Mexican Brown Rice (Only 5 Ingredients!)
Super easy and flavorful, 5-ingredient Mexican brown rice is made in one skillet with quick-cooking rice, corn, black beans, and salsa. Not only is this brown rice recipe tasty, but it can be on the dinner table in just 15 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights! Add your favorite toppings and enjoy this hearty Mexican-inspired side dish served with fish tacos or chicken fajitas.
easy Mexican brown rice
5 ingredients + 15 minutes = fiesta time!! Thanks to quick-cooking brown rice for helping me create a healthy, crowd-pleasing dinner in a flash. This brown rice recipe is SO simple and so good. The flavors that salsa, avocado, fresh cilantro and slightly tart citrusy lime add to the rice make this Mexican rice dish fresh, colorful and tasty!
This homemade Mexican rice is way more delicious than anything you’d find at a restaurant. This version probably has much less sodium, oil and fat too! It’s also way more economical to make your own. So, let’s get to the details!
This Mexican rice recipe uses common ingredients that are easy to find. Here’s the lineup:
- Corn. Corn adds a bit of crunch and sweetness. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn for this dish.
- Black beans. The recipe calls for black, but feel free to use any beans you’d like. Kidney beans or pinto beans would also work great.
- Brown rice. I typically use whole grain brown rice Minute Ready to Serve Rice that come in the little cups, but Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice is a great choice too. You can even use leftover cooked rice and if you’d prefer white rice, that works too.
- Chili powder. You’ll definitely get most of the flavor in this dish from the salsa, but I like to add a small amount of chili powder for a smoky taste.
- Salsa. This is where all of your flavor will come from, so use any salsa that you love. You could even try making my homemade salsa (a reader favorite!).
- Toppings. We like to top this Mexican rice with avocado, cilantro and lime, but you can leave the toppings off or choose any preferred garnish.
how to make Mexican brown rice
Making this rice dish couldn’t be any easier. All you need to do is toss everything into a skillet and give it a quick sauté. Here’s a rundown of how to make this recipe:
- Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn and black beans and cook until corn is tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add quick-cooking (or 3 cups cooked) rice and chili powder; stir to combine. Frequently stir mixture and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in salsa and continue cooking until all ingredients are combined and warmed through, about 2 minutes.
- Remove skillet from heat and let the dish cool for about 5 minutes, then garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado and a drizzle of lime juice.
watch the video to see this easy Mexican brown rice recipe
Mexican rice easily pairs with a variety of protein options and Mexican dishes. Serve it on the side or make a burrito bowl with some seasoned chicken, black beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo! Here’s some other delicious pairing options:
We also love this as a main dish served over a bed of lettuce and digging in tortilla chips! Don’t forget the cilantro and avocado, if you know what’s good for you! Yummo!
While this dish is fabulous as-is, you can absolutely add other ingredients to use what you have available and customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Protein. Top the rice with baked or grilled chicken or stir shredded rotisserie chicken into the mix as the rice is cooking.
- Vegetables. Feel free to add some veggies to the mix. Spinach, zucchini, sliced black olives, roasted bell peppers, diced tomatoes, or green chilies would all be great.
- Swap the rice. Really, whatever rice variety you have on hand will work – brown, white, jasmine, wild are all great choices.
- Cheese. Try topping the cooked rice dish with shredded Mexican-blend cheese and then broil the skillet for a couple of minutes and until the cheese gets melty. Yum!
storing and freezing recommendations
This is a great make-ahead dish because it will keep well in the fridge for up to about 5 days. And then through the week, you can use it to make burrito bowls or as sides for other meals you make. If you plan to have leftovers, I would not top the entire dish with avocado and cilantro because the avocado will begin to brown and the cilantro will wilt after about a day in the fridge.
- Storing leftovers. Place any leftover brown rice in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days.
- To reheat. Pop it in the microwave and cook for 30 second intervals until warm. You can also give it a quick stir in a saucepan or skillet on the stovetop.
- Freezing. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or a freezer-safe baggie in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
If you try this easy Mexican brown rice recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Super easy and flavorful, 5-ingredient Mexican brown rice is made in one skillet with quick-cooking rice, corn, black beans, and salsa. Not only is this brown rice recipe tasty, but it can be on the dinner table in just 15 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights! Add your favorite toppings and enjoy this hearty Mexican-inspired side dish served with your favorite Mexican meal.
- 1 1/2 cups corn, frozen or fresh
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups quick-cooking brown rice or cooked brown rice (I usually use Minute Ready to Serve Rice from the cups)*
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 cup salsa (jarred or homemade works)
- Optional to garnish; fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and/or diced avocado or guacamole
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn and black beans and cook until corn is tender, about 3 minutes.
Add brown rice and chili powder and stir to combine. Cook; stirring constantly, about 3 minutes (less time if you're using already cooked rice). If using a boxed Minute Rice that requires water, add the water.
Stir in salsa and cook until everything is combined and warmed through, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool for 5 - 10 minutes, then garnish with cilantro, avocado and a squeeze of lime juice, if desired. Serve as a main meal or alongside tacos, enchiladas or fajitas. Also, wonderful as a vegan burrito filling.
*You can sub brown rice with leftover or quick-cooking white rice, if preferred.
Storing leftovers. Place any leftover brown rice in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days.
To reheat. Pop it in the microwave and cook for 30 second intervals until warm. You can also give it a quick stir in a saucepan or skillet on the stovetop.
Freezing. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or a freezer-safe baggie in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Photos by Molly at Yes to Yolks.
This recipe was originally published August 2015. It was updated with new content and photos January 2021.