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Spicy Mexican Rice Recipe: A Sizzling Side Dish of Zesty Rice

Spicy Mexican rice is a flavorful and satisfying side dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy week night recipe or a delicious side dish to bring to a potluck for Cinco de Mayo, this recipe is sure to impress.

The spicy rice is made with jalapeño peppers, sweet peppers, flavorful spices and long grain fluffy rice. It is bursting with zesty flavor and a satisfying kick of heat.

Are you ready to find out how to make spicy Mexican rice? Keep reading to find out how to make this easy Mexican rice side dish that is ready in less than 30 minutes.

Spicy Mexican Rice on a white plate

How to make rice spicy

Turning plain white rice into a Mexican rice side dish is easier than you might think. Start with long grain white rice. This type of rice is fluffy, and has a mild flavor that will act as a base for the spices but won’t overpower them.

The key to making spicy Mexican rice is using the right spices. Cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper are all essential for creating the bold and zesty flavor of this dish.

Be sure to use fresh ingredients, rather than canned, which can become mushy and affect the texture of the rice. Bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and fresh garlic add depth, freshness and complexity to your rice.

Let’s make the spicy Mexican rice

rice, onions and garlic in a frying pan with a wooden spoonAdd the olive oil and butter to a non stick frying pan and heat. Stir in the long grain rice and chopped onions and garlic.

Cook gently until the rice is starting to get browned and the vegetables are tender.

rice ingredients cooking in a black frying panStir in the diced tomatoes, red and green peppers, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and diced jalapenos.   Season with salt and cayenne pepper.

The flavors will start to combine and the aroma will tempt you to sample the mixture.

Stir in the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15-17 minutes until the rice is tender.

Spicy Mexican rice with cheese

After cooking, let the rice sit for five minutes before fluffing it with a fork. This will make sure that the rice is evenly cooked and has as fluffy texture.

Some shredded Cheddar cheese will add a nice amount of decadence to the dish. 

Stir in the cheese and transfer the mixture to a serving dish. 

Spicy Mexican rice side dish with peppers

I served this with my cheeseburger taco wraps and it made a great combination. The meal felt like we had gone out for our local take out but it all came from my own kitchen.

Add a tossed salad and you have a tasty meal in 30 minutes or less.

Share this recipe for spiced Mexican rice on Twitter

If you enjoyed this Mexican spicy side dish recipe, be sure to share it with a friend. Here is a tweet to get you started:

Ready for a flavor fiesta? Try our Spicy Mexican Rice recipe and enjoy a zesty kick of bold spices, fresh veggies, and fluffy rice! Perfect for a quick light meal or easy Mexican side dish. #MexicanCuisine #RiceRecipe #SpicyFood Click To Tweet

More Mexican recipes to try for Cinco de Mayo

Get ready to fiesta with some more delicious recipes for Cinco de Mayo! From classic dishes like chili, enchiladas and taco wraps to unique twists on traditional favorites, these recipes are sure to add some flavor and fun to your celebration. 

Pin this spicy Mexican Rice for later

Would you like a reminder of how to make rice spicy?  Just pin this photo to one of your International cooking boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.Rice with vegetables and garlic, and peppers in a collage with words Spicy Mexican Rice Side Dish.

Yield: 6

Mexican Spicy Rice

Mexican Spicy Rice

Are you craving the taste of Mexican rice from your favorite Mexican restaurant? No need to go out or have take out.

Why not make your own spicy Mexican dish? It's perfect for a busy weeknight and great to bring to a Cinco de Mayo party.

Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green and red bell pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small can pf diced jalapeno chiles (other red chilis work well too)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I used Cabot 40% reduced fat cheddar)


  1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the rice, onion, peppers, and garlic.
  2. Cook until the rice is browned and vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir in the water, diced tomatoes, jalapeno chilis, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and salt and bring to a boil. Season with pepper to taste.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 15 to 17 minutes.
  5. Let the rice sit for 5 minutes before fluffing it with a fork.
  6. Stir in the cheddar cheese and transfer to a serving bowl.


Other nice additions to this rice are some canned beans and frozen corn kernels.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 177Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 511mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g

Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.

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