Easy Mexican Rice recipe that tastes better than restaurant rice! You’ll love this flavorful, red-hued Mexican side dish!
One of my favorite side dishes at Mexican restaurants is the rice–the red-hued, fluffy rice accented with tiny peas and carrots! Mexican, (or Spanish rice) has a red tint to it because of the tomato sauce and tomato bouillon.
Who knew this tangy combination with ground cumin and a few other warm spices could offer up such an amazing side dish? I make this easy dish often and serve it with Slow Cooker Carnitas, or Beef Fajitas. Homemade just tastes so much better than boxed rice.
Homemade Mexican Rice is Healthier
Many of the boxed rices in the supermarket have a litany of ingredients that are hard to pronounce. After reading several Mexican Rice boxes, I noticed most of them contained MSG, or monosodium glutamate.
Glutamatic acid is a naturally occurring amino acid in many foods, and monosodium is the salt of glutamic acid. However, when MSG is added in processed foods, it is not occurring “naturally” and often results in “the Chinese food syndrome“–an allergic reaction to MSG that may include facial swelling, headache, a lightheaded feeling, or a throbbing headache. With this easy rice recipe, you can achieve a “beyond restaurant-flavored rice” without any nasty side effects.
What Kind of Rice?
Traditionally, Mexican rice is made with long-grain white rice, however, you can use a long-grain brown if you want a healthier version. Brown rice doesn’t taste any different than white, but it is a bit more healthy. Neither white nor brown rice has gluten.
How Do I Brown the Rice if I Need to Double the Recipe?
If you need to double the recipe, you’ll want to brown the rice (in oil) in batches, because the skillet isn’t big enough to brown all the rice at once. Just brown 1-2 cups of rice at time, then add all the browned rice to the stockpot and continue with the recipe, adjusting ingredients accordingly.
Can I Make Mexican Rice in Advance?
This recipe can be made in advance; however, when re-heating, you may need to add a little water or broth. Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove top.
Craving More? Try Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas!
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 2-3 tablespoons oil vegetable or canola
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 3 cups broth chicken or vegetable
- 1-2 teaspoons chile powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed (optional)
- 1/2 large red bell pepper chopped fine (optional)
- cilantro garnish; (optional)
- In a large, non-stick skillet, add oil; bring to medium high heat and add rice; cook rice until it begins to turn slightly brown
- Pour rice into large stock pot; add remaining ingredients
- Bring to boil, stirring continuously
- Once mixture has reached boiling point; cover, reduce heat to simmer; simmer for 20-25 minutes
- Option: once rice is done, add green peas and chopped red bell pepper; combine well; plate and serve
- Note: there is no salt added to this recipe; feel free to add salt once the rice is done