What sets my Mexican Rice dish apart from regular rice is the traditional preparation. A simple sauce of fresh tomatoes (or tomato puree), onions, garlic and chicken stock are blended to make the cooking liquid. The end result is simply the most flavorful rice that’s sure to turn any meal into a fiesta!

A white bowl filled with Mexican rice that has a red hue from fresh tomatoes

How do you make Mexican Rice?

Blending fresh tomatoes with onion and garlic form the basis of the liquid for cooking the rice in. This unique and very effective method of cooking results in the most flavorful and easy rice dish you’ll ever make!


Fresh tomatoes, Onion, Garlic, Chicken or Vegetable stock, Oil, White rice, Salt, Cilantro.

Tomatoes, onion, rice, chicken stock and garlic

Adding Flavor to Rice

I very rarely cook rice in plain water. Why not add flavor to the cooking liquid? By adding ingredients to the cooking liquid it becomes the best way to add extra flavor to rice. I also do this when making my Curry Vegetable Basmati Rice.

Fresh Tomato Substitution for Mexican Rice

If tomatoes are not in season, you can substitute tomato puree/pureed tomatoes/pasata.

Which rice is best for Mexican Rice?

Short grain rice is traditionally used like arborio rice, which is also used for risotto because of it’s high starch content. I find this type of rice too starchy and it clumps easily, so not my favorite. Long grain white rice has less starch and less likely to clump and be fluffier once cooked so it is a good substitute and, as a bonus, is easier to find. 

Grilled beef stuffed poblano peppers on a pewter plate

What do you serve with Mexican Rice?

Grilled Beef Stuffed Poblano Peppers (pictured above) Pulled Pork Tamales, Mexican Style Hot Dogs, Chicken Taquitos. Or simple cooked chicken breast or shrimp with everyday herb sauce (picture below).

An overhead view of cooked shrimp and chicken on a bed of rice

What is the difference between Mexican and Spanish Rice?

With most of the ingredients being the same, Spanish rice uses saffron which gives it more of a yellow color.

Safe Handling of Rice

There are a few important factors when cooking with rice. All rice (except risotto/arborio rice) first must be rinsed before cooking to rid it of any residue. Not rinsing can also make rice gummy. Rinsing is best done with a strainer or sieve under cold running water. Repeat until the water runs clear.

Leftover Rice

When storing leftover rice, for food safety reasons, it must be cooled as quickly as possible before refrigerating. To cool, spread onto a shallow baking sheet and once cooled, wrap it and refrigerate. 

You wouldn’t think so but cooked rice is actually quite perishable and should be consumed in 2 to 3 days. When reheating rice, the core temperature must reach 165°F/75°C.

A large spoonful of rice

Vegetarian Mexican Rice

I specify chicken stock for the recipe, just because it has so much flavor. You can substitute vegetable stock to make this vegetarian/vegan.

Mexican Rice Spice Level

This recipe has no spice. To add spiciness, you can blend up a jalapeño with the sauce.

Doubling the Recipe

You can double the recipe of this Mexican Rice. A good rule of thumb for rice to liquid ration is 2:1. (That is, 2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of rice).

Yield: 4

Mexican Rice

Red Mexican rice garnished with chopped cilantro

Ripe tomatoes, onion, garlic and chicken stock is blended and this is the flavorful liquid that cooks the rice.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes roughly chopped (*see note)
  • ¾ cup (95 grams) yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (plus more if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200 grams) long grain white rice, rinsed well
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Add the tomatoes (or puree), onion, garlic and chicken stock to a blender and pulse until the vegetables are well blended. If it foams, skim the top. You want to yield 1 cups (236 ml) of liquid. Set aside.
  2. To a large saucepan add the oil and heat over medium heat.
  3. Stir in the rice until it smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Don’t let it brown!
  4. Pour in the tomato liquid and salt, stir well to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes (or according to package directions depending on what rice you use). Check often and stir to prevent sticking on the bottom. When you start to see the liquid evaporate, check for doneness. Add more water if needed and cook just until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy. Remove immediately from the heat.
  5. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve warm and you’re all set!


* 1 cup tomato puree/pasta can be substituted.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 139Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 2mgSodium 357mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 2gSugar 5gProtein 4g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.