Enchiladas, burritos, tacos, they all have one side dish they need to be complete. Use this simple Mexican rice recipe to accompany all of your favorite fiestas in a dish. Bring this restaurant-quality side to your own kitchen!

Mexican rice recipe in a bowl, from Shelf Cooking

Rice and refried beans go with pretty much every Mexican food item there is out there. Seriously, they're life around here! Sometimes, though, it's hard to find a good recipe that actually resembles what you can get at a restaurant.

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Not to toot our own horns or anything, but (*beep beep*) you're gonna be blown away with our Mexican rice recipe! It doesn't call for a ton of ingredients and you probably have most of them in your pantry or fridge. Jump on the shelf cooking train and let's go to town. You'll have your favorite side ready to go with your homemade Mexican food in no time!


Rice, beans, and corn in bowls on a counter from Shelf Cooking

Before we get to the goods, let's go over a few things so you can make the most of your Mexican rice recipe! You'll want to sauté the rice in a large saucepan before adding any of the other ingredients to the pan. This really makes a difference in the quality of the dish, so we don't recommend skipping this step! It only adds a few extra minutes of cook time and adds a whole lotta taste. You won't regret it, we promise.

If you only have tomato paste, that's no big deal. You can make your own tomato sauce by mixing ¼ cup of water, ¼ cup tomato paste, garlic, and onion powders and stirring until it's completely combined. It will work well in the recipe and your family will be none-the-wiser that you created your own substitution. Be proud, that's shelf cooking at it's finest!

If you want to sneak in some extra veggies, then feel free to throw in some peas, diced carrots, and corn into the mix! It'll just make your rice more colorful while adding in some extra goodness.

Pro Tip: If you have an 8-oz can of tomato sauce, you only need half of it for this delicious Mexican rice recipe. Pour the other half in a freezer-safe bag and freeze it until the next time you make this! You won't even be able to tell it was frozen and thawed when it's in this recipe and it keeps you from being wasteful.


Steak quesadilla on a plate, from Shelf Cooking

This rice recipe goes so well with pretty much any Mexican dish! Here are just a few of our favorites:

You really can't go wrong pairing it with anything!


Who's ready to make their new favorite rice recipe? (*And the crowd goes wild, woohoo!*) If you're making this for a large group of people, feel free to double or triple the recipe!

Recipe adapted from Favorite Family Recipes.

Mexican rice recipe in a bowl, from Shelf Cooking

Mexican Rice Recipe

This is as close to restaurant-style rice as you'll get! It's super easy and can be whipped up and on the table in no time. It also freezes really well!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 people


  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp cilantro


  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add rice and stir until rice begins to get light brown in color.
  • Add garlic, salt, and cumin. Stir until it's a golden brown.
  • Add broth, tomato sauce, and cilantro. (Be careful adding the broth in – the steam will scald your hand! We usually put an oven mitt on before adding the broth.)
  • Turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until all moisture is gone and rice is done. Be sure to stir occasionally!
  • Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Enjoy!
Keyword Chicken Broth, tomato sauce, white rice

This Mexican rice recipe is so good when it's piping hot, right out of the pan. It's also crazy good as leftovers! Either eat it as a side or add it into your favorite Mexican dish to help stretch it further. Whatever you do, don't let it go to waste!


This rice freezes SO well! Sometimes we'll double the recipe just so we can freeze some for a quick meal later. After you make it, allow it to cool a little bit. Then add a meal-sized portion to a freezer-safe bag and get all the air out. Label and date it, then allow it to freeze flat in the freezer. Once it's frozen, you can stand it up so it takes up less space!

When you're ready for it to thaw, just put it in the fridge for a few hours or the night before. It reheats wonderfully in the microwave or you can throw it on the stove to heat up for a few minutes. It's delicious either way!

So, what's your go-to Mexican food meal? Let us know in the comments! We're always looking for fun ways to use our staples in the kitchen!

Rice in a bowl, with words "restaurant-quality Mexican rice recipe" from Shelf Cooking

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Enjoy the fiesta!