Best Rice for Mexican Rice: Dish That Tastes Like Home

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I remember the time when I was first learning how to cook Mexican rice. 

One recipe suggested using any basic white rice, while another insisted on using only long-grain rice. 

But with so many varieties of long-grain rice, I was left more confused than ever. 

Seeking clarity, I hopped on my language exchange app and asked my Mexican friend for advice on the type of rice they use for authentic Mexican rice. 

As expected, his recommendation was spot-on.

Knowing the right type of rice to use, I now know how to cook Mexican rice the traditional way! 

Top Rice Variety: Long-Grain White Rice

Full image of long grain white rice with wooden spoon.

Nope, I’m not referring to an umbrella term that encompasses all long and white rice varieties.

Long-grain white rice is a specific rice variety, just like Basmati rice or Arborio rice.

This rice is the most common rice in the US and many parts of the world.

So, good news– accessibility will rarely be a problem when using this rice!

Reasons to Use Long-Grain White Rice for Mexican Rice

Fluffy Texture: Mexican Rice, when cooked properly, should have a fluffy texture with no grains clumping together. Long-grain white rice makes it easy to achieve this, as it innately has low starch content.

Neutral Flavor: Long-grain white rice doesn’t exactly have a flavor of its own. It’s like a blank sponge waiting to soak up all the other flavors you add, making it perfect for dishes like Mexican rice, where you add lots of seasonings and spices.

Affordability: Long-grain white rice is available everywhere, which means it’s also one of the most affordable rice varieties out there! For home cooks, that’s always a win.

It’s clearly the best rice for Mexican food like Mexican rice!

Rice Alternatives for Mexican Rice

Mexican rice in a bowl on the colored placemat.

Let’s say you experience the very rare occasion that the supermarket doesn’t have long-grain white rice in stock.

Or, you simply want an added layer of flavor to your Mexican rice. 

In these cases, I can recommend opting for these two rice varieties below! 

Basmati Rice

Unlike long-grain white rice that has a very neutral flavor…

Basmati rice has a slightly sweet taste with a distinct nutty aroma.

Some people actually prefer this added flavor in Mexican rice!

Texture-wise, Basmati rice remains fluffy after cooking, very much like long-grain white rice.

It also absorbs flavors well, making it suitable for this Spanish dish!

Try to add more liquid when using Basmati rice, though, as it typically requires more water to cook than long-grain white rice.

Jasmine Rice

Full image of jasmine rice.

Jasmine rice is an aromatic rice, just like Basmati rice. 

Its aroma leans more on being floral than nutty.

But just like Basmati rice, it has a slightly sweet flavor that some cooks think can enhance dishes like Mexican rice. 

Will it absorb flavors well? 

Yup. It won’t have problems absorbing the flavors of the seasonings you use. 

However, due to its plumper grains, this rice is somewhat sticky.

So, it won’t be the best choice if you’re aiming for that authentic mouthfeel of Mexican rice. 

Moreover, try to reduce the liquid you use if you’re substituting Jasmine rice for long-grain white rice. Otherwise, your rice might be mushy.

Rice Fuels the Flavors of Mexican Rice

Different households may cook Mexican rice differently.

But, if you want it to taste as authentic as possible, try to use long-grain white rice.

If that’s too hard to find, or you simply don’t want to prefer it…

Basmati and Jasmine rice will work well as alternatives.

They may not taste exactly like traditional Mexican rice. But, with the right adjustments, they can still yield delicious Mexican rice! 

Yield: 4

30-Minute Everyday Mexican Rice

Mexican rice in a bowl.

Here’s a Mexican rice recipe that’s so easy you can prepare it every single day for the entire family!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 cup of long-grain white rice (uncooked)
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (Mexican style)
  • ½ of lime (juiced)
  • 1 ½ cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro (chopped)


  1. Prepare the ingredients listed above.
  2. In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil. 
  3. Once the oil’s hot enough, sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes or until it tenderizes. 
  4. Add the raw rice and stir occasionally. 
  5. Let the rice toast. Once it starts to brown, season it with garlic and salt while still stirring.
  6. Mix in the can of diced tomatoes, including its juices. Pour the chicken broth and lime juice as well. 
  7. Let the mixture boil. 
  8. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low so the pan can simmer gently.
  9. Cover the pan and let it simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. 
  10. Fluff the Mexican rice with a fork. Mix in the chopped cilantro before serving.

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