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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

5 from 10 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!

Ingredients  

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  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.

Nutrition

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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37 Comments

  1. Alexa says:

    Could you add frozen peas to this? When would you add in?

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Alexa! Yes, absolutely. Once the rice has finished cooking, stir the frozen peas into the hot rice before the final step of letting it stand for 5 minutes. That should be enough time to warm them.

  2. Angel says:

    We LOVE this recipe, but I am having trouble with my rice cooker shutting off. It’s just a simple Aroma with the Warm/Cook feature and after a few times of trying the recipe it started going to Warm way before it was ready. Thought the rice cooker died and bought another and it’s doing the same thing. I’m wondering if the recipe is too much (because it’s not the same amounts that the cooker recommends) and the weight is off on the sensor? I’m willing to purchase a better cooker if anyone has any thoughts on this and why it might be happening. We love the flavor and want to continue to make it, but now I’m gun shy I trying another rice cooker and unsure what to try.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Angel! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe. But, how frustrating to have your rice cooker shut off before finishing! I’m sorry that’s happening. As long as the rice cooker is large enough (that you’re not going above the max line – mine is a Panasonic 5-cup), I really don’t know what would cause that – I wish I could be of more help.

  3. Leigh Ann Payne says:

    This is the most amazing rice! So full of flavor and so simple to make. I have tripled this recipe in a ultra large rice cooker and it works just as well as when I make a single batch. I have done it with the full amount of liquid and without. I prefer it with the full amount. For those looking for a spin on this recipe, omit butter and use bacon grease instead as well as some cooked and crumbled bacon and add in some diced green pepper for a more hearty dish.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Leigh! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe and making it your own. Love that you were brave enough to triple the recipe and that it turned out well – that’s a lot of rice!