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Restaurant Style Mexican Rice Recipe

I have a confession to make. I’ve been making my Mexican rice from a box mix for years!

No more though. This one pot recipe for Mexican style rice is perfect as a side dish or burrito filling.

It’s odd that it has taken me this long to make my own, considering my mom never did it that way. I think it was because my mom always cooked with basmati and only added some color with tomatoes, but never any Mexican spices.

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice Photo

Basmati also does not have quite the same texture as rice you get in a Mexican restaurant, or even with the box mixes. The grains become longer after they get cooked, whereas the rice from boxes tend to be shorter and thicker.

I try to make everything else without premade mixes, so why not rice? I decided to give it some more thought and put together this simple recipe.

Yes, it’s more time consuming than a box with spice mix, but the addition of fresh onions, garlic and peppers makes all the difference. I thought I would need to use a different rice, but I stuck with my basmati and it turned out great.

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice Picture

The trick to this rice dish is not to over-cook your rice. You want to have rice grains that are loose, not mushy or sticky.

So make sure you rinse the rice well to remove those sticky starches!

I like to use a clear lid so I can watch the rice cooking without letting all the steam escape. When all the water looks like it’s gone, I just turn off the stove and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Open it, fluff it, and it’s perfectly cooked.

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice Image

Oh, and the best part is that it all happens in one pot. Who doesn’t love an easy cleanup?

We love having this rice as a side to our enchiladas. Leftovers usually get stuffed into a lunchtime burrito wrap the next day. It’s also great with Tequila Lime Chicken.

Sometimes, we even throw some cubed seitan into it and make it into a full entrée. No matter how you want to have it, it’s easy, delicious and not from a box!

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice Photo

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice Recipe

Urvashee Patel
Restaurant style Mexican rice doesn’t have to come from a box. You’ll love this flavorful side dish for everything from taco night to stuffing breakfast burritos!
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 142.33 kcal


  • 1 Basmati Rice
  • 1 Olive Oil
  • 0.5 Diced Onion
  • 1 Jalapeño minced
  • 2 Garlic minced
  • 0.5 Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 2 Chili Powder
  • 1 Paprika
  • 1 Ground Cumin
  • 0.25 Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tomato Paste
  • 2 Vegetable Broth or water
  • 0.5 Mexican Oregano
  • 2 Chopped Cilantro optional


  • Rinse and soak the rice in water for 20 minutes.
  • In a large pan, heat the oil over medium to high heat.
  • Lower the heat to medium, and add the onions and sauté until soft.
  • Add the jalapeños, garlic and bell pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne to the pan.
  • Next add the tomato paste and then the well drained rice.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the broth and oregano, and salt to taste.
  • Being the mixture just a boil, set the heat to low, and cover for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the rice from the heat and fluff with a fork.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve. 


Calories: 142.33kcalCarbohydrates: 25.88gProtein: 2.17gFat: 2.5gSaturated Fat: 0.17gSodium: 3.88mgFiber: 1.08gSugar: 1.83g
Keyword Boiled, Copycat, Easy, Homemade, Mexican, Onions, Peppers, Rice, Sauteed, Side Dishes, Simmered, Tex Mex, Tomatoes, Vegetarian
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