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Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

Does anyone else love Tex-Mex as much as I do? I could eat it breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never tire of the flavors! To be honest, Mexican rice was never my favorite side dish - bring on the beans and queso, please. I thought it always needed "more" of something to taste good. A friend of mine shared this recipe with me back in 2008, and I'm so thankful to have held on to the simple directions this long - I'm posting it here so I can always find it when I need it.


2 tablespoons olive oil (I like California Olive Ranch evoo)

1 cup long-grain white rice

1/4 cup small diced yellow onion

1 clove garlic, minced

4 ounces tomato sauce

1 cube chicken bouillon (I like Knorr "Caldo de Pollo")

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Optional toppings include cilantro, lime, and pico.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. The rice should begin to brown over the next five to eight minutes. Don't walk away, stand there, and occasionally stir, tossing to toast the rice evenly.

Add the onion, stirring and occasionally tossing for five minutes, until the onions begin to caramelize.

Add the garlic, stirring and tossing, until very fragrant, about one more minute.

In a measuring cup, mix four ounces of water with tomato sauce, chicken bouillon, and cumin. Add this flavorful mixture to the rice and stir to combine.

Add another 1.5 cups of water and semi-cover with a lid, leaving a small gap for steam to escape. Set a timer for ten minutes and walk away.

Pro tip: don't stir the rice after this point, it could turn into an oatmeal consistency.

After the first ten minutes, drop the temperature to low and add chopped cilantro to the rice if your family will tolerate it. My kids are going through a picky faze that seems to be going on and on. (insert eye roll) Replace the lid and set another ten-minute timer.

Stoves vary, heats differ, so you must continuously check the rice's texture along the way. Use a spoon to scoop a tiny bit off the sides without disturbing the pan of rice. If the rice still has bite, add another 1/2 cup of water, replace the lid, and allow it to continue to simmer.

The rice is ready when the liquid has evaporated, and the rice is cooked through. Fluff with a fork right before serving. A squeeze of lime over the top is delicious as well as some fresh pico de gallo!

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