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Overhead view of a white bowl of Mexican Rice garnished with cilantro

Mexican Restaurant Rice (Vegan-Friendly)

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  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 45-50 minutes
  • Yield: About 3 cups rice 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Mexican Restaurant Rice – Make your own Mexican rice at home, just like your favorite restaurant rice. Serve with beans as a side, use for burrito bowls & more!


  • 1 cup uncooked white basmati or long-grain rice
  • 1/2 small onion, grated or finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth–room temperature or slightly warmed
  • 34 Tbsp. tomato paste* (I prefer 4 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Roma or Campari tomato, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. minced cilantro


  1. WHISK UP YOUR SEASONED BROTH. First, you’ll want to whisk up your seasoned broth so it’s ready to add to the pan later. In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together broth, tomato paste, salt, and cumin until smooth. Ideally, your broth should be room temperature or slightly warmed so the tomato paste will dissolve fully. (Feel free to pop it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds to help it along). Set this mixture aside for now.
  2. TOAST THE RICE. Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium skillet (one you have a lid for!) or a pot. Add the rice and onion and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring regularly until the onion is starting to soften and the rice is beginning to toast a bit. It may turn golden and will give off a nutty, toasted smell.
  3. ADD TOMATO & GARLIC. As soon as the rice is toasted, add your tomato and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to stir into the rice.
  4. POUR IN YOUR BROTH MIXTURE. Pour the seasoned broth and gently stir to combine with the rice. (Don’t mix too much so that the rice doesn’t get too starchy.)
  5. SIMMER & COVER. Bring the broth and rice up to a bubbling simmer. Cover your pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes and do NOT lift the lid or stir the rice during the cook time.
  6. STEAM. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on the rice as you let it steam for an additional 15-20 minutes. (I recommend checking the rice at the 15 minute mark to see if it’s as tender as you like. If it’s not, let it steam another 5 minutes or so.)
  7. FLUFF & GARNISH. When your Mexican rice is done cooking, remove the lid and add your cilantro. The tomato mixture will have settled on the top of the rice, so use a fork to gently fluff the rice, mixing in the cilantro garnish and the tomato mixture. Taste and add additional salt, if desired.


*Using high-quality tomato paste will greatly improve the taste of your Mexican rice. I recommend Amore brand (sold in a tube) or Muir Glen brand.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican