Mexican rice is probably one of the best versions of rice in the world.
Who doesn’t love Mexican rice? But, did you know, it’s super easy to make at home and way healthier than buying those bags of premade rice that account for 80% of your daily sodium (seriously, check the nutrition info). If you ever wanted to amp up taco night, mexican rice, refried beans, and homemade salsa are the low hanging fruit.
How to make Mexican rice
There’s two basic kinds of rice in the world: fluffy; and pre-fried, Mexican rice is pre-fried. To make Mexican rice, you:
- Fry your aromatics. For me, this is onions, but you can add garlic, fennel, whatever you like. Onions though, definitely.
- Fry your rice and spices. Fry your rice until it becomes aromatic and translucent. Fry your dry spices now too, which is called blooming them and enhances their flavors.
- Fry your tomato sauce and oregano. Frying tomato sauce caramelizes it and kills that sour tomato taste that not everyone loves. The more you dislike tomatoes, the more you should fry it, but don’t skip the tomatoes, because they add an essential umami layer of flavor™.
- Add water, cook, and steam the rice. For perfect-almost-all-rices, add 1.25 cups of water for every cups of rice, bring to a boil, cook for 17-20 minutes, then steam for 10.
- Fluff and serve. As soon as that last 10 minutes is up, fluff up the rice, then serve with your favorite Mexican sides.
Do you really need to fry rice?
Frying the rice is probably the most vital step here to getting that restaurant texture. Let it get really nutty and brown, it’ll improve the final dish.
Can you make Mexican rice without tomatoes?
I have a range of tomato sauce here, from 1/2 cup for those who don’t really like tomato sauce to 1 cup for those who do. 1 cup is better. Full disclosure: I just use the whole can. What can I say, I love tomatoes. If you really, really, really hate tomatoes, you can remove them, but the rice will not taste or look the same.
Mexican oregano vs regular oregano
Mexican oregano is actually a bit different than the usual stuff you find in the spice aisle. Mexican oregano is actually a different plant altogether! Mexican oregano is indigenous to Mexico and has a more woodsy, citrus-lime earthy flavor compared to your typical oregano, which is Mediterranean oregano. You can find Mexican oregano in the Mexican aisle at the grocery store and if you can’t, you can sub regular oregano, but try and find some, it makes a difference. (Plus, it’s cheaper, unless you already have regular oregano, because nothing beats free/sunk-cost).
What’s the best rice to use for Mexican rice?
Mexican rice is best made with long grain rice. We just usually use jasmine, which isn’t all that authentic but is fluffier and moister. You can also use brown rice, which is highly inauthentic but really, doesn’t taste so much different.
What to serve with Mexican Rice?
Is there anything Mexican rice doesn’t go with? Here are some ideas:
The Best Mexican Rice Recipe
Mexican rice is the perfect side or main for any Mexican or Southwestern recipe you can think of.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 onion roughly chopped
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (or up to 1 cup)
- 1.25 cup water
The Best Mexican Rice Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 216 Calories from Fat 35
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.