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 8 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


  • Wendy C: Hi! I have made this as written. We are serving a large crowd how do you convert this to your insta pot? June 13, 2019 at 7:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It should work well to cook on the rice setting same as the method with white rice, but sautéing first. June 13, 2019 at 9:05pm Reply

      • Wendy C: Awesome! Thanks! This is one of my favorite recipes! June 14, 2019 at 8:03am Reply

  • Poppy: This recipe is amazing! It’s a close second to my mom’s recipe and that woman never measured anything. I needed to make some rice and am so glad I found this.

    Instead of caldo de tomate, I used Better Than Bouillon (chicken) + Thai Jasmine Rice. It’s delicious! May 24, 2019 at 7:22am Reply

  • Shannon B: I too make my rice this way except I add a little cumin to it as well. A lil goes a long way but it makes it taste more authentic. As well as half water half low sodium chicken bone broth. Extra protein with bone broth and doesn’t add much more sodium but gives good flavor. May 23, 2019 at 12:47pm Reply

  • Richelle: This recipe is the absolute GOAT! I went from being super ashamed I couldn’t make good Spanish rice to DAMN THAT WAS GOOD. Super easy to follow and great results! Highly recommend ! May 9, 2019 at 8:51pm Reply

  • Arri: So firkin good! To make this vegan, I use vegan chicken broth and then added a little bit of tomato paste. It turned out spectacular! May 6, 2019 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Haleigh: When doubling should I also double the water & cook time? Excited to try this for Cinco de Mayo! May 1, 2019 at 10:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I might cut back on the water by 1/4 cup when doubling other than that everything else the same, cook time should be about the same. Hope you enjoy! May 2, 2019 at 1:05am Reply

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