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 restaurants Mexican rice. 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 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. Also, I used to always use vegetable oil but I’ve tried to be a bit healthier =) so I’ve switched over to olive oil so just use which ever you prefer. I hope you love this rice and that it becomes a staple in your home as well. Enjoy!


Authentic Mexican Rice

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin 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. Drizzle oil into a non-stick saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Add rice and cook several minutes, stirring constantly until rice is slightly puffed and golden. Add water mixture to rice then stir and cover pan with lid. 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). Remove from heat, fluff rice with a fork, cover with lid and allow to rest 5 minutes. Serve warm.
  2. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Recipe Notes

I also love this rice served with a drizzle of sour cream, a few dashes of Mexican hot sauce (such as Tapatio) and some fresh guacamole. Just a few more flavor boosters I sometimes add that are optional.


  • kandi v: I have yet to find a good mexican rice-can’t wait to try yours! April 17, 2012 at 9:18pm Reply

  • Angela Marie: That looks so yummy and does look authentic! It is impossible to make the good stuff at home, hope this works out.

    – Angela Marie @

    PS I think you are going to make me fat with all these delicious recipes! Worth it. April 18, 2012 at 5:08am Reply

  • Jen @ Jens Favorite Cookies: I’ve had a hard time finding a good mexican rice recipe, too. This looks like exactly what I’ve been searching for! Can’t wait to try it! April 18, 2012 at 7:06am Reply

  • Whitney: YUM!!! I cooked your rice recipe for my husband and myself last night and we had a Mexican night with fajitas. Not only was the rice amazing, but it got me out of my comfort zone and into the hispanic food section of the grocery store for the Caldo de tomate. April 18, 2012 at 8:22am Reply

  • Jaclyn: Whitney – I’m so glad you enjoyed and I’m glad you went outside your comfort zone =). Thanks so much for you comment! April 18, 2012 at 9:04am Reply

  • Jaclyn: Thanks everyone for your comments, I hope you all enjoy! April 18, 2012 at 9:05am Reply

  • Anonymous: This looks sooo yummy. Is it spicy? Do you add in all of the optional ingredients? Will definently be trying this soon. Thank you! April 20, 2012 at 8:05pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Anonymous – Most of the time I do add in all the optional ingredients. When I first started making this recipe a few years ago I didn’t but I wanted it to have just a bit more flavor so now I do. So it’s up to you if you’d like to or not. I hope you enjoy! April 20, 2012 at 9:39pm Reply

  • Anonymous: I have made this simuliar rice for years… Actually I add fresh chicken broth in place of the knoor and I use tomatoe sauce and chili powder.. Funny I’ve never seen anyone fry their rice like I have…. I love your website.. Thanks for the great recipes. April 23, 2012 at 6:33pm Reply

  • Kim: I learned to make rice from a friend from Mexico and this is pretty darn close, she used vegetarian oil to sautee the rice with some fresh small diced onions too before boiling :) love your recipes! My boyfriend loves me making them!! April 26, 2012 at 7:45am Reply

  • Jaclyn: Kim and Anonymous – thanks for your comments! I’m so glad to hear you enjoy the recipes! Have a great day! April 26, 2012 at 4:50pm Reply

  • Maureen: Can’t wait to try this. This looks soo yummy. Thank you for all for your hard work and sharing so willingly with us. May 3, 2012 at 3:48pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Maureen – thanks so much for your comment that’s so nice of you to say, I love to share my recipes =)! Have a great day! May 3, 2012 at 7:09pm Reply

  • Anonymous: I wonder if this recipe would work well with brown rice? Has anyone tried? Thx! May 7, 2012 at 9:36pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Anonymous – I have =). I didn’t like it at all, I love to switch out white rice to brown when I can but with this recipe, in my opinion it just didn’t work at all. Hope that helps! May 8, 2012 at 7:43am Reply

  • Anonymous: A hispanic friend in Austin, TX adds a bit of cumin to a similar recipe. It is to die for. Of course she uses the Knorr Caldo de Tomate. May 10, 2012 at 2:58pm Reply

  • Lara: I have been looking for a good alternative to the ‘packaged’ Mexican rice…I made this tonight for my family and it got RAVE reviews! Everyone went back for seconds – and said that this one is a keeper! =) Thanks for sharing with us. June 2, 2012 at 7:35pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Lara – I’m so glad to hear everyone loved it =). I can still never help but go back for seconds either even after making this for so many years. June 3, 2012 at 8:43pm Reply

  • Sal @ flowerchild: I can’t seem to find Caldo de Tomate in Australia – what would be a close second? My grammy used to work as a Mexican chef, but sadly passed away before I could get all of her secret recipes and I’d love a decent rice recipe. June 14, 2012 at 4:40am Reply

  • Anonymous: I am looking for a mexican rice recipe for a large crowd. We are doing a taco bar for my daughters graduation. Would this recipe be ok to scale up? Thank you. June 14, 2012 at 12:17pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Sal – I don’t know that there is any substitute for Caldo de Tomate, my recommendation would be to buy it online and have it shipped to you or if you’d prefer not to do that this is my second choice of Mexican Rice:
    I used to make that recipe all the time until I had this one. It is also delicious (I think I only used 1 Tbsp oil though instead of the 3 listed and 1/4 tsp cumin). June 14, 2012 at 10:58pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Anonymous – my sister and I have tripled this recipe before and it always turns out great. You may need to increase the cooking time just a bit though if I’m remembering correctly, and use a large saucepan. I hope that helps! Enjoy! June 14, 2012 at 11:00pm Reply

  • Trish: I made a quadruple recipe yesterday to serve with the pollo asada I was grilling for the 4th. Literally everyone who ate the rice commented on how good it was. Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how long I have been searching for the perfect Mexican Rice recipe! July 5, 2012 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Anonymous: I made this rice for the first time a few nights ago, but I made it in my rice cooker. I doubled the recipe, throwing all the ingredients in and pressing cook. Easy, cheap, and so delicious! I was looking for a good Mexican rice I could make in bulk for my son’s birthday party later this year…I have found it. Thank you. September 9, 2012 at 2:04pm Reply

  • Cheerful: The Angels are singing at my house! Finally, I have found a Mexican Rice Recipe that is a keeper! We moved from Texas last October to Georgia and let me just say…the Mexican food is lacking in soooo many ways here! Thank You!

    Cheerful September 9, 2012 at 10:05pm Reply

  • Eric: The caldo de tomate is a great item! Usually I use chicken broth and add tomato sauce to it after sauteing the rice. The caldo de tomate saves time. Thanks for sharing. September 18, 2012 at 8:37pm Reply

  • Anonymous: Hi, I’m Mexican and I actually learned how to make rice in Mexico, I fry the rice first and I make a sauce in the blender with el caldo de tomate knor, fresh onions, garlic and tomatoes, salt and water. Once it’s fried I pour the sauce in it and when starts boiling I just cover it and lower the heat and it’s done when it absorbed all the water :) October 20, 2012 at 10:28am Reply

    • Michelle: I know this comment has been awhile… but just wanted to say this is exactly how my mother n law made it in Mexico. So simple but so delicious! November 26, 2016 at 3:29pm Reply

  • Anonymous: i made this last night for supper and it came out FANTASTICALLY! i was so happy it turned out alright, because i’ve not had the best of luck cooking rice before. December 7, 2012 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Anonymous: i also wanted to say that i added some red pepper flakes in instead of black pepper and it gave it just the right amount of kick to it. December 8, 2012 at 2:23pm Reply

  • Anonymous: So glad I came across this recipe! It was exactly what I was looking for, with the exception of a few minor additions. I love the Knor over broth and tomato sauce as well. The only thing I do differently is saute some finely chopped onion and baby red and yellow peppers, use cumin instead of chili powder and toss in a bit of chopped cilantro December 14, 2012 at 4:02pm Reply

  • Dana: This rice is so delicious and easy to prepare. Thank you so much for sharing! January 5, 2013 at 3:53pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad you enjoyed it Dana! Thanks for your comment, and your welcome! January 7, 2013 at 10:43pm Reply

  • alma: Rice is a must hve at our house! My mother taught me to use fresh cumin,pepper,garlic clove I usually use a “molcajete” which grinds these fresh spices but u can always buy them already powdered so u add 1/2tsp cumin, pepper, garlic powder, salt! So u brown rice I usually add a slice of onion then add ur spices in separate pan bring water to boil then add to rice w a can of tomato sauce n just a Princess of fresh cilantro! Cover n reduce heat n cook for about 20min after u remove from heat key is to Not remove cover n let rice continue to cook n set! :) January 14, 2013 at 12:14am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sounds amazing! Thanks for the advice! January 17, 2013 at 11:10am Reply

    • KAYLA: That’s how my mother in law taught me how to make it.. minus the onion. The only way I’ve ever made it April 28, 2016 at 2:55pm Reply

  • alma: Sorry pinch not princess :) January 14, 2013 at 12:17am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thats ok I always do that too =) January 17, 2013 at 11:11am Reply

  • Heather Fletcer: I made this tonight along with crockpot chicken taco’s that I also found on Pinterest. OH….MY….GOD!!! Thank thank thank! This tasted just like the rice that I love eating in a Mexican restaurant. I did add all the spices you suggested too. I did not find the Knorr seasoning, but I did find a “con cilantro y tomate” seasoning from Sazon Goya. On the box it said it’s used for Mexican rice, so I grabbed it. This is a keeper and so much easier than the other recipe that I’ve used which included jalepeno peppers, tomatos, a blender and some other stuff. January 17, 2013 at 3:07pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Heather – I love this rice and am so excited you enjoyed it as well. Thanks for commenting! January 18, 2013 at 8:58pm Reply

  • Adi: This rice is perfect thanks! February 19, 2013 at 3:27pm Reply

  • sparklebb: Sounds good and the flavors are almost authentic. My mother is Mexican and I’ve visited Mexico many times I love the food and can tell you that where you are going wrong is adding powdered processed ingredients. Many people aren’t aware but Mexican food is very fresh, they only use fresh ingredients. Heres the authentic version get rid of caldo de tomate and use home made chicken stock and fresh tomatoes, get rid of the garlic powder and sautee fresh garlic in the oil, get rid of the onion powder and chop up some fresh onion and mix it in. And the chili powder just get rid of it all together you won’t need it if you use fresh ingredients if you feel you need a flavor boost add oregano. March 23, 2013 at 11:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sounds good, I’ll have to give it a try. March 23, 2013 at 11:38pm Reply

  • sparklebb: It’s not easy but it’s incredible once you get it right. I also find Jasmine rice cooks better than regular long grain rice. What kind do you use? March 25, 2013 at 4:29pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Just long grain white but I will have to try the Jasmine, thanks for the tip. March 25, 2013 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Monica: This sounds exactly like the rice I grew up with in Southern CA….I can’t wait to try this, thanks so much~ May 6, 2013 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Sue: Love your recipe just as written. I add all the optional ingredients and find it to be simple and delicious. Love your site and suggest people comment on recipes as written instead of posting what changes they did. I don’t really care how someone’s mom did this, or what they added to make it better. Please be fair to a recipe and comment on it as written – or start your own blog if you’re so talented. May 18, 2013 at 10:26am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked this Sue :) thanks for your comment! May 26, 2013 at 8:47pm Reply

  • Monica W: Wow! Made this last night, it was SO good. I’m from So Cal, and live in Montana now, and haven’t had really good Mexican rice since I left, this is a keeper! Thank you so much! May 29, 2013 at 6:13pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Monica, I’m glad you liked it! Thanks for your comment! June 1, 2013 at 9:43am Reply

  • Peggy T: Jaclyn, I just made this for lunch with tacos. I had to write to tell you how fabulous this is. Authentic. My Hispanic friend’s mothers make it just like this and I’ve tried soooo many times to replicate it. They don’t have written recipes so their instructions were vague. Thank you, thank you. June 15, 2013 at 11:12am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re very welcome Peggy – I’m so glad you liked it! June 19, 2013 at 7:59pm Reply

  • Amber: Someone may have already mentioned this, but I had a really hard time finding Caldo de Tomate so I wanted to explain how I finally found it. I scoured the entire Hispanic section at my local Ralph’s and could not find it anywhere! I had thought it was a type of tomato sauce or something. Later I looked it up online and found out that it is tomato bouillon with chicken flavor. I looked in the soup aisle with the other bouillons and there it was! I knew there was no way a grocery store in Southern California would not carry basic Hispanic ingredients like that.

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m trying it tonight for dinner. :) June 17, 2013 at 12:36pm Reply

  • cindy c: I use real onion and garlic and add a little jalapeno…..otherwise same and oh yeah and chicken stock (Knorr) instead of water July 13, 2013 at 7:39am Reply

    • cindy c: I use a small can of tomato sauce although living in Mexico I do find the other easily…Try the ethnic section in your larger grocery store July 13, 2013 at 7:41am Reply

  • Jennifer: Perfect. Thank you for sharing! I’m from Texas and still had never heard of using the caldo de tomate. This was exactly what was missing from every other time I had attempted to cook Spanish rice. Very excited. August 31, 2013 at 3:33pm Reply

  • Denise Fish: My grandmother taught me to make rice, we call it spanish rice. I brown my rice with fresh onion and garlic, then add chicken broth. Last we add bell pepper rings and put tomato slices in the rings. Salt and pepper is the only seasoning we use. December 1, 2013 at 1:30pm Reply

  • marisol: I’m from mexico and I make it like my mom teach me, in a pan put oil (I use sunflower oil) add for example 2 cups of rice, then in the blender put 3 tomatoes and a quart of onion (if is a big onion) add water (you can use chicken broth if you want it gives you a better flavor) pour this into the pan with the rice, add salt and a half of cube of maggi chicken bouillon, use low temperature January 14, 2014 at 8:51pm Reply

  • Karen: The 3rd ingredient on the Knorr brand caldo tomate is MSG, right after Salt (#1) and Palm Oil. This is bad for you :-(. February 23, 2014 at 12:10am Reply

  • Mariss: I like this version of yours as it is easy and quicker than how I learned from several friends of hispanic heritage. The way I learned was to saute the rice until golden or no longer opaque, then put in half a can of tomato sauce (more if desired) and let rice absorb the sauce, then add desired spices- I use cumin,garlic fresh or power, onion powder, sometimes chili powder- mix in to coat, and then pour and mix in appropriate amount of chicken broth going towards more than less- or water and added chicken powder broth. Cover tightly and reduce heat to low simmer. February 23, 2014 at 1:25pm Reply

  • Anita: I made this recipe today for my party tomorrow, do you know if I should add anything to it tomorrow when heating it back up? It’s amazing by the way!! May 9, 2014 at 1:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sometimes I add a tiny bit of water to the left overs and stir, it seems a little dry the next day but it can vary so add a touch only if it needs it. I’m glad you liked it! May 9, 2014 at 7:46pm Reply

  • Cathy: I can’t wait to try this recipe for my daughter’s graduation party. We are doing a taco/nacho bar. As far as the caldo tamate, MSG and palm oil, the recipe only calls for 2 tsp. Relax. May 19, 2014 at 1:11pm Reply

  • ivwshane: I made this tonight and apparently, according to the comments, I’m the only one that didn’t successfully make this:(

    It came out super mushy. I’m pretty sure it was something I did but I’m not sure what. I’ve never cooked rice in the pan with oil and cooking it until its golden so I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to look like. When cooking it in the oil does the rice actually turn a golden brown? I only cooked it until it was shiny and white. I used the stated amount of water but should I use less water next time or do you know what my issue was?

    Thanks! Hopefully the second times a charm. June 30, 2014 at 10:41pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Crazy thing I actually had that happen to me for the first time just this week, it was because I double the recipe and should have put it in a larger pan. So I would try using a larger pan or cooking at a slightly higher heat. A little less water may help too. Sorry that happened though!! June 30, 2014 at 11:15pm Reply

      • ivwshane: Thanks, I’ll give that a shot. While it didn’t turn out right, the flavor was still great! June 30, 2014 at 11:32pm Reply

    • Jennifer: Yes, the rice does turn a golden fried color. Takes a few minutes. =) April 4, 2015 at 11:46am Reply

  • Phyllis: This recipe is fantastic! I gave up making rice because it was either not cooked or turned to glue. I found this recipe and thought I would give it one more try. So glad I did, this is the first time my rice came out perfect. This is how I will make my rice from now on. December 27, 2014 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Gourmetgreasemonkey: Made this with all the ingredients. I also added 1/4 tsp of cumin and a couple of finely chopped
    stalks of celery. It was fantastic. March 4, 2015 at 6:03pm Reply

  • Jennifer: I learned this recipe fr a mexican friends mom in California 17 yrs ago. The only differences is she would add finely diced onions to oil before the rice and diced tomatoes at the simmer stage. April 4, 2015 at 11:38am Reply

  • dena: Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve been looking for this rice recipe for years. It’s exactly like the restaurant rice here in California. I’ve always used the broth with tomato sauce although it was good the texture was off. Thanks! May 30, 2015 at 8:22pm Reply

  • Jasmina: I love this mexican rice! Just some additional info instead of using garlic or onion powder you can add a quarter of onion and fresh garlic mix it in the blender with the caldo de tomato and if you want you can add one Roma tomato along with water or chicken broth. Just blend it all together! August 30, 2015 at 5:34pm Reply

  • Anna Nismiya: Let me also try cooking with the same and let you know the result.

    Keep sharing more! September 1, 2015 at 3:45am Reply

  • Jennifer: Love this rice. I make it this way everytime. Making it right now to go with my chile verde. February 20, 2016 at 5:20pm Reply

  • Carly: I’ve been on the hunt for years for Restaurant take Mexican rice and this is it!! I did sauté an onion with the rice and used the garlic and onion powder with a 1/4 teaspoon of cumin. Amazing! 🌮 May 5, 2016 at 10:33am Reply

  • Kate: My partner is Mexican he loves this type of rice, but he hates when the rice comes out sticky. We have tried all kinds of recipes, from his mother, the internet, and they all called for either fresh or canned tomatoes. Although the rice would taste good, the sticky texture always had us throwing out the left overs. FINALLY thanks to your recipe, i have surprised my hubby with rice that he went nuts for – no stickiness at all! The only thing i did different from my usual recipe is using caldo de tomate instead of fresh/canned tomatoes, and that was the key! Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe and this fantastic suggestion. I finally found what i was looking for. October 19, 2016 at 8:40am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you both enjoyed this recipe Kate! Thanks for your feedback! October 19, 2016 at 10:42am Reply

  • Sid: I’m not trying to trump your recipe, but here’s the scoop.
    First you brown the rice w/olive oil or cooking oil your choice until golden brown. Once rice is brown you add tomato sauce and water,along with onion powder,garlic powder,and comino, and a can of green chilis diced.

    2 cups rice
    4 cups water
    1 can tomato sauce
    Garlic&onion powder to taste
    1 can green chili drained
    Comino-very very carefull with this,add small amounts taste add more if needed. Very slow and easy with it.
    Salt pepper is desired.

    Just a single guy trying to get by. November 4, 2016 at 6:14pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’ve tried the tomato sauce versions and mine always comes out soggy :(. November 5, 2016 at 8:14am Reply

  • Danielle: I love this rice!!!! I first came across this website thru your chocolate chip muffins (I’ve probably made 20 dozen since finding that one!!) And it seems you just can’t make a bad recipe. So delicious and not at and sticky! Thanks so much! December 11, 2016 at 5:36pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad you loved it Danielle! December 13, 2016 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Doris: I am cooking this right now and my house smells amazing! Just wanted to reiterate what “sparklebb” posted. I sauteed fresh onion and one garlic clove with the rice and I used chicken stock in place of water. You can buy the Calde de Tomato at Walmart . I did use black pepper and ground cumin , not chili powder. I can not wait to eat this!!!!!!!!!!!!!! March 19, 2017 at 10:06am Reply

  • Doris: I just tasted my rice and it is the bomb!! I will never buy a packaged Mexican rice mix again. Just an afterthought—use the low sodium chicken broth. It really is much better than the full strength kind. March 19, 2017 at 10:24am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Great suggestion – so glad you loved it Doris! March 27, 2017 at 11:26am Reply

  • Lisa: I was looking for a Spanish rice recipe that did not have a strong tomato taste, nor was it “wet.” This was perfect!! I have been searching for an authentic recipe, and now I found it. This is definitely going into my personal recipe book!! June 12, 2017 at 5:06pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for leaving a great review Lisa! June 13, 2017 at 11:55am Reply

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