Easy Mexican Rice overhead with chillis scattered around

This simple Mexican rice is unbelievably straight forward to make, yet it is super delicious and looks amazing on any plate! If you are looking for something to serve up for your next fiesta, BBQ or TexMex meal then look no further! The flavours of this rice are not too over-powering either, so it’s a great accompaniment to many dishes, without overpowering or stealing the show.

What to eat it with?

You can serve this up with a variety of meat, chicken or fish dishes. Chicken mole or some BBQ beef ribs make great options. You can also use this as a filling for fajitas or burritos. It’s also a great dish to take to a BBQ. You could also throw some cooked chicken or prawns and extra veg and eat it as a meal in its own right.

Is it spicy?

The rice has a little heat from the addition of chilli flakes. However, it’s not overly spicy. You can easily make it non-spicy by omitting them or adding more if you want more of a kick.

If you like things really spicy then you can also throw in some chopped jalapenos. You could also substitute half the tomato sauce for tomato salsa.

Mexican Rice on a counter in a bowl

Can you make it in advance?

Ideally, I steer clear of reheating rice. Rice is actually one of the most common foods to get food poisoning from when reheating. The reason is that the bacteria that lives on rice is killed at a far higher temperature than those you typically find on meat or veg. When you cook rice the bacteria is killed but the spores are not. Therefore you need to be super careful when reheating and make sure it’s steaming hot before eating.

However, you can store this for up to 2 days (well sealed, in the fridge) as long as you make sure you are careful when reheating. You can also freeze, which can be safer than keeping it chilled as it stunts any bacteria from growing. If you are freezing then cool and freeze as quickly as you can after cooking. Defrost before heating so that it heats evenly and you avoid any cold spots in the middle.

Is it healthy?

Overall, this isn’t unhealthy, but it is rice, which is fairly calorific (and high in carbs). It is packed with some pretty healthy additions though such as tomatoes and red pepper, which are high in vitamins and iron.

This comes in at 400 calories per portion although it is low in fat at just 7g. The portion size is fairly decent, so you could also reduce it for a lighter option.


To make this you need a few simple ingredients:

Mexican Rice Ingredients
  • Rice – I make this with basmati but you can use standard long grain rice instead. You can also use brown rice (increase the cooking time and add extra liquid)
  • Olive oil – can also be substituted for vegetable oil since
  • Red onion – finely diced
  • Red pepper – finely diced. You can use yellow pepper instead
  • Garlic – chopped very finely
  • Passata (strained tomatoes) – you could also blend some tinned chopped tomatoes instead
  • Vegetable stock – chicken stock could be substituted instead
  • Cooked sweetcorn – tinned is fine or you could cook some yourself in advance
  • Dried cumin powder
  • Chilli flakes – add or remove depending on your spice threshold
  • Fresh tomato – cut into quarters, deseed, pat dry with a kitchen towel and then dice
  • Fresh coriander – roughly chopped

How to make it

Rinse and drain the rice. Add the olive oil into a large frying pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onion and red pepper and cook for around 3 minutes, until softened a little. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Mexican Rice Cooking Steps

Add the rice and cook for a further minute to toast, stirring constantly. Then add the passata, cumin, chilli flakes, sweetcorn and stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cover with a pan. Cook for around 15 minutes until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve with the coriander scattered over the top.

If you are looking for other great rice recipes then check out this saffron rice recipe or this coconut basmati & wild rice.

Products that work great for this recipe:

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Easy Mexican Rice overhead with chillis scattered around

Simple Mexican Rice

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


This Mexican rice is delicious and colourful, yet the taste is fairly subtle so it’s a great accompaniment to many foods without overpowering. Increase or decrease the heat to taste!

The default recipe makes one decent portion.


  • 65g (1/3 cup) uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced (around 50g / 1.7oz)
  • 1/4 red pepper, finely diced (around 50g / 1.7oz)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 60g / 2oz (1/4 cup), passata
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) vegetable stock
  • 50g / 1.7oz (1/4 cup) cooked sweetcorn (tinned or fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 large tomato (around 150g / 5oz), deseeded and diced
  • few sprigs coriander, roughly chopped (optional)


1. Rinse and drain the rice a couple of times. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When hot add the onion and red pepper and cook for around 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. 

2. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Then add the rice to the pan and fry for a few seconds before adding the passata, stock, sweetcorn, cumin and chilli flakes. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for around 15 minutes until the rice is cooked through. 

3. Stir in the tomatoes and season to taste. Finish with some freshly chopped coriander. 


While the recipe calls for a pinch of chilli flakes, you can make the rice hotter by increasing the amount, or substituting the chilli flakes with finely chopped fresh chilli. 

Get the look – I garnished the rice with some fresh chilli and some beetroot, sorrel and coriander cress for some added colour

You can use any long-grained rice for this recipe. You could also use brown rice but it will require a longer cooking time and you may need to add a little extra liquid. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Hob
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 400
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 66g
  • Protein: 10g

Keywords: mexican, rice, side, basmati, chilli, tomato, vegetarian, vegan

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