Soft, fluffy and bursting with flavor, this Mexican Rice recipe will become your go-to side dish for Tex-Mex Night! In my take on this easy recipe, I combine simple ingredients and make the most delicious Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice.
Make this vegan and gluten-free side in your Instant Pot pressure cooker, or on the stove, and enjoy it with your favorite Mexican or Tex-Mex entree!
Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice with Salsa
My family LOVES Mexican food. We have a few favorite local restaurants that we visit a lot, plus we cook quite a few Tex-Mex dishes at home.
After having tried many versions of Mexican rice, this recipe was declared the winner over and over again by my kids. It is a fairly simple recipe that can be made in a pressure cooker, or on the stove.
I saute the rice with garlic, onion, corn, peppers and taco seasoning. Then, I cook it with fire-roasted salsa and water . Using fire-roasted salsa in this recipe gives this dish its unique and robust flavors, and that gorgeous reddish-orange color.
This recipe is a Tex-Mex variation of the traditional Mexican Red rice or Arroz Rojo.
How to Make Mexican Rice Step by Step in an Instant Pot
Making rice in the Instant Pot pressure cooker is a breeze. What I love about it is that the process is so easy, consistent and mostly hands-off. Here is how I make Mexican Rice:
How to Make Mexican Rice on the Stove
No pressure cooker? No worries. This easy to follow recipe can be made on the stove too.
✔️Heat a sauce pan over medium-high heat, and follow all the steps for sautéing.
✔️Then, add water, seasoning and salsa. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
✔️Once done, open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, and place the lid back. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro and fresh lime juice and enjoy with your favorite entree.
What to Serve with Mexican Rice
This is such a versatile side that pairs well with anything with Mexican flavors. We love to serve it with Enchiladas, Tacos, Quesadilla, Burrito, Tostada, and even with a side of black beans.
Tips for Perfect Mexican Rice
Here are a few things things that I do, which result in fluffy and flavorful rice every single time!
✅Rinse the rice: Whenever I use long grain white rice, I always rinse it 2-3 times, until the water runs clear. What that does is remove the extra starch coating the rice kernels. This prevents the rice from being sticky and they turn out fluffy.
✅Adding paprika and salsa: Using these two ingredients gives this dish its iconic reddish-orange color. Salsa adds a spiced tomato flavor to the rice, which compliments any dish you pair it with.
✅Saute the rice: I always saute the rice with aromatics for a couple of minutes before adding water. Sautéing brings out the nutty flavor of rice and when you toast it with aromatics, it blends all the flavors really well. It also makes the end texture fluffy.
Popular Mexican Food Recipes from my Kitchen (Tex-Mex)
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Mexican Rice – Instant Pot | Stove (Tex-Mex Style)
- 1 tbsp olive oil light/refines, or vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic crushed or grated
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1/2 medium onion
- 1/2 cup bell peppers, chopped any color
- 1/2 cup corn frozen or fresh
- 1 cup basmati rice (or Jasmine) Rinsed well and drained
- 2 tbsp Taco Seasoning (I user Trader Joe’s brand- see notes for substitute))
- 1/2 cup fire-roasted salsa (or crushed tomato, I use Trader Joe’s brand)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1-2 tsp Lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
- Rinse Rice: Using a wide sieve, rinse the rice 2-3 times until water runs clear. Let is soak in fresh water till you chop and prep the other ingredients. After that, drain the rice and keep aside.
Instant Pot Method
- Saute: Turn on Instant Pot on Saute high mode. When it displays ‘hot’, add garlic, onions, peppers, corn, drained rice and seasoning to the pot. Saute everything for 2 minutes.
- Pressure Cook: Add water and salsa to the pot. Stir everything and close the lid. Turn off Saute mode. Cook on Pressure cook/Manual for 6 mins.
- NPR 5, then QR: After cooking, wait 5 minutes and then release the pressure manually. If using DUO model, turn the knob to ‘Venting’ position, if using ULTRA model, simply push down the pressure valve.
- Fluff Rice and garnish: Open the lid after the pin drops. Using a fork, gently fluff the rice. Garnish with cilantro and fresh lime juice and enjoy with your favorite entree.
- Heat a sauce pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil, garlic, onions, peppers, corn, drained rice and seasoning. Saute for around 2 minutes.
- Then, add water and salsa. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Once done, open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, and place the lid back. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro and fresh lime juice and enjoy with your favorite entree.