My restaurant style Mexican rice with beans is a quick and easy one pot that comes together in about half a hour Serve it as a main or as a side alongside your favourite Mexican dishes.
Easy Mexican rice and beans
I am a huge fan of rice one pots. They are quick, easy, packed with flavour and are perfect for those week nights when you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking, but don’t want to order in.
This Mexican style rice is perfect for lazy evenings, as there is very little hands on time, and a few cheat ingredients make this a snap to make.
Rice and beans makes a complete protein, so you can eat this as it is as a main, or as a side with your favourite dishes. I’ve been known to eat it this straight from the pot, but it is equally good in a taco, topped with avocado and some melted cheese.
It makes enough for 4 as a side, so leftovers can be heated up for a fuss free lunch the next day. Alternatively, pop some in the freezer for a really lazy night.
Why make Mexican rice and beans?
- It is easy – one pot, minimal prep and chopping.
- Ready in less than half an hour, with about 5 minutes hands on time.
- It is delicious – tomato chilli flavoured rice.
- You will have a perfect rice pilaf every time using the absorption method of cooking.
- Rice and beans combined make a complete protein, so this dish can be served as a stand along main, or a side.
- It is relatively frugal.
- It serves 4 – if you cook for two you have a spare portion for the next day or to fill the freezer.
Mexican rice ingredients
- Long grain rice – You can use any regular long grain white or basmati rice. You can use brown rice, but if you do, you will need to extend the cooking time to forty minutes. I don’t recommend easy cook or minute rice. I find the texture of the grains is slightly bouncy and chewy, and the cooking times and quantities might be off.
Helen’s Fuss Free Tip
I don’t recommend buying the cheapest economy rice as this tends to have lots of broken grains, making the finished dish sticky and starchy.
- Onion and Garlic – If you are feeling very lazy you can buy ready chopped frozen onion and fry from frozen.
- Cumin – I’ve used whole seeds, but you can also use ground.
- Canned Tomatoes – I buy a mid range brand: not the cheapest, but never an expensive premium version. It is worth spending a little more, as the cheapest tomatoes can be thin, watery and a little acidic. If your tomatoes lack flavour, add a dollop of tomato puree.
- Kidney Beans in Chilli Sauce – These are one of my favourite ingredients and are available in all the UK/US supermarkets. They add loads of taste without any effort. I use them in stews, casseroles and soups all the time and always make sure I keep a few cans in my pantry.
- Stock (not shown) – Vegetable stock to keep this vegetarian, or chicken when paired with a meaty dishy.
- Chillies (not shown)
- Coriander leaf/Cilantro (not shown)
- Lime or lemon
How to make Mexican rice with beans – step by step
Before you start, read my step-by-step instructions, with photos, hints and tips so you can make this perfectly every time.
Scroll down for the recipe card with quantities and more tips at the bottom of the page.
I cook this in a heavy cast iron skillet that has a tightly fitting lid. Any casserole/Dutch oven or frying pan with a lid would work well.
Step One – Peel and chop the onion fry with the cumin in the oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic after a couple of minutes and fry until fragrant. The onion should be translucent. This will take about 3 minutes.
Step Two – Add the rice and fry for another minute, so the rice is well coated in the oil.
Step Three – Add the beans, tomatoes and the stock and stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and cook over the lowest heat for 18 minutes. Then turn the heat off and leave for five minutes.
Helen’s Fuss Free Tip
Depending how fierce your stove top, is you might need to use a heat diffuser or simmer ring. These are cheap to buy and will last for years.
Step Four – Once cooked and rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Then garnish with some chipped chillies, wedges of lime (or lemon) and some cilantro/coriander leaf.
I love this rice one pot as it is. I enjoy it with some avocado, perhaps a green salad or charred sweetcorn, and some extra chilli sauce. It is also delicious with chilli con carne, a vegetarian bean chilli, or Mexican style stews and mole dishes.
- Fry some sliced bell peppers with the onions for more veg, or stir in some roasted vegetables, or peas and corn.
- Try adding a little oregano.
- If you love chilli add some more heat with some dried chilli along with the cumin when frying the onions.
Make with brown rice
This dish works well with brown rice on the stove top, which gives it a nutty flavour and more fibre. Simply increase the cooking time to 40 minutes.
Allow to cool and immediately pack into air tight boxes and store in the fridge for 48 hours, or freeze.
To reheat microwave or fry until piping hot.
Leftovers are delicious stir fried with an egg for breakfast.
Hints and Tips
- I cook rice in a heavy cast-iron casserole dish with a well fitting lid. A heavy saucepan is fine, but you want something solid.
- Make sure the lid that fits. If the lid doesn’t fit well, you will loose moisture and your rice could become dry. If you don’t have a lid that fits, add an extra spoonful of water.
- Cook on the lowest heat. If necessary, use a stove top heat diffuser or simmer ring. These cost very little and will last and last.
- Don’t peek. Again, this will allow the steam to escape rather than being absorbed by the rice.
- To make this dish even faster, chop up a double batch of onion and garlic, pop in a plastic tub, and freeze. You can then fry the onion from frozen the next time you make it.
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- Leftover Chicken Fajitas – Serve alongside my sizzling fajitas made with leftover chicken (or the leftover turkey fajitas)
- Chinese Rice – this spiced Chinese style rice is perfect to go with any Asian style meal.
- Nando’s Rice – spicy Portuguese rice – ideal to pair with peri peri chicken.
- Pilau Rice – restaurant style Pilau rice to soak up the sauce from any curry!
- Move Easy Rice Recipes – Plain rice, flavoured rice, sides and meal one pots! We love rice.
Mexican Rice and Beans
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 2 tsp oil
- ½ cup long grain rice (I use basmati)
- 1 cup (250ml) stock/broth
- ½ can (200 g) can chopped tomatoes
- 400g (1 regular can) kidney beans in chilli sauce
- 1 quartered lime (or lemon)
- a handful of shredded coriander leaf (cilantro)
- chopped chillies, green and red
- Peel and chop the onion fry with the cumin in the oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic after a minute and fry until fragrant. The onion should be translucent. This will take about 3 minutes.1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp cumin seed, 2 tsp oil
- Add the rice and fry for another minute, so the rice is well coated in the oil.½ cup long grain rice
- Add the beans, tomatoes and the stock and stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and cook over the lowest heat for 18 minutes (use a heat diffuser if necessary to keep the heat low). Then turn the heat off and leave for five minutes.1 cup (250ml) stock/broth, ½ can (200 g) can chopped tomatoes, 400g (1 regular can) kidney beans in chilli sauce
- Once cooked and rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Then garnish with some chipped chillies, wedges of lime (or lemon) and some cilantro/coriander leaf.1 quartered lime, a handful of shredded coriander leaf (cilantro), chopped chillies, green and red
- This recipe is 7 Weight Watchers points per portion