Did you know that you can make Mexican rice in a rice cooker? It’s simple! Everything cooks together for an easy and delicious side dish!

A bowl of rice
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I love the flavor of Mexican-style rice, with diced onion, tomatoes, and plenty of garlic. It’s a great side dish with tacos or you can use it as a base for taco bowls! The best part is you can make Mexican rice in a rice cooker!

While this rice reminds me of the side dish I get at my favorite local Mexican restaurants, I wouldn’t call this authentic Mexican rice, as I’m sure Mexican rice is not traditionally made in a rice cooker. I know there are lots of different ways to make it, but this is my personal favorite because it’s so easy! This rice may also be called Spanish rice or red rice. Whatever you call it, it’s perfect as a side dish for tacos!

How to Make Mexican Rice in a Rice Cooker

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Microwave the onion and garlic for 3 minutes to soften the onion and tame the flavors. Add the rice, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, tomato paste, and salt to the rice cooker. Stir until combined.

mexican style rice in a rice cooker

Cook until the rice is fluffy and the broth has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and you’re ready to serve it!

rice in a rice cooker

The Best Rice Cooker for Mexican Rice

I have an older rice cooker that is pretty basic. (It’s similar to this one.) It only has two settings: cook and keep warm. The sensor in the bottom determines how much moisture is left in the rice cooker, so it can tell how long to cook the rice.

Luckily, just about any model of rice cooker should work for this recipe. Just be sure the stir the ingredients together before cooking, to prevent any burning.

How to Store Leftover Rice

Store leftover rice in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

rice in a bowl on a cutting board

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

  • I like Edward & Son’s “Not Chicken” Broth. It adds lots of flavor with clean ingredients.
  • I recommend buying tomato paste in a tube, so you can easily use a couple of tablespoons at a time. If using canned tomato paste, consider freezing the leftovers for future recipes.
  • You can substitute brown rice in this recipe if desired.
  • Microwaving the onion and garlic helps mellow the flavors and soften the onion. Do not skip this step.

Looking for more ways to use your rice cooker? Switch things up and try this Cilantro Lime Rice or a full meal, you can make rice and beans in your rice cooker!

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Rice Cooker Mexican Rice

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 66 reviews
  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Rice Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Did you know that you can make Mexican rice in a rice cooker? It’s simple! Everything cooks together for an easy and delicious side dish!


Units Scale
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste depending on broth)


  1. Place the onion and garlic in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Microwave the onion and garlic for 2 minutes, to soften the onion and mellow the flavors.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, rice, broth, and tomato paste to the rice cooker. Add salt if desired. Stir until combined.
  4. Cook in the rice cooker until the broth has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Looking for a recipe to pair with your Mexican rice? Here are a few suggestions!

Oven Baked Tacos

oven baked tacos

Vegan Potato Tacos

vegan potato taco