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!
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:
- It only took about 25 minutes to make
- 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!
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!
Easy Mexican-Style Rice
- 3 cups water
- 1½ 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!