Mexican Rice is white rice cooked with onions and garlic in chicken broth with diced tomatoes and seasonings. Try my Texas Roadhouse Seasoned Rice for another flavorful rice dish.

Bowl of Mexican Rice (Spanish Rice or Red Rice)

Mexican Rice

Mexican rice, also known as Spanish rice (but a tiny bit different) or red rice, is a way to give regular white rice some flavor. It has added onion, garlic, chicken broth, tomatoes, and cumin. It is often paired with refried beans to accompany main dishes from tacos to fajitas to chicken burrito bowls to steak tacos, just to name a few.

Rice Ingredients

Rice: Long-grain white rice is the most common rice used in Mexican rice. However, you could use brown rice if preferred, but make sure you check the amount of liquid needed. In either choice, stick with long-grain rice.

Broth: I used chicken broth to add more flavor. You could also use vegetable broth or even water.

Tomatoes: Grab a can of diced tomatoes to add to the skillet. I used tomatoes with green chilis for a little heat, but you could use the variety you like.

Cumin: Cumin is a common earthy spice that is added to many dishes. If you don’t have any on hand, you could use the same amount of chili powder, which has cumin as one of its ingredients.

Adding Liquid and other ingredients to a pan for Mexican Rice (Spanish Rice or Red Rice)

How to Make Mexican Rice

It’s easy to get this side dish made and served. To get started, heat up the oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, cook the onion, and then add the garlic. Next, add the rice and cook it for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly brown.

After the rice has been browned, add the broth, tomatoes, cumin, and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro.

Overhead image of a bowl of Mexican Rice (Spanish Rice or Red Rice)

What is the Difference Between Mexican Rice and Spanish Rice?

Yes, the names of Mexican and Spanish rice are used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences between the two. The name Spanish rice is only used in the United States; the rice did not originate in Spain.

Another difference is adding cumin to Mexican rice (which I did in this recipe), where Spanish rice is generally more yellow in color because of saffron being added. No matter the name, it is still a delicious side dish to enjoy any day of the week, and not just on Taco Tuesdays!

Fork Picking up a Bite of Spanish Rice

More Side Dishes

5 from 4 votes

Mexican Rice

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Mexican Rice is white rice cooked with onions and garlic in chicken broth with diced tomatoes and seasonings.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups (277.5g) uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups (480g) chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilis, drained
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • cilantro, for garnish


  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions and cook until softened (about 5-8 minutes).
  • Add garlic and cook 30 more seconds.
  • Add rice, stirring often, until lightly browned (3-4 minutes)
  • Add broth, tomatoes, cumin, and salt.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

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Reader Comments

  1. I’m making it now I added more seasonings garlic, onion powder, chipotle chili pepper, paprika, so I’ll see how it turns out easy to make and yes way better than any boxed one since there’s no preservatives. Mine is spicy and not to bad.

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely perfect! Easy to make! It’s my husbands absolute favorite and way better for you than prepackaged Mexican rice and doesn’t take much longer and tastes WAY better! I cut down the ammount of broth and use a bit of the juice from the tomatoes and chilies to give it a little bit more of a kick. 10 out of 10!

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