Mexican Rice

Cooking the rice in a blend of canned tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and jalapeño pureed with the juices from the canned tomatoes gives it extra flavor.

Mexican Rice Recipe

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Ali Domrongchai

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
4 servings

Mexican rice and Spanish rice are served almost interchangeably alongside enchiladas, chiles rellenos, tacos, and other Mexican dishes. Mexican rice is said to be more tomatoey, but the two are very similar. This version is fairly classic, with tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and jalapeño pureed with the juices from the canned tomatoes; the mixture is used to cook the rice. 

Soaking the rice before cooking helps shorten the cooking time and elongate the grains. Be sure to rinse the rice before cooking it; doing so reduces the amount of starch, so the grains don’t stick together. Toasting the rice in oil along with the garlic and cumin (and before adding the liquid) brings out its nutty flavors for a more complex, flavorful dish. Serve this rice alongside a main course, or use it as the base for creating a Mexican grain bowl along with black beans, more vegetables, and a protein like chicken or pork.


  • 2 cups diced canned tomatoes (from 2 [14.5-ounce] cans diced tomatoes, drained, juices reserved)

  • 1 medium (6-ounce) green bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 medium (9-ounce) yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 small (2-ounce) jalapeño, seeds removed, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, soaked in water for 10 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


  1. Place tomatoes, green pepper, onion, and jalapeño in a food processor and blend into a smooth purée. Add salt and 1/2 cup juice from canned tomatoes and blend until smooth.

  2. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add rice and toast, stirring frequently, until rice begins to smell nutty, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in blended ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until rice has absorbed cooking liquid, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice sit for another 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

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