Learn how to make Vegan Mexican Rice in a rice cooker! This restaurant-worthy side dish is flavorful, easy to make, and as close to the authentic version as possible. Stovetop instructions included.
This is the best Vegan Mexican Rice recipe! Not only is it a perfect fit for Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo, but it also pairs perfectly next to Vegan Crunchwrap Supremes or stuffed into Vegan Burritos year-round. The dish is cooked almost entirely in a rice cooker, keeping the process as simple and stress-free as possible.
Once you try rice cooker Mexican rice, you’ll never go back to the stovetop version because:
- Cleanup is easy
- It makes the recipe almost completely hands-off
- All you need to do is set it and forget it!
It gives you so much more time to prepare your vegan taco meat for the taco feast and a street corn salad to serve on the side. Thankfully, even if you don’t own a rice cooker, making vegan Mexican rice on the stove is still simple and easy.
Mexican rice vs. Spanish rice
Mexican rice and Spanish rice are often thought of as being the same, but, according to Mashed, there are a few subtle differences between the two:
- Authentic Spanish rice is made with saffron. This earthy spice is what gives the rice its signature yellow color. Mexican rice is seasoned with classic Mexican spices (like cumin and diced chili peppers) and gets its orange-red color from tomato sauce.
- Both recipes are made with long grain white rice, but Spanish rice is much more hearty than soft, melt in your mouth Mexican rice.
What is Mexican rice made of?
- Long grain white rice - White basmati rice or jasmine rice are the best kinds of rice to use in a Mexican rice recipe. They’re both soft, easy to cook, and turn out light and fluffy. You can use brown rice if that’s all you have but it will require more liquid and a longer cooking time.
- Spices - Cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt will give the rice its authentic flavor.
- Diced green chilies - Canned green chilies are usually easy to find in most major grocery stores. They’ll add a little spice and texture to the rice, but feel free to leave them out if you want or substitute them for Rotel tomatoes or salsa.
- Tomato sauce - No substitutions here! Tomato sauce is necessary for an authentic flavor, color, and texture.
- Vegan chicken broth - Some traditional Mexican rice recipes are made using regular chicken broth, which is why I love using no chicken bouillon paste in this recipe. Vegetable broth works just as well.
How to make Mexican rice in a rice cooker
An inexpensive rice cooker is the secret to making this Mexican side dish so easy and hands-off. Here’s how it’s done:
- Toast the rice: Place the rice, oil, and vegan butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Toast the rice until the grains are golden.
- Cook everything in the rice cooker: Transfer the toasted rice to a rice cooker. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook.
- Season and serve: Once it’s ready, fluff the cooked rice with a fork and season with salt and vegan butter if needed. Serve with fresh cilantro on top and enjoy! For full ingredients and instructions see printable recipe card below.
- Toast the rice with oil and vegan butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture up to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork once it’s cooked through and season with more salt and vegan butter. Serve with fresh cilantro on top and enjoy!
Tips for success
- There’s no need to rinse the rice before adding it to the skillet, saucepan, or rice cooker. Toasting the rice first gives it a great color, flavor, and texture.
- Looking for oil free Mexican rice? Skip toasting the rice in oil and butter and substitute vegan chicken bouillon for oil free bouillon paste or vegetable broth instead. Lastly, rinse the rice really well with water first so it softens easily, removes starch so grains don't stick together once cooked.
- Add diced Roma tomatoes, sauteed onions and bell peppers, cooked black beans, or a diced jalapeno to the cooked rice for more texture.
- This recipe makes enough for about 6 people, but it can easily be doubled if you’re serving a crowd.
- The leftovers store well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Serve your vegan Mexican rice with these recipes and more:
Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print