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Easy 30-Minute Instant Pot Mexican Rice

This Instant Pot Mexican rice is our favorite easy side dish! It pairs perfectly with any Mexican-inspired main dish. If you love the Mexican red rice that’s commonly served in Mexican restaurants, you will adore this simple recipe. It’s ready to serve in just about 30 minutes…

instant pot mexican rice in a black ceramic bowl with cilantro and lime wedges

Instant Pot Mexican Rice Ready In 30 Minutes

I’m SO freaking excited to share this new Instant Pot Mexican rice recipe with you all! This red rice side dish has taken months to develop. My demanding teenagers tested it over and over until they rated it “perfect”.

All because my oldest daughter asked me to make Mexican restaurant rice for dinner! I wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted at first. But I quickly figured out she was talking about the Mexican red rice they serve at a local restaurant. Then it was game on…

My first few attempts were borderline terrible. I mean, we’re talking Mexican rice that was mushy, gummy, dense, bland, and just plain blah.

But I finally figured it out! AND my daughter said it’s even better than her fave restaurant rice. Honestly? I totally agree.

This perfectly spiced, fluffy Instant Pot Mexican rice recipe:

✔ starts with ordinary white rice + just 8 more simple ingredients
✔ that are all pantry staples
✔ takes only 9 minutes to prep
✔ retains the firm texture of the rice
✔ is full of flavor (as spicy or mild as you like)
✔ pairs wonderfully with any Mexican dishes (try this salsa chicken!)

Basically, if you enjoy Mexican food, you’re going to want to make this recipe ASAP…

By the way, it turns out that this spiced tomato rice dish goes by many names. Mexican Rice, Spanish Rice, Arroz Rojo, and Red Rice all refer to the same simple side dish!

ingredients for mexican rice instant pot recipe with a green succulent and black and white dish towel

Mexican Rice Instant Pot Ingredients

The ingredient list for this spicy rice side dish is short and sweet. Chances are you have everything you need to make this red rice already on hand. Just another reason why I love this easy Instant Pot recipe so much!

Starting with a good basic long grain rice is essential! My recommendation is a long grain white rice like basmati or jasmine. I like to buy the 20 or 25-lb. bags at Costco and then divide the bulk rice into gallon size Ziploc bags.

Yeah, it’s a lot of rice! But it’s much cheaper to buy a large quantity. Breaking it up into smaller portions makes it manageable, even for smaller families.

More Mexican Rice Recipe Ingredients

butter — real butter, please! Used to sauté the onions and jalapenos until the onions are translucent.

diced onion & jalapeño peppers — remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeños for less heat. If you prefer your red rice to be even more mild, you could substitute a green bell pepper. In either case, make dicing the peppers and onions super easy with my favorite veggie chopper!

chicken stock or broth — along with the butter, this adds a delicious richness to this red rice recipe!

tomato sauce — the recipe calls for an 8-oz. can, which is roughly 1 cup of sauce. If you have a larger can, measure out a cup and freeze the rest for another use.

cumin, oregano, and chili powder — use Mexican oregano for the most authentic flavor. But you can use regular oregano if you don’t have it. Control how spicy the final dish is by reducing the amount of chili powder.

PRO TIP: You can easily convert this recipe to a vegan Spanish Rice with a couple of substitutions. Swap olive oil for the butter and vegetable broth for the chicken broth or stock for a plant-based rice dish!

mexican red rice in the instant pot on a white marble background with jalapeño peppers

How To Make Mexican Rice Instant Pot

Do you love easy recipes? Then you’re going to want to make this arroz rojo Mexican red rice in the Instant Pot:

  1. Use the sauté function to cook the diced onion and jalapeños in butter right in the Instant Pot insert.
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and cook for 1 additional minute to allow their flavors to bloom.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth, and deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping any browned bits up with a wooden spatula. Add the rice, tomato sauce, and the kosher salt, and stir to prevent a burn notice. Pop the lid on, and cook rice at high pressure for 4 minutes. You read that right — it’s just 4 minutes of pressure cooking time!
  4. Perform a 10-minute natural release, and vent any remaining steam. Remove lid, and fluff with a fork.

Told you this is a quick rice side! This super flavorful rice is ready to serve after only 30 minutes of prep and cooking. Preferably with a squeeze of fresh lime juice over top for a pop of acidity.

Tips For The Best Instant Pot Mexican Rice

If you want the BEST Mexican rice, I’ve got a few more ideas to share. These tips will help you make perfect red rice every single time.

Order a non-stick insert pot for your Instant Pot. I won’t say this is a necessity, but I’ve made many rice recipes in my Instant Pot. Using a non-stick pot is by far the easiest way to cut down on your cleanup!

Pick up one of these countertop vegetable choppers. I know I already mentioned this kitchen gadget, but this is one of the most-used tools in my kitchen. It dices the onion and jalapeños into the perfect size for this recipe in no time at all!

Rinse your rice well — After turning out the first few batches of gummy and mushy rice, I had an idea. I decided to try rinsing the rice like I do for my Instant Pot brown rice.

I poured the uncooked rice into a large fine mesh strainer and rinsed it with cold water. Then I added it to the pot and reduced the amount of liquid I used for cooking the rice. The result was perfect fluffy rice!

mexican rice in instant pot garnished with lime wedges and cilantro leaves

Instant Pot Mexican Rice Recipe

One batch of this easy recipe for Mexican rice yields about 6 cups of rice cooked. I often double it, because yeah, my family loves it THAT MUCH!

And leftovers? Well, IF there’s any leftover rice, I’d put money on it being gone by the next morning. I’ve seriously had to break up late-night arguments between my boys over who gets the last bit. File THAT under Things I Never Thought I Would Have To Deal With As A Mom

instant pot mexican rice recipe in a black ceramic bowl garnished with cilantro and sliced jalapeño peppers

Easy Instant Pot Mexican Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 9 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

This Instant Pot Mexican Rice is our favorite easy side dish that pairs perfectly with any Mexican-inspired main dish! If you love the Mexican red rice (AKA arroz rojo or Spanish Rice) that's commonly served in Mexican restaurants, you will adore this simple recipe that's ready to serve in just about 30 minutes...

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. Place the non-stick insert pot into the Instant Pot base. Add the butter, and then press the Sauté button. Use the Adjust button to select "high". Add the diced jalapeños and onions, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and cook for 1 additional minute.
    2. Meanwhile, pour the rice into a large mesh strainer, and rinse well under cold water until the water runs clear. When the jalapeños, onions, and spices are done cooking, add the chicken broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spatula. Finally, add the rinsed rice, along with the chicken broth, tomato sauce, and kosher salt.
    3. Lock the lid on top of the Instant Pot and make sure the steam release knob is turned to the sealing position.
    4. Press the Manual button (Pressure Cook button for the new IP-DUO60) on the front. High pressure should automatically be selected, but if it’s not for some reason, press the Pressure button to toggle it to high.
    5. Use the plus or minus buttons to set the cook time to 4 minutes. Wait a few seconds and you should hear a beep. At this point, the display will read “on”, indicating that the Instant Pot is pressuring up. Once it comes to pressure (about 9-10 minutes), it will switch to the timer to pressure cook the rice for 4 minutes.
    6. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR: natural pressure release) for 10 minutes. Then use a thick towel or a pair of tongs to turn the steam release knob to “venting” to release any remaining pressure. If you’ve never experienced this before, it can be pretty forceful, so pull your hands away quickly, stand back, and allow the steam to escape.
    7. Once the pressure is released, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn the Instant Pot off. Serve warm with chopped cilantro and cut lime wedges (optional).

Notes

*Add more chili powder for spicier rice and less if you prefer it to be milder.

Storage: leftover rice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 288.3Total Fat: 6.1gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 17.2mgSodium: 899.7mgCarbohydrates: 52.9gFiber: 1.1gSugar: 2.5gProtein: 5.2g

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

Have you tried this recipe?

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mexican restaurant rice in the instant pot in a black ceramic bowl with a black serving spoon


More Mexican Inspired Recipes

Check out these other delicious Mexican recipes that pair perfectly with this easy Mexican rice recipe for your next Taco Tuesday:

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @unsophisticook on Instagram and hashtag it #unsophisticook.

Justine

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

I love mexican rice, but hate making it. This was so easy and tasted great - will definitely follow this recipe again.

connie

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

How does one make this without an instantpot? I don't have an instant pot. Thanks. My family really likes Mexican rice.

Tara Kuczykowski

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

Hi Connie -- you can definitely make this on your stovetop! Follow steps 1 and 2, using a large pot over medium heat. Once everything is added, bring the mixture to a boil. Then cover it, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for another 10 minutes covered. Fluff and serve.

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