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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with this homemade Mexican rice recipe

Basic Mexican Rice
Basic Mexican Rice
Photo by author

It is a commonly known fact that Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a day commemorating the victorious Battle of Puebla, by ways of culinary consumption and drinking. Generally, we eat Mexican food and drink Mexican beer as our way of celebrating this holiday (to say nothing of donning sombreros). Join in the fun with this recipe for Basic Mexican Rice as a versatile side dish.

Mexican rice is easily recognizable for its reddish hue, resulting from a tomato element (as opposed to traditional Spanish rice, which is yellow-toned from the addition of saffron). In this Basic Mexican Rice recipe, white rice is combined with tomato sauce, broth, and fresh ingredients of bell pepper, onion, garlic and diced tomatoes. Further, this rice mix is spiced with Mexican seasonings like chili powder and cumin.

This is a useful recipe to keep on hand, as it works as a side dish in almost any Mexican platter. Seasoned rice is also well incorporated into main dishes like burritos, tacos, tostadas, etc. Essentially, it is a go-to recipe -- and one that is relatively easy to prepare as well.

It is a given that most bars and Mexican restaurants are jam-packed on Cinco de Mayo. Skip the public mayhem, and celebrate at home with friends and family with this Basic Mexican Rice recipe supplementing a variety of festive dishes.


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin


In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add in the rice, stirring occasionally to ensure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, and lightly toast for a few more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and tomato sauce. Season with salt, chili powder and cumin. Next, cover pan with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for twenty minutes, then remove from heat.

Fluff the rice to help any additional liquid absorb into the mixture. Add the diced tomatoes at this point. Stir together, then cover and let sit for another ten minutes.

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