One Pot Mexican Rice Casserole — Damn Delicious

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One Pot Mexican Rice Casserole

Good old Mexican comfort food made in a single pan – even the rice gets cooked right in the pot!

It’s no surprise that I’m a bit obsessed with one pot meals. Then there’s my other love affair with Mexican food. So you know that I couldn’t help combining my two loves into the most glorious one pot mexican casserole.

Not only does this come together in a single pot but it’s chockfull of fun veggies – all of which you can customize to your liking. But the more veggies, the better! You can even substitute brown rice to make it even healthier.

When ready to serve, you can eat this right out of the pan or even use it as a dipping base with tortilla chips. We loved it both ways, and the leftovers taste even better the next day!

One Pot Mexican Rice Casserole

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Good old comfort food made in a single pan – even the rice gets cooked right in the pot!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup white rice*
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in zucchini and corn until tender and heated through, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in diced tomatoes, rice, chili powder, cumin and 1 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 15-18 minutes.
  3. Stir in cheese until melted through, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, if desired.

*Brown rice can be substituted but cooking time may have to be increased as needed.

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I love that this has plenty veggies and is vegetarian and on the healthier side! And that it’s one pot. Such a major time (and dishes) saver!

Mmm this looks like a taco risotto, I’d definitely be up for that – so many delicious flavours 😀 x

Sounds good. I will brown the rice in a bit of oil first for a couple of minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients. Yum-o.

Considering I have a dishwasher who’s definition of “clean” is questionable, I really need to get up on these on pot dinners. You are the queen of them, and this is no exception. Bring on alll the Mexican Rice! Pinned!

This is like the fourth recipe that you posted the same week as I try my own version. It’s starting to get creepy. The only major difference I see is that I put the rice in with the veggies, before the liquid is added to the pot, like you would in a risotto. I may try it your way however and see if there is any textural differences. Thanks for sharing!!

You are absolutely amazing! I hope that you are seriously considering coming out with your own cookbook because it would be my number one favorite!

I’m a bit obsessed with one pot meals, too. And you have the best recipes for one pot meal! Pinned!

This looks amazing! Pinned it, love your recipes!

Could ground beef be added to this, you think? How would you do that?

Yes, ground beef can be added in the very first step. From there, you can add in your veggies. Hope that helps!

Looks great, but I have a question: Brown rice requires a much longer cooking time than white, so it seems the vegetables would be way overcooked. Can the rice be cooked separately then added, or is the starch created in the cooking process essential to the finished dish? BTW, enjoy your web site, especially asian-influenced recipes.

Yes, Polly, using brown rice will take about 35-40 minutes. You can certainly cook the brown rice separately but the beauty of this dish is that this is a one pot meal. And no, the vegetables are not “way overcooked”. But I recommend using the methods that work for you and your family preferences.

Love easy one pot dishes, especially with Mexican flavors!

One-pot recipes are basically culinary sorcery and I love them to bits.

this sounds so good I am going to make it have made lots of your dishes they are amazing thank you

Made this tonight-it was awesome! I made it with brown rice-just added more water-about 2 cups instead of 1 1/2. Worked out fine. I also added black beans at the very end. Next time I am going to play with more veggies!!

These pictures made me hungry! I love that this is a one pot meal. Such easy clean up and the Mexican flavors are right up my alley! Yum!

I am obsessed with mexican food.. never made a mexican casserole before! Thanks for the recipe and idea.. I definitely need to try it!

I love how colorful your dishes are! This one pot casserole looks really yummy =)

I’ve gotten SUPER into the one pot meals as well, how can you not?! They’re just so easy and so stinkin’ good! Love this version!

I made this for dinner tonight, Chungha. It was absolutely delicious!! My husband loved it, too. It made enough that we have leftovers for another night :). Thank you for posting these wonderful one pot dinners. I can’t wait to make more.

To help the stainless steel cookware peeps, because rice is horrible to get off the bottom of a pan, just let that pot get really hot first. Even before you add the oil. Then, after adding the oil, let THAT get hot. You should see a vapor coming off the pan. Then add your food. That’s how they used to do ‘non-stick’ by knowing how that specific metal reacts to food. 😀

This was awesome. Thanks, again! I’ve tried four of your one pot meals now and a couple of your others and they were all very good and super simple!

Really, all you have to do to remove cooked on rice is put hot water in the cooled pan with a bit of good dish wash liquid (I use Dawn) and let it soak for a while and it comes right off.

This is true, as well. You can skip that step on stainless steel, however, if you just let it get hot first. 😀 Rice isn’t that hard to get off. Pasta is way worse. Works for both. 😀

Made this with 1 lb ground Turkey added and my husband loved it! There were no leftovers. Super easy, super flavorful, plus he got zucchini for dinner, in which he does not like, go me! Also put on a dollop of sour cream on top, which added to the flavor. Will definitely be in the dinner rotation.

Do you think this would freeze well? It looks delicious!!

Unfortunately I cannot answer this with certainty as I have never tried freezing this myself. There were no leftovers to freeze! I recommend using your best judgment for freezing and reheating.

I cannot see any reason this would not freeze well. Put it in zip-lock bags,remove all the air (avoids freezer burn) and saves freezer space.

That…was…amazing. Wow!! Flavorful and with ingredients we all have. Sooo good!
I am impressed!

You can’t argue with one pot. I love Mexican. I like the fact you can eat with or without meat.
Oh yeah easy goes a long long way in my book.

Mom saw that I had made this for myself and was instantly insanely jealous. Making it for dinner with her tonight. Will have to let you know how she enjoys it. 😀

I tried this recipe using jasmine white rice but it didn’t work out =/ What kind of rice do you normally use? Besides that, love your recipes. They all look so doable and delicious!

What a bummer! I used basmati rice but it should have worked with jasmine white rice as well. Did you follow the ingredients/instructions as written?

Great recipe! I used jasmine also & had no problem. Might have cooked it a few extra minutes. I did not have zuchinni so used black beans in place of it. Didn’t have canned tomatoes either so I used some of my homemade salsa (canned). Very flexible recipe:) We just sprinkled the cheese on top of individual bowls & ate it with chips.

Love these kind of recipes! But I guess I didn’t read the whole thing and put my brown rice on to cook earlier so it would be good to go when I threw this all together. Wish I would’ve seen the magical “one pot” 😉 I’m sure it will be easy and delicious though! Thanks for sharing!

Bummer! That’s the beauty of a one pot meal – no need for the extra cooking. And it’s always helpful to read through a recipe at least twice before cooking. You won’t believe the difference it makes!

Recipe looks delicious! Could I use quinoa instead of rice?

Yes, absolutely, but you may have to adjust cooking time as needed.

I tried the recipe with ground beef and found the result a little bland. I think doubling up on the chilli and cumin would give it some punch. I had some left overs and mixed some salsa with it which worked well.

Martin, it is best to increase the other ingredients to compensate for the addition of ground beef.

Mmmm,……this looks awefuly close to my Arroz con Pollo.recipe. At the beginning, add cubed chicken breast until browned then add the vegetables, tomatoes and rice…… . Delicious!. I do make your version when I am in my vegetarian mood. Just as delicious.

Looks great! Question: What if I just used my usual one cup of Quinoa instead of rice? Would the measurement be okay? I think it would … but wanted to run it by you. I am on a Quinoa kick these days 😉 … I’ve convinced myself its better for me than white rice 🙂

… and yes … I would cook my Quinoa by itself and add it to the mix at the end. Your thoughts.

It should be fine to substitute uncooked quinoa for the rice but you may have to adjust cooking time as needed.

… oh … so much for the “one pot” idea 🙁 ………:-)

good recipe!
I need more proteins so i decided to add lentils, black beans and ground chicken,
cooked the chicken for a few minutes before adding the onions and following the recipe.
I also like mexican dishes that are on the spicier side, so I added a chopped jalapeno pepper,
paprika and pepper flakes.

So love your recipes….everything I’ve tried (which is many) is awesome

Instead of adding cheese at the end, when you serve it slice a banana on it, it tastes really good. P.S. I want to try all your recipes

Instead of water, why not use low sodium broth, or even a blend of water and broth?

Yes, that sounds like a great idea!

Tried and loved this dish a few weeks ago…I am going to make it again tomorrow. May do as some of the others and add a bit of ground chuck.

i just made this…going to serve with spicy fish tacos tonight. its amazing and so easy..thank you!

I had leftover taco meat in the fridge, so I threw it into this as well. Yummy!

I totally confused this with the Mexican rice recipe that was open on my phone and I was like, ok I need carrots and then I opened my tablet when I was in the kitchen thinking, why the hell did I get the carrots, why does this say zucchini hahaha but I love your recipes anyway, thank you for existing!

Made this a few nights ago and it was great! Added ground turkey.

Made it today and it was Delicious!! No leftovers and everybody loved it.
Grate recipe(:

I was wondering, how many cups this recipe makes. Sorry if I missed this somewhere!

Unfortunately, the cup measurement is not available at this time. But this recipe yields about 4-6 servings. Hope that helps!

This was so good! The best part, it was an easy recipe and no mess! Yumm, a definite keeper! Thank you!

Sooo yummy!! I made it vegan by using nutritional yeast instead of cheese, also I added some cajun spice and lemon garlic seasoning (only because I didn’t have actual garlic at the time). It worked out perfectly with brown rice! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

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