Instant Pot Mexican Rice


See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.


Instant Pot Mexican Rice, also known as Instant Pot Spanish Rice, is easy to make, flavorful and so versatile. Serve this homemade Mexican rice with all of your favorite Mexican dishes!

mexican rice in serving bowl with instant pot in background

I love cooking rice in the Instant Pot because it’s easy and hands-off once you get everything in the pot. With this Instant Pot Mexican rice recipe, you won’t have to watch a pot on the stove or worry about your pot bubbling over as the rice cooks. This Instant Pot Mexican rice is layered with flavor, fluffy, and perfect for serving in burritos or as a side dish.

My family loves this rice served with chicken enchiladas or tacos. Try it with Instant Pot Chicken Tacos, Crockpot Chicken Tacos, Carnitas or Instant Pot Carnitas. This Spanish rice is also delicious with taquitos, chicken fajitas and Instant Pot taco meat!

If you love rice and beans, Instant Pot Black Beans and Instant Pot Pinto Beans are Mexican seasoned beans that pair well with this rice recipe.

serving bowl filled with mexican rice with instant pot in background

Instant Pot Mexican Rice Ingredients

  • Long Grain White Rice: For the best fluffy Mexican rice, be sure to use long grain rice. We much prefer this recipe with white rice, but you can also use long grain brown rice. The texture won’t be as fluffy if using brown rice. The recipe card below includes cook times for both white and brown rice.
  • Olive Oil: For sautéing the onion.
  • Onion & Garlic: These add flavor. White or yellow onion work best in this recipe.
  • Water: To allow the pot to pressurize and to cook the rice. Use low sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth for extra flavor.
  • Seasonings: Salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and dried oregano add lots of flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce: An 8 ounce can of tomato sauce adds a hint of tomato flavor and gives the rice its signature color.
  • Fresh Cilantro: I like to serve this Instant Pot Mexican rice with chopped fresh cilantro. The cilantro adds a pop of color and fresh flavor, but you can leave it out if you don’t care for cilantro.

How to Make Mexican Rice in the Instant Pot

Here is a quick overview of the steps to making this recipe. Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions below. If you’re new to Instant Pot cooking, many readers have found my guide on how to use an Instant Pot helpful.

  1. Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well. Drain.
  2. Using the sauté function on the Instant Pot, cook the onion in the olive oil until softened. sauteing onion in instant pot
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off the Instant Pot.
  4. Pour in the water (or broth) and scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. stirring broth into pot
  5. Stir in the seasonings, tomato sauce and rinsed rice. stirring in seasonings, tomato sauce and rice
  6. Pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. (If using long grain brown rice pressure cook for 25 minutes.)
  7. After cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes.
  8. Stir and fluff the rice. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

spoonful of mexican rice held over instant pot

Recipe Tips

  • Some Mexican rice recipes call for toasting the rice before adding water to the pot. I tried toasting the rice in the Instant Pot on sauté and some of the rice stuck to the bottom of the pot. I don’t recommend toasting the rice in the Instant Pot because it is more likely to cause a burn message during pressure cooking.
  • Mexican rice is flavorful, but not spicy. If you want to make it spicy, add some cayenne pepper, to taste, along with the other seasonings. I recommend starting with 1/8 teaspoon. You can also add a chopped jalapeño along with the onion for more heat.
  • Substitute low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth for the water for an extra boost of flavor.
  • I have tested this recipe in both a 6 quart and 8 quart Instant Pot and it works well in both.

More Rice Recipes

Love cooking in your Instant Pot? Also try these easy Instant Pot recipes!

close up of mexican rice in serving bowl garnished with cilantro

Instant Pot Spanish Rice (Mexican Rice)

Instant Pot Mexican Rice, also known as Instant Pot Spanish Rice, is easy to make, fluffy and full of flavor! Serve this homemade Mexican rice with all of your favorite Mexican dishes.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword instant pot mexican rice, instant pot spanish rice
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 mins
Natural Release15 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings 6 servings
Calories 279kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long grain white rice*
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 ½ cups water (or low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional, for serving)

Instructions 

  • In a fine mesh strainer, rinse the rice well and drain. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in the Instant Pot using the Saute function. When hot, add the onion and saute, stirring often, about 3 minutes until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Turn off the Saute function.
  • Pour the water into the Instant Pot and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the salt, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, tomato sauce and rinsed rice. Stir.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down.
  • When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes by leaving the Instant Pot alone. Then, carefully turn the steam release valve to the venting position to release any remaining steam. Once the pin drops down, open the Instant Pot lid.
  • Stir and fluff rice and serve, with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

Notes

  • You can also use long grain brown rice in this recipe. Increase the pressure cooking time to 25 minutes at high pressure if using long grain brown rice.
  • Mexican rice is flavorful, but not spicy. If you want to make it spicy, add some cayenne pepper, to taste, along with the other seasonings. I recommend starting with 1/8 teaspoon. You can also add a chopped jalapeño along with the onion for more heat.

Nutrition

Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 604mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 319IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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