Restaurant-style Mexican brown rice

We have a family favorite when it comes to Mexican restaurants. It’s a locally-owned place that has been in operation here in Tucson since 1922, believe it or not. How’s that for longevity, right? I have several favorite menu items and I enjoy the freedom of deciding between them based on what I’m feeling during any given visit. If I want something light I usually go with the soft tacos. If ‘m extra hungry I get the Numero Dos combo. And if I’m craving something creamy there is no choice but the chicken enchiladas with cremosa sauce. They’re all equally delicious options made all the better by the fact that each is served with a hearty helping of Mexican rice and refried beans. If you ask me, the sides are nearly as yummy as the main dish.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I searched high and low for a rice recipe that mimics what is served on my plate when we eat out. There was a caveat, though. I make it a point to avoid eating white rice because it offers absolutely zero nutritional value and the human body doesn’t even know how to process it. Brown rice is a suitable alternative and so I needed a restaurant-style Mexican rice that calls for brown rice instead of white. The bad news is that I didn’t find one that was perfect to my taste. The good news is that I tested and fine-tuned several recipes and came up with a version that I am very happy with.

The best recipe I've found for restaurant-style Mexican rice made with brown rice instead of white

This dish offers similar flavor and texture to what I get at my favorite restaurant, and because it uses brown rice, I don’t feel too guilty about eating it and serving it to my family. It makes the perfect side when Mexican makes a menu appearance at our house.

Restaurant Style Mexican Brown Rice

Restaurant-style Mexican brown rice


  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium jalapenos, ribbed, seeded and minced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Place rice in a medium bowl and add enough water to completely cover the rice. Set aside and allow rice to soak for at least fifteen minutes. When it has finished soaking, rinse in a mesh colander and shake off as much water as possible. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, add onions and tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Process the onions and tomatoes until they are thoroughly pureed with no large chunks remaining. Pour the onion/tomato mixture into a glass measuring cup. There should be close to two cups of liquid. If you are short, add enough water to the mixture to measure two cups. Set aside.
  4. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add oil and spread it around the pan. Add the rice to the pan and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, until the rice is golden. Add the jalapeños and garlic to the pan and cook until just fragrant, about one minute. Pour the pureed tomato and onion mixture into the pan. Add chicken stock, tomato paste, corn and salt. Stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and remove from stove. Place covered skillet in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

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The best recipe I've found for restaurant-style Mexican rice made with brown rice instead of white

SOURCE: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.

For more Mexican menu inspiration, check out:

 Cheesy chicken, corn and green chile pasta bake

Cheesy chicken, corn and green chile pasta bake

 Bacon & pineapple nachos with bbq salsa

Bacon & Pineapple Nachos with Bbq Salsa


  1. I look forward to trying this. I’ve never found a Mexican rice recipe that suits me.

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