would appreciate guidance. Am a beginner cook and need feedback. Does basmatic usually require double liquid?
Shazam, I cannot answer what might have gone wrong as I was not in the kitchen with you. Did you follow the recipe exactly as written? And no, there is more than just equal parts broth and rice. There is also one 8-ounce can of tomato sauce. And basmati rice does not always require twice the liquid – it really depends on your preferences. I typically like to do 1 1/4:1 ratio. Hope that helps!
made this tonight and need to add twice the amount of chicken stock!
That’s a lot of stock to add in, but glad it worked out!
Very nice recipe! Thank you.
This looks so good! Can I use 5 minute brown rice or will it be too mushy? I can’t wait to try it!
You can certainly try substituting 5 minute brown rice but without further recipe testing, I cannot speak for how much this will change the overall taste/texture of the dish. It is always best to use the ingredients listed in the recipe to obtain the best results possible.
Is it fine if i leave out the chicken broth? Are there any substitutes? I want to make a vegetarian version
You can use vegetable broth/stock to fit your dietary restrictions.
I noticed you marked this under “vegetarian” but then added Chicken broth. I would assume vegetarian broth would work the same and taste the same for this recipe?
Yes, that’s exactly right!
Just made this tonight and it was a great base for me to experiment with. I did not have basmati rice and try to use brown grains when possible so I used brown rice. When using brown rice it will need at least twice the cooking time (40-45 minutes) and twice the liquid. I continued adding chicken broth as it was cooking and used about 3 cups. Because of the increased liquid, the seasonings became dull. Next time I make it, I will use two cans of tomato sauce and at least twice the chili powder and cumin with a little extra chicken broth. I used frozen mixed veggies because it’s what I had on hand but would love to try it with bell peppers and corn. This went wonderfully beside Mexican style shredded chicken stuffed crescent rolls. YUM! Thank you for giving me a base for expanding my cooking skills 🙂 LOVE your site!
YUM! Can’t wait to make this! Your recipe calls for vegetable broth but then in the directions states to add chicken broth. Which do you use?
Thanks for pointing that out! You can actually use either or – it depends if you want to keep this strictly vegetarian or not.
This has become my go to mexican rice recipe. I add diced poblano peppers – black beans- cilantro- green onions- and whatever else I have on hand.
A squirt of siracha also kicks it up a notch!
This recipe is so good.
This was excellent- I added a Tbsp of sriracha and it was just the right amount of spice!
I love your site
I was very excited to try this recipe in lieu of the boxed variety at the grocery store. I followed the recipe to the letter and it just didn’t turn out very well. Not sure what I could or should have done differently since I didn’t deviate from the recipe at all. The main issue as another person mentioned was, 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable broth to 1 1/2 cups of the basmati rice just wasn’t enough liquid. I added another cup and it helped but still doesn’t seem to be enough. And then to compensate for the added liquid, more spices had to be added because it became way too bland after adding additional broth.
By adding more liquid, it’s not surprising that the spice flavors were off. If more liquid needs to be added to taste, it is best to increase the spices accordingly.
Hi Chungah, I recently discovered your site & I have made your One Pan Mexican Quinoa (twice!) which even my one year old loves as well as your Baked Brown Sugar Chicken Wings (YUM!!). I would like to make the Mexican Rice tonight although I only have the pouches of the Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice on hand. Do you think I can use that by taking it out of the pouch still frozen and cook it according to your instructions? I believe one pouch equals two cups so I’d have to adjust the seasonings a little. Thank you!!
Jocelyn, that sounds like a great idea but I can’t really say for sure how or if these will turn out as I have never tried this product myself. Please use your best judgement.
Stumbled upon your site a while back, but this was the first recipe I had tried. Finally, a mexican rice that wasn’t mushy!! I doubled the cumin and chili powder and added a half-cup of a leftover flat mexican beer – great flavor to go with our homemade refried beans and turkey enchiladas.
Thanks and I look forward to trying more of your recipes!
Made it tonight and it was very good.i added more vegetable broth,an other cup because the rice was not cooked.i used fresh carrots instead of a can and the carrots were not totally cooked, next time I will use a can or cook the carrots before .i will do it again.
I found this recipe probably three months ago and I have probably made it once a week since then! I love it! I use all frozen vegetables and decrease the rice and increase the broth because my rice always takes a long time. It’s seriously the best Mexican rice I have ever had!
Hi, I want to try and make this tomorrow… i want to know if i can use sweet corn or not for this? maybe this is a dumb question but i am a real beginner at cooking and i dont know how to use anything with anything haha.
Yes, sweet corn kernels should work just fine.
Hi Chungah, my husband is craving Mexican rice so I thought I’d give your recipe a try. I’m more of a lover of Asian food, myself. I’m hoping yours if the best of both worlds.
Would adding hot Italian sausage change the flavor too much in your opinion? looking to add some meat to this delicious sounding recipe.
Yes, I worry that Italian sausage may alter the flavor a bit. How about adding grilled chicken?
I used brown basmati rice. I cooked it for over an hour, having to add more broth and tomato sauce of course and the rice NEVER cooked. It was awful and very frustrating.
Ann, brown rice can be substituted but cooking time will have to be adjusted accordingly.
Can you make this the day before for company and heat in the oven the next day.
Yes, you can reheat as needed.
My mum used to make rice very similar to this called “red rice” when we were kids. I’m making it this evening for friends. It’s lovely with grated cheese on top.
I prefer long grain rice to basmati for this recipe, and it’s a whole lot less expensive too, I save the basmati for curries 🙂
What brand of basmati rice are you using? I had the same problem as other commenters where the amount of liquid and cooking time were no where near enough. I had to add at least another cup of water and cook it an addition 15 minutes. Came out fine. Just curious if there is a brand difference in the rice. I used Mahatma brand basmati rice. Thanks!
I actually can’t remember the specific brand that I used but as always, please use your best judgment to make the appropriate adjustments as needed.
Im Mexican and hubby Persian, I often use Basmati rice and love the idea of brings our rice together (Persian love Basmati). Question: I typically use chicken broth but only have beef broth, so you think that would be ok? Also, should i soak rice? perhaps that will help with the time to cook? Thank you!
Yes, beef broth should be fine! Although I don’t think you need to soak the rice. But as always, please use your best judgment.
I need to make this for a company party, like for 50+ people. Would the best way be to cook in batches & increase cooking time or should I cook up the garlic, onion, toast the rice and throw everything into a rice cooker?
Unfortunately, I cannot answer with certainty as I have never used a rice cooker for this recipe. It may be best to cook in batches. But as always, please use your best judgment.
Wow. .. This Mexican Rice I cooked is delicious! Thanks for the recipe. Won’t be the last time I cook it. ..
Wow! Another great recipe of yours that we love! I had to do some modifications based on what I had on hand. I had to use Italian style tomatoes in place of tomato sauce. I bet having regular would be even better! I had to sub basmati for instant rice (I know! I know!), BUT it actually worked! I toasted it like you did, and when I covered it I reduced the time down to 5 minutes. I LOVE this recipe. I’m going to use this from now on instead of the horrible pre-packaged rice mixes at the store. Thank you so much!
My boyfriend and I love this recipe! However, we doubled the amount of broth and also didn’t use peas or carrots but added bell pepper. We also quadrupled the spice. It has become a staple in our meal rotation!
I’ve made plenty of your recipes, and I thank you for sharing. However, this one was not a fave. It needed a lot more stock or liquid than indicated, and the end result needed more flavor. The first time I made it, I had a similar experience with undercooked rice (I’m in CT, so altitude is not an issue). I wanted to give it another try because my family enjoys mexican rice at restaurants. I made some adjustments, but it still wasn’t great. I just wanted give some constructive feedback for readers who may want to give the recipe a try.
I’m sorry that this recipe did not turn out the way you had imagined. I only post recipes that have been successfully tested in my own kitchen, and as you can see from the comments here, many of these readers have had great outcomes in the final dish as well. However, I understand that we all have different taste preferences, and I really appreciate your honest feedback.
I’m at sea level and this was a bust at 20 minutes. At 40 minutes, the veggies were a bust and the rice on the edges was still crispy and dinner was over.
I’ve never commented and your website says I’m duplicating by saying this recipe has inadequate liquid and cooking time. My original post was much more delicate, but apparently your website hates that.
The recipe must use instant Basmati. My dish took 40 minutes to cook too. Every Basmati Rice I have used say to cook for 40 minutes. This recipe should stipulate instant Basmati Rice if wanting the recipe to cook in 15 minutes.
****Just a suggestion!!****
But maybe you could also try using tomato bouillon! (the Knorr brand makes a pretty good one)…instead of the tomato sauce + vegetable broth. It’s how my mom makes her rice. 🙂
Made this tonight. As always, so good!
I made a few minor adjustments. I cooked the carrots with the onion and garlic. I omitted the peas because my husband doesn’t like them. And I added the cilantro into the rice when I added the tomatoes. Fantastic!!
Great adjustments Kathy! Glad you enjoyed it!
will it work with microwave rice ?
Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.
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