Authentic Mexican Rice


In my opinion, there are two Mexican sides that are a must with nearly every Mexican entree: beans and Mexican Rice. This recipe is my go-to Mexican Rice recipe that I’ve been making for years. I make it at least once a week, some weeks as many as three times a week. It only takes a few minutes to prepare, and it tastes just as good as any authentic Mexican restaurant’s.

Mexican Rice in a white bowl

My Favorite Mexican Rice Recipe

I have tried several different recipes for Mexican rice and this one is definitely my favorite. I’ve tried using tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes, but I think the key to great authentic Mexican rice is the Caldo de Tomate (you can find it in the Latin section of the grocery store).

My sister gave me the recipe (which was given to her by someone who knew how to cook good Mexican food), and I added my own additions to it — you will see them where I listed optional ingredients. This rice can be made with or without those but I love the extra boost of flavor they give the rice.

This really is the perfect side dish for just about any Mexican food. When you go to a Mexican restaurant, what are the two sides you’ll get with your entree about 90% of the time? Refried beans or black beans and Mexican rice.

This homemade Mexican rice is delicious in burritos too. Add this rice along with some beans and green chile chicken to a burrito for a delicious dinner! And if you are looking for an even easier recipe, I have an Instant Pot Mexican Rice recipe as well.

Mexican Rice Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Long grain white rice
  • Water
  • Caldo de Tomate
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Pepper

How to Make Mexican Rice

In my opinion, this is the easiest way to make Mexican rice. I’ve tried the recipes from scratch that start with onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes etc., but I think this one has the best texture and it has a delicious authentic flavor.

Here’s how to make Mexican rice:

  • Whisk together water, Caldo de Tomate, onion, garlic and chili powders, and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Add rice to hot skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is slightly puffed and golden.
  • Add water mixture to rice. Stir and cover with lid.
  • Let rice simmer until the water has been fully absorbed.
  • Remove from heat, then fluff rice with a fork and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Mexican Rice garnished with parsley in a white bowl

Can I Use Another Type of Rice in This Recipe?

Yes, you can use any rice you have on hand. However, you may need to adjust the amount of water you add to the rice and allow for a shorter or longer cook time, depending on the kind of rice you use.

How to Reheat Rice

To prevent leftover rice from drying out, I recommend reheating it in the microwave with a little water. You can also reheat rice in a skillet with a tablespoon or so of water.

Tips for the Best Mexican Rice

  • Allow the rice to rest for a few minutes before serving it. This will make it extra fluffy and will ensure that every last bit of water is soaked up.
  • Authentic Mexican rice is best enjoyed warm.
  • This rice can be eaten as leftovers with tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more!

More Mexican Recipes You’ll Love:

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Authentic Mexican Rice

5 from 4 votes

A super easy Mexican rice that tastes just like what you'll find at Mexican restaurants. Great flavor, good texture and a recipe the whole family can agree on. Perfect side dish to all your favorite Mexican foods.

Servings: 4
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp Caldo de Tomate (I use Knorr brand)

Optional ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder


  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together water, Caldo de Tomate, optional onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and chili powder, set aside. 
  2. Drizzle oil into a non-stick saucepan and heat over medium high heat. 
  3. Add rice and cook several minutes, stirring constantly until rice is slightly puffed and golden. 
  4. Add water mixture to rice then stir and cover pan with lid. 
  5. Reduce heat to low and allow rice to simmer for 20-25 minutes until water has been absorbed (you'll notice water bubbles stop coming to the surface). 
  6. Remove from heat, fluff rice with a fork, cover with lid and allow to rest 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

  • To prevent leftover rice from drying out, I recommend reheating it in the microwave with a little water. You can also reheat rice in a skillet with a tablespoon or less of water. 
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
Nutrition Facts
Authentic Mexican Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 205 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Sodium 250mg 10%
Potassium 53mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 37g 12%
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 1%
Calcium 1.7%
Iron 2.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Mexican Rice
Calories: 205 kcal
Author: Jaclyn


  • Rana: So my family and I adore this rice recipe-it is the restaurant type rice we’ve been looking for. We (me, my husband and two teenage boys) have eaten a double recipe in a day and I just cooked another double recipe. I did add some chipotle pepper and onion when browning the rice-it does add quite a bit of heat so use sparingly. It was yummy with the chipotle peppers. I also added cumin with the other spices. Thank you for your delicious and easy recipe! April 7, 2019 at 12:03pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’ll have to try it with the chipotle peppers thanks for reporting back! April 7, 2019 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Rana: Can’t wait to try this recipe. Have you ever put a little bit of chipotle peppers in this recipe? I was wondering if it would be good. April 5, 2019 at 12:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I haven’t tried it with chipotle peppers but that sounds like a delicious spicy addition! April 5, 2019 at 1:31pm Reply

      • Rana: I will try it and let you know how it turns out. I have some leftover in the freezer from a Spicy Chicken & Rice recipe I used a few weeks ago. April 5, 2019 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Christine: Can I take this recipe and “Instant Pot” it? Would I just use the same ratio of water to rice (1:1) that I normaly do with the Instant Pot & throw the seasoning in with it? I saw you had an Instant Pot Mexican Rice recipe but I’m interested in using the Caldo de Tomate. March 12, 2019 at 7:45pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: The liquid amounts would vary a bit as you don’t need as much for the instant pot. I’d add the water amount that is recommend for plain white rice. April 7, 2019 at 11:33am Reply

  • Wendy C: My family can’t get enough of this rice. It truly tastes like something from your favorite Mexican restaurant. I have been searching for a recipe like this! It is awesome with any taco, enchilada, fajita night. March 2, 2019 at 2:34pm Reply

  • Doris: Hello all and Happy New Year!
    I purchased my Calde de Tomato at WalMart. The have an aisle devoted to Mexican and Latin foods. December 31, 2018 at 9:14am Reply

  • Michelle: Best authentic mexican rice ever! It’s so simple to make. October 22, 2018 at 6:45pm Reply

  • Kathleen: What is Caldo de Tomate? Am clueless and would love to make this recipe.
    Thanks October 3, 2018 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Thea: Thank you SO much for this recipe!! I made it tonight for the third time and it’s absolutely delicious!! March 23, 2018 at 7:43pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed it Thea! March 27, 2018 at 2:05pm Reply

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