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Instant Pot Mexican Rice

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice is easy to make at home using simple pantry ingredients. This delicious one pot rice recipe is perfect for busy weeknight dinners. Learn to make best Homemade Instant Pot Mexican Rice using this easy recipe.

Vegetarian Mexican Rice makes perfect side dish to go alongside Homemade Refried Beans, Cuban Style Black Beans, Vegetarian Tortilla Soup or Healthy Black Bean Soup.

Pinterest image for homemade Mexican Rice served with cheese and lettuce.

One Pot Rice

Pressure cooker Mexican rice comes together so easily and quickly in a single pot, which makes for an easy clean-up. This Authentic Mexican Rice recipe is super flavorful thanks to the onions and garlic, tomatoes and the seasoning.

Serving Suggestions

Use it for Taco Tuesday, Tostada Thursday or anytime you are menu planning some hearty Mexican food. My family  loves Make Your Own Taco Bar every so often. This rice is a must for that. 

Flavorful Mexican Rice makes an easy side dish that goes perfectly with tacos, burritos and enchiladas. This rice also is great for meal prep and lunchboxes.

Mexican Spaish rice served with refried beans, salsa, cheese and lettuce for the dinner.

Homemade Mexican Rice

Rice, beans and some cheese is my ultimate soul food. It is satisfying comfort food that keeps your belly full for a good amount of time.

It’s easy to make authentic restaurant style Spanish rice at home. And this inexpensive recipe needs only a few pantry staples, one pot and 35 minutes!

I am including Instant Pot and stove top instructions to make this recipe.

Recipe Inspiration

As with a lot of my recipes, inspiration comes from our wanderlust family habits. I love connecting with the locals during International trips and I often do a cooking class to learn the tidbits of traditions and customs of different cultures.

So this recipe, I learnt on a fabulous trip to Mexico. The heartwarming conversations, the lively atmosphere and the incredible array of food … all of it refreshes my mind every time I make this recipe at home !

As written, this recipe makes vegan, gluten-free, soy free, nut free and eggless Mexican Rice.

Colorful red homemade Mexican Rice made in Instant Pot..

Ingredients

Oil : I am using Avocado oil. Any other cooking oil will work! We briefly sauté the rice, onions and garlic before cooking it.

Rice: Long grain Basmati is my choice for this recipe. Other types of long grain white rice work as well. Avoid using quick cook or short grain sticky rice.

Onion and Minced Garlic: They add wonderful flavor to the plain rice. Slightly toasting it in oil with a sprinkle of salt brings out the best flavors.

Tomato Sauce: For the savory tangy taste and beautiful red color. There are several options to use depending on what you have easily available. Fire roasted crushed tomatoes, salsa, diced tomatoes or tomato paste can also be used.

Seasoning: I like to use store-bought taco seasoning. If you want to make it on your own, use a couple of bay leaves, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/8 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano. You can also use smoked paprika.

Chili Pepper : For the little spice kick use Jalapeno or Serrano pepper. Cut it in half, remove the seeds and membranes and finely chop it before using. You can omit it if you want to avoid spicy bites.

Water or Broth : I prefer to cook the rice in low sodium vegetable broth for extra layer of flavors. You can also use just water. 

Ingredients used to make this Instant Pot Mexican Rice Recipe.

Instant Pot Mexican Rice

Sauté : Heat the oil in Instant Pot. Add in onion, garlic and jalapeño. Sprinkle some salt. Cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes. Add in washed rice and sauté for 2-3 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Add in spices: Mix in taco seasoning or add the suggested spices. Sauté for one minute.

Add tomato sauce. Mix well. Add water or vegetable broth. Give it a good stir so everything is mixed well. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom to ensure nothing is stuck at the bottom.

Cook : Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes followed by 10 minutes of natural pressure release. After that, release leftover pressure by moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING.

Serve: Open the lid. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm immediately!

Store: Let the rice cool down completely before storing. You can refrigerate it for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Close up of fluffy long grain rice cooked in Instant Pot to make restaurant style Mexican Rice.

Stove Top Mexican Rice

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper. Sprinkle some salt and stir it well.

Let the onions sizzle and get translucent. Add rice. Sauté it stirring constantly, for several minutes, until rice begins to turn a golden color.

Add the seasoning and continue to stir for a minute so the seasoning freshens up.

Reduce heat to low. Gently pour in tomato sauce and water. Mix well. Turn the heat back up to medium-high, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed.

Turn off heat, fluff rice with fork. Let it sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy !

Process shot collage showing major steps involved in making this one pot rice recipe.

Variations

  • Brown rice, quinoa and couscous can be used instead of white rice. Leftover pre cooked rice also works.
  • Riced cauliflower can also be used if you are looking to cut carbs.

Some Awesome Toppings:

  • Diced avocado or Guacamole
  • Shredded Mexican cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Pickled red onion
  • Pickled Jalapeno Bites
  • Crushed Tortilla chips

What is the difference between Mexican Rice and Spanish Rice?

In the United States, the term Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice is often used interchangeably. Many Mexican restaurants even list Spanish Rice on their menu.

During our trip to Spain, I talked to locals and found out that classic Spanish Rice often includes saffron and they believe that the rice recipe that originated in their country, traveled across the globe and became Mexican Rice.

Either way, like all classic recipes, every region, every person has their favorite way to make food. This recipe is no exception. Regardless of what you call it, this flavorful rice wins your heart and satisfies your belly !

A white serving bowl full of colorful Spanish/ Mexican rice

Pro Tips

  1. Washing the rice is crucial to remove the outer starch, allowing the rice to cook fluffy. Add rice to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it until the water runs clear. Then let the water drain before using the rice.
  2. I prefer to toast the rice in oil along with onion and garlic. The oil layer on the grains helps to separate the grains. It creates fluffy rice and keeps it from getting sticky, soggy or mushy.
  3. It also is important to give the rice time to rest after cooking. Don’t serve it right after cooking. Let it sit with a closed lid for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  4. For fluffy rice, only use a fork to mix and fluff things after it’s cooked. Don’t use cooking spatula to stir it.
  5. If cooking rice on the stovetop, use a large pan. ( I prefer 5 quart Dutch Oven Pan ) The rice foams while cooking so it is important to use a big pan so less spilling and gives a chance to expand properly.

Easy Instant Pot Rice Recipes

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Colorful red homemade Mexican Rice made in Instant Pot..

Instant Pot Mexican Rice

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Mexican Rice is perfect side dish that pairs well with tacos and burritos. This Instant Pot Mexican Rice recipe makes flavorful restaurant style Spanish Rice in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Long Grain White Rice - Basmati preferred
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil - I use Avocado oil
  • 1 Red Onion - chopped
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves - minced
  • 1 Serrano or Jalapeno Pepper- seeded and chopped - optional
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
  • 1.5 cup Water or Low Sodium Vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper per taste
  • Chopped cilantro leaves and lemon wedges for garnish

Instructions

How to Make Instant Pot Mexican Rice

Sauté rice and onions: Heat the oil in Instant Pot. Add in onion, garlic and jalapeño. Sprinkle some salt. Cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes. Add in washed rice and sauté for 2-3 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Add in spices:  Mix in taco seasoning. Sauté for one minute. Add tomato sauce. Mix well. Add water or vegetable broth.  Give it a good stir so everything is mixed well. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom to ensure nothing is stuck at the bottom.

Cook :  Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes followed by 10 minutes of natural pressure release.  After that, release leftover pressure by moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING.

Serve: Open the lid. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm immediately with your favorite toppings and garnish! Enjoy !!

Store: Let the rice cool down completely before storing. You can refrigerate it for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Make Stove Top Mexican Rice

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper. Sprinkle some salt and stir it well.

Let the onions sizzle and get translucent. Add rice. Sauté it stirring constantly, for several minutes, until rice begins to turn a golden color.

Add the seasoning and continue to stir for a minute so the seasoning freshens up. Reduce heat to low. Gently pour in tomato sauce and water. Mix well. Turn the heat back up to medium-high, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed.

Turn off heat, fluff rice with fork. Let it sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy ! 

Notes

Washing the rice is crucial to remove the outer starch, allowing the rice to cook fluffy. Add rice to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it until the water runs clear. Then let the water drain before using the rice.

It also is important to give the rice time to rest after cooking. Don't serve it right after cooking. Let it sit with a closed lid for 5-10 minutes before serving.

For fluffy rice, only use a fork to mix and fluff things after it's cooked. Don't use a cooking spatula to stir it.

If cooking rice on the stovetop,  use a large pan. ( I prefer 5 quart ) The rice foams while cooking so it is important to use a big pan so less spilling and gives a chance to expand properly.

I like to use store-bought taco seasoning. If you want to make it on your own, use a couple of bay leaves, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/8 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano. You can also use smoked paprika.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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