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Instant Pot Mexican Rice is the perfect companion to all your favorite Mexican dishes! It is super easy to make, incredibly versatile, and full of bold flavors. You’re going to wonder how you ever went without serving this as a side dish!
Does anyone remember Uncle Ben’s microwaveable Spanish rice pouches? Umm, I LIVED off those in college, and honestly, that is one of the biggest understatements of my life, haha…I think some days I would eat them for lunch and dinner. I would go to Walmart every week and buy like 10 pouches for $10 and I didn’t get sick of them. Maybe it was because I knew I couldn’t get sick of them because what else would I eat? Haha just kidding. Anyway, making this Instant Pot Mexican rice just gave me the biggest throwback to college.
Instant Pot Mexican rice or Spanish rice (they’re very similar) is a flavorful dish that combines the bold flavors of cumin and chili powder with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and rice. It’s a quick and easy side dish that can be made in minutes using the convenience of an Instant Pot. While you know I am rice cooker chick through-and-through, I have grown to love the Instant Pot as an alternate small appliance for cooking rice, especially for those of you who don’t want to have to buy another appliance.
Rice in the Instant Pot comes out nearly the same as the rice cooker and this Mexican rice is no different. It’s light, fluffy, and has just the right amount of flavor in each bite. Serve it alongside burritos (or even as the base of your burritos), tacos, fajitas, or enchiladas for an enjoyable, well-balanced meal.
What is the difference between Mexican rice and Spanish rice?
Mexican rice and Spanish rice are both popular dishes with similar ingredients, but they have a few key differences. Mexican rice typically contains more spices such as chili powder, cumin, and garlic. The end result is a flavorful and slightly spicy dish.
Spanish rice is milder in flavor and tends to contain less spices. It often features vegetables like carrots, celery, and peas, as well as more subtle seasonings such as a bay leaf. The end result is a savory dish with a slightly sweet taste.
Why You’ll Love This
- Quick and easy preparation. Preparing this dish with a pressure cooker is faster than cooking it on stove-top or oven, as the ingredients cook quickly under pressure while also staying light and fluffy.
- Impressive flavor. The combination of the spices creates an unforgettable flavor that will leave your guests wanting more.
- Versatile. This dish can be enjoyed as a side or main course. It also pairs well with proteins like chicken, beef, and fish.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Ingredients for Instant Pot Mexican rice are more common than you think! Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make it! Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.
- White or yellow onion
- Chicken broth
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Garlic powder
- Tomato sauce
- Long-grain white rice – you will want to use long-grain for this as the short-grain rices will end up making this too mushy.
- Fresh parsley or cilantro
How To Make Mexican Rice in the Instant Pot
Instant Pot Mexican rice is so easy to make. It’s nearly hands-off. Here is a quick overview of the steps involved. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
Sauté onions. Turn the Instant Pot on sauté mode and once it is warm, add a little olive oil to the insert then add the diced onions. Cook until fragrant and translucent. Turn off the sauté mode.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Add the garlic to cook a little while the insert is still hot. Add the chicken broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape anything stuck on the bottom of the insert. Add the seasonings and stir to incorporate. Add the tomato sauce, stir, then add the white rice and stir again.
Cook the rice. Place the lid of the Instant Pot on top and close it. Make sure the valve is set to SEAL. Press Manual, High pressure, then set it for 4 minutes. It’ll take about 10 minutes or more for the Instant Pot to come to pressure then it’ll start to count down.
Natural release. Once the rice is done cooking, let it natural release for 15 minutes. At this point, the pressure valve may go down earlier than 15 minutes, that’s okay. Wait the full 15 minutes. If your pressure valve hasn’t gone down by 15 minutes, go ahead and manually release pressure.
Recipe Tips, Substitutions, and Variations
- Rinse the rice. Rinsing the rice helps remove the extra starch and dirtiness of the rice. It also gives you a chance to check your rice to make sure there isn’t any impurities in there that you would end up cooking! You’ll want to wash/rinse the rice at least twice, pouring out the water after each rinse.
- Use long-grain rice. As mentioned above, using a long-grain rice is best in this recipe as short-grain rice will yield a mushier texture. This isn’t to say you can’t use it, but just mentally note that.
- Don’t use the ‘rice’ setting on the Instant Pot. Manually set it yourself. It’s more accurate.
- Toasting the rice may give a ‘BURN’ warning. When making Mexican rice, people usually toast the rice before cooking to release aromatics and get a nuttier, richer flavor. If you toast the rice in the Instant Pot, you may receive a BURN warning because it’s too hot. To avoid this, do not toast the rice. If you really want to, I suggest toasting it in a skillet on the stovetop then adding to the Instant Pot.
- Add in some protein. Cooked shredded chicken or shrimp would be great protein to add to this Mexican rice!
- Add in some vegetables. If you want to add some red bell peppers, peas, and carrots, I think those would be great additions. You could add them into the pot before cooking.
- For extra flavor, use broth instead of water. I used chicken broth for more flavor. You can use vegetable broth or beef broth — whatever you have on hand. Water works too, just not as flavorful.
- Stovetop option. If you’re opting to make this on the stovetop, it’s definitely possible! All the steps are still valid for stovetop option except you would cover your pot with a lid and probably check on it more often and stir it around more. It would also take much longer on the stovetop; I would estimate about 20-25 minutes.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Once cooled to room temperature, put into a container with a lid then put it in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
To reheat, scoop out how much you want then reheat in the microwave with a damp paper towel covering it so it doesn’t dry out.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Mexican Rice
The best part of this rice is that you can serve it with ALL kinds of Mexican food to create an epic Mexican platter! Here are some ideas for you to create your own fiesta:
- Burrito Bowls
- Homemade Chicken Enchiladas
- Pork Carnitas Street Tacos
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Chipotle Chicken (Pollo Asada)
- Chipotle Garlic Guajillo Steak
Instant Pot Mexican Rice
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ¼ cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 cups long grain white rice
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- Turn the Instant Pot on sauté mode and once it is warm, add a little olive oil to the insert then add the diced onions. Cook until fragrant and translucent. Turn off the sauté mode.
- Add the garlic to cook a little while the insert is still hot. Add the chicken broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape anything stuck on the bottom of the insert. Add the seasonings and stir to incorporate. Add the tomato sauce, stir, then add the white rice and stir again.
- Place the lid of the Instant Pot on top and close it. Make sure the valve is set to SEAL. Press Manual, High pressure, then set it for 4 minutes. It'll take about 10 minutes or more for the Instant Pot to come to pressure then it'll start to count down.
- Once the rice is done cooking, let it natural release for 15 minutes. At this point, the pressure valve may go down earlier than 15 minutes, that's okay. Wait the full 15 minutes. If your pressure valve hasn't gone down by 15 minutes, go ahead and manually release pressure.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.