Mexican rice: a delicious side dish

Written by : Jacob Colors 

Not scientifically reviewed by Dr. Eeks

Mexican cuisine is well-known for its variety of exquisite dishes. You can also experience its vibrant flavors by preparing yourself this authentic and traditional Mexican rice recipe, its most famous side dish.

However, this rice is very versatile, as it can be served as a starter or as an accompaniment to a wide variety of foods such as chicken or meat. So, it is the ideal to combine with your chiles rellenos, tacos, pozole or mole. In this post we will show you the easiest way to cook this appetizing rice.


  • 1 cup of long grain white rice.
  • 2 cups of chicken broth.
  • 1 large tomato, chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced.
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped white onion.
  • Salt to taste.

To enhance its flavor you can optionally add:

  • 1/2 cup of carrots, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 cup of peas.
  • 1 sprig cilantro.
  • 1 Serrano chili.


The instructions below will guide you to cook the recipe easily:

  1. Place rice in a large bowl and pour hot water to cover.
  2. Stir once, then let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain in a colander over the sink, rinse with cold water, then drain again.
  4. Shake the colander well to remove excess water and let dry slightly.
  5. If using frozen green peas, let them thaw in advance. For this rice, use 1 cup of green peas; this is a personal choice.
  6. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the rice, it should sizzle as it touches the oil.
  7. Cook over medium heat until it starts to turn to a golden brown color; this step will take 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Stir occasionally to make sure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  9. Carefully tilt the pan and remove excess oil with a spoon.
  10. Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes, garlic and onion into the blender, blend until smooth.
  11. Add the tomato mixture to the rice and stir over medium-high heat.
  12. Keep cooking until all the water has been absorbed making sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. It will take you about 5 minutes for this step.
  13. Add the broth and vegetables: carrots, green peas, serrano chilis and cilantro (optional) and salt to taste.
  14. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until all the water has been absorbed.
  15. Using a fork, carefully dig to the bottom of the rice to see if any moisture remains; if so, continue to simmer for a few more minutes, still covered, until rice is tender.
  16. Remove the pan from the heat, without uncovering it, and let it stand for 10-15 minutes, to give the rice a chance to continue drying.
  17. Using a fork, lightly fluff the rice and serve.

For more detailed information about preparation of this dish, you can visit

Helpful tips

On some occasions, Mexican rice is used as the main dish, accompanied by beans, avocado or topped with a fried egg as served in some Mexican restaurants.

As with most recipes, there are different ways to prepare this recipe.

Some people will use lard or margarine instead of oil; others will add chicken cubes dissolved in water as a substitute for broth, where it is also used to enhance the flavor of other foods.

Some people in Mexico never stir the rice when it is cooking because it will be mushy.

What does the perfect arroz a la mexicana look like?

The perfect Mexican rice is fluffy, with the grains whole and soft but not beaten or burnt.

It should have an attractive and uniform red color throughout the rice, and it should be seasoned and cooked to perfection.

Health benefits

The recipe provides various nutrients among which we can highlight mainly fiber, which helps regulate the digestive system, strengthens the immune system, helps strengthen bones and has anti-inflammatory properties.

As known, the body uses minerals to perform a number of different functions – from developing strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Like vitamins, minerals help the body grow and stay healthy.

In Mexican style rice the essential minerals present are: selenium, sodium and potassium. It is also a source of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B), apart from fiber, iron and calcium.

In this sense, it is a very nutritious recipe thanks to the vitamins and minerals contained in the rice and vegetables.


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