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Easy Mexican Rice Recipe

This authentic, easy Mexican rice dish that I am sharing with you today is one of the most popular Mexican rice recipes.

Mexican rice bowl, Mexican rice with Tinga de pollo on a blue plate with Tinga in the background with yellow spoon

Easy Mexican Rice Recipe

This recipe is an easy, excellent way to cook rice in no time. It is delicious, versatile, and perfect as a side dish for many meals.

Because it is such an easy recipe, I wanted to take a moment and explain to you the basics of how to cook Mexican rice because it is different than how we cook rice in general.

How to cook rice the Mexican way:

In Mexico, rice dishes come in four different colors: white, black, red, and green. The black rice is made with black beans and sometimes with squid ink. The green one is made by using green peppers and herbs, like cilantro. 

Compared to beans, rice is a new ingredient used in Mexican cuisine. Mexico adopted it only about four hundred years ago.

In Mexico, cooked rice is classified as a sopa seca or dry soup, which means white rice, red rice, or thin pasta cooked in a liquid that is absorbed during the cooking process.

Sopa seca is usually served after the real soup, which is obviously liquid, at lunch, and it is popular in Mexican “fast foods” or small family restaurants.

Over the years, I tried many recipes for Mexican rice. Most of them are pretty similar, and all have kind of the same texture of pilaf style.

Mexican rice served with Tinga de pollo

For an authentic version of Mexican rice, make sure you use long or extra long-grain white rice. (you can find it in the Latin stores). Jasmine rice is a good option too. 

The grains of these types of rice stay separate as they cook so you don’t end up with sticky rice, like the short-grain rice used to make sushi.

When cooking rice in Mexico, it is important to rinse the raw rice under cold running before you start cooking it. It is usually sold in bulk and needs to be really well washed.

This step is usually not necessary here in the US. However, soak the rice in hot water for 5 minutes, then drain it and rinse it with cold water again. After this step, let the rice drain in a colander until ready to get in the pot.

Essential steps:

1. Saute the rice in oil. 

I usually start my recipe with the onions. 

sliced onions

I chop an onion and also 2 cloves of garlic and sauté them in oil.

cooking chopped onions in a saucer

Then add the rice and saute it, making sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.

cooking onions with rice

2. Add the liquid.

After you add the liquid to the pot, let it come to a boil, then cover it and reduce the heat to as low as possible.

cooking rice- green peas added

In the picture above, you can see that I added some green peas. This is optional, as Mexican rice can come with peas, carrots, or other vegetables. 

3. Finish the cooking:

The rice is ready when it is soft, tender, and cooked through. This should happen ideally when most of the liquid has been absorbed, but there is still some left to give moisture to the rice.

Mexican rice cooking in the pan

If it is not cooked, then just add a few tablespoons of water, cover the pot again and cook for another 2 more minutes.

4. Let the rice rest:

Once the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before you fluff it up with a fork and serve it. 

Rice reheats really well, and it is a good side dish to make in advance. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water when you reheat it covered.

Serve the rice in a large bowl, or press it in round molds that you invert onto the plates.

This is attractive, especially when you serve the rice with mole or a similar dish with sauce, like my very popular recipe on the blog, Tinga de pollo, or Chicken in Chipotle sauce.

Authentic Mexican Tinga de Pollo Chicken in Chipotle Tomato Sauce with Mexican rice, lemons and yellow spoon

This easy Mexican rice is a down-to-earth recipe, easy to make, and delicious. 

Easy Mexican rice served with chicken tinga

It makes a great dish to serve with roasted meats and Mexican beans.

It goes well also with roasted vegetables.

You can also add green peas to it, chopped carrots, or chopped tomatoes in tomato juice.

I like rice. It is a versatile option as a side dish and can be cooked in many ways.

Probably one of my favorite ways to eat rice is as rice pudding, but I also love it cooked with vegetables and chicken, beef or pork, like this recipe of Rice with pork and vegetables. 

15 authentic MExican recipes5

Enjoy and keep it simple!

Yield: 4 servings

Easy Mexican Rice Recipe

Easy Mexican rice99

Versions of this easy Mexican rice recipe, a relative of Spanish rice, are popular all over South America. It is classified as a sopa seca or dry soup.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 cups water or chicken stock
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ medium onion or 2-3 green onions chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas optional


  1. Chop the onions and garlic.
  2. In a pan heat up the oil on medium high heat and add the onions and the garlic.
  3. Cook the onion and garlic together until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the rice to the onions.
  5. Cook the rice until it becomes a delicate golden brown. Stir occasionally to ensure that rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Stir in the chicken stock or water, salt and peas if using. Simmer on medium low heat.
  7. Continue to cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just tender.
  8. Remove from the stove, cover with a tight fitting lid and let it stand in a warm place for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Cook's tip: Do not stir the rice too often adding the stock or the grains will break down and the mixture will become starchy.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 413mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g

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