Authentic Restaurant Style Mexican Rice ready in 25 minutes! Or, 7 minutes when using my shortcut!
September is National Rice Month. I am thrilled to be partnering with Minute® Rice to bring you today’s recipe to celebrate National Rice Month.
Today’s recipe is a true labor of love and I am so excited to share it with you! My favorite food has been Mexican food since I was about 9 years old. I love the variety that Mexican food offers and especially love the complex flavors involved in each dish.
When I was about 10 years old, I was playing at a friend’s apartment complex. In the afternoon, her mother brought out homemade Mexican rice. Up until then, being a naïve child, I thought you could only get Mexican rice from restaurants, you know, where professionals make it! I was so impressed when I learned you can make it from home.
I asked the mother how to make it, but in true authentic and genuine fashion, the directions were measurement-less. And so began my 17 year quest to make homemade Mexican rice. Yes, it took me 17 years. Simply because every Mexican friend I asked knew how to make it based on what has been passed down to them. No measurements, they just knew what to do and how much to add!
Every friend had a different recipe and I tried them all, but I could never replicate it to be anything like what I would get at restaurants. It was always too soggy or too dry or too red or something. UNTIL I landed my last job. There were many employees of Mexican descent and I knew I had good resources to finally master the rice.
I would inquire during breaks and lunch hours and would take the bits of wisdom I learned from each person home with me to try.
The day I finally nailed it was like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow! To say I was happy is an understatement. After 17 years of inquiring and trying over and over again, I was nearly in tears!
If you ever dreamt of making homemade restaurant style Mexican rice, I am sharing the tips I’ve learned over the years to help save you some time!
First thing’s first. You need to make the cooking liquid. The cooking liquid is tomato based and it’s what gives Mexican rice the characteristic orange color. I’ve been told to make it using tomato paste, tomato sauce, and fresh tomatoes. I find that using fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes (sauce, whole, or diced) imparts just the right amount of color. Tomato paste makes the rice too saturated in color, but I know families who swear by it.
The amount of cooking liquid you need will depend on the amount of uncooked rice you’re using. I use a 1:1.75 ratio (rice to cooking liquid). Take a 14.5 oz. can of tomato (or one whole tomato, if using fresh tomatoes) and pour it into a blender. Add about a cup of diced white onions and blend. Then, pour the cooking liquid into a measuring cup and pour in enough water to reach the volume that will get you to the volume to achieve 1.75 parts cooking liquid, based on the uncooked rice you’re using. I usually use 1 ½ cups of uncooked rice and a total of 2 ⅔ cups tomato cooking liquid.
Next comes the frying of the rice. There are stages to this, so watch closely. First pour the uncooked long grain white rice into heated oil.
Continuously stir. The rice grains will begin to become opaque and white.
Stir until the rice becomes tan-ish brown.
Then, stir in the tomato cooking liquid. I also add a couple tablespoons of tomato bouillon for added color and flavor, but this step is completely optional.
Bring the rice to a boil, reduce the heat and bring the rice to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
After removing the cover, there may be some tomato pulp resting on the top layer of the rice and it may look soggy. Give the entire pot a good stir to remove some residual steam and distribute the pulp.
That’s it! You can serve it with your favorite Mexican dish or eat it by itself, as I find myself doing often ;) I like to squeeze some lime in it, but I was just given a tip to add a few dashes of Tapatio hot sauce. Gotta try that!
If you were on the hunt for the perfect Mexican rice recipe, I hope I was able to help save you some time.
Now for the shortcut. If you’re really short on time, you can use Minute® White Rice to cut the cook time down by more than half! The US grown, long grain white rice is enriched and precooked so that you can have great-tasting, fluffy white rice in just 5 minutes.
Using Minute® White Rice in my recipe, you can have authentic, Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice in 7 minutes! I kid you not! Because the White Rice is already precooked, you can skip the frying step and you only need a 1:1 ratio of rice to cooking liquid. Once the cooking liquid is brought to a boil, stir in the White Rice, cover, and remove from heat. Then, it’s just a waiting game of a whopping 7 minutes! How easy is that?
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, diced, whole, or sauce undrained*
- 1 cup diced white onion
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cup uncooked long grain white rice, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tomato bouillon, optional
Blend together the can of tomatoes and onion into a blender. Pour the cooking liquid into a measuring cup and pour in enough water to reach 2 ? cups.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Once shimmery, add the rice and stir continuously. The rice will become opaque and white. Once the rice reaches the tan-ish brown stage, add the tomato mixture.
Stir in the tomato bouillon, if using.
Bring the rice to a boil, reduce the heat and bring the rice to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
After removing the cover, there may be some tomato pulp resting on the top layer of the rice and it may look soggy. Give the entire pot a good stir to remove some residual steam and distribute the pulp. Serve warm.
*Alternatively, you can use 1 medium sized tomato, coarsely chopped
Restaurant Style Mexican Rice using Minute® White Rice
Yields about 2 cups of rice
Printer friendly version
½ cup canned tomatoes, diced or whole
½ cup white onion, diced
1 garlic clove
1 ½ teaspoons tomato bouillon
1 cup Minute® White Rice
- Blend together the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and bouillon. Pour the cooking liquid into a measuring cup and pour in enough water to reach 1 cup.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the cooking liquid over medium heat to a boil. Add the rice and stir. Cover and off the heat. Let sit for 7 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon and fluff with a fork. Serve warm.
This post was sponsored by Minute® Rice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the brand. Thank you for supporting my work with the brands I love so I can continue to bring you new recipes!