Add Mexican rice of your list of dishes to master at home. One of the most bang-for-your-buck recipes out there (just 13 cents per serving!), this one pot Mexican rice recipe makes an ideal side for all kinds of Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.

How to make Mexican rice: The ultimate cheap side dish that goes great with all kinds of Mexican and Tex Mex foods.

Mexican rice is one of those dishes that is so easy to make at home – but if you’ve never tried making it, it may seem like an intimidating dish. 

But let me tell you – it’s worth it to learn how, because it’s easy, affordable, and yes, it actually tastes better than most of the rice side dishes I’ve tried in Mexican restaurants. In 15-20 minutes, you can have a delicious homemade batch of Mexican rice that the whole family will love.

And it’s all cooked in one pot!

This recipe has a bit more flavor than the kind I’ve had in restaurants. Tomato sauce gives this rice its red/orange hue. Simple seasonings are added to rev up the taste.

So dive in, give it a try or two – and master it!

This Rice Dish Is Super Affordable: Just 13 Cents Per Serving

The other great thing about this one pot Mexican rice recipe? It is ridiculously inexpensive to make:

  • 1 cup of long grain rice at Walmart: $.30 (full bag $.76)
  • 1/2 of an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce from Walmart: $.19 (full can $.38)
  • Other ingredients (cooking oil, bouillon, and garlic powder): $.30

Total price: $.79 for the entire recipe or 13 cents per serving. (Yes, even amid inflation and soaring grocery prices!)

Mexican rice: Learn how to make delicious, flavorful Mexican rice, the perfect side dish for a variety of Mexican meals.

What You’ll Need:

The ingredient list for this one pot Mexican rice recipe is pretty short. You’ll need:

  • Cooking oil: Use vegetable oil or canola oil to toast the rice.
  • Rice: What kind of rice to use? Long-grain white rice. This will yield the Mexican rice you’re used to getting at Mexican restaurants and grocery stores. Avoid brown rice, instant rice, short grain rice, and other kinds of rice that aren’t long-grain white rice!
  • Tomato sauce: Tomato sauce gives the rice its orange hue and adds flavor.
  • Garlic powder: Flavor is what sets this Mexican rice recipe apart. I used a of garlic powder, but you could alternatively add some mined garlic to the boiling water). Some people add cayenne pepper or chili powder to their Mexican rice – feel free to add a pinch of each when you add the garlic powder.
  • Bouillon: I also add a spoonful of chicken-flavored Better Than Bouillon (my favorite seasoning ever!) which adds more depth of flavor and makes this recipe just salty enough. Alternatively, you could use bouillon cubes (the kind you use to make chicken broth, beef broth or vegetable broth). I recommend checking out the Better Than Bouillon brand which sells concentrated food base made out of cooked meat or vegetables.
  • Toppings: This rice tastes great topped with chopped green onions or cilantro.

Recipe Tips: Master This Easy Recipe

  • Cooking vessel: Making really good homemade rice at home without a rice cooker can be tricky. The method that works best for me involves using a non-stick saucepan (like the one pictured below) with a glass lid. This is the perfect cooking vessel because the rice doesn’t stick to the pan, and you can peek in while it’s cooking. I give the pan a swirl once or twice while cooking to mix the contents – and I’ve had great success in making perfect Mexican rice and regular rice.
  • Toasting the rice: Toasting the rice is an essential step in making this recipe. You’ll start by heating 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a nonstick saucepan. Add the rice and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until rice is golden toasted brown. 

Toasting rice, an essential step in making homemade Mexican rice at home.

Mexican Rice + Refried Beans = The Perfect Match

The perfect accompaniment for so many Mexican meals (enchiladas, burritos, tacos, etc.) is a generous portion of rice and refried beans, served with a dollop of sour cream, guacamole, and shredded lettuce on the side.

Both of these sides are super affordable – and both freeze well. I place two-serving portions in plastic freezer bags for easy meals.

Learn how to make homemade refried beans at home.

This recipe is also great paired with spiced black beans. You can use canned black beans or prepare your own from scratch. Get the recipe: Mexican-style black beans.

Learn how to make homemade refried beans from scratch. Click through for recipe!

Love Mexican Recipes? Here Are Some Additional Ideas:

Serve this rice, along with refried beans or black beans, as a side to any of these easy recipes:

More affordable options to make great homemade Mexican-inspired meals:

  • Tortilla chips & salsa
  • Grilled bell peppers and onions (fajita-style)
  • Mexican-style sweet corn
  • Condiments: Hot sauce, sliced jalapenos, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, guacamole

Learn more about the history of Mexican rice.

Mexican rice: So simple, so cheap - learn how to make it at home!


How to make Mexican rice: The ultimate cheap side dish that goes great with all kinds of Mexican and Tex Mex foods.

Mexican Rice

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This one-pot Mexican rice is super simple to make. Store leftovers in the fridge or in a sealed container in the freezer.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chicken Better Than Bouillon (or 1 chicken bouillon cube)
  •  1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Chopped green onion or cilantro, for topping (optional)


  1. Heat oil over high heat in a large, non-stick sauté pan with a glass lid. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until rice begins to turn golden brown.
  2. Turn down heat to low. Add water, tomato sauce, bouillon, and garlic powder. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once it starts simmering, turn back down to low and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, until rice is fork tender and the liquid is cooked out. Swirl the pot a few times while cooking to ensure even cooking and to avoid rice sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Remove from heat, allow rice to sit, covered for about 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with fork, and serve. Top with chopped green onion or cilantro, optional.

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