Easy Mexican Rice

Looking for an easy side dish that’s full of big, bold, south-of-the-border flavor? This Mexican Rice really delivers, and made with mostly pantry staples and ready in about 30 minutes, you can be feasting on flavor in no time!

Easy Mexican Rice

I love rice. It’s economical, filling, and satisfying, and it’s a blank canvas for all sorts of amazing flavors like with this easy Mexican Rice. This side dish is terrific! It’s a simple 1-pot meal, and as it cooks, you can get the rest of dinner ready.

What Is Mexican Rice?

Also sometimes called Spanish rice or Red Rice, Mexican Rice is a flavorful rice dish that has tomato, garlic, and a bit of spice to it. It can be made in a variety of ways, but I love this 1-pot rice dish. There are so many variations for Mexican rice, but this foolproof recipe is my personal favorite!

This easy Mexican Rice recipe is made with mostly pantry staples so that you can make it any time! Just make sure to have some onion, garlic, and jalapeno on hand and make this rice any night of the week.

Amazing rice dishes like this are sure to become a family favorite. You can adjust the spice level, so see my tips below about that to make it the perfect dish for your family. 

I serve this rice dish with all sorts of other eats, and I’m often asked to bring this rice to potlucks and gatherings because it’s just that good!

Mexican Rice with chopped cilantro garnish in a round silver bowl


  • Extra virgin olive oil – Or your favorite cooking oil.
  • White long-grain rice
  • Red onion – Finely chopped.
  • Jalapeno – Seeded and finely diced.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic, minced.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth
  • Tomato paste – You’ll need a whole 6-ounce can.
  • Salt and pepper – To taste.
  • Fresh cilantro – Optional garnish; chopped.

How To Make The Best Mexican Rice

  1. Heat the olive over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the rice, chopped onions, and diced jalapeno and saute until the rice is lightly browned; about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken broth, tomato paste, salt and pepper and mix well.
  5. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the saucepan.
  6. Cook covered, on low heat, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and stir in the cilantro, or sprinkle some on top before serving.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • Not all rice cooks at the same speed. Check your rice at about the 20-minute mark to see if it is tender.
  • To make this vegetarian Mexican rice, swap vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  • Want it even spicier? Use a serrano chili instead of a jalapeno. If this might be too spicy, reduce the jalapeno by half and chop it up really finely. 
  • Sprinkle a little sharp cheddar cheese on top before serving for even extra flavor.
  • Stir in 1 cup of canned pinto or black beans to make this Mexican rice and beans.
  • Got some leftover grilled chicken or steak? Stir that in, and now you’ve got a full meal in one pot!
Mexican Red Rice in a silver bowl on a floral tea towel

Serving Suggestions

This Mexican Rice recipe is delicious, and it pairs so well with so many dishes. I love serving it with Jalapeno Popper Chicken, Bell Pepper Tacos, or at the bottom of walking tacos.

Or, add a scoopful of this rice to Black Bean Burrito Bowls or your favorite meal! 

Got leftover rice? Add it as filling to quesadillas, or make a bean and rice taco or burrito with it. You could also just heat it up in the microwave and serve it just like it is. This rice recipe is really versatile!

Mexican Rice with chopped cilantro garnish in a round silver bowl Beside a bowl of refried beans


Store any leftover rice in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Mexican Rice won’t freeze well, so it’s best eaten fresh. The flavor will intensify a bit if refrigerated and then reheated.

Easy Mexican Rice

Cook Time 35 minutes


  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Cups white long grain rice
  • 2/3 Cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Large jalapeño de-seeded & minced
  • 3 Cloves garlic minced
  • 4.5 Cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 6 Oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp pepper
  • 1/2 Cup fresh cilantro plus more to garnish with minced (optional)


  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the rice, onions, and jalapeno. Sauté until the rice is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in the chicken broth, tomato paste, salt, & pepper. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook on low, with a lid on, for about 30 minutes – stirring occasionally. Stir in the cilantro (optional). 
  • Fluff with a fork and serve immediately. Garnish with more fresh cilantro, if desired.

Other Delicious Rice Recipes