Mexican Recipes Side Dish Vegetarian

Mexican Rice Simplified

This easy homemade Mexican rice is full of gusto! Just stir in peppers, salsa and vegetable broth to make this versatile side dish. | Share

Traditonal Mexican rice is commonly served as a side dish in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. In Spanish it’s known as arroz mexicano or arroz roja (red rice). Perhaps, due to its Spanish name it has been also known in English as Spanish rice. So if your planning a Mexican themed meal, you’ll want to include this easy-to-make rice. It also makes a perfect side with many seafood dishes and grilled or fried meats.

Plaza de la Liberacion, Guadalajara, Mexico. Photo: Roman Lopez

Rice Cooking Tips

What makes this Mexican rice recipe so easy is the use of salsa. You’ll get all those flavour- packed ingredients from your favourite Mexican salsa without all that extra food prep. Most store-bought salsas include onion, garlic, jalapeno and lime with diced tomatoes and tomato purée. These are also some of the typical ingredients in traditional Mexican rice. So, using salsa is a great time saver.

You could simply toss all the ingredients into a rice cooker and have some great rice in about 30 minutes. I like to add an extra step if you are using a pot or a rice cooker with a sauté setting. Sauté some onions, red and green bell peppers first. Then toss in the rice to lightly toast it. Just stir it around for about a minute with the peppers and oil. Then add the other ingredients.

If you are cooking this rice in a pot, bring everything to a boil, cover, and reduce to low. Then don’t touch the pot! Meaning, do not remove the lid for about 30 minutes. The reason is to let the rice absorb the steam and plump up. Give it a good stir when it’s done, before serving.

Make use of leftover Pico de Gallo

If you have some leftover fresh Pico de Gallo, then defintely use it in this recipe instead of the store-bought salsa.

Mexican rice

Mexican Rice Simplified

Kevin Lamoureux
This easy homemade Mexican rice is full of gusto! Just stir in peppers, salsa and vegetable broth to make this versatile side dish.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
Servings 4
Calories 100 kcal


  • 1 cup converted long-grain rice rinsed and drained
  • tbsps vegetable oil
  • cup red bell peppers finely chopped
  • cup green bell peppers finely chopped
  • cup white or Spanish onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup mild tomato salsa
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or chicken stock for non-vegetarian version
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp salt


  • Heat the oil in a pot, then sauté the onion and bell peppers until tender.
  • Stir in the rice and lighly toast it.
  • Stir in the reamining ingredients, then bring to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes.


Garnish with cilantro.
Per serving
Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1.4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.6g | Iron: 3mg
Keyword Mexican, rice, Salsa, tomato

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