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Mexican Rice Recipe

This is a vegan-friendly staple Mexican side dish that's fast, simple, and essential for anyone who loves the genre.


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Picture of the vegan Mexican rice in a bowl.

I got this recipe from my brother-in-law who is a fantastic cook! Eating at their house is always a pleasure, especially on days when there are steaming-hot homemade tortillas!

The trick is to use long-grain rice.

Each grain of rice is tender yet firm, having soaked up all the goodness of a rich, savory broth, with hints of garlic and cumin in the background. As a native Texan it is such a comfort to have a reliable recipe to put alongside refried beans and tasty tacos.

Do not use basmati rice for this! I did one day out of desperation and it was definitely not right. Basmati has a very specific flavor that is not in line with Mexican food, so be sure that you only use a basic long grain rice. My husband tasted it and said "Why does this taste like Indian food?" Ha!


Can I use some other kind of rice? If you must substitute the rice try to go for rice that is as plain as possible, such as medium grain rice. Avoid rice that has a strong specific flavor such as basmati or jasmine rice. Also avoid any specialty rice such as sushi rice.

Can I omit the salt? Sure! If you're watching your salt this is a good place to omit it, especially if you're serving the rice with a salty main dish.

Should I use salted or unsalted broth? This is entirely up to you. If you're watching your salt intake definitely use unsalted. If you're not watching your salt intake then it tastes better with salted broth.

I don't have Mexican oregano... You can use regular oregano instead, but it tastes better and more authentic if you use Mexican oregano.

Picture of the ingredients for the vegetarian version of Mexican rice.

Gather the ingredients. Mince the onion and garlic, and dice the tomatoes if using fresh or drain if using canned.

Picture of onions being sauteed.

Heat 2 Tbs of oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the minced 1/2 onion.

Picture of translucent onions in a pan.

Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Picture of rice added to the onions.

Add the 1 cup of dry rice and toast with the onions, stirring frequently so it doesn't stick or burn.

Picture of toasted rice mixed with the onions.

Cook it until it is the color of sand, about 10 minutes.

Picture of garlic added to the toasted rice.

Add the minced 3 cloves of garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Picture of diced tomatoes added to the rice.

Add the 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.

Picture of cumin and oregano and seasonings added to the rice mixture.

Add the 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp Mexican oregano, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and stir to combine it all together.

Picture of broth added to the rice and with a slit jalapeno added in the top.

Add the 2 cups of vegetable broth and stir. Taste the broth and add more salt and pepper if desired. If you are adding a pepper you can cut a slit in it and drop it in the top. Raise the heat to bring the pot to a boil, then put the lid on and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Picture of cooked Mexican rice in the pan.

Remove the pan from heat and fluff the rice with a fork before replacing the lid and allowing the rice to sit another 5 or 10 minutes.

Picture of Mexican rice in a bowl.


How can I serve this?

Obviously this is excellent as a side dish with refried beans with nearly any Mexican main course. Such as:

  • Enchiladas

  • Tamales

  • Chalupas

  • Quesadillas

  • Gorditas

  • Tacos

  • Burritos

And I sometimes like to use it to fill my tacos or burritos!


This rice recipe will last in the fridge 4-5 days.

Can I freeze it? Yes! It will store nicely in the freezer for 1-2 months.

Reheating: Reheating rice can be a little difficult because it likes to dry out. My favorite method is to use the microwave, but to put a wet paper towel on top before starting it. The wet paper towel will re-steam the rice.

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