This easy Mexican Rice is flavored with fresh tomato, white onion, garlic, and jalapeño. It’s a perfect side dish for Carne Asada, Carnitas, Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef, or shredded chicken. It only takes 30 minutes to make!
Rice as a side dish is pretty underrated. There’s SO much flavor in this easy Mexican rice, and the texture is amazing! What I love about going this route instead of the taco route is the rice makes for great leftovers. You can make a big batch and have this meal all over again, just as good as the first time. It’s so easy to add complimentary dishes like Guacamole or bean-based side dishes like Corn Avocado Black Bean Salad.
For flavor, long grain white rice is cooked in a fresh tomato and onion puree, chicken stock, jalapeños, and garlic, and we also take a few minutes to toast the grains, which gives it more of a pilaf-type texture. To me, the fresh tomato makes a HUGE difference. Using jarred or canned tomato sauce makes the dish taste metallic to me, and the fresh tomato gives a distinct brightness to the recipe. The dish is an absolute delight to eat!
Tips for Best Results
Use the best tomatoes – Avoid cheap, rock hard, colorless tomatoes for this recipe, and spend a little more for quality vine-ripened tomatoes. Select tomatoes that are mostly firm (but not rock hard), with a subtle aroma. If there’s no smell at all, they are underripe and won’t have much flavor.
Rinse the rice thoroughly – You’ll want to spend a couple minutes either soaking and draining, or rinsing the grains under running water. This will remove excess starch, and ultimately give us more separate grains instead of sticky grains.
Use a nonstick pan – Though this will be less sticky than steamed rice, it’s still a good idea to use a nonstick pan here. You’ll guarantee that the grains don’t stick to the pan and get burned.
Step by Step Overview:
To start, place some tomatoes and white onion into a food processor, that have been roughly cut into chunks:
Puree until only a little bit chunky, then set aside:
Next rinse long grain rice with cold water for 1-2 minutes, until the water runs clear:
This will rid the outside of excess starch, and give us more separate grains in the final dish.
In a pan, add oil, chopped jalapeños, and minced garlic:
To reduce the spice level from the peppers, I prefer to remove the seeds and ribs before chopping. As someone who wears contact lenses, I also wear gloves when I chop up the jalapeño, to protect my skin from any possible irritation (and also make me less scared about taking my contacts out at the end of the day).
Cook for 3 minutes until slightly softened, and very aromatic:
Add the rinsed rice to the pan:
Toast the grains for 5 minutes, stirring often. Then add the tomato onion puree:
Then add chicken stock to the pan:
Cook covered for 15 minutes, then let the pan sit off the heat, still covered, for another 5 before fluffing with a fork.
How to Serve
This Mexican Rice will start to become firmer as it cools, so serve it while hot and fresh, when the grains are at their fluffiest. This goes great as a side to dishes like Pulled Pork spiced with Sazon Seasoning, but sometimes I also like throwing it into salads like this Steak Salad or soups like Chicken Tortilla Soup to bulk it up.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Yes, it freezes very well! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To thaw, leave in the fridge overnight, or add a couple extra minutes to reheating time if reheating straight from frozen.
The key to reheating well is making sure you retain the moisture so the grains doesn’t dry out. Either re-warm in a saucepan on the stove with a lid on it, or in the microwave with a lid or some kind of cover.
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- 2 tomatoes
- 1/2 white onion
- 1/4 cup oil*
- 3 jalapenos seeded and ribs removed, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups long grain white rice rinsed until water is clear
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- In a food processor, puree the tomatoes and onion until it looks like a slightly chunky salsa.
- Heat a pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the jalapenos and garlic, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 3 minutes, until softened slightly.
- Add the rice to the pan, along with one teaspoon of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, then add the onion tomato puree and the chicken broth.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Posted updated in October 2018. Originally published December 2016.