This Easy Mexican Rice recipe takes only 10 minutes to make!

By Anne-Marie Nichols

Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice

Do you want to make an easy Mexican rice recipe for taco night just like restaurants serve?

You probably think an authentic Mexican rice recipe takes an hour to cook and involves exotic ingredients from your local carniceria.

Not to worry. It doesn't!

Actually, to make this Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice recipe, the only special ingredient you need is instant rice and fresh cilantro.

The rest of the ingredients for this quick and easy Mexican rice recipe are probably in your pantry or spice rack!

It's not taco night unless you have Mexican restaurant style rice. It's so simple to prepare if you have this Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice recipe! Can be made gluten free and vegetarian, too! #recipes #recipeoftheday #healthyrecipes #easyrecipe #easyrecipe #mexicanfoodrecipes #ricerecipes #vegetarian #copycatrecipes #mexicanrice #mexicanricerecipes #taconight #tacotuesdayrecipes #taconightrecipes

What is authentic Mexican rice?

What you may call authentic Mexican rice is also called Spanish rice or arroz rojo (literally red rice). Even though it’s sometimes called Spanish rice, it’s not Spanish in origin.

It’s a Mexican side dish made by sautéing white rice in a skillet until it turns a golden brown. Then water or broth is added along with tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Sometimes garlic and onions are used as well as seasonings like chili pepper and cumin.

To me, the sign of a good Mexican restaurant is if they make flavorful Mexican rice dish.

Some restaurants like to put peas and onions in their Mexican rice recipe, too. (You can certainly add peas and onions to your easy Mexican Rice recipe if you wish!)

More ways to use easy Mexican rice

I love having Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice as a side for carne asada, fish Veracruz or Slow Cooker Spicy Pulled Pork Tacos.

However, this easy Mexican rice recipe isn’t just a side dish. You can make it the star of the meal by using Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice:

● in burritos with refried beans, pulled chicken, or strips of carne asada

● in rice bowls with taco meat (seasoned with homemade taco seasoning), rotisserie chicken, or pulled pork

● in a soup with chicken and vegetables

● in a one pot Mexican-flavored stir fry with leftover rotisserie chicken and frozen pepper strips

● in a Mexican rice casserole recipe

It's not taco night unless you have Mexican restaurant style rice. It's so simple to prepare if you have this Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice recipe! Can be made gluten free and vegetarian, too! #recipes #recipeoftheday #healthyrecipes #easyrecipe #easyrecipe #mexicanfoodrecipes #ricerecipes #vegetarian #copycatrecipes #mexicanrice #mexicanricerecipes #taconight #tacotuesdayrecipes #taconightrecipes

This Mama’s tips for cooking up easy Mexican rice

You can make this easy Mexican rice recipe vegetarian by using a vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

If you’re gluten free or cooking for GF guests, make sure that the broth you’re using is gluten free.

Many of the big commercial brands have gone gluten free or have more “natural versions” of broth or stock available at the grocery store. So no need to go to the health food store now!

While this best Mexican rice recipe is traditionally made with white rice – and this recipe uses instant white rice – you can use instant brown rice in this recipe, too.

The cooking times may change (consult the directions on the box). Also, the taste and color will be different, but still delicious!

If you’re serving this quick and easy Mexican rice recipe for guests, you may want to ask if everyone likes cilantro. So many people don’t!

It’s OK if you leave cilantro out of your easy Mexican rice recipe if you or your guests don’t like it. Add a 1/2 teaspoon onion powder instead.

Love spicy food? Don’t forget to serve your favorite Mexican hot sauce with your Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice. My son loves adding hot sauce to his!

Love Mexican food? Here are a few Mexican recipes you'll adore:

Slow Cooker Spicy Pulled Pork Tacos

Best Carne Asada

Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

Easy Breakfast Chilaquiles

Crock-Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken with Black Beans & Corn

Quick Horchata

Chopped & Layered Taco Salad

Love easy rice dishes? Here are a few more:

Wild Mushroom Risotto makes a delicious side dish.

Cauliflower Mushroom Rice (Paleo, Whole30)

Broccoli, Chicken and Cheese Wild Rice Casserole

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Rice Bowls

Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice

Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups uncooked instant white rice


  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic powder, cumin, salt and cilantro. Stir constantly, cook until spices become aromatic – about 1 minute.
  2. Add tomato sauce and broth. Turn up heat to medium high and bring to boil.
  3. Add rice. Bring back to boil. Cover and turn off heat. Let stand 5 minutes or until tomato and chicken broth is absorbed. If the rice seems wet, place back on stove and cook rice over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Servings: Makes 4 cups
  • Serving size: Serves 4 - 1 cup per person

Originally published December 16, 2014 and February 29, 2016. Updated with new pictures and information.

It\'s not taco night unless you have Mexican restaurant style rice. It\'s so simple to prepare if you have this Easy 10 Minute Mexican Rice recipe! Can be made gluten free and vegetarian, too! #recipes #recipeoftheday #healthyrecipes #easyrecipe #easyrecipe #mexicanfoodrecipes #ricerecipes #vegetarian #copycatrecipes #mexicanrice #mexicanricerecipes #taconight #tacotuesdayrecipes #taconightrecipes

57 thoughts on “This Easy Mexican Rice recipe takes only 10 minutes to make!

  1. Steve-O

    Was looking for a quick and easy Mexican rice recipe. Found this one and made it last night. Turned out great! This will be my go-to from now on.

  2. Ashley

    Wow!!!!! Ok I have tried literally every recipe and was never fully happy with the results. This one is perfect! It’s so tasty. I don’t like changing recipes but I am a vegetarian so I subbed veggie broth. I’m so happy eating this right now 🙂 thank you so so so much! My hunt for perfect, easy mexican rice is finally over. I was just about losing hope lol

  3. Joy M. Mosley

    Instructions on rice box calls for equal amounts of broth and rice. Tomato sauce is extra cup of liquid. What do you suggest.


    Just made this tonight. Didn’t have a box, so I needed an easy quick Mexican Rice. It turned out perfect. taste was good, not gourmet like, but good enough in a pinch. Next time I’ll try it with Salsa instead of tomato sauce.

  5. Jolene

    Terrible recipe. Followed directions perfectly and rice came out dry. This is not the way Mexican rice is supposed to be.

    1. Anne-Marie Nichols Post author

      Jolene, I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. I make Easy Mexican Rice all the time for my family and just made it for an event at my daughter’s school. It comes out perfectly every time. My guess is that either you didn’t use the right amount of liquid or you didn’t turn off the heat before covering. Give it another try!

  6. Christine @ myblissfulmess

    This side dish is crazy easy, and so delicious! Perfect side dish to go with your favorite Mexican main dish. I served it along side Salsa Fresca Chicken, a recipe I got from This was the perfect side dish for it! My family and I loved this rice. Thank you so much!

  7. Sheree Harris

    I quintupled the recipe and used instant brown rice instead. When I first added the rice, I could tell it was going to be too wet so I added a little more in. I did have to turn it back on after the 5 minutes of letting it sit. It’s still quite moist (little saucy) but I figured I’d let it absorb overnight. I will be reheating tomorrow before serving. I’m hoping it will be perfect by tomorrow and not turn mushy. Thank you for such a simple recipe and one where brown rice could be substituted.

  8. Shauna Guymon

    I sauted the rice, some diced onion in the oil (I used butter) for about 5 minutes. Then added the spices and cooked another minute or two. Then I poured the liquid in, brought it to a boil, turned it down and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

  9. Joan Clark

    Just made this as side for tacos and it’s very good! Lessen salt by half..used parsley as one of those weirdos who thinks cilantro tastes like dish soap!! Added corn, peppers and fresh squeesed lime juice cuz had one on hand!! However fast and very good!! Thanks for recipe!!!!

  10. Darlene

    This was very good. I used 1 cup of regular rice and toasted it in the oil first. I also added about 2 Tbl spoons of enchilada sauce, since made enchiladas as well My husband loved it.

  11. Becky

    Good and fast! However, I used 1/2 of the salt and it was still a little salty for my taste. I’ll eliminate it next time and it will be perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Karen

    I went woth 10minute brown rice, I substituted chives for cilantro (used about a tablspoon) and instead of chicken broth I did 1/2 of the amount of water the rice boc called for and did the other 1/2 with tomato sauce. It was excellent with a bit of cracked seasalt.

  13. Derek Visser

    Thank you very much! I didn’t have tomato sauce so I used Pace salsa and it turned out fantastic. I don’t normally think about rice being fantastic, but this recipe is. Thanks!

  14. Jenn

    Can you use uncooked rice instead of instant rice? I’m assuming the cook time would go up by a lot, but is that a problem?

  15. Julia

    Good recipe, except the amount of salt was too much for my family’so taste. I will use less next time. It may be due to the fact that I used bullion cubes for the broth.

    1. Anne-Marie Nichols Post author

      Most bullion cubes have A LOT OF SALT in them. That’s why I use MASSEL bullion cubes and granules as they’re salt reduced and perfect for making small batches of stock for recipes like this. You can buy MASSEL on Amazon – link to (affiliate).

  16. Sunny in California

    This is really good and tasty! I love restaurant red rice and have tried so many recipes over the years but never seem to get the right taste. The flavor & consistency are close enough that this is the recipe I intend to use from now on. I have a glass top stove so turning off the burner and leaving the pot on doesn’t work for me. I did have to add about 5 more minutes to the time and I added a 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn for color since I didn’t have cilantro on hand (but I definately will next time!)


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