Easy Mexican Rice is that perfect side dish you’ll want to make again and again. Buttery rice meets south-of-the-border spices meets tomatoey goodness all in one dish for easy clean up!
For more easy side dishes, check out my popular posts for Fried Rice, Italian Orzo Salad, and Creamy Sweet Macaroni Salad.
I totally thought I’d made this for the blog before. I searched and searched and couldn’t find it! Which is so weird since I know I’ve made it before. (Lots of times, in fact.) So, I for sure wanted to set that straight as soon as possible.
Why? Because this is an easy Mexican rice recipe that, frankly, you need in your life. Need a side dish for tacos? Easy Mexican Rice. Need a side dish for that pot luck? Easy Mexican Rice. Need something to go with baked enchiladas? Easy Mexican Rice is where it’s at. (For an enchiladas recipe try my Beef Enchiladas.)
My mom used to call this dish Spanish rice, and frankly, it’s interchangeable as far as I can tell. She used to use this spicy Mexican rice recipe as an easy way to use up leftover meatloaf. She’d cut up the meatloaf into little pieces and mix in with the rice. It sounds weird, I know, but so good! Anyone else’s parents do this?
While I’m on the topic, this super easy Mexican rice makes not only a great side dish, but a great dish for using up leftover meatloaf, chicken, ground beef, etc. But more on that, below.
What Ingredients are in Mexican Rice (Spanish Rice?
Eight ingredients! That’s it. And mostly pantry staples at that. You got this!
- Long grain white rice
- Ground cumin
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Tomato sauce
- Chicken broth
Here’s How You Make it
This Spanish Rice is super easy to put together, too!
- First, get out a large skillet with a lid and melt the butter over medium heat. Next, stir in the cumin, chili powder, salt, onion powder, and rice and let this all cook together for 1-2 minutes.
- Then, whisk the tomato sauce and chicken broth into the rice and spices mixture. Bring all of this to a boil and then reduce to a high simmer. Add the lid and cover and cook for 25 minutes (or stir intermittently if not using non-stick).
- After the rice has absorbed the broth, take the lid off the rice and fluff with a fork and serve.
Expert Tips and Tricks
Like I mentioned above, there are many ways to make this super easy Mexican rice dish your own.
- If you want to make this Mexican rice recipe vegetarian, simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
- To keep it vegetarian and add some more protein, consider swapping vegetarian broth for chicken and adding beans
- You can make this dish even spicier by adding in sliced pickled jalapenos or minced fresh jalapeno, or add hot sauce to your own dish if everyone in your family isn’t a fan of hot sauce.
- While we grew up eating Spanish Rice with leftover meatloaf in it, you could also add leftover chicken, pork, beef, or a pre-purchased rotisserie chicken shredded into the rice dish to take this side dish to a main dish.
- Add in some green: Add just a little with some sliced green onions or cilantro, or add a lot by simmering the rice with spinach or baby kale.
- A can of chili-ready tomatoes mixed in with the rice before simmering will give this dish a little extra kick as well as texture.
Is there a Difference Between Mexican Rice and Spanish Rice?
As far as I’m concerned and the recipes I grew up with and the recipes I mostly see, Mexican and Spanish rice dishes seem pretty interchangeable.
However, technically Spanish rice also uses saffron, whereas Mexican rice uses cumin as the main flavoring. I don’t really think saffron has a ton of flavor (but it sure has a pretty color) so I much prefer to use cumin wherever possible in Spanish/Mexican cooking.
What Kind of Rice is Used in Mexico?
In Mexico, the most common kind of rice used is medium long grain rice. Rice is used quite frequently in Mexican meals so they surely go through a lot of rice. And, they must also know which rice is the best, which is why I frequently use long grain rice myself.
More Easy Side Dish Recipes
Did you make this Mexican Rice recipe? YAY! Please rate the recipe below!
Super Easy Mexican Rice (Spanish Rice)
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 cups chicken broth
- In a large skillet (one that has a lid) over medium heat, melt butter.
- Stir in cumin, chili powder, salt, onion powder and rice for 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in tomato sauce and chicken broth.
- Bring a boil, then reduce to a high simmer.
- Cover and cook for 25 minutes (see note).
- Uncover, fluff with a fork, and serve.
Very easy and tasty. I had to use basmati rice since I didn’t have the requested rice and it turned out great — although I only needed to cook it for 11 or so minutes …