Mexican Rice (Arroz Mexicano)
This homemade Mexican rice recipe, aka Arroz Mexicano, is a staple in Hispanic cooking and the ideal side dish to virtually any meal. Plus, you likely have the ingredients needed to make it on-hand at all times!
Where Did This Recipe Come From?
My mom makes the most amazing Mexican rice. And she learned from the best … my grandma! My mother’s recipe is in the Muy Bueno cookbook, and now I’d like to share it here with you here.
This side dish is one of the first recipes my mother learned to cook when she was a little girl. It is a staple in most Mexican kitchens and has such a wonderful aroma while it’s simmering.
One of the best things about this homemade Mexican rice is that it pairs perfectly with nearly any dish, especially enchiladas, tacos, chiles rellenos, and soup. It also refrigerates well, making it great for meal-prepping and batch cooking.
Even better, you only need a handful of pantry staple ingredients to make this arroz Mexicano recipe, most (or all) of which I’d bet you have stocked more often than not. So, what are you waiting for? Learn how to make this easy Mexican rice recipe, and give it a try today!
- olive oil (or another light-tasting oil like avocado oil)
- long-grain rice (white; not brown)
- chopped yellow onion (white can also work in a pinch)
- garlic cloves (or garlic powder, if necessary)
- water (or water + unsalted chicken broth)
- tomato sauce
- bouillon cube (chicken or tomato)
How To Make It
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and add rice. Stir until rice is slightly browned. Remove skillet from the heat, and add the onions and fresh garlic. Stir until onions are translucent.
Add water, chicken broth, tomato sauce, bouillon cube, and garlic powder. Stir, and let mixture come to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir gently after 10 minutes, cover, and let simmer for another 10 minutes. (If adding canned or frozen vegetables, add them during the last 10 minutes.)
After the final 10 minutes of cooking, turn the heat off, fluff rice with a fork, and cover again for another 3 to 5 minutes so liquid can finish absorbing. Serve warm with some chopped cilantro, and enjoy!
Watch and Learn
In this video my mom shares her secret tips. In the video she confesses that she had a few disasters while learning to make this dish. If you have ever tried to make Mexican rice you know that it can be challenging to make. I know I have had failed attempts with it being crunchy or sticky. But the trial-and-error process is all a part of the joy of cooking.
With this video and recipe you can now make perfect Mexican rice!
Tips and Variations
- Use Mexican rice as a filling for a burrito, in a burrito bowl, or a as a classic Mexican side dish.
- Add some frozen veggies like diced carrots, peas, and corn, if desired. Simply stir them in during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Turn this into a main course by mixing in your favorite protein like shredded chicken or ground beef.
- Add some chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice before serving.
What To Serve with It
- Pork Green Chile
- Homemade Refried Beans
- Huevos Rancheros
- Caldo de Res (Vegetable Beef Soup)
- Pulled Pork Enchiladas in Salsa Verde
- Chicken Mole Enchiladas
- Cod Fish Tacos
- Crispy Chicken Tacos
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- Store leftover cooled Mexican rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
- Freeze this homemade Mexican rice in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag for up to 3 months.
- Reheat from chilled or frozen with a little water or chicken broth in the microwave or a pot on the stove for a couple minutes, stirring periodically, until it’s warmed through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! I like adding a frozen medley of carrots, corn, and peas, but fresh will also work. Avoid wet vegetables so that there’s not a lot of excess moisture in the cooked rice, which would make it gummy.
Feel free to add some red pepper flakes or diced green chiles like serranos or jalapeños!
Sure thing! A popular brand is El Pato Hot Tomato Sauce.
The term “Spanish rice” is not used by Mexicans; the dish is simply referred to as “arroz Mexicano” or “Mexican arroz” (“Mexican rice”). Spanish rice gets its yellow color from saffron. Mexican rice, meanwhile, takes on a unique color thanks to the inclusion of tomato sauce. Spanish rice tends to be more firm, whereas Mexican rice is softer.
More Mexican Side Dish Recipes To Try
- Frijoles de la Olla
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Creamy Zucchini, Corn, and Poblanos Rajas
- Mexican Macaroni Salad
- Grilled Cactus Salad
Have you made this homemade Mexican rice recipe in your own kitchen? Please be sure to rate and review it below!
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Mexican Rice Arroz Mexicano
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 cups water or 2 cups water and 1 cup unsalted chicken broth, fresh or packaged
- 1/3 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tomato or chicken bouillon cube
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and add rice. Stir until rice is slightly browned. Remove skillet from the heat and add the onions and fresh garlic, if using. Stir until onions are translucent. (The pan is usually warm enough to cook the onions and fresh garlic, keeping them from burning.)
- Add water, chicken broth, if using, tomato sauce, bouillon cube, and garlic powder, if using. Stir and let mixture come to a boil; lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir gently after 10 minutes, cover, and let simmer for another 10 minutes. (If adding canned or frozen vegetables add them during the last 10 minutes.)
- After the final 10 minutes of cooking, turn heat off, fluff rice with a fork and cover again for another 3 to 5 minutes so liquid can finish absorbing.
- 1 bouillon cube is the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of granulated bouillon.
- You can use rice as a filling for a burrito bowl or a as a classic Mexican side dish.
Photography by Jenna Sparks / Video by Pure Cinematography
Originally published: October 2015. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.
15 Comments on “Mexican Rice (Arroz Mexicano)”
This recipe is perfect. It is my new way of cooking arroz. Mine is great, granted, yours takes it to flawless perfection of texture. Simple and easy. Yum.
My sister isn’t a cooker, but she was given a box of this rice and she has been searching the stores for it every since. She loves it. I would order her a case for Christmas if I knew where to find it. She has tried other brands, but they have fail . Where can I buy this box rice?
I make mine slightly different but I’m sure it tastes just as good. The secret my mom would say is to keep it covered while cooking and not to stir it. Once it’s done, let it rest a few mins in the pot.
Thank you for posting, it’s one of the simplest dish but only gets better the more you make it! I love adding a little cumin to my rice, along with cilantro.
I like to sub the tomato sauce with a can of Rotel tomatoes .
Hello thank you for posting this! Good Mexican rice is my favorite! One question though, about the chicken boullion. The recipe says 1 – 3.1 oz. boullion cube. I have never seen such a large size cube. I only have these small cubes which make an equivalent of 8 oz. of broth. Would you recommend using more than one of these? If so, how many? I did click the link you had next to the ingredient listed in the recipe. It took me to Amazon and the product said “extra large cubes” but it didn’t specify how many ounces the cubes were and I wasn’t sure if I should buy it. Would you please kindly clarify? Thank you very much.
Hi Sherry! Thank you for your question. I have updated the link to the appropriate size. 1 bouillon cube is the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of granulated bouillon.
This is the BEST Mexican rice ever! I have had my own versions of Spanish rice but cooked the Chile Rellenos recipe in the Muy Bueno cookbook so I decided to cook the rice too. I am in LOVE with this rice recipe. I will never make another recipe again. And it was so easy to make and came out perfect. Everyone loved it! I made little rice tacos the next day! Thank you to Mama for sharing this recipe.
Simple and wonderful! I’ve made it before and it was just “okay” but this recipe was wonderful! I followed the recipe with no changes. I used basmati rice and the amount of liquid was perfect.
I’m curious — you leave out comino (cumin). For us in San Antonio and my Valley familia, comino is essential to Mexican rice.
Have you tried adding it? The flavor with the rice is so delicious. I also had to practice several times before I got it just right. Now, I don’t need to measure — I just eyeball it the way my mother and grandmothers did! My mother also added bell pepper, but I’m not a big fan, so I leave it out. I just discovered your site, so looking forward to trying your recipes. I love seeing how others are documenting Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes. I’ve been using a copy of a typed cookbook my aunt passed on to me many years ago. It came from her sister in law, and has all the basics!
I’ve always struggled with making good arroz. This turned out perfect! Identical to my mom’s recipe, except that she used less liquid.
I had to laugh when Vangie said that the key was “patience.” Exactly what my mom always told me!
Thanks for the recipe, & the reminder to be patient.
Best arroz I’ve ever made! But mine came out a little mushy still. What am I doing wrong?
Jasmine, the rice came out mushy because the recipes calls for 3 cups of liquid for one cup of rice which is alot of liquid. Try the recipe again, but this time with 2 cups of liquid for one cup of rice. good luck
So I’ve always felt that if someone can make good Mexican rice it’s the sign of a good cook. I’ve never been able to do it. I followed your recipe exactly as written and it is PERFECT! I’ve never been this excited about my rice and I’ll be sure to follow it every time!! Almost as good as my Mom’s. 😉 P.S. I am also from El Paso and love your blog!
It’s always been hard to cook Mexican rice for me, too – but, hopefully, with this guide, I’m going to improve! Thanks for sharing it 🙂