Mexican Rice

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Infused with garlic, onions and spices, this Mexican rice tastes just like the one from your favorite Mexican restaurant.

My family loves Mexican food so this easy Mexican rice makes a regular appearance at our dinner table. It’s not really authentic — true Mexican rice is more complicated and time-consuming to make — but my kids claim it tastes just like the rice served at their favorite Mexican restaurant. That’s good enough for me! I typically serve it with my Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce, Peruvian Chicken, or Chicken Chili.

What you’ll need to make Mexican Rice ingredients

How to make Mexican Rice

Begin by finely chopping the onion and mincing the jalapeño pepper. To keep the rice on the mild side, cut the flesh of the jalapeño pepper away from the seeds, ribs, and stem, leaving the spiciest part of the pepper behind. If you think you might like more heat, I recommend holding onto the seeds and adding them at the end to taste.


When handling jalapeño peppers, be sure to keep your hands away from your eyes and wash your hands immediately afterwards so the juices don’t irritate your skin.

Cook the minced jalapeño and chopped onions in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.


Add the rice, tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is evenly coated with oil, 2-3 minutes.


Add the broth and seasoning and bring to a boil.


Cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender, then stir in the peas, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.


Serve with lime wedges.Mexican-Rice-Pilaf-from-Once-Upon-a-ChefYou may also like

Mexican Rice

Infused with garlic, onions and spices, this Mexican rice tastes just like the one from your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Servings: 6
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups white long grain rice, such as Uncle Ben's Original
  • 3-1/3 cups low sodium chicken broth (see note*)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat up to medium and add the tomato paste, garlic and rice; cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin; turn the heat up and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the peas, cilantro and lime juice and fluff the rice with a fork to mix. Let the rice sit for a few moments to "dry out" and lose that wet, just-steamed texture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lime if necessary.
  6. Note: Some rice brands will require a little less or a little more liquid; check the package for specific instructions.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: This rice can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Putting it in a flat layer in sealable plastic bags works well as it will take up less space in the freezer.) No need to thaw before reheating; remove it from the freezer and reheat in the microwave with 1 to 2 Tbsp. of water.

Nutrition Information

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  • Calories: 253
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Sodium: 491 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hey Jen,

    I just made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious and so easy! I served it with sour cream and left over chicken. Only modifications I made were that I added an extra clove of garlic and added a bit of paprika to it. Many thanks to you for yet another great recipe that my husband and I both enjoy! (He is a picky eater.) 🙂 Definitely making it again.

    • — Swati on January 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious!!! Made it for dinner tonight with your “Savoury cornbread with cheddar & thyme” for our Mexican fiesta. Both recipes were devoured.
    Once again, thanks for providing delicious recipes.

    • — Nancy on December 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Amazing!! Every recipe I have made from your site has been delicious.
    Thank you for giving me the confidence I need to keep cooking yummy meals
    For my family!!!

    • — Claudia on November 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • 💓

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Could you please tell me what size pot your using here?
    And is it an All-Clad?
    Thank you

    • — Cari on November 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Cari, It’s actually Analon and I believe it’s 5 quarts.

      • — Jenn on November 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • I must say this Mexican rice was as good or better than I have ever had at a Mexican restaurant.

    • — Greg and Sherry Heiden on October 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Jenn this rice was fantastic light and fluffy was surprised that it had peas in it that was a first we live in Petaluma California and as you might imagine Mexican food is very popular here. We just loved it. I make enchiladas often and mix it up all the time it is one of those things you can be very creative with. I wondered if you make homemade tortillas. If not, you must. They are out of this world. better than store-bought and very easy to make. Love to hear from you and I am still trying to get another test dish or two before your cutoff. Thanks again for all the great recipes. Greg and Sherry Heiden

    • — Greg and Sherry Heiden on October 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked this (and thanks for participating in the recipe testing)! I do have a homemade corn tortilla recipe here. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • Would this recipe work well with Basmati Rice?

    • — Heather on September 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure (although use the amount of liquid called for on the basmati rice package). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • This dish was a hit as a side to my beef fajitas. I used concentrated tomato paste, so I cut that by half. I also cut the long grain rice to 1 cup and the chicken broth to 2 cups and omitted the peas. Everything else stayed the same since we like things spicy. After fluffing the rice and stirring in the lime and cilantro, I let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes or so (without the lid) to dry out a bit. This step is crucial and will keep the rice from being gummy. This will be in regular rotation at my house. Thanks for the recipe!

    • — Carol on June 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was amazing. Made just as the recipe says (although I halved it as I was only feeding 3). Perfect amount, perfect flavor.

    • — Anne Scott on May 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Super easy and delicious. Halved the recipe and was perfect for two. Served with Peruvian-Style Roasted Chicken recipe – I recommend! I used regular Jasmine rice, which is 1 part rice to 1.25 parts liquid. So basically, I used way less liquid.

    • — Andrea on May 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • Quick, easy, full of flavor and absolutely delicious! It quickly became my fave go to lunch dish, especially with paratha bread. Side note: the picture description above says “add the water and seasoning and bring to a boil” (not broth).

    • — Aminah on May 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it and thanks for pointing out that error (I just fixed it)! 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • This rice came out very sticky and when I looked at the ratio of rice-liquid with your basmati rice pilaf, there is almost one cup more liquid with the Mexican rice recipe (not including the tomato paste) compared to the basmati pilaf.
    I have used converted rice for years but never with this rice-liquid ratio.
    Is the Mexican rice supposed to be sticky like this.

    Im going to make the Mexican rice with the basmati ratio and let you know how it comes out!
    Be safe!

    • — Henry S on April 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • Could you tell me what brand of rice you usually use for this recipe. Can’t thank you enough for this site.

    • — Donna on March 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Donna, I use Uncle Ben’s. Glad you like the site!

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this rice many times, it became a staple in my house. Thank you Jen!

    • — AK on February 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • Would adjustments need to be made if using brown rice instead of white? If so, what? Thanks!!

    • — Susan on February 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, Yes you would definitely need to make adjustments to the amount of chicken broth and the cook time. I would follow the instructions on the package for liquid to rice ratio and cook time. Hope it turns out well!

      • — Jenn on February 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • This rice is so good that I often just eat it as a main dish instead of side. I just sprinkle a few pinches of shredded cheese on top and it can be delicious as a main course. I usually omit the peas at the end because I’m not a fan of them and I find it taste more authentic without. For years, I made a different spanish rice recipe to accompany my spanish dishes, but I’ve replaced it with this one instead because the taste is so much better. The blend of lime and cilantro in the dish is excellent!

    • — Ying on January 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • Loved it! Easy to prepare and paired with the Chicken Enchiladas on your blog.

    • — mikermeals on November 10, 2019
    • Reply
    • It was a hit, even with a couple picky eaters! I didn’t have peas but it was awesome without them! Thanks for the recipe.

      • — Susan on April 19, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made this with Jen’s Stacked Beef Enchiladas and Cilantro Lime Sweet Corn recipes. This was perfect as is. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks!

    • — Janet on September 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • Made this last night to take to a family taco dinner (along with your Chicken Quesadillas) and it was a big hit. Both dishes were prepared ahead of time, and reheated beautifully. One guest doesn’t care for the taste of peas, so I substituted a frozen Tex-Mex vegetable blend with corn, red & green bell peppers and onions. I also used a combination of cilantro and parsley instead of just cilantro, which can sometimes be overpowering. The flavor and texture of the dish was great, and the large jalapeno was just the right amount of heat. Will definitely make this one again!

    • — PaulainVA on August 10, 2019
    • Reply

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