Side dish Tex-Mex

With beans comes rice

Mexican Rice DSC4207

Beans and rice. Do any two foods go better together? OK, maybe, peanut butter and jelly, but if you give me a serving of beans, I will definitely want a serving of rice right beside it.

When my parents were young and poor, we’d eat out once a month at Pancho’s. They liked it for two reasons: one, it was all you can eat and two, kids got a free plate of beans and rice. Of course, there wasn’t anything special about beans and rice—we ate that at home all the time as well. But I didn’t mind because I love it so much; the two are not only a perfect protein, but in my view, they also make up a marvelous meal.

Many cultures have a version of beans and rice, but naturally, my favorite version comes from Mexico: pork-laced refried beans served with a pile of rice rich with garlic, cumin and tomato. When I first started cooking for myself, figuring out how to make refried beans taste as they should wasn’t all that tricky—as long as you’re adding bacon grease or lard, refried beans will be smooth and satisfying. But Mexican rice? That was a far more difficult challenge.

For some reason, I had been taught that Mexican rice was made by cooking it in Pace Picante Sauce. It was good, but it wasn’t right. I wanted Mexican rice that was more golden than red, more dry than wet and more heavy with spice than bright with acidity. I tried a few recipes I came across, but none of them satisfied me.

Mexican Rice | Homesick Texan
When I was younger, I worked at a fantastic Austin bookstore called Toad Hall (sadly, it’s no longer open). If you have ever worked retail, you know the drill: when there aren’t any customers and you’ve straightened the merchandise as much as you can, then it’s time to gab with your coworkers.

At Toad Hall, one of my colleagues was a first generation Mexican American who was an excellent cook. She and I had a fine time talking about food. We’d discuss topics such as the best way to peel garlic, the best way to wrap tamales and the best way to make cornbread. Each conversation was a joy. But because I can be a bit dense, it took me almost a year to realize that she might hold the solution to my problem: she just might know how to make proper Mexican rice.

“It’s very simple,” she replied when I asked her the secret. I then grabbed a pencil and a piece of paper and wrote down her method for making Mexican rice, one she had learned from her mother, who had learned it from her mother, and so on. She didn’t speak in exact measurements—instead she gave me a broad set of guidelines. That’s how I cook as well, so I understood her language, though sometimes when you’re preparing a recipe for the first time you want more specific instruction. I was a bit nervous.

I went home that night and made a pot of rice, cooked in chicken broth. When the rice was done, I sautéed some diced onion, added some minced garlic, cumin, and tomato paste, and when all was well combined I stirred in the cooked rice. It certainly looked right—golden brown. And it certainly smelled right—fragrant with cumin and garlic. I took a bite, and it was a revelation—this was the Mexican rice I had been searching for!

One thing that was different about her recipe from others I’d seen is that the rice was cooked separately from the spices, tomatoes and aromatics. At first I was concerned about this, but actually, that’s why this one succeeds, at least for me. I’m not the best rice maker in the world and I like adding the spices after the rice is done instead of cooking it all at the same time. This gives me the freedom to improvise with the flavor. Plus, whenever I would make it the other way, the rice came out too mushy and the onions were a strange, wet texture.

Mexican Rice | Homesick Texan

I thanked my friend, and proceeded to tap her for more of her family’s recipes, but before she could share I moved to New York City and lost touch with her. Since then, I’ve managed to learn a few things about Mexican cuisine, though I would still love to spend time in someone’s kitchen learning some of their secrets. Perhaps I will someday. In the meantime, however, I’m enjoying the adventure of trying to figure out the recipes I crave the most on my own.

Mexican Rice DSC4207
4.87 from 23 votes

Mexican rice

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt


  1. Add rice, chicken broth, and butter into a pot. Bring to a boil on high, stir once and cover. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and keep covered for 5 to 10 minutes longer.

  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, on medium-low heat cook the onions in oil for 6 minutes or until just about to brown. Add garlic to pan and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Mix in cooked rice, lime juice, and cilantro, and add salt to taste.

  1. Brave Sir Robin

    It took me years to perfect my Mexican rice. I understand about the golden, not red problem.

    I like my method, but I am very intrigued about cooking the rice first then adding the seasoning.

    I will try this soon.


  2. Oh gosh, thanks for giving me a massive craving for rice and beans just before lunch, when there are no halfway decent Mexican restaurants anywhere near my office! (Chipotle does NOT count.) I love Mexican rice but I’ve never tried making it myself, so I am definitely bookmarking this to try later. Maybe tonight.

  3. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I love the idea of cooking the rice first, then seasoning. Whenever I make something like “Spanish” rice, it comes out red and mushy and the spices get diluted. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  4. I was so excited to see this recipe. I have to make this rice, I just HAVE to! Thanks so much for posting this! Yum!

  5. Glad to have stumbled upon your blog – being that I am a “Texas Girl” though and though! lol

    I had to laugh out loud when I read about you going to “Panchos”. Ha! My husband and teenage son LOVE that place….I used to..but, just cannot bring myself to ever go there again! There are way too many other great places to eat! 🙂 Ha!

  6. I LOVE beans and rice. I remember many nights that all we had for dinner was beans and rice – and there were NO complaints!

    I’m really curious about cooking the rice separately, I might have to try that out sometime. My mom (straight from Mexico) taught me to brown the rice first in some oil (well, she taught me using shortening) to make sure the rice wasn’t so mushy.

  7. Two Party Planners

    I am an avid reader of your blog and have tried many of your recipes with great success. I have been on teh hunt for a mexican rice recipe and look forward to trying this one.

    PS – Do you know of a good charro bean recipe similar to Pappasitos?

  8. Kim Lane

    Hey, Lisa!

    A friend taught me to rinse the rice really well before cooking (to remove excess starch), to cook it in a lidded saute pan instead of a pot (more surface area to evaporate liquid) and the most important thing: slightly brown (fry) the dry rice in fat/oil before adding the cooking liquid to the pan! It produces rice that is less wet and more ragged than plump. 😉

    Now I want rice.

    (who remembers Toad Hall!)

  9. Oh my god – I used to love Panchos as a kid… the pinatas for your birthday, awesome.

  10. Aww, Panchos!

    (“Raise the flag, I need a refill on my coke.”)

    I’m all over this rice. Minus the cilantro of course. 🙂

  11. For “two party planners”:

    Not sure if this is what you are looking for, according to the recipe from Pappasito’s, it is not actually a soup but is a slightly soupy bean dish, called pinto bean soup.

    Makes about 1/2 gallon

    3/4 lb. dried pinto beans
    3 quarts water, divided use
    3/8 lb. bacon, cut into 1-inch squares
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
    1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
    3 to 4 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, divided use
    1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (cominos)
    1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    3/4 Tbsp. salt
    1 cup chopped Roma tomatoes

    Soak beans in 2 quarts water 8 hours.

    Drain beans and set aside.

    In a 1 gallon heavy pot, cook bacon until well done. Do not undercook or it will look raw in finished product.

    Add onions, garlic, 1 to 2 Tbsp. and chopped cilantro to hot bacon and cook until onion is transparent, about 10 minutes.

    Add the drained beans, cumin and chili powder. Stir and add remaining 1 quart water. Turn heat to medium-low. Stir in salt. Cook beans slowly until fork tender, about 1 hour. Stir frequently to avoid burning the bottom.

    Stir in tomatoes and remaining cilantro and heat through.

    Serve in bowls.

    Beans may be cooled to below 40 degrees, then reheated when ready to serve.

    Source: Houston Chronicle newspaper

  12. I’m more of a bean person than a rice one, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to try this recipe!

    It does mean, however, that I also want to try the Pappasito’s bean soup recipe. Thanks to Kelly — and Kim, too, for her tips on rice making. I’ve always wondered why you are supposed to wash the rice!

    Such a pleasure to read your fine prose, as always.

  13. OH, this rice looks delicious, but your mention of Toad Hall is what led me to comment! My parents used to take us there to shop for books. We met Joan Lowery Nixon there.

  14. Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe

    I am taking your word for this one… I’m picky about my rice. Nothing worse than a pot of mush!

  15. I’ve attempted various methods for making Mexican “red rice” over the years (including my sister–in-law’s recipe, who is from Mexico.) None were quite right, but I love the sound of your recipe. Will definitely try it!

  16. She sure is strange!

    *How* timely!! I just put a pot of pinto beans to soak and was wondering what to do with them. Refritos and Arroz it will be!! Oh I can’t wait!


  17. My family acts like I laid out Chateaubriand whenever I serve beans and rice (or cornbread)!

  18. Delicious post! I already have a big pot of spicy pinto beans ready for supper, It’s been simmering all day and if I weren’t starving I’d be making the rice already…of course there’s tomorrow. As my pot-o-beans is HUGE and crying out for that rice….

  19. tejasjeff

    I grew up going there in Houston when I was a kid.
    I don’t know about yours, but mine had this Lil Mexican flag at your table. When you wanted a extra portion of something ,you would raise the flag. A waitress would promptly hustle it right out to the table.
    I haven’t eaten in one in > 30 years but my TexMex taste were formed there and another chain called Monterey House.
    You bought back a fond memory of good times with family.
    What a great blog this is!

  20. The secret to my success at Spanish Rice, is to follow the directions exactly on the Bolner’s Spice Co. Spanish Rice Seasoning bottle. It comes out perfect every time. Mix plus rice (I use Texmati), chopped canned tomatoes. Saute the rice in the oil as specified, it will become golden brown… and then add water, chopped tomatoes & juice plus the spice mix. It’s made in SAN ANTONIO so it’s on of the Right Ways to make San Antonio style Spanish Rice.
    My father used to make it from scratch, but he died without passing his recipe to me. Ditto with my grandmother’s beef enchilada recipe, but I’ve got Benne Akin’s cheese enchilada recipe to die for. plus some killer creamy chicken enchiladas suisa (sauce has 1/2 and 1/2).

  21. Panchos!!! Our family favorite when I was growing up. Raise the flag and pass the soapapillas please! 🙂

  22. Anonymous

    Just reading “Pancho’s” made me laugh. We used to go there because it was a cheap date. Remember the little flag you used to signal you wanted refills?

    I also used to shop for books at Toad Hall when my children were little. I mourn the loss of all the great indie bookstores here. Only BookPeople remains. One of my favorites was Watson’s Bookshop on West 6th. At the time Sweetish Hill was next door (it’s now Cafe Josie’s). I loved spending Sunday mornings in the bookshop, waiting for a table at the Hill.
    It had creaky wooden floors and an upstairs and was literally crammed full of books!


  23. Sophia from Kitchen Caravan

    I love Rice and Beans. Although my family is Mexican, my attachment to the meal comes from when I studied abroad in the Dominican Republic. People there feel that if you do not eat rice one day you have not eaten anything at all. They also have many preparations of rice, including with a tomato-base. Ever since I have left, nothing feels as good as a plate of rice and beans. Thanks for sharing!

  24. deceiverofmen

    Thank you! I’ve had the exact same problem you’ve had: wet, tomatoey, mushy rice. Thank you! thank you! thank you! It makes so much sense!

  25. Lisa Fain

    Brave Sir Robin–I’ll be curious to hear how it compares!

    Joanna–Ha! I actually have to confess that I enjoy Chipotle’s vegetarian burrito bowl (I refuse to spell it their idiotic way). It’s my far the best taco salad I’ve found near my office.

    Lydia–Yep, that was my problem, too.

    Paula–You’re very welcome. Enjoy!

    Kelly–I can’t even remember the last time I was at a Pancho’s.

    Elisa–No complaints from me either. Besides salsa, it’s still how I judge all Tex-Mex restaurants. If they can get the simple things right, then everything else should taste good, too. I’ve tried doing cooking the rice in oil first, but I didn’t notice much of a difference.

    Two Party Planners–Thanks! And see below!

    Kim–Hey there! I’ll have to try rinsing the rice first–I’d heard of people doing it but never had a clue as to why!

    Haddox–What? I don’t remember the pinata for your birthday, just a Mariachi serenade. We were clearly going to the wrong Pancho’s!

    AT–Yep, it’s just as good w/o the cilantro if you’re one of those unfortunate souls who has the cilantro-tastes-like-soap gene.

    Kelly–Wow! Thanks for the recipe–I’m definitely making this!

    Bee–Yes, the comments are very informative today!

    Eliz S.–Orphan Train! I really loved that store.

    Sandi–Yep, me too!

    Kalyn–Cool, let me know what you think.

    Molly–Perfect timing indeed!

    Jana–That’s quite a family you’ve got there!

    Tace–Beans that simmer all day are the best!

    TejasJeff–Oh yes–the flag was part of the whole Pancho’s experience.

    Jodie–I love Texmati, especially their Light Brown which has more fiber but still comes out ‘white.’ We don’t have Bolner’s products here, but I’ll have to buy some next time I’m in Texas.

    Jade–Pancho’s is definitely why I love sopapillas

    Pamela–Yeah, all the independent bookstores started closing in the early 90’s when Barnes & Noble came to town.

    Sophia–I like the way the Dominicans think!

  26. We’ve been looking for a good Mexican rice recipe for a long time – definitely will have to try this!

  27. I love all Mexican foods and I am excited to try this rice dish. Mine has never been quite right. Thanks for another great recipe.

  28. Awwwwww Panchos, what a treat it was to visit the Abrams/Mockingbird location about once a week.

    Sopapillas obviously, but the Mountain Dew in an icy bath always had my name on it…..

    “raise the flag”

  29. squeakyfrommage

    Beans and rice was my first solid food, and it’s still my favorite comfort food…this looks a lot better than the mexican rice I had been making.

  30. My father loved Panchos when I was a kid. He once ate 26 enchiladas in one sitting. As my uncle says, “THE FLAG NEVER WENT DOWN.” I personally thought the only redeeming value of Panchos was the sopapillas.

  31. TxMominCT

    This is so interesting! I was always taught that to make good mexican rice that you have to brown the rice in the skillet first! When I make it, (pretty good easy version, I can’t wait to try this one though!) I brown the rice, then cook it in chicken stock and rotel(if I’m lazy) or sauteed onion, bell pepper, and tomato if not. Yummy either way!

  32. steph- whisk/spoon

    thanks for this recipe! i have been wanting to know how to make proper mexican rice, too!

  33. Since discovering your blog about 6 months ago, I’ve been checking back on a regular basis to read the latest updates. I made this rice for dinner today and fried up some good Chorizo to accompany it. Thanks for another terrific recipe, it’s definitely a keeper. It was so good that I had to come out of lurk mode for a moment to express my appreciation for sharing the recipe with us. Thanks, Lisa!

  34. Rosa's Yummy Yums

    I love that kind of rice! Very flavorful and tempting! Thousand times better than plain rice!



  35. Yum yum yum. I made this for supper to go with my pot-o-beans. Yum yum yum! I had only very minor adjustments to make up for not having tomato paste or lime juice, substituted some fresh tomato and some lemon juice…did I mention yum yum yum?

  36. Little Warrior's Mom

    I WORKED at Pancho’s! Every summer during college, I donned the long red skirt and headkerchief. For about 10 years afterward, I was still having nightmares of going into the dining room and all the flags were raised …

  37. tejasjeff

    Folks with access to HEB may want to try their Chipotle Diced tomatoes in a can.
    New item I think under their house brand.
    I hit the can with a immersion blender to puree.
    I really like it for Mexican rice.

  38. MaryLou/TX

    Just got a peek into you refrigerator. Congratualtions on making it big time in the AAS. “You have arrived.”

    Thank you for your great blog. You are making us look good.

  39. Hola- this version of Mexican rice sounds so delicious! I’ve added it to my gluten-free recipe picks for the week. Thanks, Lisa!

  40. I have NEVER been successful in making Mexican Rice–thanks for this!

  41. San Antonio Rose

    I have mastered most of my childhood favorites but mexican rice has always eluded me….thank you! It sounds right, if that makes any sense. Cumin is SUCH an important spice in Tex-mex and I love it- in fact I almost always add more than a recipe calls for. I have always dreamed of re-creating the rice and beans the “cafeteria ladies” made in grade school in San Antonio- this sounds like a winner! Thanks again…always look forward to your latest entries!

  42. That sounds just right. I must try it. Never have really made Mexican rice, it always seemed very tricky and mysterious. A local Mexican place where we go for breakfast makes wonderful rice.

  43. Anonymous

    Made this for my husband today, we LOVED it, and so simple…..thanks Lisa, looking forward to more of your recipes.


  44. wheresmymind

    I so heart beans/rice…especially if the whole mix is a little ‘dry’ 🙂

  45. I’m going to try this tomorrow in the rice cooker!

  46. OMG !! Toad Hall closed?! I am in mourning. That was the sweetest, dearest bookstore when my boys were little. Another gem bites the dust.

    I too am a homesick Texan, and LOVE your site. Who doesn’t miss that food? We relocated to Seattle 11 years ago and while I am smitten with the Pacific Northwest, I will forever be a Texan.

    Hook ’em horns!

  47. blackirondude

    If you aren’t a photographer you should be. Very good photos throughout the site.

  48. Lisa Fain

    Ken–Hope you enjoy it!

    Pam–You’re very welcome.

    Mike–Raise the flag indeed!

    Squeakyfrommage–Yep, it’s still my comfort food as well. Refried beans are a Texan’s mashed potatoes, according to Robb Walsh.

    Lauren–Good night, 26 enchiladas? Wow!

    TxMominCT–Well apparently quite a few people say you need to brown it first, so I’m definitely going to try that next time!

    Steph-whisk/spoon–You’re very welcome–enjoy!

    Gregg–Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

    Rosa’s Yummy Yums–It sure is–after eating this it’s difficult to go back to eating rice plain.

    Tace–Actually, I’ve heard that lemon juice is used more often than lime–sounds very delicious and I’m so pleased you liked it!

    Little Warrior’s Mom–I have a friend who also worked there and she has the same nightmares!

    TejasJeff–Those sound awesome! I might have to have my mom ship me some of those as I love all things chipotle.

    MaryLou/TX–Awwww shucks…thank you!

    Karina–Thanks! Rice is a Gluten-Free Goddess’s very good friend, eh?

    Tea–Me either, until I tried this. Hope it works as well for you!

    San Antonio Rose–It’s all about the cumin.

    Lisa–Mmmmm, Mexican for breakfast–you’re making me hungry!

    Karen–Thank you–I’m so thrilled it worked for y’all!

    Wheresmymind–I agree–you don’t want a soupy mess when it comes to rice & beans.

    Persis–Cool–hope it works for you. I’m thinking about getting a rice cooker–which one do you have?

    Jerilyn–I know, very sad isn’t it? All the nooks and crannies made it such a charming place.

    Blackirondude–Thank you!

  49. I like the Zojirushi range of rice cookers. But the nice shop guy advised that the fuzzy logic ones were a waste of money. In fact, I’ll be moving from London to Houston in November, after our wedding (The Boy works there). Your blog has really been my eye into Texan food culture – thank you.

    Without saying, Z rice cooker (with American electrics) will up there on the wedding registry.

  50. MusikMom

    We used to say that Grandma was going to have us over for “pretty beans” and “pretty rice” on Sundays… If we were lucky, there’d be mole that night as well. I’ve always seasoned my rice after it was cooked, like grandma. I’ve never even thought of seasoning before it was done… How funny!

    If I had to, I could just live on beans, rice, and tortillas. Well, considering our robust economy, I may have to!

    Thanks for sharing!

  51. tallmisto

    Thank you so much. I finally have a good rice recipe. This was perfectly seasoned and so easy to make.

    My family wants this all the time now.

  52. Ok I made the rice and let me tell you from one Texas Foodie to another, girl this recipe is perfection! I know my rice from growing up in south Texas … you can’t find good mexican food north of San Antonio and I am in Waco so this recipe was much needed! Thank you Lisa!

  53. ms recipe

    Hi, Im a new food blogger and really like your blog,would you to exchange links with my blog? Have a great day

  54. Canine Diamond

    1) I love PB&J–we ate it on tortillas when I was a kid, and it never occurred to me that that might be funny until I mentioned it to a Midwesterner friend of mine and she looked at me as though I were insane–but no way is it as good as beans and rice.

    2) I am a complete Mexican rice junkie. I've tried a couple of recipes and they were OK, but now I'm running home and trying that out.

  55. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. We’ve been trying other recipes for years, and they always tasted wrong. This was perfect, and the kids Loved it. My Texan husband is thrilled.

  56. I’ve cooked Mexican rice for years and living in California’s San Joaquin Valley I have heard many slightly varied versions of how it is done and have cooked it “my way” for years. Today I was thinking of making this easier and thought maybe I’ll steam the rice first. (I love steamed rice, veggies, etc.) I looked for a recipe just to see if anyone has ever cooked their rice separate from the spices and found your blog. I tried your recipe, cilantro and all. I’m not a big cilantro fan and did use it sparingly however the rice was very good. I like a bit more tomato flavor and just a smidge less cumin flavor in my rice so I’ll probably tweak the recipe to my tastes but it was very good!

  57. Anonymous

    the way my mom prepares it and now how i prepare rice

    2 cups rice cooked/lightly browned with olive oil about 1 tablespoon meanwhile add to a blender 1 tomato (medium) half onion sliced salt to taste 1 cube of tomato soup boullion (this is used instead of chicken broth) 4 cups of water 2 garlic cloves hit blend…..drain liquid in a sith so none of the paste goes into rice only the liquid! bring to a boil cover rice leave on low heat for 15 minutes dont peek! have faith that all is well inside pot..turn off stove leave covered for 2-3 minutes uncover and enjoy

  58. Wow… great site!
    My Mama taught me to make rice with browning it in oil (or bacon drippings) and while rice is browning — use a mojacete (volcanic stone) and grind the cumin seed, garlic, and then mix in the tomato sauce. Check on rice and stir when needed. When rice is just slightly golden from browning, add the tomato mix — the rice will be hot and “pop” — add just enough water (or broth)to cover the rice and place a lid on it. Add salt or pepper if desired. Set heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Check on rice — there should be a small amt of water. Turn OFF heat and replace lid. Let rice sit for another 15 minutes. Then fluff with a fork. Not wet or soggy — but just right! Nowadays, I use the GOYA pureed cumino with the rice… very tasty! The tomato sauce base can be used for a wide variety of sopas.

  59. Charisse

    I have another way of cooking it if you would care to hear it. 🙂 My daughter’s grandmother (I am no longer with my daughter’s father) runs a small catering business from her home with all the receipes that have been passed down from her family in San Luis Potoci in MEXICO. Her food is EXCELLENT. I learned to cook “Mexican” rice from her. Like with your friend, I do not have any measurements but I DO have the general idea…

    In a small food chopper or blender combine the following :
    1-3 cloves of garlic
    1-2 small roma tomatoes
    1-2 cubes of tomato bouillion
    dash of salt
    dash of cayenne
    1-t tsp of water

    Rinse 1/2 c of rice under warm water until water runs clear. Put rice into skillet with 1 T of oil (I use olive oil) and saute until rice begins to get clear. Add tomato mixture to rice and stir in. Add enough water to cover the rice. Cover and simmer. Cook until rice has absorbed all water and looks and tastes and feels the way you want it to.

    🙂 ENJOY with warm tortillas and HOT pintoes. 🙂

  60. sadhaka

    This was the best batch of Mexican rice that has ever come out of my kitchen! I might consider seeking out a different brand of tomato paste or using a different preparation of tomatoes, since the taste was a little… tomato paste-y. Also, I might toast the rice a little as others suggested, since my rice got a little sticky when I stirred it at the end. Thanks for a great recipe!

  61. Anonymous

    Made this rice last night and couldn’t believe the outcome. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC….. better than any box and some restaurants could ever do. Even made it my own by adding a can of green chilis to the tomato/cumin sauce. AMAZING!!!!!!!

  62. Made this rice today and it was awesome. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’ve tried making Mexican rice so many times but it’s never tasted so good. I think the butter is key. Never thought of that before.

  63. bethany

    I made this tonight along with the elote. Great recipes , the food was awesome. I will never buy a box of spanish rice from the store again! Thanks!

  64. Anonymous

    I too am a homesick Texan, and now live in NY. My mother made some of the best rice there was around but she passed away when I was really young. So today, I’m gonna take this recipe and show my fiance what I’m capable of making. Ha, ha. Thank you. Your site hits home for me. -Zaneta

  65. Anonymous

    Panchos is my favorite resturant.i would eat untill i felt sick when i was little.beans,rice,taquitos and tacos.i know ill enjoy the rice recipe,i have the same problem of not liking the red mexican rice,since i grew up with the ponchos rice.

  66. Wow, what an awesome site. Made a few batches of the rice. Flavor is spot-on, but I'm still working on the texture. I've been sauteeing the dry rice in the butter before adding the broth. Should I use less liquid, or cook hotter/longer to get the rice to get a drier, less sticky texture?

  67. Lisa Fain

    Raji-I don't sautee my rice before cooking so I'm not sure if that affects the texture or not. Maybe try less liquid.

  68. Anonymous

    I'm a Texas girl, born and raised, and I chose to go to Panco's on my birthday every year from ages 5-18. I haven't been in YEARS, but I bet I could still eat a plate full of their chicken taquitos. YUM!

  69. Nickname unavailable

    hello –

    was wondering what type of rice you usually use in this dish?

    thank you from another homesick texan (in oregon)

  70. Lisa Fain

    Nickname unavailable–I used Texmati rice.

  71. jerrie lee

    thanks !!!!!!!!!!! heading to texas today – looking forward to getting some grounding and maybe practicing the rice for a reunion!

  72. I'm in England for two years. Sometimes my youngest son sends me taco, fajita, raspberry chipotle sauce and this last time he had friends bring HEB tortillas. I decided to make tacos and a rice dish and found yours on line and it looked good. It printed out several pages so before throwing out all the other pages, except for the recipe I read it all. I can't believe that you worked at Toad Hall, our kids grew up on Toad Hall, and like you, I'm sorry that it's not there any more and I crave real Mexican food. Thanks, I will treasure this recipe. Helga Simonsen

  73. TimTTexan

    Hi! Found your Blog looking for canned Spanish rice. I know… I know… (it's called for in a quick Mexican casserole recipe Mom made when I was a kid). I make the 'red rice' too but brown the rice in olive oil before adding chicken broth, diced tomatoes, & spices. I comes out dry & awesome! Thanks for sharing your version sounds interesting. Panchos & Monterey House…aahh memories..eaten at too may little places in San Antonio to like either now.

  74. TimTTexan

    Whew! I should proofread before I post. Sorry!

  75. As a New Zealander, I haven't really had much experience with the type of rice you were trying to re-create, but this rice is amazing!
    When I lived in London I cooked it for my flatmates and they all kept asking what I did to make the rice taste like that… I gained major points that way.

  76. Anonymous

    This rice is GREAT! I just tossed out 6 rice recipes!! We moved from San Antonio to Washington, DC 6 months ago, and I've tried EVERYTHING. I've rinsed the rice, toasted the rice, every method and recipe imaginable but it's just never right. This one is amazing, I can't thank you enough! I LOVE that I can just throw the rice in a pan and get it started immediately. LOVE that I don't have to drag out the blender and make a huge mess just to make some good rice for my hungry little ones! The recipes that call for toasting in oil, just made for oily rice (and messy kids). Can't wait to make it again with less tomato paste and add peas & carrots as suggested. Now, if I can just find a recipe for Las Palapas chili gravy for enchiladas, we'll be all set. Thanks SO, SO much! Tiffany

  77. Thank you for the recipe. I just made this today, and it was really good! I followed the recipe exactly, except I rinsed the rice to remove excess starch before I added to the broth. I made your Carnitas last night and it was INSANE. I love your site! Keep the awesome recipes coming! Can't wait to try the Ninfa's green sauce!

  78. Mimi2six

    I love your blog and have followed it for some time. I am Mexican American, live in Houston and grew up going to Pancho's(6 kids, it was cheap). I love cooking Mexican rice, at family gatherings it is my job to bring the rice. The recipe I've always used, which comes from my grandmother, calls for browning the rice and then adding onions, seasoning, broth and tomatoes. My rice is golden and the grains are individual, moist and soooo good. I've not seen a recipe where the rice is cooked separate, I love to try out different recipes so I will try it soon. TFS

  79. Lisa Fain

    Kay–I use Texmati rice.

  80. KBastian

    What type of rice do you recommend using for this recipe?
    Kay Bastian

  81. Made this tonight (8/1/11) with the beef enchilada in pasilla sauce. First time, I forgot to turn down the heat so I burnt the rice (luckily it is cooked separately from the onion mixture!) I quickly started over using leftover homemade chicken stock from making the chicken tacos a few days ago (actually made them two days in a row!) It turned out really tasty, although I used short grained rice and it took longer than 20 minutes to get soft, but that's irrelevant. Your recipes are so delicious that I've been looking every day for what I'm going to cook. Tex-Mex never gets boring 😀

  82. adapted to our taste (cut the cumin and lime juice in half) and the inability to get cilantro panama (booooo), but, we will never eat mexican rice another way ever again! amazingly easy to make and even more delicious to eat!

  83. I remember Toad Hall. It was a wonderful bookstore. I used to take my kids there when they were little (many years ago). It was started by a couple of school teachers if I recall correctly. I'm making your Cheese Enchilada recipe today and this rice as a side.

  84. Hi Lisa:

    I'm Johnny Come Lately I know. Just wanted to say that I've been using your Mexican Rice recipe for years and everybody loves it. Most times when I cook from a recipe I end customizing things a bit to my liking, but I can't improve this recipe at all. After dozens of batches it's always great. I'm going to be in Austin for Thanksgiving, so I'm going to BookPeople to get your book for myself and another for my Mom.


  85. Jake and Michelle

    What the what?! Totally the rice recipe I have been looking for! My 5 year old asked for seconds! I had made Spanish rice many times and it was always very wet and mushy so I gave up. This was sooo perfect I loved the lime and cilantro…thank you! I can't wait to try your queso dip next!

  86. This has become our standard side for any southwestern or Mexican mains. My boyfriend will eat an entire batch by himself if I leave him alone with the bowl, and claims it's the best rice he's ever had.

  87. Thank you!!! This recipe is everything I hoped it would be! Free from that boxed yucky Spanish Rice at last! Now for letting the kiddos try it…will they like it? It's okayif they don't – more for me!

  88. I am making this rice for Christmas dinner. Speaking of Panchos does anyone know how to make the chili Rellenos they serve. They are to die for.

  89. Anonymous

    Very simple, very tasty. Bringing it to work for Taco Fiesta Day, and I know all will enjoy. Be careful not to use too sticky a rice. I added some Rotel tomatoes with lime and cilantro, and the race became more sticky than I would have liked. But I'm sure my co-workers will enjoy it. I'm going to make some for myself over the weekend.

  90. Thanks for this, love your blog and all your recipes.. and I really can’t stop eating this rice, it’s delicious and easy and I can make it in my rice cooker and add the seasoning after which is a blessing!

  91. Glen Spencer

    Hello Texas this is Arizona I’m attempting to make Spanish rice and the the rice ice have says for 1 cup rice use 1 and 1/2 cups water so I’m only wanting to make a half a cup so I’d used 3/4 cups of water or follow your recipe and use one cup of water anyway thank you bye

  92. Cynthia Robinson

    Hi Lisa. I’m enjoying your website so much!
    I grew up on the border, and because my mother had had polio and wasn’t in good health, we had a live-in Mexican nanny/housekeeper from the time I was 3 until she retired when I was 19. I learned to make Mexican rice (and frijoles) from her. She taught me to brown the rice in a skillet in a little bit of oil until it was good and brown, then add a can of tomatoes, a can of water, a bunch of sliced green onion, tops and all, stir it all together, and then push a whole serrano chile and a peeled clove of garlic down into the rice on each side of the skillet and then lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes or so, until the water is absorbed. Stir it before serving. Try it and let me know what you think!
    Cynthia Robinson

    • Lisa Fain

      Cynthia–Thank you for sharing your nanny’s recipe! I will definitely be trying it!

  93. Cynthia Robinson

    Welp, I forgot to mention amounts. It’s 1 c. rice, 1-2 Tbs. oil, 1 14-oz. can diced or whole tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. I used to get in trouble because I loved the broth and Maria would catch me spooning it up and eating it while the rice was cooking. Made for very dry rice!

    • Lisa Fain

      Cynnthia–Thank your for sharing the exact amounts! And the broth must be quite delicious if you’d be spooning it while it was cooking. Look forward to trying this in honor of you and Maria!

  94. I hadn’t thought about Monterrey House in years, I used to love it as a kid!

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