This Instant Pot Mexican Rice recipe is packed with flavor and incredibly easy to make. Using just a few staple pantry ingredients, this Mexican rice is extremely versatile, making it the perfect side dish for all of your favorite Mexican recipes!
If you had to ask me what my favorite type of food is. Without even gasping another breath, I'll quickly yell out CHEESECAKE! However, if you were to ask me what my favorite type of cuisine is then I would tell you Mexican food time and time again (partly because cheesecake is not a cuisine, but mostly because it's SO GOOD).
One of the main reasons why Mexican food is hands down, my favorite type of cuisine is because every single dish is packed with flavor. My taste buds have never met a dull Mexican dish (cooked properly) and that says a lot because I've eaten out at Mexican restaurants more times than I can even count (before any margaritas).
Whether I'm feelin' classy and dining at a more high class Mexican restaurant, or keeping is casual for happy hour, one thing remains constant, and that is that the Mexican Rice compliments every single dish.
One thing that I've loved about celebrating different occasions with Vanessa's side of the family is that you can always guarantee there is going to be FOOD. So much of it, and all so soooo good.
For the past few years, I've had the pleasure of helping Vanessa's mom in the kitchen to prep the delicious spreads and that is when she taught me how to make Mexican Rice. I was honestly so shocked at how simple it truly was. I owe that party to the fact that such a flavor side dish required such basic pantry staple ingredients!
I didn't think the process could get much easier, until the Instant Pot stepped in and said: challenge accepted!
How to make Mexican Rice in an Instant Pot (it's so easy!)
This super easy Instant Pot method, takes the steps of the traditional stovetop Mexican Rice recipe and tweaks them to save you even more cooking and prep time (which = more time to sip on your margarita). The ingredients remain the same however.
- Long grain white rice
- Diced onion
- Chicken broth
- Tomato sauce (canned)
- Minced Garlic
You'll also use olive oil spray or any other low calorie cooking spray that you prefer.
Step by Step (with pictures)
- Begin by turning your Instant Pot on to sauté mode - "normal". If your Instant Pot/pressure cooker does not have a sauté feature then these following steps will be done on the stove top (medium heat) and work just as well! Spray the inner pot with cooking spray. Allow instant Pot to display "hot" which means that it has reached the ideal temperature. Begin to sauté the diced onions for about 1 minute and then add the rice. Continue to sauté for an additional 5 minutes or until the rice has browned slightly. *safety tip* ensure the lid is not ever on the Instant Pot when the sauté feature is being used.
2. Turn Instant Pot OFF to disable sauté feature. Pour in the chicken broth, tomato sauce, minced garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix to combine and then place lid on the Instant Pot. Ensure the pressure release handle is turned to "sealing" and set to pressure cook on HIGH pressure for 4 minutes.
3. The instant pot will take a few minutes to build pressure and then the timer will begin to display when it is actually ready to begin pressure cooking and counting down. Once rice has finished cooking, allow the pressure cooker to naturally release for about 20 minutes before turning the pressure valve to quickly release any remaining steam.
4. Give the cooked rice a gentle stir and serve alongside your favorite Mexican dish! You can opt to top the rice with cilantro if that's your thing! (the more flavor, the better has always really been my vibe)
Do I need to use natural release on my Instant Pot when cooking rice?
While it's not mandatory to allow the Instant Pot to naturally release the pressure for your cooked rice, I highly suggest it. At least for 10 minutes for white rice and 20 minutes for brown rice. This allows the rice time to fully absorb the liquid and gives it that light and fluffy texture. Now if you're in an absolute hurry, then using the quick release function will do, however the rice may have a slightly harder texture.
Instant Pot Fluid to Rice Ratio
Another thing that I LOVE about cooking rice in an Instant Pot is that there is no guess work needed when calculating how much fluid to use. It's always a 1:1 ratio no matter which type of rice you begin with. The reason is because the fluid does not evaporate like it would on a stove top.
Brown Rice? 1:1 ratio. Jasmine Rice? 1:1 ratio. The list really goes on. The exceptions to this rule will be wild rice which uses a 1:2 ratio and if you plan to sub with quinoa then you'll do a 1:1.25-1.5 grain to fluid ratio.
I truly couldn't wrap my mind around using a 1:1 ratio in the beginning because prior to using an Instant Pot, that was something that I wasn't used to. In fact, I was SO in denial the first time, that I ended up using 1.5 cups of fluid and....ended up throwing away a mushy mess 😅. Note to self: the rice will not burn. Trust the process.
Can I use Subsitutes for this Mexican Rice Recipe?
Absolutely! Feel free to sub brown rice for this recipe following all of the same steps and using a 1:1 grain to fluid ratio. If you plan to use quinoa, then the steps will be the same except you will use 1.5 cups of water instead.
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