How to Make Mexican Rice

I’m kind of shocked this recipe isn’t on the blog already. While I’m not the biggest fan of rice, when I do cook it, I’m typically making this Mexican rice. It’s been a go-to rice recipe ever since my college days—back when the only thing I would actually cook myself for dinner was a pot of this rice with black beans. Maybe that’s why I don’t like rice so much—I basically ate it for three years straight. Anywho, I figured it was time I taught you how to make Mexican rice.

mexican rice in a large steel pot
mexican rice in a wood bowl

So, why post this now? For two reasons. First, when I was about to make a huge pot of this Mexican rice for my husband to have burrito bowls for lunches this week, I searched for the recipe on my blog and realized it actually wasn’t on here. So I figured it was time to post it.

Second, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo! And I wanted to celebrate by sharing two of my favorite Mexican recipes. Mexican rice today, and something special for tomorrow. So make sure you tune back in to find out what to cook up for this festive celebration.

And of course, you can’t forget a cocktail. Why not whip up a classic margarita, a frozen strawberry margarita, or some sparkling peach sangria.

Alright, here’s how to make Mexican rice! It make four 1/2 cup servings.

ingredients needed for mexican rice

The ingredients you need for Mexican rice

This recipe only calls for seven ingredients! You’ll need the following:

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or any other broth you had. I made some easily using chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with chiles (I grabbed one that had jalapeño and habanero!)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Here’s a step by step guide on how to make Mexican rice.

precooking rice with oil in a pot for Mexican rice

Pre-cook the rice in a large pot with oil

It sounds strange, but you’ll want to pre-cook the rice before pouring the liquid in. This gets the rice toasted and puffy and gives it a nice flavor. Cook the rice with the olive oil in a large stockpot (mine’s from Made In Cookware and I love it) for about 2 to 3 minutes.

adding in onions and seasoning with pre-cooked rice for Mexican rice

Add in diced onions and seasonings

Once the rice starts to get puffy and golden, throw in the diced onions, the garlic powder, and the cumin. Stir to combine and continue to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes—or until the onions start to become tender. You don’t want to burn the rice! So if the pot starts to get too hot, turn down the temperature on your stove.

Pouring in broth and diced tomatoes for Mexican rice

Pour in broth and diced tomatoes with chiles, bring to a boil

Now it’s time to add in liquids! For my Mexican rice recipe, I actually drain the can of diced tomatoes and chiles. You don’t want too much liquid in the pot, just enough to get the rice nice and soft. The 2 cups of chicken broth is the perfect amount, so you don’t need the extra liquid from the can. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes with chiles, as well as the chicken broth, then stir to combine.

prepared Mexican rice in bowls with chopped cilantro

Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes

Once the pot comes to a boil, turn down the heat and cover the pot. Let it simmer for 20 minutes on low. To know if it’s finished, use a fork to try and fluff the rice. If it’s nice and fluffy and the liquid has been soaked through the rice, it’s ready to be eaten!

Alright here’s the recipe card if you’d rather read here. To save this, you can easily print it out by clicking the “Print Recipe” button, or pin it for later!

Mexican Rice

Prep a pot of this Mexican rice for an easy side with tacos, or a base for homemade burrito bowls.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mexican rice, rice
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 262kcal


  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chiles drained


  • Heat up the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
  • Add in the rice. Stir and cook for 3 minutes, until rice gets puffy and starts to golden.
  • Add in diced onions, garlic powder, and cumin. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the onion pieces become tender.
  • Pour in the chicken broth and the drained can of tomatoes with chiles. Mix to combine, continue to cook on medium heat until the liquid comes to a boil.
  • Turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and enjoy!


For this recipe, I used a can of diced tomatoes with jalapeño and habanero peppers. Any variety of diced tomatoes with chiles will do for this. It depends on how spicy you want it to be.

Photos edited with Tomato, Tomato in the Bright Brunch Lightroom Presets.

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