Last Updated on November 23, 2021 by Anne-Marie
You won't believe that this quick Mexican rice recipe takes only 10 minutes. An authentic Mexican rice recipe for burritos or tacos that uses instant rice.
Why this recipe works
Do you want to make an quick Mexican rice just like restaurants serve?
All you need to make this easy 10-minute Mexican rice recipe is Minute Rice (or instant rice) and some fresh cilantro.
The rest of the ingredients are probably in your pantry or spice rack!
How to make easy 10-minute Mexican rice
1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add garlic powder, cumin, salt, and cilantro to the pot. (Cilantro is optional.)
Stirring constantly, cook until spices become aromatic (meaning you can smell them). This takes 1 minute.
3. Add tomato sauce and broth. Then turn up the heat to medium-high and bring it to boil.
4. Add instant rice. Bring everything back to a rolling boil.
5. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.
6. Let the pot stand for 5 minutes or until the tomato and chicken broth is absorbed by the rice.
Pro tip: If the rice seems too wet, place the pot back on the stove. Then cook it over medium heat, stirring constantly until perfect.
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.
Some restaurants like to put peas and onions in their Mexican rice. You can certainly add peas and onions to this dish, if you wish.
Can you make this vegetarian?
Make this recipe vegetarian or vegan by using a vegetable broth instead of chicken stock or broth.
Is this gluten free?
This rice dish is also a naturally gluten-free vegetable or chicken stock or broth you’re using is gluten free. Just check the label.
Can you use long grain white rice?
If you don’t have instant rice, you can try to make this with long grain white rice.
Adjust cooking times per the instructions on the package.
Use the same amount of spices and tomato sauce when you make it. Then adjust the amount of broth.
Let us know in the comments how it turns out.
More ways to use easy Mexican rice
Serve this as a side dish with with carne asada, Ahi Tuna Tacos, or Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe Without BBQS Sauce for tacos.
Make any dish better by adding Mexican rice:
● in burritos with refried beans, pulled chicken, or strips of carne asada, add it right in the burrito.
● in bowls with taco meat (seasoned with homemade taco seasoning), rotisserie chicken, or pulled pork use it instead of long grain rice.
● in a soup with chicken and vegetables like shredded lettuce and cabbage, add it right in the bowl.
● in a one pot Mexican-flavored stir fry with leftover rotisserie chicken and frozen pepper strips, use instead of white rice.
● in a Mexican rice casserole recipe.
● with crockpot tacos for Taco Night! I love putting Mexican rice right in the tacos, not just on the side.
Perfect for potlucks:
I also like doubling or tripling this recipe to bring to potlucks.
I cook up a big batch then place the homemade Mexican rice in my crock-pot to keep warm.
Don't forget to use a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup!
More cooking tips
Can you use brown rice?
You can use instant brown rice when you make 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.
Cilantro? No bueno!
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 this recipe if you or your guests don’t like it. Add 1/2 teaspoon onion powder instead if you want extra flavor.
Turn up the heat
Love spicy food? Don’t forget to serve your favorite Mexican hot sauce with the rice. My son loves adding hot sauce to his!
Some of my readers have added salsa to this dish when they made this, too.
More Mexican recipes you'll adore:
If you love making Mexican food at home, try these dishes:
● Quick Horchata is made with rice milk
● Pumpkin Smoothie for Dia de los Muertos – Day of Dead
● Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad can be made in a trifle bowl during the holidays
● Easy Breakfast Chilaquiles are made in a skillet for easy cleanup
● Chopped & Layered Taco Salad is one of my kids’ favorite recipes
What Mexican recipes do you love preparing at home?
- 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 or vegetable broth
- 2 cups uncooked instant white rice
- 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.
- Add tomato sauce and broth. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to boil.
- Add instant rice. Bring back to boil. Cover Mexican rice and turn off the heat. Let stand 5 minutes or until tomato and chicken broth is absorbed. If the rice seems wet, place it back on the stove and cook Mexican rice over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Serving Size:1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 167Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 518mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.
Originally published December 16, 2014. Updated with new pictures and information.