This Instant Pot Mexican Rice recipe is flavored with tomato bouillon or caldo de tomate for an authentic Mexican taste. It cooks up perfectly and is a great side dish to all your favorite Tex Mex recipes! Ready in about 30 minutes!
Why you'll love it
It's easy to make. Take the guesswork out of making rice when you use your pressure cooker! The Sauté function makes it easy to crisp the rice before setting it and forgetting it!
It's made with easy to find ingredients. Sometimes the best foods are the simplest foods! This Instant Pot Mexican Rice is made with panty ingredients that are easily found or that you may already have on hand. If you haven't heard of tomato bouillon or caldo de tomate, you can usually find it right along side other bouillon cubes.
It pairs well with all your favorite Mexican and Tex Mex dishes. Feeding the family or a crowd can be a lot easier when you have a filling side dish to offer along with dishes like my Ground Beef Tacos, Beef Burritos, and Instant Pot Mexican Beans. Don't forget to grab some chips and this delicious Homemade Guacamole too.
Long grain white rice: this will produce the best results. I don't recommend substituting brown rice for this recipe because you'll need to change the amount of liquid and the cooking time.
If you feel adventurous and want to experiment with brown rice, try adding 2 ½ cups of liquid and cooking the rice for 15 minutes using a natural release.
Chicken broth: you can use water or vegetable stock if preferred.
Onion and garlic: gives a subtle but necessary flavor. You can try a teaspoon of garlic powder if you like and you could skip the onion if you don't have it on hand.
Tomato bouillon: in my neck of the woods this is called Caldo de tomate (tomato broth). It is actually a chicken and tomato flavored bouillon. Please keep this in mind if you're a vegetarian.
Step by Step Instructions
Step One: Gather and prep ingredients. Cut an onion in quarters. Reserve half for another use. Crush one clove of garlic. Chop tomato bouillon or use powdered version.
Step Two: Rinse the rice (optional) and drain well. Set aside.
Step Three: Set the Instant Pot the the Sauté function. When heated, add oil then the rice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press cancel.
Step Four: Add garlic, onion, broth, tomato sauce, and chopped tomato bouillon, and salt.
Stir mixture to combine.
Step Five: Set Instant Pot to Manual or High Pressure for 3 minutes. IMPORTANT NOTE: turn Keep Warm to Off. This will help keep the rice from burning and sticking to the bottom of the insert.
Let pressure release (natural pressure release) for at least 10 minutes. If necessary, release remaining pressure.
Remove garlic and onion if desired and fluff with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
Be sure you are familiar with your brand of pressure cooker before making this recipe. Read the safeguards and understand the controls and features. I made this recipe with the Instant Pot Ultra 60 (6 quart).
It's important to have enough liquid. While less broth can produce a firmer rice, it may also result in a burn warning. This recipe follows the Instant Pot recommendation of a 1:1 ratio of rice to liquid, with the addition of ½ cup of tomato sauce for a slightly moister rice.
Why do I get a burn warning? This can happen when there isn't enough liquid in the pot. But adding too much can make the rice mushy, so be sure to measure ingredients correctly.
Also, be sure you don't burn the pot when sautéing the rice in oil. Err on the lower temperature side and cook a little longer if needed.
Why is my rice mushy? Perhaps you added more liquid then what was called for. Try letting the rice "rest" with the lid off so it can dry out a bit.
Substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth if desired. Note that tomato bouillon in not vegetarian. If you want to make this dish vegetarian, use a vegan or vegetarian bouillon or simply omit.
Tomato bouillon or caldo de tomate comes in cube and powder form. Use about 2 teaspoons of the powder if you prefer that over crushing up the cube.
Long grain rice will produce fluffy, separate grains. I don't recommend short grain or any glutenous types of rice.
No tomato sauce (puree) on hand? You can make your own tomato sauce by combining one 6 ounce can of tomato paste with ½ cup water. Sir vigorously with a whisk. Use ½ cup of this mixture in place of tomato sauce. You can also use my fire-roasted Blender Salsa in place of tomato sauce!
Add traditional ingredients like peas and carrots or additional spices like oregano, cumin and chili powder. In a skillet, lightly sauté fresh, diced carrots and frozen peas (about ½-1 cup) in a little butter and season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender. Add to the finished rice dish for added color and flavor. You can also add some fresh corn if it's in season. Frozen or canned corn works too.
Instant Pot Mexican Rice is also known as Spanish rice in much of the United States. It's popular in many Mexican restaurants.
This side dish is full of flavor and can be served as a side dish with just about any main dish you like to eat with rice. It's the obvious choice for your favorite Mexican food dinners.
The terms have become synonymous when referring to the side dish made from long grain rice that's been cooked with chicken broth and tomatoes. However, the dishes can vary depending on the cook and region.
Perhaps you added more liquid then what was called for. Try letting the rice "rest" with the lid off so it can dry out a bit. If the grains have split and become glutenous, it will still be soft, but hopefully it will still taste great!
It's important to cook the rice in oil to keep the starch at bay. Just be sure you don't burn the bottom of the insert as that may result in a burn warning.
More Popular Side Dish Recipes
- Loaded Mashed Potatoes (Slow Cooker)
- Instant Pot Mexican Beans
- Stoneground Grits
- Corn Casserole
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- Click here to check out all my Mexican and Tex Mex favorites!
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Instant Pot Mexican Rice
- ¼ cup mild flavored oil such as canola olive or vegetable oil
- 2 cups long grain white rice rinsed until water runs clear
- 1 clove garlic peeled and crushed
- ½ onion quartered
- 1 cube tomato bouillon, crushed caldo de tomate
- ½ cup tomato sauce or 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Rinse rice under cold running water until water runs clear. Set aside.
- Peel and crush garlic. Peel and quarter an onion. Reserve half the onion for another use.
- Turn Instant Pot to Sauté function (medium heat). Once hot, add oil to heat then add rice. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until rice turns very white and some of the grains turn slightly golden. If pot is too hot and rice is sticking to the bottom, lower heat to low.
- Press cancel. Add garlic, onion, bouillon, tomato sauce, salt, and chicken broth. Be careful of any steam. Stir rice mixture being sure none of it is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Close and lock the lid. Be sure the valve is in the sealing position.
- Select Manual or Pressure Cook at high. Use the dial to set the time for 4 minutes. Set Keep Warm function to Off.
- When the cooking cycle ends press cancel (if you don’t it’s ok, it will turn off automatically since the keep warm function is off). Allow the IP to release naturally for at least 10 minutes. If all the pressure has been released, the float valve will sink back into the lid. If the float valve is still up, use the end of a wooden spoon to press the pressure release valve to allow the remaining steam to release.
- Remove lid. Fluff with a fork. Stir in any additional vegetables like peas and carrots. Season with salt and pepper.
Followed every step to the T and did not cook well, the rice was still undercooked and hard.
I'm sorry this didn't work for you Adrianna. I have vigorously tested this recipe using the Instant Pot brand Ultra 60. What ip did you use?
Got the burn notice even after adding after liquid after reading reviews. Added even more and burn notice yet again. Hoping to salvage by finishing on the stovetop, but not looking promising.
So sorry this didn't work out Megan. I used the Instant Pot brand Ultra 60. Which instant pot did you use?
This is delicious and I’ve gotten so many compliments when I’ve brought it to potluck dinners! Always comes out great.
Was wondering, though, it the same recipe would work with brown rice? Just curious; should probably just try it and see!
Thank Jennifer! I hate to admit that I haven't tried brown rice yet! If you want to give it a go, be sure to increase pressure cook time to 15 minutes and give it at least a 5 minute natural release. You may need to experiment to find just the right cooking time!
I also got a burn message, was having guests for dinner took it got of the instant pot put it in a microwave dish, microwaved about 4 minutes was the best Mexican rice I have ever made. Loved the recipe. I’m trying it on the stovetop now. Hope it turns out as good.
Fail, made in a instant pot duo. Followed recipe exactly. Food burned 😵💫 she acknowledges it may burn in newer pots. I didn’t see the comments till after.
I'm so sorry it burned - I think cooking the rice first may be causing the burn warning with some pots. I will be running some new tests without sautéing the rice first and update the post with my findings.
Epic fail after following all directions to a T. Made sure nothing was stuck on the bottom after sautéing the rice. Burn notice and a bunch of wasted ruined ingredients.
Do you use tomato SAUCE or tomato PUREE? The recipe says sauce but under it it says puree. They sell both so I wanted to clarify! Thanks!
Holly - tomato sauce, but puree will work too!
Do you leave the onion in the big chunks or dice it up?
I leave the onions in quarters. Sometimes I remove them after cooking, but I love they way they taste so usually leave them. You can dice up the onion if you like- I just have an onion hater in the family so I made the recipe so he would be happy!
Excellent! Exactly the Mexican rice recipe I was looking for. Turned out perfect in my instant pot so not sure what others are talking about. Fluffy, not sticky or mushy. Good flavor, as well.
Thank you Lora for your feedback! I too have made this so many times without fail (after several rounds of testing). I'm so glad you enjoyed it and hope you come back for more recipes!
There is simply not enough water or broth in this recipe. I followed directions and when I set my instant pot to 3 minutes and within 2 minutes my pot threw an over heating code. After i de pressurized I opened the lid and found burnt rice on the bottom. Ruined my rucr
Made it twice, got the burn warning twice. It is still edible though so not a total loss. Probably won’t do it a third time though since the pot is a bear to clean after it sticks. 🙁
I'm so sorry this didn't work for you Tracey. I use an IP Ultra 60, which is an older model. I've heard the newer models are more sensitive. Not sure if that may be the case with you. I know you don't plan to make the recipe again, but I would suggest not cooking the rice first and just adding the ingredients to the pot and setting it to cook (for those who may have a similar issue). It's possible that the pre-cooking is getting the inner pot too hot, or perhaps it's causing the rice to stick to the bottom and is causing the message.
This did not work for me. I got the burn warning twice, even after adding 4 cups of broth and more tomato stuff. I ended up putting it on slow cook to stop getting the warning and it ended up being more like a thick soup.. Maybe this happened because I live at 6000 feet. I think I would try it on the rice setting next time and add more liquid from the get go.
I'm so sorry that happened Dee! I don't live in a high altitude, so I'm not able to do an accurate test of how this recipe would turn out in your location. I make this recipe often and it always turn out, so I apologize that I can't give you any trouble shooting tips, other than to say that pressure cookers do vary and if you know the best liquid to rice ratios for your cooker, then please use that amount.