Authentic Mexican Rice

This Mexican rice tastes exactly like it does at Mexican restaurants! The recipe is from a friend who grew up in Mexico, and it’s perfect for pairing with Mexican food of all kinds.

Authentic Mexican Rice with Cilantro in a green bowl, garnished with lime

Authentic Mexican Rice is the perfect side dish for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more. It’s light and fluffy, with a gorgeous orange hue and lots of savory flavor.

I can’t take credit for the recipe. My friend and former co-worker, Jessica, gave it to me several years ago after I basically begged her for it. She grew up in Mexico and moved here as a teenager. She also gave me the secrets to the best red pozole!

There are two secrets to the rice: a tomato & garlic sauce made in the blender, and a packet of Goya seasoning—the one that says “con culantro y achiote” (coriando and annato).

Authentic Mexican Rice with cilantro and lime in a green bowl


  • Long-grain white rice works best for this—it makes the fluffiest rice
  • The rice will toast in canola oil before cooking
  • Roma tomatoes and garlic come together to create a sauce to cook the rice in
  • Half a packet of Goya con Culantro y Achiote creates the perfect seasoning (find it in the international foods aisle of any major grocery store)

How to make authentic Mexican rice

Place 2 roma tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic, and ¾ cup water in a blender.

tomatoes, garlic and water in a blender

Blend on high until smooth.

blended garlic and tomatoes in a blender

Next, sauté the rice in hot oil for a minute. Then, add the tomato mixture and 3 cups of water.

Here’s the secret to authentic Mexican rice: ½ teaspoon of Goya culantro y achiote seasoning, which is about ½ of the packet. While it’s tempting to just dump the whole packet in, my friend said not to use the whole packet for 2 cups of rice. I’m just following instructions!

orange Goya Seasoning packet on a green and cream tablecloth

You can find the seasoning packets in the international foods aisle of your grocery store. They usually come 8 packets per box, but sometimes you can find smaller quantities. Look for the orange box that says “con culantro y achiote”.

Add the seasoning, then bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, take the pot off the stove and let it sit (covered) for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.

Authentic Mexican Rice with cilantro and lime in a green bowl


How can I reheat rice?
Place 4 cups cooked rice in a large casserole dish. Pour ¼ cup water over the rice and cover the dish. Place in a 350°F oven and heat for 10–15 minutes, or until warm throughout.

Can I make this recipe without a blender?
You can use a food processor to combine the garlic and tomatoes if you do not have a blender.

How do I make the rice fluffy?
The key to fluffy rice is using a fork to gently fluff it after cooking.

What to serve with Mexican rice

Mexican rice is a great accompaniment to tacos, burritos, fajitas, a taco salad, and more.

I love serving them with Easy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas or Taco Casserole with Fritos. Along with a salad, they are a great meal to take to someone who has just had a baby, been in the hospital, or gone through another big life transition. They both can be easily transported in foil pans and easily reheated.

bowl of mexican rice and a casserole dish with enchiladas on a cream tablecloth

If you make this recipe, please leave me a comment below, or tag me on Instagram or Pinterest. I love hearing from you!

📖 Recipe

Mexican rice in a green bowl, garnished with slices of lime

Authentic Mexican Rice

Published by Kate
An easy-to-make, authentic recipe for Mexican rice that tastes like it does at a Mexican restaurant!
4.68 from 25 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 275 kcal


  • 2 small roma tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Goya seasoning con culantro y achiote the orange one; about ½ of a packet
  • For garnish: fresh chopped cilantro, lime wedges


  • Roughly chop the roma tomatoes. Place the tomatoes, the garlic cloves, and ¾ cup of water in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
  • Pour the tomato mixture into a measuring cup. You should have about 1 cup.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
  • Add 1 cup of the tomato mixture, 3 cups of water, salt, and Goya seasoning. (If you have more than 1 cup of the tomato mixture, reduce the water slightly so that you add 4 cups of liquid total to the saucepan.) Stir to combine.
  • Bring mixture to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stirring in any of the tomato mixture on the top of the rice, and serve.


Calories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 586mgPotassium: 126mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 172IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Mexican cuisine, Mexican rice
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a star rating and comment below!


  1. What would be the ratio of the tomato mixture and water for 30 servings?

    1. 5 cups tomato mixture, 15 cups water, 10 cups of rice. (I multiplied everything by 5.) Keep in mind that scaling the recipe can sometimes yield slightly different results—I haven’t tried a batch that big!

    1. So glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

    1. I did not but you can if you’d like. You’ll get a slightly stickier texture if you don’t rinse it.

  2. Can I simply say what a comfort to find someone who truly knows what they’re talking about on the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you’re not more popular given that you surely have the gift.

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