Seriously flavorful Instant Pot Mexican Rice is absolutely perfect as a vegetarian side, with tacos, as a filling for burritos and quesadillas or just by itself. We added corn and bell peppers so that this can also double up as a main. And the instant pot really takes the work out of making Mexican Rice at home.
Did I tell you about the time we went to Mexico and ate real mexican food? Which was awesome. All the tacos in the world! Lots of grilled meats and I think the best Bloody Mary I've had so far! And there was a lot of mexican rice - a humble side dish that sits around to be paired with other things, and it's really simple to taste but still delicious. Just an underlying hint of spice from jalapenos and tomato flavored rice.
But we like our food spicy, and I wanted this Mexican rice to stand out on it's own. So while this might not be the most authentic recipe, but it's so good! It's flavorful, spicy and we added corn and bell peppers to make it more hearty.
P.S. If you don't have an instant pot, we have instructions to make this mexican rice on the stovetop and in a traditional pressure cooker too. But we love our instant pot and use it everyday. Here's the instant pot we have if you want to check it out.
Quick Walk Through: Instant Pot Mexican Rice
An authentic mexican rice recipe (or Arroz Rojo) uses a very simple list of ingredients - onions, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro to flavor the rice. But we've decided to really spice things up here so that this instant pot mexican rice can also be served as a main if you wish. The flavor in this recipe comes from chipotle peppers, fresh tomato puree, cumin, garlic and peppers.
My version of Instant Pot Mexican Rice uses some ground chipotle chillies and cumin to spice this up. The chipotle adds a smoky flavor that's really hard to beat. The key to well cooked, fluffy rice is to roast the rice before cooking. And that's a trick I use every time I make rice - its the same trick I've used in vegetable pulao and jeera rice. It ensures that you have soft, fluffy rice every single time. It also adds a beautiful nutty flavor to rice and lentils.
Making rice in a pressure cooker
It's important to know the right ratio of rice to liquid while making rice in a pressure cooker which is 1:2. That's really all there is to it. In some cases, like this recipe the ratio will change slightly depending on the ingredients of the recipe. I love using the instant pot because it really locks in the liquid and flavor and doesn't let too much escape in comparison to a traditional pressure cooker.
Reheating Mexican Rice
It's easy to reheat Mexican rice. To re-heat in a microwave, just sprinkle a tablespoon or two of water all over the rice and microwave it for 1-2 minutes until heated through. The water creates steam which prevents the rice from drying out. If you are re-heating the entire batch, you can use the oven. Sprinkle a little water over the rice, and place the bowl of rice in a 150C/300F oven for 15-20 minutes.
Ingredients You'll need to make Instant Pot Mexican Rice
- Oil: Any cooking oil of your choice, such as vegetable oil or olive oil, works well in this recipe. Make sure to use neutral oils that don’t overpower the dish.
- Garlic cloves, Onions: Fresh garlic and onions are the aromatics used in this dish. They add a savoury flavour to the dish.
- Chipotle Chilli Powder: Ground chipotle chilli powder offers a smoky and moderately spicy kick to the dish.
- Basmati Rice or Long Grain Rice: Either basmati rice or long grain rice works perfectly, providing a fluffy and fragrant base for the dish.
- Tomato Puree: Tomato puree adds a rich and tangy element to the recipe. You can use homemade or store-bought. If making tomato puree at home, remember to deseed the tomatoes.
- Corn Kernels, Bell Peppers: Brings a delightful sweetness and pleasant crunch to the dish.
- Cumin Powder: Roasted cumin powder adds a warm and earthy flavour that complements the other spices in the dish.
- Vegetable Stock: Vegetable stock serves as a flavourful liquid base, enhancing the overall taste and providing a savoury undertone. You can replace it with water but I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Sour Cream: Creamy and tangy sour cream is a delightful topping that adds a cool and refreshing element is the perfect side to this dish.
How to make Instant Pot Mexican Rice
1. Switch on the Instant Pot and turn on the SAUTE function. Heat oil in the IP, add onions and garlic and cook stirring for 1-2 minutes till the onions are translucent. Add rice and stir to coat the rice with the oil and onion mix. Roast the rice for at least 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add chipotle powder, sweet corn and mix to combine. Sauce for 1-2 minutes until the raw aroma goes.
3. Add tomato puree, cumin powder, stock and salt. Mix to combine.
4. Give it a stir and close the IP and set it on MANUAL for 8 minutes.
5. Once the 8-minute timer goes off, wait for five minutes and then release the pressure manually. Gently stir in the bell peppers.
6. Close the lid again for 10 minutes. This will help steam and cook the peppers while keeping them crunchy. Top with chopped coriander and sour cream to serve.
Top Tips To Make the Best Mexican Rice
- Although this Mexican rice is spicy, you can always adjust the spice levels according to your tolerance or are making it for kids.
- If you have some time, I would highly recommend letting the rice to drain for a few minutes (just leave it on a fine-meshed seive) before sautéing it. This will allow the spices to stick better to the rice for even more flavorful results.
We make a big pot of this Mexican Rice in our instant pot and use it for everything - in chicken fajita quesadillas , as a filling in enchiladas and tacos and even as a dinner side with some chicken shawarma, grilled chicken or sautéed veggies! I love making this as a side whenever I am hosting a game night. Some store-bought nacho chips, a quick roasted tomato salsa and this delicious Mexican rice make a this a meal everyone love!
Watch how to make Instant Pot Mexican Rice Recipe Video
Instant Pot Mexican Rice with Corn and Bell Peppers
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- ¾ cup Onions finely chopped
- 3 Garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoon Chipotle Chilli Powder ground
- 1 cup Basmati Rice or long grain Rice
- 1 cup Tomato Puree see Note 1
- ¾ cup Corn Kernels fresh or frozen
- 1 cup Bell Peppers cut into juliennes (we used a mix of red, yellow and green)
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder roasted
- 1 ½ cups Vegetable Stock
- 1 ½ teaspoon Salt
- Sour Cream and chopped Coriander leaves for topping
- Switch on the Instant Pot and turn on the saute function. Heat oil in the IP, add onions and garlic and cook stirring for 1-2 minutes till the onions are translucent.
- Add chipotle powder and rice and stir to coat the rice with the oil and onion mix. Roast the rice for at least 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add sweet corn, tomato puree, stock, cumin powder and salt. Give it a stir and close the IP and set on manual for 8 minutes.
- Once the 8 minute timer goes off, wait for five minutes and then release pressure manually. Gently stir in the bell peppers and close the lid again for 10 minutes. This will help steam and cook the peppers, while keeping them crunchy. Top with chopped coriander and sour cream to serve.
- Tomato Puree: To make tomato puree, add two medium sized tomatoes to a food processor, and process to a puree. Alternatively, you can also use ¾ cup store bought tomato puree. Store bought puree is denser and more concentrated so we'll use a little less.
- Brown Rice Mexican Rice: You can also use short grain brown rice to make mexican rice. For brown rice, increase the amount of vegetable stock to 2 cups, and pressure cook for 20 minutes.
- Stovetop Pressure Cooker: To cook the same recipe in a stove top pressure cooker, cook for 3 whistles and then take off heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes to let the pressure release by itself. Stir in bell peppers and cover and let it sit again for 10 minutes to let the peppers cook.
- Stovetop Method: To cook mexican rice on the stove, cook it covered on medium heat till it starts to boil and then on low for 12 minutes. Switch off the flame and leave the rice covered for another 10 minutes. Fluff up with fork