This Instant Pot Mexican Rice recipe offers a simple and efficient way to achieve perfectly fluffy and flavorful brown rice, making it an excellent accompaniment to various main dishes. This Mexican brown rice is vegan and gluten-free!

instant pot mexican rice in a white bowl on a wooden table

Last May, my family and I were so blessed to travel to Cancun, Mexico and we stayed at the lovely Riviera Maya Resort Hotels and had a wonderful and relaxing time there.

We enjoyed the warm and friendly people, seeing the Mayan ruins and the food were so fresh and full of flavor. I can’t wait to visit again.

One of the accompaniments to our many delicious meals during our stay was Mexican rice. Now that I am back, I absolutely had to recreate the amazing taste I experienced. 

Using the Instant Pot is such a time saver in this recipe. If you love using your Instant Pot, you’ll want to check out my Instant Pot Lentil SoupInstant Pot Jamaican Rice, and Peas, and Instant Pot Split Peas Soup!

Health Benefits of Rice

Rice is a staple food for nearly every culture. Everyone can usually think of a particular rice dish that was commonly made by their families to accompany meals or for special occasions, of course with mine being Jamaican Rice and Peas.

The reason why it is a great staple food is that it is high in carbohydrates. Carbs are demonized in our society now, but our ancestors found them to be an essential source of energy.

Our bodies need carbohydrates to function, and they are usually the easiest and cheapest food sources. Entire civilizations would go through famine and many would die because the staple crop failed, and they could not survive off of other foods.

Brown rice is the original grain when it has not been processed by having the bran and germ removed. These parts, combined with the endosperm, are what make brown rice a good energy source. This is because not only does it contain carbohydrates, it also has fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Daevyd Mexico

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Perfect Fluffy Rice: This recipe uses the Instant Pot to achieve perfectly fluffy and separate grains, avoiding the common pitfalls of sticky or mushy rice.
  • Simple Ingredients: With basic ingredients like brown rice, onion, garlic, cumin, tomato sauce, and vegetable broth, it’s easy to create a flavorful side dish.
  • Versatile Accompaniment: The mild and versatile flavor of this Mexican rice pairs well with a variety of main dishes, making it a great addition to your meal repertoire.
  • Vegan and Gluten-Free: This recipe is vegan and gluten-free, accommodating different dietary preferences and needs.

Instant Pot Mexican Rice Recipe

  • Long Grain Brown Rice: The main ingredient and source of carbohydrates, providing the base for the dish. I used the jasmine brown rice from Trader Joe’s, one of my favorites, to make this recipe. Basmati brown rice or any long-grain brown rice will also do for this simple and flavorful dish.
  • Olive Oil: Used for sautéing the onion, garlic, and cumin, enhancing the flavor and preventing sticking.
  • Onion: Adds aromatic and savory notes to the rice.
  • Garlic: Provides a mild, earthy flavor.
  • Cumin: Adds a warm and slightly smoky spice to the dish.
  • Tomato Sauce: Brings a subtle tomato flavor and contributes to the overall color and texture.
  • Vegetable Broth: Adds moisture and depth of flavor to the rice.
  • Salt: Enhances the overall taste and seasoning of the dish.

For the full list of ingredients, scroll to see the recipe card at the end of the post.

How To Cook Mexican Rice in Instant Pot

I don’t like mushy rice, and I rarely make risotto or cook with short-grain rice for that reason. I love fluffy rice, and I believe that making the perfect rice that isn’t too wet or dry, with each grain fluffy and separate, is quite an art.

So if you struggle with making rice that is fluffy and not sticky and mushy, then using the instant pot is for you!

  1. Plug your Instant Pot into the power outlet and press the Sauté setting to start heating it up. Add the olive oil, and once it is heated after a few seconds, add onion, garlic, and cumin. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Stir in the rice, and sauté for about 4 more minutes.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and stir into the mixture to coat it completely. Add vegetable broth and salt. Switch the Instant Pot to the Keep Warm/Cancel button. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid, make sure the knob is set on the Sealing position. Now, press the Manual button and the display will say ON. Click the + plus button until it is set to 22 minutes on High Pressure. You can walk away, and let the Instant Pot do its work.
  3. At the end of the 22 minutes let the Instant Pot Natural Release its pressure for 5 minutes. Then you will turn the knob to Vent, and allow it to Quick Release the remaining pressure.
  4. Once the steam fully releases, you can now open the Instant Pot. Fluff your rice with a fork (not a spoon!) and serve.

Recipe Tips

  • Rinse the brown rice thoroughly before using it. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky.
  • While your Instant Pot is doing its thing, you will hear some whistling, but do not panic; it’s quite normal.
  • Be cautious when releasing steam from the Instant Pot. Use a cloth or towel to cover the vent, as hot steam will escape. Allow natural pressure release for 5 minutes before using the quick release method.
  • After the cooking process, use a fork to fluff the Instant Pot Mexican Rice. Avoid using a spoon, which can make the rice stick together.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Vegetable Medley: Add a mix of diced bell peppers, corn, and peas to the rice for a colorful and nutritious boost.
  • Sofrito Sauce: Replace tomato sauce with homemade or store-bought sofrito sauce for a more complex and aromatic flavor.
  • Spicy Kick: For heat enthusiasts, add chopped jalapeños or a pinch of cayenne pepper to spice up the dish.
  • Black Beans: Stir in cooked black beans for a protein and fiber-packed version of Mexican rice.
  • Lime Zest: Enhance the flavor with a touch of fresh lime zest, which adds a zesty, citrusy note.
mexican rice instant pot in a white bowl

Storage Tips

Refrigerator Storage: Allow the rice to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water to maintain moisture.

Freezer Storage: If you want to store it for a longer period, cool the rice completely, portion it into freezer-safe containers or bags, and remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label with the date. The rice can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.

Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as needed.

Reheating: When reheating, you may want to add a little extra vegetable broth or water to restore the rice’s moisture, as it can dry out during storage.

Serving Suggestions

Because this Mexican brown rice doesn’t have an overpowering taste, whatever main dish you serve will be the focus of your meal! It is delicious served with my Jackfruit Carnitas and Guacamole.

Recipe FAQs

Why do I need an Instant Pot?

I’m using my Instant Pot almost on a daily basis; apart from my blender, it is now my most frequently used kitchen gadget. If you are busy, which most moms are, then having an Instant Pot is a great idea. You can set the Instant Pot and go attend to something else. It even keeps the dish warm for hours!

Is Mexican rice healthy?

Yes, this Instant Pot Mexican Rice is a healthy dish, as it primarily consists of long grain brown rice and includes vegetable broth and a small amount of olive oil. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, making it a nutritious and versatile side dish.

Can I use regular white rice instead of long grain brown rice?

Long grain brown rice is recommended for its nutritional value, but white rice can be used as a substitute. Keep in mind the cooking time and liquid requirements will be different, so adjust accordingly.

What can I use instead of vegetable broth?

You can use water with a vegetable bouillon cube or powder as a replacement for vegetable broth.

Other Instant Pot Recipes

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Nutrition

(Per 100g)
  • Energy: 219 kcal / 915 kJ
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Carbs: 388 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 5 min
  • Cooking: 22 min
  • Ready in: 27 min
  • For: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Plug your Instant Pot into the power outlet and press the Sauté setting to start heating it up. Add the olive oil, and once it is heated after a few seconds, add onion, garlic, and cumin. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Stir in the rice, and sauté for about 4 more minutes.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and stir into the mixture to coat it completely. Add vegetable broth and salt. Switch the Instant Pot to the Keep Warm/Cancel button. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid, make sure the knob is set on the Sealing position. Now, press the Manual button and the display will say ON. Click the + plus button until it is set to 22 minutes on High Pressure. You can walk away, and let the Instant Pot do its work.
  3. You will hear some whistling, but do not panic, it's quite normal. At the end of the 22 minutes let the Instant Pot Natural Release its pressure for 5 minutes. Then you will turn the knob to Vent, and allow it to Quick Release the remaining pressure. I usually carefully put a damp dishcloth over the vent as the final steam releases.
  4. Once the steam fully releases, you can now open the Instant Pot. Fluff your rice with a fork (not a spoon!) and serve.

Notes

    • Rinse the brown rice thoroughly before using it. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky.
    • While your Instant Pot is doing its thing, you will hear some whistling, but do not panic; it’s quite normal.
    • Be cautious when releasing steam from the Instant Pot. Use a cloth or towel to cover the vent, as hot steam will escape. Allow natural pressure release for 5 minutes before using the quick release method.
    • After the cooking process, use a fork to fluff the Instant Pot Mexican Rice. Avoid using a spoon, which can make the rice stick together.
  • Intant Pot Mexican Rice
      • Rinse the brown rice thoroughly before using it. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky.
      • While your Instant Pot is doing its thing, you will hear some whistling, but do not panic; it’s quite normal.
      • Be cautious when releasing steam from the Instant Pot. Use a cloth or towel to cover the vent, as hot steam will escape. Allow natural pressure release for 5 minutes before using the quick release method.
      • After the cooking process, use a fork to fluff the Instant Pot Mexican Rice. Avoid using a spoon, which can make the rice stick together.
    • Intant Pot Mexican Rice
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.