Rice is a staple side dish at many Mexican restaurants. The rice is perfectly fluffy with each grain remaining separate and tender. Achieving this restaurant-quality rice at home is easy to do with just a few simple tricks.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Cook the rice in broth instead of water, stir in a little oil after cooking, and let it steam with a towel over the pot for 10-15 minutes after cooking.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know to make authentic Mexican restaurant-style rice in your own kitchen. We’ll talk about the right type of rice to use, broth versus water, proper rice-to-liquid ratios, how to achieve fluffy individual grains, infusing flavors, letting it rest before serving, and more.

With these pro tips, you’ll be able to recreate that mouthwatering Spanish rice served at your favorite Mexican eatery. So read on to become a rice expert!

Use the Right Type of Rice

When it comes to making rice like a Mexican restaurant, using the right type of rice is key. The type of rice you choose will greatly affect the texture and flavor of the final dish. There are a few popular options to consider.

Long Grain White Rice

Long grain white rice is a staple in many Mexican dishes. It has long, slender grains that stay separate and fluffy when cooked. This type of rice is versatile and pairs well with a variety of flavors. It’s perfect for dishes like Mexican rice or as a side dish to complement your favorite Mexican recipes.

Jasmine or Basmati Rice

Jasmine and Basmati rice are aromatic rice varieties that add a unique flavor to your Mexican dishes. These types of rice have a fragrant aroma and a slightly nutty taste. They are often used in dishes like Mexican biryani or as a flavorful base for Mexican-inspired rice bowls.

When cooking rice, be sure to follow the instructions on the package for the specific type of rice you are using. Each type may require slightly different cooking times and water ratios.

For more information on different types of rice and their uses, you can visit www.foodnetwork.com.

Cook the Rice in Broth or Seasoned Water

One of the secrets to making rice like a Mexican restaurant is cooking it in broth or seasoned water. This adds flavor and depth to the rice, making it more delicious and authentic.

Chicken or Vegetable Broth

Using chicken or vegetable broth is a popular choice when cooking rice in Mexican cuisine. The broth infuses the rice with a savory taste, enhancing the overall flavor of the dish. You can easily find pre-made broths at your local grocery store, or you can make your own at home for an even more flavorful result.

Homemade Broth

If you want to take your rice to the next level, consider making your own broth. This allows you to control the flavors and seasonings, resulting in a personalized taste that suits your preferences. You can use ingredients like onions, garlic, carrots, and celery to create a rich and aromatic broth.

By simmering these ingredients with water and spices, you’ll have a homemade broth that will elevate your rice to new heights.

Water with Bouillon or Seasonings

If you don’t have broth on hand or prefer a simpler approach, you can use water infused with bouillon or seasonings. Bouillon cubes or powder can be dissolved in water to create a flavorful base for your rice.

Alternatively, you can add seasonings like cumin, oregano, chili powder, or garlic powder to the water to give your rice a Mexican-inspired taste. This method is quick, easy, and still results in a delicious rice dish.

Remember, when cooking rice in broth or seasoned water, it’s important to follow the ratio of rice to liquid specified in the recipe or package instructions. This ensures that the rice cooks properly and absorbs the flavors of the broth or seasonings.

For more tips and recipes on Mexican cuisine, you can visit Mexican Food Journal or Mexico in My Kitchen.

Use the Correct Rice to Liquid Ratio

When it comes to making rice like a Mexican restaurant, one of the key factors is using the correct rice to liquid ratio. This ensures that the rice comes out perfectly cooked and not too dry or mushy. The recommended ratio is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of liquid.

This means that for every cup of rice you use, you should add two cups of liquid, such as water or broth.

Allow for Some Evaporation

It’s important to note that when cooking rice, some evaporation will occur. This means that you should take into account the fact that the liquid will reduce slightly during the cooking process. To compensate for this, you can slightly increase the amount of liquid you add to the rice.

For example, if you’re using 1 cup of rice, you can add 2 1/4 cups of liquid instead of 2 cups.

Allowing for some evaporation ensures that the rice absorbs just the right amount of liquid and comes out fluffy and perfectly cooked. It’s a small adjustment that can make a big difference in the final result.

Achieve Perfectly Separate Grains

When it comes to making rice like a Mexican restaurant, one of the key factors is achieving perfectly separate grains. This gives the rice a light and fluffy texture that is ideal for Mexican dishes. Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

1. Bring Liquid to a Boil First

Before adding the rice, make sure to bring the liquid to a boil first. This ensures that the rice cooks evenly and prevents it from becoming too sticky. It’s recommended to use a ratio of 1:2, one cup of rice to two cups of water or broth.

Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the rice and reduce the heat to a simmer.

2. Don’t Stir While Cooking

While it may be tempting to stir the rice while it’s cooking, it’s best to resist the urge. Stirring can cause the rice to become sticky and clumpy. Instead, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let the rice cook undisturbed.

This allows the steam to evenly distribute and cook the rice to perfection.

3. Fluff with a Fork After Cooking

Once the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it sit covered for a few minutes. This allows the steam to finish cooking the rice and helps to separate the grains. After the resting period, take a fork and gently fluff the rice, starting from the edges and working your way towards the center.

This will help to release any excess moisture and further separate the grains.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly separate grains in your rice, just like a Mexican restaurant. Enjoy your delicious rice in your favorite Mexican dishes!

Infuse Flavor

When it comes to making rice that tastes like it came straight from a Mexican restaurant, the key is to infuse it with bold and aromatic flavors. By adding some simple ingredients, you can take your rice to the next level and impress your friends and family with an authentic Mexican taste.

Onions and Garlic

One of the first steps to infuse flavor into your rice is to start with a base of onions and garlic. Sautéing finely chopped onions and minced garlic in a bit of oil before adding the rice will bring out their natural sweetness and give your rice a delicious savory taste.

This step is crucial in creating a flavorful foundation for your Mexican-style rice.


Another ingredient that adds a burst of flavor to Mexican rice is tomatoes. Whether you use fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, they will add a tangy and slightly sweet taste to your rice. Be sure to cook the tomatoes down until they soften and release their juices, infusing your rice with their rich flavor.


Cilantro is a staple in Mexican cuisine and adds a fresh and vibrant taste to any dish, including rice. Chop up a handful of cilantro leaves and mix them into your rice after it has finished cooking. The aroma and flavor of the cilantro will enhance the overall taste of your rice and give it an authentic Mexican flair.

Lime Juice

A squeeze of lime juice can brighten up the flavors of your Mexican-style rice and give it a tangy kick. Just before serving, drizzle some fresh lime juice over the rice and gently toss it to distribute the citrusy flavor.

The acidity of the lime juice will balance out the richness of the other ingredients and make your rice taste even more delicious.

By incorporating these simple tips and ingredients into your rice-making process, you can elevate your rice to restaurant-quality levels. The combination of onions and garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice will infuse your rice with amazing flavors that are sure to impress.

So go ahead, give it a try and enjoy the taste of a Mexican restaurant right in your own home!

Let the Rice Rest Before Serving

One of the secrets to making rice like a Mexican restaurant is to let it rest before serving. This step is crucial in allowing the rice to fully absorb the flavors and moisture, resulting in a fluffy and flavorful dish.

10-15 Minutes in the Covered Pot

After cooking the rice, it is important to let it rest for about 10-15 minutes in the covered pot. This allows the rice to continue cooking in its own steam, which helps to evenly distribute the flavors and ensure a fluffy texture.

During this time, the rice will continue to absorb any excess moisture, resulting in perfectly cooked grains.

Absorbs Steam to Stay Fluffy

By letting the rice rest, it has the opportunity to absorb the steam created during the cooking process. This steam helps to keep the rice fluffy and prevents it from becoming sticky or clumpy. The resting period allows the grains to separate and become light and airy, just like the rice you would find at a Mexican restaurant.

According to Food Network, letting rice rest is a common practice in many cuisines, including Mexican cuisine. It is a technique that professional chefs and home cooks alike use to achieve that perfect texture and flavor in their rice dishes.

So, the next time you make rice at home, don’t rush to serve it immediately. Instead, let it rest for 10-15 minutes in the covered pot. Your patience will be rewarded with fluffy, flavorful rice that rivals the best Mexican restaurants!


With the tips in this guide, you now have all the know-how to make rice with the delicious flavor and fluffy texture of your favorite Mexican restaurants. The keys are using the right type of rice, cooking it in seasoned broth, getting the rice-to-liquid ratio right, avoiding over-stirring, and allowing it to steam after cooking.

Infuse it with classic Spanish rice flavors like garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime. Once you master these steps, you can skip the take-out and enjoy flavorful homemade Mexican rice anytime. Share your rice creations with us!

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