One Pot Mexican Rice Recipe | Made Simple with Salsa
When it comes to Mexican food, few dishes are as iconic and versatile as Mexican rice. With its vibrant colors, fragrant aroma, and bold flavors, this classic side dish has become a staple in households and restaurants around the world. While traditional Mexican rice recipes may seem elaborate and time-consuming, I’m here to show you how to simplify the process. This One Pot Mexican Rice Recipe is infused with an extra burst of flavor using a secret time-saving ingredient: Salsa!
Don’t get me wrong, if you have the time, making authentic Mexican rice is definitely worth the effort (so is making homemade flour tortillas), but if you are looking for a quick and easy meal to make on say… a Taco Tuesday, this shortcut is perfect for busy weeknights.
By adding salsa into the mix, you incorporate the familiar flavors of tomatoes, onions, and spices. This addition not only adds a zesty kick but also saves you the trouble of chopping and sautéing individual ingredients.
Let’s dive in and discover how with just a few simple ingredients, you can make your favorite restaurant-style dish at home.
What is Mexican Rice?
Mexican rice is a flavorful staple in Mexican cuisine. It’s made by sauteing uncooked rice in oil until golden brown, then cooking it in a tomato-based broth with onions, garlic, and other seasonings such as cumin, chili powder, and oregano. It’s the perfect side to accompany Mexican-inspired dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, or burritos. Some variations may include diced tomatoes, peas, corn, or black beans, and you can adjust the spice level depending on your heat tolerance.
What is the Best Rice to Use For This One-Pot Mexican Rice Recipe?
When it comes to choosing the right kind of rice for this dish, the long-grain varieties are preferred because they remain separate and fluffy when cooked, which is ideal for Mexican rice.
It has a neutral flavor that allows the other ingredients to shine, and it absorbs the flavors of the spices and seasonings well. Look for the specific variety of rice labeled as “long-grain” on the package. It’s widely available in most grocery stores.
How Much Rice Should I Make?
A general rule of thumb for cooking rice is to use a ratio of 1:2, which means 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of liquid. This ratio typically yields about 3 cups of cooked rice or 5-6 servings.
How much rice to cook per person depends on the appetites of the people you’re feeding. As a starting point, you can estimate approximately 1/2 cup of cooked rice per person. This is usually a sufficient portion alongside other dishes in a meal.
Remember, it’s better to have a bit too much than not enough. Leftover rice can be enjoyed later or used in different recipes.
Tips for success: Remember to rinse the rice before cooking to remove excess starch and achieve a fluffier texture.
Let’s Gather Up the Ingredients
- White Rice– Long-grain rice works best. Some popular brands include Goya, Mahatma, and Uncle Ben’s which happens to be my favorite brand.
- Your favorite brand of salsa– this is going to take the place of the spices, tomato sauce/tomato paste, minced garlic, and small onion you would normally use to make “authentic” Mexican rice.
- Cooking liquid– you could use water, chicken broth, vegetable broth, or even beef broth.
- Bacon– This is definitely not a traditional ingredient, but I have a not-so-secret love affair with bacon and the smokiness adds an additional layer of flavor. The bacon fat also eliminates the need for additional oil such as olive oil.
- Sazon– this gives the rice a vibrant orange color and adds a ton of flavor.
- Salt, to taste
- Fresh cilantro
That’s all you need to make an amazing side to go with your favorite Mexican dishes, but you could always take it up a notch with fresh toppings such as green onions, diced tomatoes, and a squeeze of lime juice!
Tips for success: Remember to have a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. This is super important! The standing rule in my house growing up was that once the lid went on the rice pot, you didn’t touch it (unless you wanted your hand slapped) for the duration of the cook time!
Now Let’s Get Cooking
Cut 2-3 slices of bacon into strips. Saute in a Caldero (or any medium-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid) until almost crispy.
Add the onions and saute with the bacon until they have softened.
Next, add the salsa and then stir to combine
Put the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it until the water runs clear. Stir it in with the bacon, onions, and salsa ensuring each grain is coated in fat.
Add Sazon and salt to taste.
Now add the additional liquid of your choice. Remember the 1:2 ratio. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to pick up all of the yummy bits of bacon stuck to the bottom.
Bring it to a full boil. Stir the rice mixture one last time before you cover it and reduce the heat to simmer.
Set the timer for 20 minutes. Don’t be tempted to lift the lid at all during this time!
Once the timer goes off, remove it from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before you lift the lid. Add the chopped cilantro and gently fluff it with a wooden spoon.
This One Pot Mexican Rice Recipe is the perfect side to accompany dishes like Chicken Enchiladas, Fajitas, or my Buffalo Wild Wings Street Tacos.
Add in a side of refried beans and you have a complete meal that the whole family will enjoy.
If you decide to make this amazing side dish for your friends and family, please be sure to give it a rating and let me know how yours turned out.
I love hearing your feedback and I will do my best to answer any questions as quickly as possible.
As always, I will be back next week with more delicious recipes from my RV kitchen to yours!
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One Pot Mexican Rice
- 1 Medium-sized pot with a tight fitting lid
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2-3 slices bacon
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup of your favorite salsa
- 1 cup cooking liquid, water or broth
- 2 packets Sazon
- salt, to taste
- Cut 2-3 slices of bacon into strips. Saute in a Caldero (or any medium-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid) until almost crispy.
- Add the diced onions and cook them with the bacon until they soften.
- Add the salsa and then stir to combine
- Add the rice to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it until the water runs clear. Stir it in with the bacon, onions, and salsa ensuring each grain is coated in fat.
- Add Sazon and salt to taste.
- Now add the additional liquid of your choice. Remember the 1:2 ratio. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to pick up all of the yummy bits of bacon stuck to the bottom.
- Bring it to a full boil and then stir the rice mixture one last time before you cover it and reduce the heat to simmer.
- Set the timer for 20 minutes. Don't be tempted to lift the lid at all during this time!
- Once the timer goes off, remove it from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before you lift the lid. Add the chopped cilantro and gently fluff it with a wooden spoon.
- Rinse the rice before cooking to remove excess starch and achieve a fluffier texture.
- Remember to have a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. This is super important! The standing rule in my house growing up was that once the lid went on the rice pot, you didn’t touch it (unless you wanted your hand slapped) for the duration of the cook time!