Easy Mexican-Style Rice

This Mexican-style rice is super easy to prepare with just a few simple ingredients. It makes a great base for a variety of Mexican dishes and is equally delicious on its own!
Jump to Recipe

Our pantry has been getting full lately, so we’ve been planning meals around our stock of dry and canned goods. We have a constant supply of all kinds of beans in our pantry, and a giant tub of white rice. So, of course, we decided to have a Mexican-inspired dinner of rice and beans this week!

Mexican rice cooking in a skillet

I stumbled upon creating my Mexican-style rice a few years ago in college, when I hadn’t gone to the store in a while and was trying to come up with something other than grilled cheese for dinner. As I looked around the kitchen, I was able to scrounge up a few basics: some rice and beans from the pantry, shredded cheese and leftover taco sauce from the fridge, and mixed veggies from the freezer (thanks Trader Joe’s!).

I figured I could use everything on my spice rack to create a flavorful rice. Topped with beans and cheese, this wouldn’t be too sad of a dinner. So I sautéed the veggies and seasoned them with everything I could find, cooked up the rice, and then mixed everything together with the taco sauce.

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by how my rice turned out, and it made for a pretty tasty dinner. But it definitely wasn’t perfect.

Over the years I’ve experimented with adding different vegetables and seasonings, hoping to perfect this recipe without making it too difficult or time-consuming. Even though that first batch wasn’t incredible, I loved it for two reasons:

  1. It only took about 25 minutes to make
  2. It didn’t require any special ingredients

I’m all about simplifying recipes and trying to use what I’ve already got in my pantry, because who actually wants to go grocery shopping?

With Alex as my trusty taste-tester, we’ve finally found the right balance of simple, easy, and delicious. Our Easy Mexican-Style Rice recipe below has been our go-to for a while now. It’s great for meal prepping and super versatile – especially for people like us who can eat Mexican food almost every day of the week!

Mexican rice used as a base for a burrito bowl, topped with pinto beans, tomato, and avocado.
Here are just a few of the ways we like to use this recipe:
  • As a side dish: serve it up with some refried beans and you’ve got a perfect side for fajita night
  • As a filling: this rice tastes great as an extra filling in our Shredded Chicken Tacos recipe, or as a substitute for Cilantro-Lime Rice in our Chicken Burritos Ranchero!
  • As a base for burrito bowls: we like to top ours with beans, diced tomato, sliced avocado (or guac), salsa, and shredded cheese
  • As a quick and easy “leftovers lunch”: throw some shredded cheese and leftover grilled chicken on top (and maybe a drizzle of ranchero sauce), reheat, and enjoy!

And there are probably many more ways to enjoy this tasty dish that we haven’t even discovered yet! However you choose to serve it, we’re positive you’ll love our Easy Mexican-Style Rice as much as we do. Try our recipe below and let us know what you think in the comments!

No ratings yet

Easy Mexican-Style Rice

This Mexican-style rice is super easy to prepare with just a few simple ingredients. It makes a great base for a variety of Mexican dishes and is equally delicious on its own!
Servings 6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 3 cups water
  • cups dry white or brown rice
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white onion diced
  • 4.5 oz canned diced green chiles
  • 1 cup frozen chopped bell peppers*
  • ½ cup frozen roasted corn*
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground red cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp taco sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice


  • Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir in rice, turn heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add frozen bell peppers and corn and sauté until they begin to defrost, about 5 minutes.*
  • Add diced onion and green chiles. Season with chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and salt. Sauté for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
  • Turn heat to low. Stir in cooked rice, then add taco sauce and lime juice. Stir well to combine and let sit for about 5 minutes, turning rice over occasionally.
  • Serve as a side dish or use as a base for a variety of Mexican recipes, like burrito bowls!


Chopped bell peppers and roasted corn: We love stocking up on frozen food at Trader Joe’s, so we always use the Mélange À Trois bell peppers and Roasted Corn, but any frozen bell peppers and corn will do! Fresh bell peppers and corn (or drained canned corn) are also fine substitutes – just see the note below.
Cooking the veggies: If you end up using fresh veggies instead, skip the defrosting step. Throw everything in the pan at once, season, and sauté!
Want more?Sign up for our newsletter here and never miss a new recipe!
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a rating and a comment below, and don’t forget to share with your friends and family if you loved it!
Share with us on Instagram!Post a picture of what you made and mention @candidcooksblog or tag #thecandidcooks!
Follow us on Pinterest!Visit our profile @thecandidcooks and don’t forget to pin this recipe!
Author: Nicole
Calories: 113kcal
Course: Ingredients, Side Dish, Sides
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: bell pepper, corn, green chiles, onion, rice, stovetop


Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 167mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1054IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

Join our email list and never miss a new recipe!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Looking for kitchen inspiration? Head over to our shop to see what we cook with every day, plus recommendations for foodie gifts and eco-friendly products.


Join our email list to get new recipes delivered straight to your inbox every week. Plus, we'll send you a free copy of our weekly meal planner as a thank you!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

The Candid Cooks © Copyright 2021