Mexican Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Learn the secret to making Mexican Rice at home that tastes even better than a restaurant! And it’s always perfect: Tender, delicious, never sticky. Whether you are making dinner for the family or feeding 100, this recipe works every time and it tastes exactly the way you want it to! Great with brown rice too!

Mexican Rice is great on the side of Carne Asada, enchiladas, fajitas, or tacos.

Or, eat it straight up with beans and guacamole. If you like to meal prep, make Mexican Rice with brown rice and ENJOY the food you prepped!

Learn the secret to making Mexican Rice at home that tastes even better than a restaurant! And it's always perfect: Tender, delicious, never sticky. Whether you are making dinner for the family or feeding 100, this recipe works every time and it tastes exactly the way you want it to! Great with brown rice too!
Need to make Mexican Rice for a fiesta? Click and slide the number next to ‘servings’ on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re quenching—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

What is Mexican Rice made of?

Mexican Rice is made with long-grain white rice, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, chicken broth, and tomato paste.

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You can also make Mexican rice with brown rice.

To make vegetarian Mexican rice or vegan Mexican rice, swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth or water.

Learn the secret to making Mexican Rice at home that tastes even better than a restaurant! And it's always perfect: Tender, delicious, never sticky. Whether you are making dinner for the family or feeding 100, this recipe works every time and it tastes exactly the way you want it to! Great with brown rice too!

How do you make the Best Mexican Rice?

For the best Mexican Rice, start by processing fresh tomatoes with onions to create a puree. It’s a simple yet effective way to infuse every grain of rice with flavor. (I learned this method from Cook’s Illustrated, but it’s also exactly how to they make Arroz Rojo in Mexico).

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice - the left photo shows tomato and onion in a blender, the right photo shows ingredients after being blended - click photo for full written recipe

(Need a food processor? I’ve had this one since 2003 and just love it.)

Next, saute the rice in vegetable oil until it’s toasted and golden. Stir in garlic and jalapeños (optional; they are not spicy by the time you eat the dish).

Finally, stir in your processed tomato mixture into the rice along with some chicken broth and tomato paste.

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice - the left photo shows white rice in a silver pot the right photo shows the rice with the addition of tomato mixture - click photo for full written recipe

Bake the rice in the oven for just 30 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

It’s a fool-proof method for soft, individual grains of rice.

What is the proper ratio of rice to liquid?

For every one 1 cup of rice, use 1 ¾ cups liquid of choice and ½ teaspoon salt.

Can I make Mexican Rice without oil?

Yes, you can omit the oil entirely in this recipe if you want to.

Follow the recipe as written, making this change for Step 3: Instead of heating oil in a pot, toast the dry rice (unrinsed) on high, stirring CONSTANTLY, until about half the rice is lightly browned.

You need to keep it moving so it doesn’t scorch. Continue the recipe as written, stirring in the garlic and jalapeños. The rice will bake up perfectly, separated and fluffy, as if you had used oil.

Can I use brown rice?

Yes, brown rice is a great substitute for white rice and packs a bigger nutritional punch.  Just take into account brown rice takes longer to cook, usually 35-40 minutes, so adding 10 minutes to the cooking time will ensure the brown rice is cooked all the way through.

If you cook Mexican rice with brown rice in a rice cooker, just select the “brown rice” button. It usually takes 50 to 55 minutes to cook.

Learn the secret to making Mexican Rice at home that tastes even better than a restaurant! And it's always perfect: Tender, delicious, never sticky. Whether you are making dinner for the family or feeding 100, this recipe works every time and it tastes exactly the way you want it to! Great with brown rice too!

How do you reheat the rice?

Add a drizzle of water to the mexican rice dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the rice is heated through.

For individual portions, simply spoon the rice into a microwave safe bowl, add a splash of water, cover with a damp paper towel, and heat in the microwave in 1 minute increments until heated through.

Mexican Rice in a Rice Cooker

At the request of a lovely reader who commented below, I tried making this Mexican Rice recipe in a rice cooker. It worked perfectly! Follow the steps in the recipe below exactly as written through Step 4.

After bringing the rice to a boil, just transfer it to your rice cooker (coated with nonstick spray). Close the rice cooker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It took 33 minutes in mine (nearly the same as the oven) and there was no stirring involved.

Need a rice cooker? This one is great. I have it, two of my sisters have it, and we all love it!

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice - a photo of rice in a white rice cooker with a green spatula in the pot on a light background - click photo for full written recipe

I also tried making Mexican Rice with basmati rice (as pictured above). That, too, was a resounding success with both the original (oven-baked) method and the rice cooker method.

Make Mexican Rice For a Crowd

Thanks to reader Andy for his question on scaling up this recipe! If you’d like to feed 25 adults Mexican Rice as a side dish, you just need to triple the ingredients below and add 10 minutes to the baking time (40 minutes total). Oh, and you’ll need an 8-quart stock pot.

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice - a photo of rice in a silver pot with a granite countertop as the background - click photo for full written recipe

I know I said to triple all the ingredients, but my blender could only accommodate 11 roma tomatoes and 2 large onions. With that, I had exactly 6 cups of the tomato-onion mixture. It just depends on the size of your veggies.

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice - a photo onions and tomatos in a blendtec blender on a dark background - click photo for full written recipe

 

Save this Mexican Rice to your “Side Dishes” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

Learn the secret to making Mexican Rice at home that tastes even better than a restaurant! And it's always perfect: Tender, delicious, never sticky. Whether you are making dinner for the family or feeding 100, this recipe works every time and it tastes exactly the way you want it to! Great with brown rice too!
4.97 from 61 votes
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Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice

Learn the secret to making Mexican Rice at home that tastes even better than a restaurant! And it's always perfect: Tender, delicious, never sticky. Whether you are making dinner for the family or feeding 100, this recipe works every time and it tastes exactly the way you want it to! Great with brown rice too!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 282 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes or 4 Roma tomatoes cored and quartered
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups long-grain or basmati white rice
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers ,stemmed, seeded, and minced (optional)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro or parsley minced
  • Lime or lemon wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatoes and onions until smooth. Measure 2 cups of puree, pouring off and discarding any excess.
  3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or a 3-quart saucepan until shimmering (see notes). Add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently, until light golden in color, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and jalapeños (if using) and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in tomato mixture, broth, tomato paste, and 1 ½ tsp. salt. Bring to a boil.
  5. Cover and bake until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Stir halfway through baking time.
  6. Fluff rice with a fork. Fold in cilantro or parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lime or lemon wedges.

Recipe Notes

Notes:

  1. Long-grain white rice is the traditional choice for this recipe, but I've also tested it with basmati and it works perfectly.
  2. To make this recipe vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  3. If toasting the rice in a 3-quart saucepan, you'll want to transfer it to a 4-quart or larger oven-proof baking dish for baking.
  4. To make the Mexican Rice in a rice cooker, follow the recipe through Step 4. After bringing the rice to a boil, transfer it to your rice cooker (coated with nonstick spray), close, and cook according to manufacturer instructions. Mine takes 33 minutes on the "White Rice" setting.
  5. To make Mexican Rice for 25 adults, use an 8-quart stock pot, triple the ingredients, and add 10 minutes to the baking time (40 minutes total).

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (Mexican Rice recipe).

This post contains affiliate links. For more information on my Affiliate and Advertising Policy, please click here.

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129 comments

  1. This seems like a wonderful store-cupboard recipe, Meggan, that you go back to again and again. I wish I could pop over there to California and grab a Mexican meal every time I was in the mood. Here in Greece it’s pretty tricky to find. I suppose that’s all the more reason to make my own! All the best again with your Paleo experiment. You really have got me wanting to find out about it now!

  2. Yes!!! It IS so addictive right?!?  Ahh I love rice!  I am a total rice a holic!!! And I love that you use the food processor to make your life easier :)  I use my Vitamix for this task as well!  Looks fab and the idea of oven rice is sooo fool proof :) PINNED

  3. Mexican rice is the best.  I made a huge batch last week and had it with every night for  dinner.  

  4. Great recipe, Meggan. I love all the very practical tips you always give us here.
    Now I know how to make perfectly fluffy baked rice!

  5. Meggan – you are the rice queen! This looks delicious – such a good trick. Can’t believe I’ve never tried this myself. Definitely adding it to my cooking list:)

  6. In the recipe, you say to saute the rice for 10 to 15 minutes in the oil, but did you mean seconds?

    • Hi Crystal, no, it’s actually for 10 to 15 minutes. Basically you saute the rice until it is golden brown in color. It takes a little while. I’m using this method right now while I test green rice (arroz verde) and it is definitely 10 to 15 minutes. Sorry for the confusion though!

    • OK, I followed this recipe this weekend, and I have to tell you it turned out AMAZING! Now that I know how to make this rice, I no longer need to visit my Mexican grocery store to buy it. Thanks for posting this! Truly great recipe.

    • Can I double recipe and add 5 minutes to oven time?

    • Hi Phyllis, yes and yes! Thank you!

  7. This is a wonderful recipe-Cook’s Illustrated’s recipes usually are. But you failed to mention the source anywhere in your post-either it’s a legitimate mistake or an intentional one-but one that needs to be corrected.

    • Legitimate mistake. You are right, it’s absolutely America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe. I usually list it in the recipe notes and link to the book on Amazon with an affiliate link. Will be corrected, thanks for pointing that out!

  8. thanks for sharing a great recipe! i made it last week and shared it on my #whatsfordinner journey:

    http://wp.me/p4z4lw-NP

  9. Has anyone tried this with brown rice? I can eat Mexican rice every day. Thanks for the post!

    • I haven’t tried it, but I should! That’s a great idea! My husband eats brown rice every.single.day. I’m sure he’d appreciate the variety! :D

    • I know you posted a long time ago…but add 10 minutes to the recipe for brown

  10. This looks amazing and I am going to try it out for a dinner party. Is it possible to make ahead of time? If so, how would I go about re-heating it before the party? Thank you!!

    • Hi Lindsay, yes! Absolutely! Honestly I just microwave the rice to reheat it, even if it’s for a dinner party. I’d start with 2 minutes on high and see where that gets you (of course the time will depend largely on the quantity you are reheating), just in a glass dish with a paper towel over the top. There are probably other ways to reheat it (in the oven, on the stove top), but I know for a fact microwaving it doesn’t affect the rice adversely in any way (doesn’t make it mushy or overcooked or anything). Thank you so much for stopping by!

  11. If made ahead, do you think it could be reheated in a crockpot? Or would it get to mushy? Need to serve to a large crowd and would like to keep it warm…thanks

    • Hi Sue! I think it would be fine reheated in a crock pot. Because it’s cooked pilaf-style (where you toasted the grains in the beginning), that really helps it from getting overly mushy/sticky down the line. I’ve reheated leftovers many times and haven’t had any problems. Good luck, I hope your guests love it! Thanks for your comment.

  12. Hello,

    Can this be finished off on the stove instead of the oven?

    • Hi Bean, probably. Or I should say, yes definitely. But I haven’t done that so I can’t tell you exactly how long it would take or what temperature. If I were going to try, though, I would reduce the heat the lowest possible temperature, cover, and cook for 15 minutes (maybe checking at 10 or 12 minutes just in case). I appreciate the question though because I will absolutely test this and figure it out! Thank you!

  13. Hi,
    So my understanding is that you roast the rice before actually cooking it? (if that makes sense).
    Never cooked rice like this before so it seems a bit odd to me :)

    • Hi Celine! Yes. Well, I’d pick the word “toast” rather than “roast,” but yes. That’s how they make pilafs typically, toasting the grains first. I think you’ll love it! Yes, it’s totally weird if you’ve never done it before. :)

  14. Hi,

    This looks delicious, but I’m wondering if you ever ended up trying/succeeding at making it in a rice cooker or pressure cooker?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Landon! I don’t have a pressure cooker so I’m not sure about that, but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work (I just can’t tell you any specifics about the cook time). However, after seeing your comment this morning, I had everything on hand and went ahead and tried it in a rice cooker. It works perfectly! I have a 4-cup rice cooker so I ended up making just a half-batch to be safe, but I see no reason why the full recipe wouldn’t work in a 4-cup (or bigger) rice cooker. I did everything the same as the recipe and it took 33 minutes in the rice cooker. I’m not going to lie, this is really exciting and I might make it this way from now on! Thank you so much for your question. Have a great weekend. :)

    • I made this in my Instant Pot yesterday and it was perfect. I subbed one can of diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro for the fresh tomatoes. After sauteing the rice I put in the rest of the ingredients (minus cilantro) and pushed the rice button. It cooked for 12 min. (and NPR for 8 minutes because I forgot about it). Opened the lid, stirred in the fresh cilantro, and delicious!

  15. If I try this with brown rice, how long do you think I should cook?

    • Hi Kari, I’m not exactly sure because I haven’t made the recipe with brown rice. But, I think it would be at least an hour. I’d stir it after a half hour, see how it looks, leave it in another 30 minutes, and go from there.

  16. Do you think it would work to double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 to feed a larger group of people? I’m terrible with doubling recipes, so if you have any recommendations on adjusting time, I’d appreciate it!

    • Hi Jessica, my first question is, how would you cover it in the oven? My 9×13 pans have covers but none of them are oven-safe. So, that would be my first concern. My second question is, how soon do you want to serve this? I would be happy to test the recipe over the weekend (doubled, obviously), and report back my findings. I’d probably try it in my Dutch oven. And when I think about it, I don’t think the cooking time would increase by very much. It might even be the same. When I cook rice on the stove, the cook time is basically 15 minutes no matter what quantity. I don’t know for sure, but I would start at one hour and go from there. Maybe an extra 15 minutes would all that would be needed if even that. If you have some time and I can test it for you, please just let me know!

  17. Thanks for the quick reply! I would probably cover it with aluminum foil. I’ve done baked brown rice that way in a smaller pan and the foil seemed to work just fine. As far as timing, I will be making it tomorrow night, so probably not enough time to test, but I appreciate the offer! I will let you know how it goes!

    • Oh, foil! Of course. I mean, I didn’t know if that would work. But now that you say that, I’ve seen that done A MILLION TIMES on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Sometimes I think they even put plastic wrap under the foil which would make a tighter seal (which is what I was worried about). But, I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. I hope you love it, I look forward to hearing your feedback (positive or otherwise!). Have a great weekend!

  18. Just made this for dinner and I have a couple questions. I’m somewhat of a cooking novice so please bear with me.

    What temperature should the stove be for sautéing the rice? I burned the first batch of rice and the second batch was a little over-cooked as well.

    How much pepper should I add and when should I add it? I ended up adding a couple twists from the grinder before I brought everything to a boil.

    When all the ingredients are added and brought to a boil, how long should I let it boil for?

    Overall it turned out alright but some clarification would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Kaitlin, I’m so sorry about the burnt rice! I usually cook it over medium heat, bearing in mind that I use a gas stove. You just need to stir it frequently and only saute it until it’s lightly golden in color. It is definitely not something I would leave unattended, so I apologize for not making the instructions more clear. I’ll fix that.

      As for the pepper, that’s really a personal preference. I don’t add it until the *very* end, when I’m folding in the cilantro, and then I add whatever tastes good. A few grinds probably? 1/8 teaspoon to a 1/4 teaspoon, I’d say. Before bringing the rice to a boil, I’m only adding salt.

      As for your last question, you don’t need to let it boil for any certain about of time. You literally just bring it to a boil and then stick it in the oven. It’s just a more efficient way to heat up all the liquid (rather than waiting for that to happen in the oven). Does that make sense? Once it starts to boil, you’re good to go.

      I will fix the instructions so all these points are clear! It’s awesome that you are taking on a recipe like this which is more than entry-level dump & pour stuff. :) I really believe practice makes perfect in the kitchen! Please let me know if you have any other questions, and thank you so much for helping me fix this recipe so it makes more sense! Take care.

  19. Made this tonight and it was delicious! I will never buy boxed Spanish rice again ! I forgot to rinse my rice and it was still light and fluffy. Thank you for this recipe!

    • Thank you so much, Angie! I appreciate the kind words. And, I especially appreciate the note on the non-rinsing you did. Other people have asked about that (due to the loss of nutrients if you rinse rice) and I’m planning to make it myself that way. But in the meantime, I have replied to another reader with your comment. I’m so glad it worked! If I could eliminate the rinsing step, that would be awesome. It’s my goal now. :) Thanks so much and take care!

  20. Hi im really excited to try this recipe it looks great! So by rinsing the rice you mentioned its getting rid of the vitamins, is it absolutely necessary to rinse it first? I guess there are lots of veggies for added vitamins-just wondering, thanks so much!

    • Hey there London! The reason for rinsing the rice is to remove the starch so the rice is not sticky at all in the final dish. You would not have to rinse the rice and the recipe would still work, but it might just be slightly stickier than if you rinsed it. I will put it on my list to test it without rinsing the rice so I can add notes to the recipe about that. But, it should taste just fine. Thanks!

    • Hi again! Another reader just commented that she forgot to rinse her rice for this recipe but the rice was still light and fluffy. :) So you should be just fine! I’ll still plan to re-test though. :) Take care!

  21. Can you freeze and then reheat?

    • Hi Rhea! I haven’t tried that with this exact recipe, but I’ve frozen other rice dishes with no issues. I think it would work just fine. Thanks!

  22. If I were to halve this recipe, what would the cook time be?

    • Hi Jennifer, I think the cook time would probably be the same. Rice takes the same amount of time no matter how much you cook (takes the same amount if you double it, too). I hope this helps!

  23. I have been searching for a good mexican rice recipe for years! Finally I have found it. This recipe is wonderful. I made it last night for a dinner party and it was perfect. Thank you!

    • Yay Megan, that’s great news!!! So glad you enjoyed the rice. Sounds like my kind of dinner party! Have a great week!

  24. I would like to compliment the cook for this recipe. Made it tonight for my Wife & Mom..recipe came out Great,,I do have to say that it was at least if not better than the local mexican restaurants here. Is a keeper indeed..thxs again..Great Job. !!!

    • Well Will, YOU were the cook last night for the recipe, so you get all the kudos! So glad it turned out well and that everyone enjoyed it. :) It’s one of my favorite recipes! Take care and have a great week.

  25. For your Mexican rice recipe could you substitute more Roma tomatoes instead of the tomato paste?
    Thanks
    Jen

    • Hi Jen, yes I’m sure you could do that. It might not taste “exactly the same” but it would still taste good. The tomato paste adds a ton of concentrated flavor without lots of extra liquid, whereas adding a comparable amount of extra tomatoes (however many it would be) would add more liquid. But, I still think it would taste great and turn out fine (as long as you don’t add an extra half-dozen tomatoes!). I hope that helps. Next time I make this, I’ll leave out the tomato paste and see what happens and post my results. Thanks for your question!!! Take care.

  26. Hi there, very nervous about making this as I’m in a new house with an over and stove top that aren’t so reliable (they are being replaced soon!)

    I don’t have a Dutch oven so will be using a saucepan. Just a few questions…

    I’m making a double batch (10 adults and 10kids) for a big dinner party – this will be a side to go with other meals and sides. Should I just double everything and throw in together or make two separate batches?

    What heat to cook the rice and oil? High? Medium?

    If I make two separate batches can I put them in the oven together on separate shelves? or should I put in one big baking dish and cook two batches together?

    God I hope it works out – never made a rice dish like this before – let alone to take along to a dinner party with lots of people!

    • Hi Deb!!! No worries!!! I do typically make the rice in a saucepan and then transfer it to a casserole dish for baking. Whether you double the recipe and make it all together just depends on your pan size. Since you’ve never made it before, I would probably recommend making it in two separate batches. However, if you have a large stock pot (I would say 6 quarts or larger) AND a large casserole dish (5 quarts or larger) you can make the rice all at once. The one in my pictures is a 2 1/2 quart Corningware dish. So, you’d want a 5-quart casserole dish if you were going to bake it all at once. I don’t think you’d extend the baking time by much, if anything. Maybe 5 minutes, but probably not even that. But, you’ll need to have a large enough dish. If you are nervous, feel free to make two separate batches. You could always dump both of them into a crock pot and carry that to the party for serving. Also if you make one batch and you know it turns out, then you could feel confident to make another. I HOPE IT WORKS OUT TOO!! Thinking of you! :) Please let me know if you have any more questions.

  27. Hey Meggan, I came across this recipe AFTER I asked a Mexican coworker of mine on how to make Spanish rice. Everything was the same except 1 or 2 things, but that’s ok. I’ll use yours since I didn’t write the other down haha. I’m worried about the “saltiness” of the dish. I do NOT want it to be salty, I’ve made it before (not this recipe) and it came out so salty that I felt dehydrated for like 2 days. If I use half of the Bouillon cube and make 2 cups of liquid stock, would it come out too bland? I need to know before this Saturday and unfortunately don’t have time to test due to work and school =/

    • Hey there! Sorry for the late reply, I as traveling. I would say just leave out all the salt while you cook the rice and taste it at the end, then add salt just a little at a time until you like it. That’s what I would. Seems like the safest way! Salt is a really personal thing and I have no idea what you will like. But no worries! Just taste it after it’s done and add salt until you like it. Good luck!!!

  28. very yummy and garlicky. A few extra steps than a pot of plain rice but the oven really does a great job. I didn’t have fresh tomatoes and I substituted a 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes, drained and it was perfect! Although next time i won’t bother draining because i had to add water to it to reach 2 cups.

    • Thanks for this info, Emily! I definitely need to retest and sub a can of tomatoes because that makes this recipe even easier. Glad you liked it! Thanks again!

  29. Can I transfer everything into an aluminum tray, cover it with foil, and bake in the oven AFTER I do the stove top steps of frying and stirring? I have a small pot and I will need to make about 4 cups of rice. Hopefully that’s enough for 15 adults, there will be the main dish as well.

    • Hi Mike! Yes, you do the baking after you do the stove-top steps. That is correct. I never tried baking the rice in an aluminum pan with foil on top, I would just try to make sure the foil is on really tightly so the rice can steam. And perhaps put a baking sheet under the pan just to be safe! Doubling the recipe should give you enough rice for 15 adults, especially if it’s a side dish. Just make sure your aluminum pan is big enough, I’d say 4 quart capacity at a minimum for a double batch of rice. Thank you for your comment!

  30. I made this with brown rice! I sort of burned a bit of the rice when I left it in the oil for a minute, maybe I had the heat too high or maybe brown rice cooks faster that way. Anyway, this is SO DAMN GOOD. I have really missed Mexican rice since going vegan and this is totally the real deal. It has loads of flavor, you can’t even taste the (sort of) burned rice (I should have started over but I was in a time crunch). Side note – I used to get this shrimp burrito at this great authentic Mexican food joint my my place before I was vegan and they’d toss the Mexican rice in ranch. I just tried this with vegan ranch and it is so delicious and tastes exactly like the burrito I’ve missed for so long! Thanks for posting! – Cogey from Cooking Without Carcasses

    • Hey Cogey! Thanks so much for the comment. I have burned my share of rice testing this out, I always ate it too! Ha ha! So anyway, tossing the rice in RANCH is basically genius, I cannot wait to try this. I’m glad you liked the recipe and that it (more or less) worked for you. I am currently testing this recipe for a crowd – 3x-ing it to feed 24+. Next I will test it with brown rice. I’m sure the baking time would be different. Thanks again! PS, GREAT blog name!!

  31. I’ve made this about 5 different times now and it is THE BEST! My husband asks for it regularly. The tomato + onion slurry is so forgiving! The key for my stove and pot combo is I use a heavy dutch oven on the stove to bring the rice and liquids to a boil, and then put a lid on and bake it in the oven for at 350 for 18 minutes instead of cooking on the stove top. Meggan has the perfect ratio of liquid to rice, so you can really make any creative additions to the recipe – as long as you don’t mess with her ratio!

    I’ve done the following in a pinch: subbed a can of whole peeled tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes, browned chicken thighs in oil before starting the rice, then nestled the thighs in the rice mixture while the rice cooked for a one pot meal, and added frozen mixed vegetables. Also, I LOVE the speed of blasting the tomato+onion in the food processor and skipping the chopping at the end of a long day! Thank you, you rock!!

    • Wow, so many fantastic ideas here Amanda! Thanks for your kind words. I’ve been meaning to try the canned tomato substitution, just for ease/pantry convenience. I figured it would work great. The chicken thighs in the oil sound SO GOOD, I’m totally making that next. Thank you so much for being so supportive. :) You’re quite the cook! Take care!

  32. Making this for my family on Christmas eve for an authentic Mexican Christmas Eve dinner with the works, tamales, pozole, garnishes and this. BTW, This is one of the better recipes out there. Merry Christmas.. XOXOXO

    • Hey Dave, I recently learned (and you of course already know this) that a tamale-making party is called a Tamalda. Happy to hear you had one. Your feast sounds incredible. XOXOXO MERRY CHRISTMAS! I’ll email you before then though. ;)

  33. I have followed this recipe to a ‘T’, yet at this point- it’s a FAIL! It is crunchy and hard even after 30+ minutes of baking! 
    HELP! 

    • Hi Jennifer, I’m so sorry to hear that! Here are the things that I think could possibly go wrong. Let me know what you think. 1). Your rice is really old. It should still soften, but if it’s over a year old that might mean you need to bake it longer. 2). Your oven temperature is off. Do you have an oven thermometer to check that the temperature is accurate? If it’s off even by 25 degrees you might need to bake it longer. 3). You aren’t getting a tight enough seal on the dish in wish you are baking it. Are you using a dutch oven, a casserole dish, or a sauce pan? Is the lid fitting nice and snug? Let me know what you think! I adapted this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen… they’re stuff is FOOL PROOF! So sorry you’re having issues. Let me know. I was traveling yesterday but I’m back now, sorry for the delay in replying to your comment.

  34. This was FANTASTIC! I didn’t have cookware with a lid that could go in the oven, so I used a stainless steel pot and covered it with foil. It seriously was perfectly fluffy.

    • So great to hear! And I’m glad it worked for you even with just foil. That’s really good to know and I’ll update the recipe to reflect that. Thank you so much Renee.

  35. I made this and it turned out incredibly bland. I had to add a bunch of stuff to eat for it to have any flavor. I am pretty surprised at the positive reviews.

    • Sorry to hear that. I would say the rice matches peoples’ expectations of what they get at a restaurant, so that’s why it has positive reviews. It tastes like Mexican rice from a restaurant, bland or otherwise (or at least, every Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to). I’d love to know how you doctored it up though! Thanks for your feedback and sorry you didn’t like it.

  36. Meggan, your recipe is amazing!! Thank  you so much for posting it. Molto grazie!

    • Thank you, Mario! I made this myself this morning in a rice cooker. I’m a huge fan too! Thank you again. :)

  37. Best rice ever hands down. This is so easy and it is delicious. Only recipe I ever use.

  38. If you like the flavor of the jalapeño pepper but don’t like the taste or have little ones, there is actually a pepper that is called fooled you pepper . You can get the seeds and the plants from jungseeds.com and plant them or sometimes you can find the plants at lowes.. ever since I found them in the catalog there hasn’t been a year that has gone by that I haven’t had them in my garden. .

  39. Rice turned out great.  Thank you for the recipe.  I used a can of tomatoes (didn’t have fresh on hand) and one chopped onion.  I dont have food processor.  Baking the rice made it so perfect!  Thank you, Thank you!

  40. Thanks for the recipe. I want to cook the rice for 25 adults, but I’m confused about how to bake it in the oven. Do I put the stock pot in the oven?

    • Hi Tara, YES. You put the stock pot in the oven (with a cover on it). That’s exactly what I did. Turned out very well. I hope you enjoy it! If you have anymore questions just let me know. Thank you!

  41. Hi Meggan, I am not sure if anyone asked you this but do you think I can get away with using canned tomatoes in a pinch?  I don’t have any fresh and I have all of the other ingredients. I really want to try it at least this one time until I get to the store. Just wondering before I waste my time. Thank you in advance. 

    • Hi Ruth, yes absolutely! Someone even commented below that they used just tomato sauce. I think it changes the flavor, but not in a bad way. I think 1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes would probably do the trick (the tomato sauce person used just an 8 ounce can). Or you could use a 28-ounce can and pour off any excess. You won’t be wasting your time! I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks Ruth!

  42. Hi Meggan! I’m eager to try this recipe next time we have tacos! Question, do you think the tomato and onion concoction would freeze? I noticed you said “discard any remaining,” but I buy expensive produce. :P I’m not much for food waste!

    • Hi Kaylee! I hear you on produce! You could definitely freeze any excess. However, I don’t usually have extra. It’s just that sizes of onions and tomatoes may vary, so if you use GIANT ones and end up with 3 cups of the mixture it would be too much. But generally it’s a tablespoon or so, and maybe even nothing. :) But yes! Thank you for not wasting food! I love that.

  43. I want to mention I use drained, pureed Rotel instead of the tomato/onion/jalapenos. It seems to work out great and is faster when I don’t want to spend time chopping veggies. I just throw the extra puree into my cheese dip instead of discarding.

    • Great idea Lauren! Thank you! I had tried the recipe using just regular diced tomatoes and their flavor was too strong, but maybe with the onion and jalapenos in the Rotel it would taste better. I’m sure it would. Can’t wait to try! Thanks again.

  44. If using the rice cooker do I still add water to it like the rice cooker instruction says to?

    • Hi Alicia, no, you just follow the instructions and use chicken broth in place of water (or you could use water, it would still be good). But, you use 2 cups of broth (or water) per the recipe, not whatever your rice cooker would say. Because the rice is toasted in the pan in advance, the rice-to-liquid ratio is 1-to-1 vs. if you just put the rice in for steaming. Does that make sense? Thanks for your question! Let me know if you need anything else.

  45. Do you think this would work without using the oil.  I always sauté with veggie broth as I avoid oils in my diet. 

    • Hi Renee, I’m honestly not sure. It would be worth a try! You could also skip the sautéing part entirely and just cook rice the way you normally would, with the tomato mixture. I’m not sure if the rice would be stickier that way, but I’m sure it would still be tasty. Good luck!

  46. This rice was FABULOUS! Thanks for sharing!

  47. Hi Meggan. I am excited to try this recipe. I’ve never made rice in the oven before, love that I won’t have to watch over a pot. My only concern is the vegetable oil. I am avoiding it because along with gluten and dairy, I have eliminated soy from my diet and vegetable oil is 100% soybean oil. What would you suggest as an alternative? 

    Thank you,
    Holly

    • Hi Holly! I totally understand your concern. I would use olive oil. I meant to update the recipe to say that, because that’s what I always use too. Thanks for the reminder and the question!

  48. I have never commented on a recipe before and I feel compelled to do so today.  This rice was DELICIOUS!!  I loved it and wanted to eat the whole batch.  My husband loved it and even my super picky 6 and 8 yea old daughters ate it.  Of course, my 6 year old ate it grain by grain, but whatever.  

    I used only 1/4 of a jalapeño in hopes my kids would still eat it and it had great flavor.  I didn’t have low sodium stock, so cut the added salt at the end.  I also didn’t have long grain, so used basmati.  It was SO good.  I checked it at the halfway cooking mark and it was done, so I just kept it out.  Not sure what I may have done, but it tasted delicious and I can’t wait to make it again!!

    Thank you for the recipe!

  49. THANK YOU for a Spanish rice recipe that actually works! Previously, I used a different recipe claiming to be “authentic” restaurant style, and it was a gummy mess (WAY too much liquid). A real Spanish rice pilaf recipe is not easy to find for some reason. Seriously, thank you :)

  50. Greetings, The instructions don’t provide information about the preparation of the garlic and Jalapenos for inclusion at step 4. Do I chop or mince the garlic? Do I remove the seeds from the peppers? Do I chop the peppers?

    • Hi Janet, sorry for the confusion on this! The ingredients themselves say how those should be prepared. For example it says “4 cloves of garlic, minced” and “1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced.” Are you seeing this on your end? I hope so, that’s where it shows (not in the instructions). So sorry for the confusion! Please let me know if you need anything else!

    • The recipe states in the ingredients how to have the jalapeño & garlic prepped. HTH! Merry Christmas!

  51. Greetings, When I printed my copy from the website somehow those ingredients prep instructions did not print. I also reviewed on line instructions at the time of my original post and missed “seeing” the instructions. However, I did make the recipe preparing the ingredients as I “thought” they should be done and everyone like the end result. (I had to double the recipe.) Now I have reprinted the recipe for future use, making sure I got all the instructions. Thank you for your response.

  52. This looks fantastic. Love the rice cooker instructions – that is so helpful! I am looking forward to trying this out!

  53. Delicious! Used canned diced tomatoes with onions and green chili’s already in, long grain instant rice (daughter grabbed the wrong stuff) but it turned out great and very good. Thanks

  54. This was amazing! I’m not much of a cook and have never prepared rice this way. It’s idiot proof! Took it to a pary and it was a hit. Heated up leftovers today in the microwave and added a tablespoon of water and it came out fluffy and perfect! Thanks for such a great recipe!

  55. Okay. I make this often and never have time to comment. This recipe is amazing. The rice is always fully cooked and tastes so flavorful.

    Fyi ..
    I make it in the rice cooker and usually have to do 2 cycles. Im guessing since the rice is already hot when it goes in it thinks it’s mid way cooker. Tastes great when finished.

    Also. I use the left over tomatoes mixture as a base for my wet burritos.

    Thanks so much for sharing this goodness!

  56. Hi there. This looks perfect for my besties wedding in which I’m cooking. I’m wondering about making it ahead of time and then reheating. Ever done this before?

    • I made WAY too much, but reheated for a second meal, and even froze the leftovers for a third (and equally great) meal. Couldn’t tell it wasn’t made fresh. Excellent recipe for reheating or freezing.

  57. I found your recipe while looking for a Mexican rice side for my Chicken Enchiladas Verde dinner, coming up. The main thing that caught my interest was the inclusion of onion & tomato puree, which is a technique I’d never encountered before. Where I live, tasty tomatoes are hard to come by at this time of year, but I was going to use the plum tomatoes found at my local Wegmans anyway. Someone mentioned using canned tomatoes, and I have a subscription delivery of Muir Glen Fire Roasted tomatoes (which I use in so many dishes), which I might try instead. No need to reply – I realize I am taking my chances. But your recipe is the ‘whole enchilada’ (so to speak) that includes all the flavors I’m looking for. May toss in some black beans, if I decide not to serve refried beans instead. I’ll post the results. Just major thanks for your recipe!

  58. Tried this for a Mexican dinner party, and followed the recipe almost to a T (left out garlic due to food intolerance). It came out very well. However, I do have one caution: I had 8 coming for dinner, so I added another “half”, uping the rice to 3 cups from 2, and scaling everything else accordingly, just in case anyone wanted seconds. Holy cow! I ended up with a ton of rice! I had enough for a second family meal for 10 people, and then enough for my husband and myself for a third meal. If you follow the recipe, this will make much more than 8 servings. 
    Having said that, it was nice to have so much rice left over. It did keep very well, and retained its fluffy and tasty nature.

  59. Has anyone tried to do this in a crock pot after the boiling step instead of the oven? Having a bbq and trying to get some stuff done in advance so I’m not in the kitchen the whole time once people arrive.

  60. can this rice be served cold?

  61. Hi – Thank you for posting this recipe. I have been searching high and low for a good Mexican rice recipe and tried several with no luck. I have two questions – 1) If I make the rice for a crowd, how to I brown the rice in a large stock pan? I have tried this before and no matter how long I cooked it, it just did not saute in that big of a pan. 2) I want to have the chunkier pieces of tomato in the rice. If I use a can of Rotel, how do I compensate for liquid?

    thank you!

    • Hi Vicky! Thanks for your question, I hope you like this recipe. Just make sure your oil is reasonably hot when you brown the rice (and you don’t even need to BROWN IT, you just need to break down the outside of the rice grain, the color doesn’t matter so much. You want the rice to look at least translucent. Please let me know if this makes sense). If you want to use Rotel, that’s fine. You need 2 cups total of whatever kind of puree you want, so you can puree some onion and add rotel (unblended, drained) and just have two cups of that mixture. The liquid comes from the chicken broth, so don’t worry about that. Does this all make sense? Hit me back if not! Thank you! Good luck!

  62. This recipe was great!! I tripled it because we had about 25-30 people coming and I actually just ended up cooking it on the stove instead of baking it. Our friend from Mexico was here and she said it was REALLY GOOD! She even called it authentic! Since she approved it I felt I should share on here that it was a hit. Two thumbs up!

  63. i have a grad party im cooking for 125 people plus. My nemesis has always been Mexican rice. sometimes is good some times not. i havent done it in a while. im not worried about the 5-6 or 10 timing the recipe. i went to le cordon bleu in austin. im pretty good all around. So im going to do a test batch this weekend. smaller batch. my main question is. You never mentioned if the tomato mixture would be included in the liquid measurement. i know its 1 3/4 cups per cup of rice. So is the 2 cups of tomato mixture included or a separate item.

    It haunts me through the years. my wife makes fun of me for not being able to do it right. it is funny. having this much education and not mastering mexican rice.. I make every other rice perfect. sushi, fried rice, saffron, paella. its my nemesis. looking forward to practicing this weekend.
    thanks
    ryan

    • i went back and reviewed the ingredient list and answered my own question. i’ll let you know how it all turns out.

    • Cobra Commander, I am interested to hear how it turned out cooking for a crowd. I, too was going to try this recipe for an upcoming grad party. Would love to read your reviews and lessons learned! Good Luck!

    • Ok. So I tried it Sunday for a double batch and it got me again. Flavor was better then any restaurant. But I had rice that wasn’t cooked all the way on the top part. Bottom was good. It was covered. Proper temp. 
      I had so much going on. We didn’t bring the rice to a boil before putting  it in the oven.  I’m doing it again tonight. Because it so many. I found a rice cooker that doesn’t involve toasting the rice. I’m trying that tomorrow. But I doubt it will be the taste of this one. 

  64. Hi there! This looks so yum! I was wondering if it was possible to make this without the oil? Could you just skip the toasting of the rice and put the mixture straight in the oven? I love mexican rice and we have an event coming up where I need to feed about 80 people. I’m thinking mexican bowls with rice and black beans with cashew cream would be great but we try to avoid oil!

    • Hi Chelsea! I can test it and let you know. How soon is your event? I’d hate to say yes if it’s not going to work out for you. The thing with the oil is, it ensures the grains are all separated and fluffy. Do you use anything like nonstick cooking spray, or just nothing at all? I will definitely try it without oil and see what happens. Just let me know how soon you need to know. Thank you!

    • Hi Chelsea, I realize your event has LONG past by now and I’m sorry it took me so long to reply. It took me a few tries to get the recipe right without oil. Basically, in step 3, you just dry-toast the rice in a hot pot, stirring it constantly. Normally you’d saute it in oil, but it actually works perfectly if you toast it in a dry skillet. Stir it constantly so it doesn’t scorch, about about half the rice is lightly browned. Then proceed with the recipe as normal! It works like a charm. I’ve updated the post with this information. Thank you so much for the question and I apologize again for the delay. -Meggan

  65. I adjusted the liquid amounts to the appropriate ratio for pressure cooking to make this in my Instant Pot—delicious! Seriously, this is the best version I’ve made at home and is tastier than we usually get in restaurants.

  66. I toasted the rice (Jasmine, because that’s what I had) right in the IP using the sauté function, cutting back on the oil probably by half. One can of diced tomatoes blended with a medium onion made just enough slurry for 3 scoops* of rice. I used 1.5 scoops of water instead of broth to make it vegan. I had some jalapeños in the freezer leftover from last season’s canning endeavors, so I chopped some up and tossed them in with the rice etc. I cooked the rice on high for 8 minutes (manual), same as I always do for white rice. Worked like a charm! Stirred in some fresh cilantro and lime juice (I think, it has been a minute) and BOOM, deliciousness.

    *that little cup that comes with the IP (and rice cookers)

  67. I am baffled. How does this recipe take 1 hour and 15 minutes cook time? I so want to try this, but I’m not seeing it mentioned in any reviews either. I’m seeing 10-15 minutes to brown the rice, then add mixture and bring to a boil (that should happen quickly I presume) and 30 minutes in the oven (she mentioned to add 10 minutes cook time for brown rice, but in the comments it said 40-50 minutes for brown rice). I don’t want to try this and undercook it!

    • I have to agree with you, the cooking time is off. If I read the recipe now, here’s how I would calculate the cooking time:
      5 minutes to puree the tomatoes and onions and heat the oil in the saucepan
      10 minutes to brown the rice
      5 minutes to stir in jalapenos, tomato mixture, and bring to boil
      30 minutes to bake.
      I would say 50 minutes is an accurate cooking time. Could be slightly longer depending on your stove (if the rice takes longer to brown or to come to boil). Thanks for pointing this out, I’ll fix the recipe immediately!

  68. Thanks Meggan! I just didn’t want to miss something and I’m very much a follow the recipe to a “T” kinda person –especially the first time. I thought for sure I was missing a step. I’ve never attempted Mexican rice so I’m excited to try it! ;-)

  69. This recipe is fantastic!  

  70. Yep, you’ve nailed it! You managed to keep the similarity to restaurant style mexican rice while improving its flavor. Lightly frying the rice for 10-15 mins is the key to maintaining its texture without it becoming mushy. This is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

  71. This is amazing !!! Just made this last night on Instant pot, it turned out really great. I used white basmathi rice which needed a cup more broth to cook well. Thank you for posting this.

  72. Such a great recipe! I was looking for something while I was at the grocery store and searched for a good recipe on my phone while there and found this. I think this will now be my go-to recipe for Mexican rice. I did sub serrano peppers for jalapeno peppers, because I like my stuff spicy, and the heat level was perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

  73. Can jasmine rice be used for this particular rice?

    • Yes I’m sure it can! I haven’t tested it with Jasmine specifically, but I’ve made it with long grain and basmati and I haven’t had any issues. I think you’ll be okay. Thanks Angelina!

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