This Mexican Rice is exactly like the heaping side dish you get at your favourite Mexican restaurant. It’s fluffy, full of flavour and veggies, and almost impossible to stop eating. Seriously. I had to have a giant bowl of it sitting on the table for me to eat while taking these pictures because I couldn’t help myself.
I’ll admit, I’m a rice lover. I think it’s because rice is such a sponge for flavour. You can pretty much make a rice to match your meal just by using the same flavour-adding ingredients in both. In this case, I mashed together my favourite Mexican Rice recipe with the Cheesy Beef Quesadillas I was making for dinner. Spoiler alert – they were both incredible.
What Makes It Mexican Rice?
So, what makes Mexican Rice, well, Mexican Rice? It’s all about that gorgeous orange colour, and how it gets it. Mexican Rice is flavoured with a combination of tomatoes, onions, chicken broth, and cumin. If you’ve had Spanish rice it’s really similar. The difference is that instead of flavouring with cumin, Spanish rice uses saffron, and the colour is more yellow than orange.
The thing that also stands out to me at restaurants are the “extras” in the rice. The veggies can be mixed up a bit depending on what you have at home, and what you like. I always have a potato in it, and consider that a staple.
I also like to throw a handful of frozen corn into my Mexican Rice. You could use a can of drained Mexi-corn if you had it instead, or regular canned corn. You could also dice up a carrot, or some bell peppers. Add anything you like. just dice it all up nice and small. No pieces of any veg should be bigger than a corn kernel, so that it’s easy to scoop up and eat.
Mexican Rice isn’t meant to be super spicy. It should be full of gentle flavours that compliment the rest of your meal. I like to hit my main dish with the heat (and always way too much of it), and then the rice can help cool my mouth down.
Bo keeps threatening to video me eating spicy food one day so you can all have a good laugh. There’s a lot of deep breathing and acting like my mouth literally has a flame in it that I’m trying to blow out. He’s convinced it would be my 5 minutes of fame, lol.
This Mexican Rice is such a quick and easy side dish to make. It takes about 5 minutes of prep to get the veggies diced, another 5 minutes to sauté everything, then 25 minutes hands free while the rice cooks. Fluff it up, and you’re good to go.
Nothing makes me happier lately then an easy dinner. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and grumpy, or just because the kids are BUSY and I’m exhausted all the time. If I can get dinner made in 30 minutes or less of actual hands on time, I am a much happier person to be around.
If I can somehow manage to do that, and also not have a kitchen full of dishes to clean up after everyone eats? That’s when I turn into Julie Andrews, dancing and singing around the kitchen. The kids can basically ask me to eat ice cream out of the container in bed at this point and I’ll hand them a spoon and a bucket of sprinkles.
Mexican Rice. It’s apparently a magical, mood altering, non-drug alternative to a good time. Who knew.
You’ve Gotta Try These
Cheesy Beef Quesadillas!
Alright, I’ve hopefully convinced you of the incredibly delicious, nearly magical qualities of this Mexican Rice. Now that you’re hooked, you absolutely have to make it along side my Cheesy Beef Quesadillas. This entire meal is on the table in about 35 minutes, and everyone loves it!
Mexican Rice Recipe
Time for the good part, the whole reason you came here. I hope you love this Mexican Rice as much as we all do. Let me know what you think of it in the comments!
- 3 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp taco seasoning
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels (see notes for options)
- Chopped cilantro to garnish (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it's a light golden brown. About 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add in the onion, potato, garlic, tomato paste, taco seasoning, cumin, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for about two minutes. The onion should be slightly softened, and the tomato paste evenly incorporated.
- Slowly pour in the tomato sauce and chicken stock. Gently stir until it's evenly combined. Stir in the corn kernels.
- Increase the heat back up to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer for 25 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and top with cilantro if using.
Here are some other vegetable options you can add in, or substitute the corn for. Feel free to use anything else you like that I just haven't thought of.
Add these along with the potato:
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Add these when it says to add the corn:
- 1 can Mexi-corn or regular corn kernels, drained
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup diced mushrooms