Mexican Rice

Arroz a la Mexicana


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 8


Appears in

Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

Muy Bueno

By Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Published 2013

  • About

This side dish is one of the first recipes I learned to cook when I was a little girl. It is a staple in most Mexican kitchens, and has such a wonderful aroma while it’s cooking. I have to confess, however, that I had a few disasters while learning to make this dish. One time I cooked the rice without toasting it first; I thought it was just boiled like when mi mamá would make arroz con leche. I added some tomato sauce and thought I had done a darn good job, but oops, it didn’t taste like the delicious one that mi mamá made. Even after she taught me how to make it, the rice would still come out sticky, overcooked, or a little bit crunchy. Finally, with enough practice, I mastered it, and now it’s one of the easiest dishes I make. I’m sure it will be one of yours too.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups water or 2 cups water and 1 cup unsalted chicken broth (fresh or packaged)
  • cup tomato sauce
  • 1 (3.1-ounce) cube tomato or chicken bouillon


Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and add rice. Stir until rice is slightly browned. Remove skillet from the heat and add the onions and fresh garlic, if using. Stir until onions are translucent. (The pan is usually warm enough to cook the onions and fresh garlic, keeping them from burning.)

Add water, chicken broth, if using, tomato sauce, bouillon cube, and garlic powder, if using. Stir and let mixture come to a boil; lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir gently after 10 minutes, cover, and let simmer for another 10 minutes. (If adding canned or frozen vegetables add them during the last 10 minutes.)

After the final 10 minutes of cooking, turn heat off, fluff rice with a fork and cover again for another 3 to 5 minutes so liquid can finish absorbing.


My daughter Veronica mixes in some frozen peas and carrots which gives it a wonderful taste and colorful presentation.