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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

4.75 from 12 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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41 Comments

  1. Jeannie says:

    Hi. Can the recipe be doubled? Looks great!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Jeannie! I haven’t doubled this recipe in my rice cooker, but I think it will work just fine as long as your rice cooker has enough capacity (at least 3 cups of dry rice). Most likely it does as the standard rice cooker sizes are 3,5 or 10 cups.

  2. Johnny Cadena says:

    I’d really love to try this recipe but don’t HAVE a rice cooker. With that said, will ANY cooker do or do you have a preference and if so can you reply on this forum. Thanks for your time and effort.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Johnny! I haven’t tested this recipe on the stovetop, so I can’t give you exact quantities, but the recipe would be very close. (I need to work on that recipe!) My best guess is that you can add everything (except cilantro and lime) to a large saucepan and bring it to boil; give it a good stir and reduce the heat. Cover and allow to simmer for ~12 minutes and peek too see if the liquid has absorbed. Then remove from heat and leave the lid on for ~10 minutes, then fluff and serve.

  3. Karrie says:

    5 stars
    This is my go to rice cooker recipe. We love it. I make it exactly as the recipe states, I give it a good stir when the cooker is finished and then let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Well done!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I love to hear this, Karrie! I appreciate you coming back to let me know!

  4. Kim says:

    I don’t usually measure my liquid when using my rice pot. I just fill it to the line that corresponds with how much rice I’m using. So my thinking would be to use as much chicken broth as needed to match the line…which may be more or less than the 2 1/2 cups the recipe calls for. Does that seem like a reasonable plan?!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Kim! That’s tough for me to answer, but this recipe is fairly forgiving and can be adjusted by up to half a cup of liquid (based on my testing). If you know the liquid to rice ratio that you typically enjoy, my best guess is that it will work here.

  5. Kelly Prentice says:

    As a Brit please can I check whether you mean Ketchup or passata (sieved tomato) thanks

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Kelly! In the US “tomato sauce” is cooked, with a stronger, saltier flavor than passata, which is more like our ‘tomato purée’. You may want to reduce the chicken broth (maybe by ~1/4 cup) and increase the salt a bit. I haven’t tested this recipe with passata, so I can’t be exact, but I hope that helps!