Homemade Mexican Rice

Updated on December 31, 2017
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Ms. Venegas experiments with Mexican foods under the watchful critiques of her husband. The recipes need to pass a "when I was a kid" test.

Fluff Mexican Red Rice with fork
Fluff Mexican Red Rice with fork

This is so basic. You have the Mexican entree, such as, burritos, tacos, or enchiladas and homemade Mexican red rice. This is all about the red rice or arroz rojo; one part of which goes with "rice and beans", as prepared by my husband's family.

Leer esto en espanola?

Sometimes feeling lazy, I want to skip either the beans or the Mexican rice, husband Ed, always objects. In his thinking it is one side dish; rice and beans.

These directions are for one cup of rice. This is my routine homemade Mexican rice recipe and it has not received any complaints.

Add this authentic Mexican rice recipe to your Mexican food routine.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 23 min
Ready in: 38 min
Yields: 6 half cup servings
long grain white rice
long grain white rice


  • Long grain white rice
  • Onion
  • Cilantro or Parsly
  • Garlic powder or minced garlic
  • Cooking oil and/or butter
  • Lemon

Knorr Granulated Bouillon, Tomato Chicken 35.3 oz

In a pinch, because of time restraints, the recipe may only have the Knorr tomato, chicken bouillon and garlic powder. Knorr includes monosodium glutamate. There is a version for leaving the Knorr out, below.

Browning is secret to Mexican rice
Browning is secret to Mexican rice

Red Rice Instructions

  1. Add to medium pan over high heat one cup long grain white rice and half teaspoon each butter and cooking oil.
  2. Stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, watch while the rice browns and turns opaque. This will add extra flavor.
  3. Add two cups water or chicken stock and bring to boil.

Add Seasonings to Your Mexican Rice Side Dish

While water boils to a medium simmer:

  1. Add about two tablespoons diced onion
  2. Add about two teaspoons parsley
  3. One and 1/2 teaspoons of tomato bouillon.
  4. A sprinkle of garlic powder or small clove minced garlic.
  5. A few drops of lemon.

Optional: One teaspoon asafran.

The moment you get a boil, and can see a few grains of rice dancing up, turn heat to simmer and cover tightly. No peeking at this point.

Cook as you would white rice. My stove allows for 23 minutes.

When the buzzer rings remove from heat and toss with a two prong cooking fork so the rice gets fluffy in the raising steam.

If the water is not absorbed leave on heat remove lid, toss rice with fork and gently let it dry for a moment.

Cast your vote for Mexican Red Rice

Make Mexican Rice Using One Tomato

Some cooks will not want to use the Knorr seasoning. If you have a big ripe tomato try this for added flavor. Here is how.

Finely chop the tomato and put it, and the juices, into the rice during the browning session. The tomato should add a little more red color to the rice and a richer tomato flavor. In fact, as I am retired now, adding the tomato and using the Knorr as the salt is the routine.

As you see browning on the bottom of the pan use a few tablespoons of water or broth to scrap up bits for more flavor.

Once the tomato juices have cooked off add the 2 cups water, then follow the directions above.

rice and beans
rice and beans

Serve The Mexican Meal

If you want an easy refried bean recipe to go-with, my recipe has cut all the steps to the bare minimum: How To Make Refried Pinto Beans.

The night I took the pictures for this page I made a tortilla chicken casserole. A good way to use all the meat from the store bought rotisserie chicken.

Dinner was perfect and there was enough to eat the next night. Hurray!

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories 330
Calories from Fat81
% Daily Value *
Fat 9 g14%
Carbohydrates 9 g3%
Sugar 0 g
Protein 5 g10%
Sodium 455 mg19%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Red Rice Tips Dos and Don'ts

Here are a few tips so you do not have to reinvent the whole cooking process.

  • Add a 1/4 cup of frozen mixed vegetables when adding water.
  • Do Not use too much oil. It just weights the rice down and will not fluff.
  • I have Not been able to get fluffy rice with tomato sauce.
  • Polished rice will not make good fluffy rice.
  • It is Not called Spanish rice anymore.
  • If you find that you prefer lard for the more Mexican flavor, keep the block in the refrigerator and buy a new one after the date has past a few months. Lard has less saturated fat than butter. It is good in the refried beans, as well. Why lard’s healthier than you think.
  • For the vegan version use one of the many non-hydrogenated oils like sunflower, avocado or grapeseed with one crushed ripe tomato.

Tacos, Rice, and Beans

Mexican rice and beans
Mexican rice and beans

Do you make Mexican rice?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2009 Sherry Venegas

    Cooking Mexican Is Tasty—Always Include Mexican Rice and Beans

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      • ecogranny profile image

        Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

        We like the combination of rice and beans too, but I had no idea traditional rice was not vegetarian. I always ask, when dining out, whether the beans are made with lard. Now I know to ask whether the rice is made with chicken broth. Thank you for sharing your recipe. It looks just like the rice and beans in our favorite Mexican restaurant, and now I'm hungry!

      • kevkev227 lm profile image

        kevkev227 lm 5 years ago

        This looks sooo good...we make Mexican food a lot at home, but we haven't been good about making the side dishes...maybe time to give it a try :)

      • intermarks profile image

        intermarks 5 years ago

        At first from the name itself, Mexican Red Rice, it gives me the impression that it should be spicy, so, it is spicy? I do love spicy food, so can the tomato be substitute with chili?

      • CCGAL profile image

        CCGAL 6 years ago

        I do a Tex-Mex version of the red rice - I learned it off of a TV cooking show called Two Hot Tamales. It's almost exactly the same as yours, the only difference is I use a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes. I drain the tomatoes, and add enough water to get to the 2 cups per cup of rice ratio, and toss it all in the pot. My family prefers it made with brown rice, so when I do that I need a bit more water, and it comes out nuttier, but delicious. We love Mexican food and Tex-Mex here, so we eat a lot of it.

      • ecogranny profile image

        Kathryn Grace 6 years ago from San Francisco

        We love Mexican rice and beans at our house and serve them up in homemade whole wheat tortillas, along with homemade pico de gallo and a nice salad. We have a lot of fun making the tortillas together.

      • paperfacets profile image

        Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

        @anonymous: Thank you Mayra for the Spanish correction. I actually do not know Spanish, at all.

      • profile image

        anonymous 7 years ago

        Sounds really good - I am looking forward to trying this and the shredded beef recipes. Thanks for sharing. P.S. It's "Panza LLena... ".

      • Kiwisoutback profile image

        Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

        I've tried to make Mexican rice before a few times from scratch, and it never came out that good. I'm going to have to try the trick with the tomato boullion and see if that does it. Yours looks much better.

      • SusanDeppner profile image

        Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

        Your rice looks and sounds delicious! Unfortunately, I don't tolerate MSG, so I'll have to try your alternate method with the finely chopped tomato during the browning phase. I'm anxious to try that!

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 8 years ago from United Kingdom

        @kerbev: This looks lovely, but if I cook rice for 20 minutes, instead of going fluffy, it all seems to congeal in a gooey mass - what's the secret of good rice cooking?


      • paperfacets profile image

        Sherry Venegas 8 years ago from La Verne, CA

        [in reply to Pukeko

        Hi Pukeko,

        Yes, chicken stock would be good to use instead of the water. Red rice is generally tomato based. Chop a tomato very fine and add it to the pot during the browning faze and a little minced onion too, if you like. I did that yesterday and I still got a fluffy rice which does not happen if you add tomato sauce with the water.

      • profile image

        anonymous 8 years ago

        [in reply to Pukeko] to my understanding bullion is just a faster way to make a meal taste like chicken, it also contains lots of salt. So i would suggest using chicken stock instead of water, but i dont know how that will affect the recipe. sorry i couldnt be more help just throwing things out there. =D