Mexican Rice -Baked and Stovetop tender and amazingly delicious rice recipe that’s perfect for entertaining or for regular days. It taste even better than those you pay at restaurants. Minimal prep time with optimal result – comes in 2 methods for your convenience!
Before Cinco de Mayo celebration comes rolling in, I want to make sure that I’ve updated this blog post for your convenience. 🙂 The month of May tends to be a busier one for me in preparation for Cinco de Mayo Celebration (usually at my son’s school), Mother’s Day and my birth month (ssshh).
Mexican Rice happens to be one our favorite rice recipe. It is such a flavorful rice even without the add-ins. Whenever I have people coming over unannounced, I usually serve them with this Mexican Rice as the ingredients are all pantry staple and it comes together sooo easily. You can leave it there unattended as it cooks (no stirring required) as you prepare the main dish or the other sides.
Is There A Difference Between Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice?
Mexican Rice is a common side dish in Northern Mexico and is also popular in some parts of the world, especially in the Southwestern U.S. It also goes by with other names such as Red Rice or Arroz Rojo. And then you add Spanish Rice into the list. Yes, Mexican rice and Spanish rice are basically the same dish although this recipe here is technically not part of the Spanish cuisine. In fact, Spain’s popular rice dish is known as Paella that uses saffron as its base which gives that distinct yellow color.
The reason probably why Mexican rice is also called Spanish rice is because it was the Spaniards who introduced rice to Mexico. Another theory is that the Mexican speaks the Spanish language which is why it’s easily tied in to this dish.
How To Make Mexican Rice
Ever since I discovered how to make rice in the oven, my life could not be any better. I can whip up rice for a 100 people in a heartbeat without any worries. The perfect entertainment food!
But Mexican Rice works perfectly either baked or on stovetop.
There are two ways of making Oven Baked Mexican Rice. (1) You can either start by sautéing the onion, garlic, rice and jalapenos on the stove before placing them in the baking pan. (2) Or you can go the easiest route by throwing everything in the baking pan and bake for about 55-60 minutes. However, there is a slight difference in taste between the two. Most people don’t notice it at all ’cause the negligible difference is overshadowed by the ease and convenience of the latter. Minimal prep work is always appreciated, especially for weekdays in my neck of woods. 😉
But if you are one of those few who prefer it the traditional way and letting the natural break down all those wonderful flavors, then that’s fine, too. Remember these few important rules though when making Mexican Rice on a stovetop.
First, please do not to skip the browning or toasting the rice in fat or cooking oil as it adds that nutty toasted flavor. Second, bring the rice to boiling point before lowering the heat to simmer. If you reduce the heat right after you add the tomato sauce and broth, you will have an undone rice in 15-18 minutes. And lastly, avoid opening the lid during cooking as it will allow the steam to escape resulting to unevenly cooked rice.
Can I Use Brown Rice?
Yes, you can. If you want a healthier alternative to this dish, using brown rice is certainly the way to go. Just a heads up though that brown rice cooks longer than white rice. Since I haven’t made it myself, you can start adding extra 10 minutes in the cook time, do a quick check and just go from there. One of our readers here also suggested to adjust the broth amount. For the oven baked rice, add about another 1/2 cup of broth.
What To Pair With Mexican Rice?
Did I not tell you how versatile this rice dish is? You can basically pair it with almost anything (I like it with grilled meat the most). Pairing Mexican Rice with classic Mexican recipes like Burritos, Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Taquitos, Chicken Fajitas (which I’ll be sharing here soon… 😉 ) are the obvious favorite options. Or you can eat it straight up! It makes wonderful mean on its own.
Now don’t wait ’til May before you try either one of these methods in preparing Mexican Rice. Trust me, it’ll be your new favorite rice recipe to make. And it makes a wonderful and easy dish to feed a crowd!
This post was first published on May 2014 and has been updated with new photos and additional cooking method.
Mexican Rice - tender and amazingly delicious rice recipe that's perfect for entertaining or for regular days. It taste even better than those you pay at restaurants. Minimal prep time with optimal result - comes in 2 methods for your convenience!
- 3 cups rice , (I used Basmati)
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 14 ounce can tomatoes sauce
- ½ cup cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 4 cups chicken broth or water
- 1 teaspoon white or black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin spice
- 3/4 teaspoon chili spice or 1 minced jalapeño pepper , optional, omit if cooking for kids
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 2 cups long grain rice , (I used Basmati)
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (replace with salt about ½ teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon chili or minced jalapenos (optional)
- 8 ounce can tomatoes sauce
- 4 cups chicken broth or water
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley , for garnishing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse rice through water. In a half sheet baking pan
In a half sheet pan (12-13/16" l. x 10-7/16" w. x 2-1/2”) combine all ingredients and stir so that everything is fully combined.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil paper.
- Gently place in oven and let it cook for about an hour.
- Remove carefully from oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then carefully remove aluminum paper. Fluff rice with a fork and mix evenly. Serve warm
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add rice and brown stirring occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes.
Next add onions and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes or until onion become soft and translucent. Season with paprika, cumin, bouillon, salt and pepper, add in the jalapenos or chili powder if using. Cook stirring often until fragrant, for about 30 seconds.
Pour tomatoes sauce and chicken broth into sauce pan and bring to a boil stirring once or twice. Reduce heat to low, cover sauce pan and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, for 15-18 minutes.
Remove pan from heat, let it sit covered for 5 minutes then fluff rice with a fork or serving spoon.
Garnish with parsley and serve.
- There are two ways of making the Oven Baked Mexican Rice. (1) You can start by sautéing the onion, garlic, rice and jalapenos on the stove before placing them in the baking pan. (2)Or you can go the easiest route by throwing everything in the baking pan and bake for about 55-60 minutes.
- Make sure you use a tight fitting lid to cover the rice. Based on my experience of using aluminum paper and lid. The best one is the one that comes with the pan (a matching set) or just use strong aluminum paper. You may have to double it to ensure it is perfectly cooked.
- At no point during the cooking of rice should you uncover the pan and or stir rice.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.