Simple Mexican Rice

A freezer staple and mostly hands-off dish.
1 hour Total Time
20 minutes to prep
30 minutes to cook
10 minutes to cool
8 servings

I've adapted this recipe from Cook's lllustrated. Their version is great and not difficult, but I wanted something even simpler that I could make often. If I were to make this for company, I might use the original recipe, but for every day, this one works great. This summer we've had a lot of tomatoes and jalapenos from the garden and this is one way to use some up. 

One great thing about this recipe is how much it makes. It freezes well and I will also use leftovers to make Mexican Fried rice. I'll share that recipe in the future. 

If I do not have fresh tomatoes on hand, I will use a can of diced or crushed tomatoes instead. I've done this with more tomatoes and less tomatoes. It works all ways, but if your tomato mixture is closer to 3 cups than 2 cups, you may want to add another ¼ to ½ cup of water. You can keep this recipe vegetarian by making this with water or vegetable broth. The chicken broth adds a nice layer of flavor, but it is still very good made with water. 

This makes a lot of rice, and I freeze the leftovers. 



  • Gather and prep ingredients. Preheat oven to 350°. Put an oven rack towards the middle, and make sure there is enough room for the pan to fit.
    Step 0
  • Rinse rice in a fine-meshed strainer until water runs clear. Shake to remove water, and set aside until needed.
    Step 1
  • Remove seeds and ribs from the jalapenos. You can leave some if you want the rice to be spicy. Chop into large pieces.
    Step 2
  • Put garlic and chopped jalapenos in a food processor. Pulse 5-10 times to chop.
    Step 3
  • Add tomatoes and onions to the food processor. Blend until everything is chopped and pureed. It will look like a tomato smoothie.
    Step 4
  • Pour vegetable mixture into a large measuring cup. Add enough chicken broth or water to the mixture to equal 4 cups. Your tomato mixture will be between 2 and 3 cups most likely. If it is around 3 cups, add another 1/4 cup of water.
    Step 5
  • Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Oil is ready when dropping a grain of rice in it sizzles.
    Step 6
  • Add the rice and stir frequently until it is translucent and starts to brown. About 3-5 minutes.
    Step 7
  • Add vegetable mixture, tomato paste, and salt to the rice. Stir to combine. Raise heat and bring to a simmer, stirring for 1 minute.
    Step 8
  • Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir the rice, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed.
    Step 9
  • Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes, covered. The rice can sit longer if you are still preparing other parts of the meal.
    Step 10
  • Add optional cilantro and a squirt of lime if desired. Serve.
    Step 11

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