Rice Cooker Mexican Rice (Easy Side Dish Recipe)

Inspired by the flavors of the classic Mexican restaurant side dish, this Rice Cooker Mexican Rice is perfect with enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, and more. It’s a foolproof recipe made entirely in your automatic rice cooker!

This rice cooker Mexican Rice is the perfect side dish to pair with Sweet Potato Tacos or to load into a Burrito Bowl. It’s flavorful, completely foolproof, and made with pantry-staple ingredients!

It’s a vibrant orange side dish flavored with aromatics, tomatoes, chicken broth, and peas. The flavor is tomatoey with an umami-forward tang while the texture is delightfully fluffy. 

While this isn’t an authentic Mexican rice recipe, it’s still pretty close. The difference is we’re using canned tomato sauce rather than a more traditional version made with blended tomatoes and fresh aromatics.

Making it in the rice cooker is my method of choice because it’s quick and easy, and the machine does most of the work for you. But, no worries if you don’t have a rice cooker! I included the stovetop and instant pot instructions in the FAQs section below.

PS – This is my absolute favorite rice cooker. I love the music that it plays when the rice is done cooking!

🍚 Mexican rice vs. Spanish rice

If you want to make Spanish rice, this recipe may be exactly what you want. The terms are often used interchangeably to describe long-grain rice cooked in a zesty tomato-based broth. 

However, there is a distinction between the two: The core ingredients are very similar, but authentic Spanish rice is made with saffron to give it a rich yellow hue. 

Ingredients for Mexican rice labeled on counter.

🛒 Ingredient notes

  • Long grain white rice – You’ll have the best results and the most authentic-tasting dish with basmati rice. Other types of long grain rice work well, like brown rice and jasmine rice, but you’ll need to adjust the liquid and cooking time. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Onion and garlic – These two aromatics impact the flavor of the rice in a big way. Use at least three fresh cloves of garlic, but an extra clove or two is never a bad idea.
  • Chicken broth – Cooking the rice in chicken broth or instant pot bone broth (rather than water) infuses rich and savory flavors. It’ll make you never want to cook rice in water again!
  • Tomato sauce – It gives the rice its distinctive bright orange color and vibrant flavor. 
  • Salt
  • Frozen peas and cilantro – Feel free to omit them if you aren’t a fan of peas and/or cilantro. 

📋 How to make Mexican rice in a rice cooker

Rinse the grains of rice under cool running water to wash off the excess starch. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Combine the rinsed rice, onion & garlic, broth, tomato sauce, bay leaves and salt in the rice cooker liner. 

Cook on the “quick” setting or white rice setting.

After the cook time is up, allow the rice to sit for 5-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.

Add the salt, peas and cilantro, then fluff the rice with a fork. Season with additional salt, to taste. Serve hot with extra cilantro and fresh lime, and enjoy! 

Finished mexican rice in rice cooker with lime wedges and green peas.

🌟 Tips and tricks

  • Don’t skip the rinse! Taking the time to rinse the grains of rice under running water will wash off the surface starches and prevent them from clumping or becoming mushy.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork when it’s done. Do not stir! Stirring causes the granules to lump together and become soggy.

👩‍🍳 Customize it

Customize your batch of homemade Mexican rice with simple substitutions or add-ins, like:

  • Vegetarian Mexican rice – Swap the chicken broth for your vegetable broth. 
  • Add more vegetables – To sneak in more veggies, saute diced carrots, green bell pepper, or diced tomato along with the onions. You can also add frozen corn when you add the peas.
  • Craving something spicier? This recipe isn’t spicy, but you can easily add a pinch of cayenne, chili powder, and cumin to taste. Also, saute minced jalapeno or serrano peppers along with the onion.
Mexican rice in white bowl with serving spoon.

ℹ️ FAQs

Can I use a different type of rice?

Basmati is standard in Mexican and Spanish rice, but other types of rice can still be used. The cook time for white rice or jasmine rice should be the same. For brown rice, use your rice cooker’s brown rice setting. 

Can I make this on the stove instead?

To make one-pot Mexican rice, cook the onion, rice, and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once softened, add the broth and tomato sauce, then cook according to the rice package instructions.

Can you use an instant pot to make Spanish rice?

Yes! Head to my Instant Pot Mexican Rice post for the full recipe how-to.

🕕 Storing and reheating

Leftovers are best reheated and enjoyed within 2 days but will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Reheat it in the microwave until warmed through.

To freeze, let the rice cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer-safe resealable bag. Freeze for up to 1 month.

🍽 Serving suggestions

Make it a meal by pairing the rice with your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes, or try these pairings instead:

🍷 Wine pairings

This is a Mexican-inspired recipe, after all, so you can’t go wrong with a Mango Michelada, Grilled Pineapple Margarita, or a Paloma.

As for wine, stick with herbaceous, more fruit-forward white wines with high acidity, like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

Finished mexican rice in rice cooker with lime wedges and green peas.

🍚 More helpful grain guides

​​​​Did you make this rice cooker Mexican?

If you tried this Mexican rice recipe, I would appreciate it if you gave it a ⭐️starred⭐️ review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on  Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Facebook.

Mexican rice in white bowl with serving spoon.

Rice Cooker Mexican Rice

Inspired by the flavors of the classic Mexican restaurant side dish, this Rice Cooker Mexican Rice is perfect with enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, and more. It’s a foolproof recipe made entirely in your automatic rice cooker!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine rinsed rice, onion & garlic, broth, tomato sauce, bay leaves and salt in the rice cooker liner.
  • Cook on the “quick” setting or white rice setting.
  • After the cook time is up, allow the rice to sit for 5-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
  • Sprinkle in the salt, peas and cilantro and fluff the rice with a fork. Season with additional salt, to taste. Enjoy.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 217IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.