This homemade Mexican rice is easy to prepare and the flavor is as close to authentic Mexican rice as I think you might get without going to Mexico itself! A while back my friend Tiffany shared her recipe with me for homemade Mexican rice after I told her that I hadn't found one I loved.
It was amazing and I have made her go-to version with just a few adjustments at least a dozen times since then. It's quickly become a favorite side dish in our house to accompany any Mexican food from Whole Roasted Mexican Chicken to Chimichangas and Fajitas to Enchiladas. Use leftovers to fill out burritos or quesadillas!
Really, the only "cooking" part of making restaurant-style homemade Mexican rice is about 5 minutes at the start when you toast the rice in a little bit of oil until it is golden brown and sort of nutty smelling.
After adding the spices for the last little bit of toasting (which is an easy way to boost the flavor of any dish), you add some chopped onion and Anaheim pepper and let those soften just a bit before adding chicken broth and tomato sauce or diced tomatoes.
Most Mexican Rice recipes I have seen call for tomato sauce or tomato bouillon, but honestly I love using diced tomatoes because I love the little bits of tomato in the finished rice more than when I just use tomato sauce.
But honestly, for me at least, they are interchangeable in this recipe and I use whatever I happen to have in the pantry.
The Anaheim pepper is another addition that I made to the original recipe that my friend Tiffany shared with me. I had made this rice a few times and just wanted something extra and since I love chili peppers and they are used often in Mexican or Tex-Mex cooking, a diced Anaheim pepper is the perfect thing!
If Anaheim peppers aren't available, you could use Hatch chili peppers, Serranos or Poblanos, depending on what is in season and available in your area. None of them add any major degree of heat to the rice if you are worried about it being too spicy.
After that it's just a matter of bringing everything to a boil, then turning down the heat and letting the rice simmer in the liquid and spices until everything is absorbed. Fluff it with a fork and you are ready to go.
While it's totally delicious just like that, you can even top the rice with some shredded cheese after fluffing with a fork and let that melt if you love cheesy Mexican rice like me! (YUM. It's so good!) And you can always toss in some fresh or frozen peas & carrots or other small-chopped veggies to make even more authentic Mexican rice.
More Mexican Recipes You'll Love
- Authentic Carne Asada Recipe
- Ground Beef Enchiladas
- Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros)
- Fresh, Authentic Pico De Gallo
- Horchata Mexican Drink Recipe (+ VIDEO)
- Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef
- Green Chili Chicken Chimichangas
- Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas
- Vegetarian Swiss Chard and Pinto Bean Burritos
- Best Ground Beef Taco Meat
- Baja Fish Tacos Recipe
Did you make this recipe?
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Homemade Mexican Rice (aka Spanish Rice)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups uncooked white rice
- 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 Anaheim pepper, seeds and membrane removed, then diced
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas & carrots (optional)
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Shredded cheese for topping (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, then add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice begins to turn golden brown.
- Add the salt, garlic powder, and cumin and stir, cooking another minute. Add the onion and Anaheim pepper, stirring to combine and cooking for another 3-5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Stir in the tomato sauce or diced tomatoes and chicken broth, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then cover and allow to sit another 5 minutes before serving.
- If you don't have an anaheim pepper, you can use one 7-ounce can mild fire roasted diced green chilies. Just drain and add it along with the tomato sauce and water, instead of adding it with the onions.
- You can use one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes if you don't have tomato sauce on hand. Do not drain the juice from the tomatoes - go and ahead add it all to the rice.
- Some variations I love are to sprinkle a little melted cheese over the top of the cooked, fluffed rice and let it melt before serving or to sprinkle the rice with chopped cilantro (because I LOVE cilantro). Or you can add a cup or two of frozen peas & carrots if you have finicky littles who tend to balk at the site of veggies!