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Making restaurant worthy, authentic Mexican Rice in your rice cooker is as simple as adding the ingredients and switching it on. With this easy recipe, you’ll have a deeply flavorful version of the cherished side dish ready to serve in about an hour (with just 15 minutes of active time).

Rice Cooker Mexican Rice served in a gray ceramic bowl and photographed from above.

Mexico has a rich culinary history and Mexican food is famous for its rich flavors and unique spices. But in Mexican restaurants, the flavor and texture of Mexican rice (also called Spanish rice in the US) varies widely. Some are on the boring side while others are bursting with flavor. This version is the latter and you have endless options for making it your own. 

Rice Cooker Mexican Rice Ingredients

Rice Cooker Mexican Rice Ingredients on a white marble board.
  • Rice: long grain white rice
  • Chicken Broth: or vegetable broth
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Butter: unsalted or salted butter
  • White Onion: or a few green onions for milder onion flavor
  • Garlic: fresh garlic cloves
  • Jalapeño: use more or less than the recipe calls for to manage the spice level of the rice
  • Ground Cumin
  • Chipotle Chili Powder: A lightly spicy chili powder made only from dried and smoked jalapeño peppers. Note that this is not standard chili powder which is a blend of spices. 
  • Fresh Cilantro: for garnish, optional
  • Lime: for serving, optional
  • Kosher Salt

Recipe Options

  • A whole jalapeño adds flavor depth and heat – reduce the amount or omit for milder Mexican rice. Or leave the seeds for extra spicy kick.
  • This recipe yields moist Mexican Rice. For drier rice, reduce chicken broth by 1/4 cup and up to 1/2 cup. Don’t be alarmed if there is liquid on the top when the rice cooker finishes, just stir to coat the rice evenly and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  • Swap in long grain brown rice for added nutrition and fiber. You’ll want to increase the broth amount by ~1/2 cup.
  • For a lightened up version, make my Mexican Cauliflower Rice instead.
Rice Cooker Mexican Rice served in a gray ceramic bowl with lime wedges.

Pro Tip

  • Rinse rice well and drain before adding to rice cooker. This removes the excess starch from the surface of the rice that can make it gummy when cooked.

How to Reheat

If you end up with leftover Mexican Rice, lucky you! It’s even better the next day. Just heat a little oil in a large skillet, add the rice, then cook and stir over medium heat until it’s warm all the way through with a few crispy edges. (I sometimes make this a day in advance because I love it this way.)

Make it a Meal

How to Make Mexican Rice in a Rice Cooker

Combine all of the ingredients (except for cilantro and lime) to rice cooker and stir. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Stir and let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and serve with cilantro and lime wedges if desired.

Rice Cooker Mexican Rice

4.77 from 13 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 240
Servings: 6 people
A deeply flavorful, essential Mexican side dish that is so easy to make at home in your rice cooker!


  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice rinsed well and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth or water, (recipe note #1)
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 small white onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño minced (stems, ribs, and seeds removed – gloves recommended!), optional (recipe note #2)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or more for extra heat
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • lime wedges for serving, optional


  • Add all ingredients except for cilantro and lime wedges to rice cooker; stir well to combine. Cook according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir and let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with cilantro; serve with lime wedges if desired.


  1. This recipe makes moist rice. If you prefer a drier Mexican rice, reduce broth by 1/4 cup and up to 1/2 cup.
  2. Jalapeño adds depth of flavor and some heat, feel free to reduce the amount or omit altogether for milder rice.


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 980mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Barbara A. says:

    5 stars
    Can I ask a silly question? When measuring the rice and water, are you using literal measuring cups? My rice cooker comes with a measuring cup that is equivalent to 3/4 c.

    I’ve made this once before and my family LOVED it, I just wanted to clarify the measurements. Thanks so much!!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Barbara! Those little cups that come with rice cookers cause a lot of confusion, lol. I’m using literal measuring cups – the rice with standard dry measuring cups and liquid with standard liquid measuring cups. So glad you and your family are enjoying the recipe!

      1. Barbara L Adkins says:

        It’s in the rice cooker as we speak! Thanks for the clarification!!

        1. Marissa Stevens says:

          My pleasure, Barbara. Enjoy!