Easy Mexican Rice Recipe (Restaurant-Style)

Mexican rice is so easily recreated right at home!  You will wonder why you have never made it before now.  

Restaurant style Mexican rice on a white plate with lime wedges as a garnish.

This Authentic Mexican rice was such a hit with my family that I couldn’t even tell you how many times we have made it since.

This recipe is so easy and makes a perfect complementary dish with any Mexican/Spanish entree.

We made this side dish for our favorite Mexican chicken burrito bowls. But I have also served it with tacos and wrapped it up in a burrito. Really it’s so flavorful you could serve this as a side dish with almost any entree.

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Let’s take a look at the ingredients—nothing out of the ordinary here. You probably already have all of this.

  • Long grain white rice – Short grain rice tends to be too starchy.
  • Oil -Vegetable or canola oil.
  • Onion – White onion, finely diced.
  • Garlic – 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste.
  • Tomato sauce – We don’t use tomato bouillon or chicken bouillon in this recipe.
  • Chicken stock – Or vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian.
  • Cumin, salt, and black pepper

How to Make Mexican Rice (restaurant-style)

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. You will need a pan with high sides.

Rice browning in large skillet with sauteed onions

Saute onion for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the white rice and saute until golden brown.

Mexican Rice stock and spices added to skillet

Add minced garlic, chicken stock, cumin, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. (Make it vegetarian Mexican rice by using vegetable stock.)

You could add peas and carrots if you like. I personally pick them out at restaurants, so I leave them out when making this at home.

Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Mexican Rice on a white plate garnished with chopped parsley and lime wedges

Very few ingredients, very little time and you have the perfect side dish!  

A few people in my home have been known to sit down with just a large bowl of this rice. They love Mexican food, and this restaurant-style Mexican rice does not disappoint!

Mexican Rice and Beans

This rice goes great with our Charro Beans! You will have the perfect sides for taco night!


  • Use a large saute pan with relatively high sides.
  • It is best to use the stovetop method. A rice cooker just does not lend the same results.
  • Browning the rice before adding the liquids helps with the absorption of flavors and delivers a nice tender texture.
  • Feel free to add chopped fresh tomato, corn, green chiles, peas, and carrots. We prefer it without the extra vegetables.
  • For spicy Mexican rice use your favorite spicy salsa to replace the tomato sauce.
  • Just as with cooking any rice dish, resist opening the lid. Rice needs steam to cook properly.


What kind of rice is best for Mexican rice?

Long-grain white rice is best. You can substitute brown rice, but it will require another 1/3 cup of chicken stock and about 10 to 20 minutes more cooking time.

Can You Freeze Mexican Rice?

Yes. Let it cool completely. Store in an air-tight freezer container for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave. You may need to add a little more chicken broth or water.

Is Mexican rice and Spanish rice the same?

Actually, no. While similar Spanish rice is more yellow and uses saffron, Mexican rice does not use Saffron and is redder in color from the use of tomato sauce.

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More Delicious Recipes

These Mexican dishes listed below pair perfectly with this rice.

Mexican Rice with a cilantro and lime garnish on a white plate.

Easy Mexican Rice Recipe (Restaurant-Style)

Very few ingredients, very little time and you have perfect Mexican/Spanish rice!
4.79 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: rice, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 286kcal
Author: Don’t Sweat The Recipe


  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced small
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


  • Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat.
    1/4 cup oil
  • Add onion and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
    1/2 cup onion, diced small
  • Add rice and cook until golden brown.
    2 cups long-grain white rice
  • When rice is golden brown, add stock, tomato sauce, salt, garlic, cumin and pepper to pan.
    8 ounces tomato sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Stir and cover pan.
  • Let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Until rice is cooked through.


Long grain rice is best for this dish. 
For a little spice swap the tomato sauce for your favorite salsa.
Feel free to add chopped fresh tomato, corn, green chiles, peas, and carrots.
Storing – Let the rice cool to room temperature, place it in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Freezing – Let it cool completely. Store in an airtight freezer container for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave. You may need to add a little more chicken broth or water.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 614mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 123IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Recipe adapted from lilluna.com

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  1. Hi, I made the mexican rice and absolutely loved it!!! My whole family did. We are mexican food lovers and mexican rice connoisser’s. And this is the best mexican rice recipe I’ve ever tasted!! So thank you for the delicious recipe. I also made the chili relleno ground beef casserole and it was absolutely delicious too!!! I have found my new go to site for recipes. Keep up the delicious work. Sincerely, Jennifer Turner.5 stars

  2. I made this after scouring the internet for authentic Mexican rice . I’m guilty of using box mixes until now .. never again! This is the real deal and reminds me of the rice at our favorite restaurant. Thank you so much for posting such an easy and delicious recipe !5 stars

  3. Thank you for joining Delicious Dishes Recipe Party. Hope to see you again tomorrow!5 stars

    1. Thank you, Shane! I hope you like the recipe. I will be stopping by the blog hop in just a little bit. 🙂

  4. My daughter and I would love this. My husband, for some odd reason, doesn’t like tomato in his rice. I think his mother broke him. LOL She canned her own tomatoes and even made their own ketchup, the highlight of his and his sister’s Christmas was getting store bought ketchup as a gift! LOL She broke him! But we can make this for us and make extra beans for him. This looks delish! And I love a great bowl of rice, topped with cheese, salsa and sour cream! It’s a great lunch or warmed up dinner for one!5 stars

  5. Wow, this looks really good! I never can make good Mexican rice, but I’m going to try it this way. I am terrible at cooking rice in general! Lol! Thanks for sharing; I’m pinning.

  6. Mexican Food is my favorite and this looks amazing!! I’ll take rice over beans any day!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! See you later this week!! Pinned!

    1. Thank you, Elaine! My daughter can’t seem to get enough of this rice. I seem to be making it every week. 😉

  7. We love Mexican Rice and your recipe looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen5 stars

  8. Looks and sounds delicious! I’ll have to try it soon! Thank for sharing the recipe! Blessings, Janet

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