Martin’s Easy Mexican Rice

by Anne Papina on August 23, 2013

Martin's Easy Mexican Rice | Webicurean

Have you ever made Mexican rice? Let’s be clear. I’m not talking about one of those heavy, gloppy tomato rice concoctions we find all over the place. I’m talking about the authentic stuff. That light, fluffy, orange rice that adorns the plate at your favorite taqueria. I don’t know about you, but this sort of perfection has eluded me for years, and I’ve sampled quite a few recipes. Nothing has ever been close. Then along came Martin and his easy Mexican rice.

While on a recent trip to my sister’s, Martin was visiting. In our ever-sprawling, convoluted family tree, Martin is my great-nephew’s cousin. Let that soak in. He’s a quiet and polite (at least around us) 16-year-old and from what I heard, a fabulous cook. So, we let him play chef one night, and we were treated to the most amazing Mexican feast. Plus he gave me a few pointers in the kitchen–including tips for making his carne asada as well as his authentic Mexican rice.

Martin's Easy Mexican Rice | Webicurean
Hmmm, I’m thinking Martin’s rice looks better than mine!

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get home and make the rice. The simplicity was astonishing. First he tossed a handful of onion into the heated oil, then sprinkled a little garlic powder in there, even though he had plenty freshly chopped garlic ready to go. He was quick to point out that, at least in his family, they use a lot of dried ingredients. So, the garlic powder won over fresh. Similarly, tomato bouillon is used instead of fresh or canned tomatoes. Who knew? Well, at minimum, Martin did.

At home, we’ve gone ga-ga over this rice. Morgan requests it often–we’re talking at least once per week. As a bonus, it doesn’t take much more effort than a package of Rice-A-Roni. So, thank you, Martin, for this amazing recipe, and more importantly, for being such a great guy–you’re definitely going places (pssst Morgan’s secretly hoping you’ll open a restaurant one day hint hint).

Martin's Easy Mexican Rice | Webicurean

You only need a few ingredients, so get them ready to go.

Martin's Easy Mexican Rice | Webicurean

First, use a pan with a wider bottom than this. Yep, do as I say, not as I do. :)

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Sprinkle in the garlic powder, then stir in the rice, cooking until it starts to brown. Pour in the water, then break up the bouillon cube into the pot, stirring until completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until done.

Martin's Easy Mexican Rice | Webicurean

Let the rice rest in the pot, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff and serve.

Oh, what’s that? What are those delicious looking taquitos in the background? Check back this #SundaySupper for an array of street foods from around the world, including the San Diego Style Rolled Tacos and fresh guacamole pictured here.

Here’s the recipe card for the rice:

4.5 from 2 reviews
Martin's Easy Mexican Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Savory and simple, this authentic Mexican rice is just like your local taqueria's.
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • Scant 2 cups water
  • 1 cube Knorr's Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor (see link above)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot, and saute the onion until translucent.
  2. Stir in a couple of dashes of garlic powder, along with the rice. Stir constantly until the rice starts to brown.
  3. Add the water, and break up the bouillon cube into the pot, stirring until completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
  4. When the time's up, turn off the heat, and let rest for 5 minutes, covered.
  5. Fluff with a fork, and serve.



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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious August 24, 2013 at 4:09 am

Tomato bouillon….that’s the ticket! My Mexican rice is always gloppy, probably because I use canned tomatoes. Genius!
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Anne Papina August 24, 2013 at 6:57 am

Mine too! I had never heard of tomato bouillon until he told me lol


Cherie August 25, 2013 at 8:08 am

I’m lovin’ Martin already – did we put up the carne asada? I’m behind in my emails!


Anne Papina August 25, 2013 at 8:16 am

lol not yet! I still have to work that one out, but it was pretty simple–his secret weapon was something called carne asada & bistec seasoning from Chef Merito, along with fresh lime juice, cilantro and garlic. The steak was marinated for a couple of hours then grilled. But get the seasoning already–you’ll find it makes just about everything taste awesome!


Morgan August 26, 2013 at 11:49 am

Martin’s rice is the rice you get at a really good mom & pop home cooking type of Mexican restaurant.


Anne Papina August 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

It sure is!


Karla September 6, 2013 at 5:15 am

Who knew all you had to do to find an authentic recipe was ask a Mexican. Some family recipes use fresh ingredients but I’ve seen this variation plenty of times and it’s good


Anne Papina September 6, 2013 at 5:41 am

I know–all that time wasted! You could probably add some fresh ingredients to spruce it up, but I think the main thing to getting the right flavor is using that tomato bouillon.


Chris A. September 7, 2013 at 8:12 am

Thanks for sharing. Excellent recipe!


Anne Papina September 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Thanks! Hope you enjoy it!


Sm November 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm

I have been given this same recipe before but never made it because the knorr cubes had msg in it. Can you get it without?


Anne Papina November 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Ugh, that’s a tough one! I did a little digging with Google–it looks as if the UK Knorr products are MSG free; but, I don’t see a tomato bouillon. I found a similar recipe that might be worth trying–note, her recipe does call for the regular Knorr chicken bouillon, however if you substitute your own chicken broth for the water and the cubes, the rest of the method for getting the tomato color and flavor should work out just right. Hope that makes sense? Here’s the recipe:


Dolores March 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm

How much garlic powder do you use? Thanks!!!


Anne Papina March 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Hi Dolores! Sorry for the lack of instruction on that–I don’t usually measure it (I just give a couple of good shakes of the spice bottle), but scant 1/8 tsp would be a safe bet! Enjoy!


Dolores March 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Sounds good…thanks so much!!! :)


angie ruiz October 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Could I use regular oil instead of olive oil?


Anne Papina October 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Absolutely! I tend to use olive oil for everything, but when Martin originally showed me this recipe, he used regular vegetable oil to make the rice.


Evelina November 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Do we use uncooked rice? Uncooked rice is ready that quickly?


Anne Papina November 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Yes, so long as it’s regular white rice … after simmering for 15 minutes, it’s important to let it rest about 5 minutes or so with the cover on as that allows it to steam during those final minutes, and it’s less likely the rice will stick to the pan.


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