The BEST, truly authentic Mexican rice is so easy to make, and a necessary side dish for all of your favorite Mexican recipes.

Having learned how to make this Mexican rice from locals in Puebla, Mexico, I can promise this recipe is the real deal!  Don’t miss my other popular Mexican recipes including Carne Asada Tacos, Esquites, and Chiles Relleño.

Authentic Mexican rice with carrots and peas, served in a bowl.

We never enjoy “Taco Tuesdays” without a side of this easy Mexican Rice that I learned to make while living in Puebla, Mexico during a college internship.

I was there with my husband, and we taught workshops to locals in the area that were interested in starting a small business. We met many amazing people while living there, including a chef who attended one of our workshops. I asked him if he’d teach me the right way to make a few authentic dishes, and he invited is into his home for a day.

We cooked up a storm, and I took detailed notes as we cooked this rice together, along with mole poblano, red and green salsas, and pozole

Ingredients Needed:

  • Long Grain White Rice: Washing the rice is crucial to remove the outer starch, allowing the rice to cook fluffy. If you’d like to use Brown Rice, increase liquid by ½ cup and cook for 40 minutes, following the same resting instructions.
  • Oil: Canola or vegetable oil, for toasting the rice.
  • Onion: a small piece, finely chopped.
  • Garlic: one or two small cloves, minced.
  • Tomato Sauce: I used this because it’s fast and easy, but for a more authentic version, add 1-2 fresh tomatoes to a blender with the onion and garlic, and blend before adding to the rice.
  • Tomato Bouillon: granules or cubes, found in the Mexican aisle or online. This adds color and flavor to the rice. If you can’t find it, substitute chicken Bouillon.
  • Water: Or use chicken broth, if you omit the Tomato Bouillon.
  • Salt.
  • Peas and Carrots: optional.
  • Serrano peppers: It’s optional to add 1-2 on top of the rice while it cooks, to add extra flavor (it wont make the rice “spicy”.
The ingredients needed to make Mexican Rice.

How to make Mexican Rice:

1. Wash and Toast the rice:  Add rice to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it until the water runs clear. Sauté the rice in hot oil in a saucepan until golden brown.

2. Add remaining ingredients: Add tomato sauce, garlic, and diced onion to the pan. Stir in tomato bullion, salt, carrots, peas, and water. 

3. Simmer: Bring it to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Four process photos for making Mexican rice, with instructions on each photo.

Pro Tips:

  • Rinse the rice. Take an extra second to rinse your rice with water to remove the starch film on the surface that can cause the rice to clump together.
  • Toast the rice. When you add the rice to the oil, toast it really well! This extra step takes a few minutes, but it adds really great flavor to the rice.
  • The trick to get that great color and flavor: Tomato bullion cubes add great flavor, and they’re what makes the rice turn that perfect orange color that you’re looking for. It should be easy to find at your local grocery store. I buy mine at Walmart, in the Mexican food aisle. You could also buy them from Amazon. They look like this. If you can’t find them, substitute chicken broth for the water in this recipe.
  • Rest and Fluff. It’s crucial to give the rice time to rest after cooking, before serving, and to only gently fluff it with a work (don’t “stir” it). This will make the difference between wet, clumpy and mush rice, and fluffy rice.
  • Instant Pot Mexican Rice: If you own an instant pot, I’ve adapted this recipe for Instant pot Mexican rice.

Serve Mexican Rice with:

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Recipe

Mexican Rice with peas and carrots, served in a large bowl, with a spoon.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 35 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice *
  • 1/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic , minced
  • 1/4 medium onion , finely diced
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce , or 2 pureed tomatoes*
  • 2 teaspoons tomato bouillon granulated, or cubes*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 carrot , diced
  • 1/2 cup peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-3 whole serrano peppers , optional

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the oil. Once hot, add the rice and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly golden brown all over (about 10 minutes).
  • Add tomato sauce, garlic, and diced onion to the pan. Stir. Add tomato bullion, salt, carrots, peas, and water (and serrano peppers, if using. They add a little flavor, but not spice.).
  • Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Notes

Rice: Washing the rice is crucial to remove the outer starch, allowing the rice to cook fluffy. If you’d like to use Brown Rice, increase liquid by ½ cup and cook for 40 minutes, following the same resting instructions.
Tomato Sauce: I used this because it’s fast and easy, but for a more authentic version, add 1-2 fresh tomatoes to a blender with the onion and garlic, and blend before adding to the rice.
Tomato Bouillon: granules or cubes, found in the Mexican aisle or online. This adds color and flavor to the rice. If you can’t find it, substitute chicken Bouillon.
Serrano peppers: It’s optional to add 1-2 on top of the rice while it cooks, to add extra flavor (it wont make the rice “spicy”.
Instant Pot Mexican Rice: If you own an instant pot, I’ve adapted this recipe for Instant pot Mexican rice.
Serve as a side with any number of my favorite Mexican recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSodium: 394mgPotassium: 164mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1865IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 0.7mg

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Have you tried this recipe?! 

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

I originally shared this recipe September 2011. Last updated May 2021.

This post contains affiliate links. I love sharing my favorite products and cooking tools with you guys!

Process photos by Nikole of The Travel Palate.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe. I was looking for one like this. For the oil, I skimmed off the fat from my made from scratch chicken broth and browned my rice. Didn’t have tomato bouillon on hand so added a bit more tomato. Turned out great; thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I USE THIS RECIPE ONLY FOR MEXICAN RICE. I HAVE TRIED OTHERS BUT ALWAYS TURNED OUT WRONG AND THREW THEM OUT. I USE CAN PEAS AND CARROTS AFTER DRAINING THE WATER OR SOMETIMES ALL VEGETABLES CAN DRAINED. I WILL NOT TRY ANY OTHER RECIPE FOR THIS AGAIN. THE WHOLE FAMILY LOVES IT. THANKS FOR SHARING.

  3. 5 stars
    This is an outstanding recipe. Important to follow the tips on preparation. I did a small dice on the carrots, so they ended up cooked to perfection once the rice sat for a few minutes. My cooktop cooks hot, so I found that the rice had absorbed 7 minutes too early on the 20 minute timer. I just took it off of the heat and let everything set. I had a small problem with the tomato bouillon not really dissolving well and mixing with the rice. I fluffed the rice up with the fork to mix it through. Next time I make this I will blend the bouillon with the fresh San Marzano plums, garlic and onions. The company who had the rice loved it.

  4. We made us tonight for our family dinner and we absolutely loved the rice! Everything came out perfectly! Thank you for coking from scratch easy!

  5. 2 stars
    The idea of this sounds great, but without cooking the onions and carrots prior, they came out crunchy. Fluffy rice and crunchy veggies don’t mix well.

    1. Hi Jewelia! Thanks for trying the recipe. You have to dice the onion and carrot into smaller pieces and they will cook through in the 20 minutes of simmer time! Enjoy!

  6. 5 stars
    This rice came out absolutely perfect. Followed the recipe exactly (minus the peas) including the Serrano peppers, and it was delicious. I doubled the recipe and made it for a family get together. Everyone loved it. My boyfriend, who grew up eating his mom’s authentic Mexican food, was impressed. The only thing I would say is, if you’re using the tomato bullion cubes, maybe dissolve those before adding. Definitely will save this recipe and it will be my go-to. Thank you!

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