Restaurant style Mexican Rice is my favorite side dish with Mexican food and it's so easy in the Instant Pot!

No matter where you are, you hit up a Mexican restaurant and you get that red rice as a side. Some are better than others, but still it’s always there. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want that restaurant style Mexican rice at home, you know, when I’m making wet burritos, or lengua tacos, or carnitas.

I typically make a version of Mexican rice on the stove, but have been trying to come up with the most perfect, restaurant-like version in the Instant Pot. Because let me tell you, on the stove it takes a bit of babysitting, but in the Instant Pot? Press and go!

It take me a few trials, but now that I’ve got the process down, there’s no turning back. The rice is separate and fluffy, with just the right amount of “restaurant style flavor”.

It makes the perfect side to any taco, burritos, or whatever! I love it paired with….you guessed it, refried beans. Call me crazy, but Santa Fe dehydrated refried beans are legit. And if you’re lucky, unlike me, you can find them in your grocery store. I have to order in bulk on Amazon.

Just a quite note here about the chili powder in this recipe. I have it listed as just “chili powder”. I happen to have a very well-stocked spice situation and I have a bunch of chili powders and have used them all in this rice, from hatch, guajillo, allepo, to kashmiri, chipotle, ancho, poblano. I do realize though, that people just have “chili powder”, regular old chili powder and that works perfectly too!

They are all equally delicious and interchangeable, but be advised, if you want to mix and match, which I fully encourage, the color will change. For total vibrancy, I stick with solo Kashmiri chili powder. If you don’t care about total vibrancy, go with a bit of all of them!

Restaurant style Mexican Rice is my favorite side dish with Mexican food and it's so easy in the Instant Pot!
4.5 from 2 votes

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice – Instant Pot

Course Side Dish
Keyword Instant Pot, rice


  • oil
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⅓ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons tomato bouillon powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, your favorite flavor
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of cayenne, optional
  • salt to taste, I use 1/2 teaspoon


  1. Turn your Instant Pot/pressure cooker to saute. When the pot gets hot, add a little bit of oil. Add the rice, and stir. You want to start toasting the rice, stirring frequently – it won't take long.

    When you start to see some color, add the onion and stir. Saute the onion for another 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato sauce, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off the pot.

  2. Carefully add the water – it might spit and sputter at first. Stir, scraping the bottom to remove any bits stuck to the bottom.

    Add in all the remaining spices, tomato bouillon, tomato sauce. Stir.

  3. Place the lid on and choose the rice setting. If you do not have a rice setting, pressure on high for 10 minutes. Either way, let the pressure come down naturally for 5-10 minutes. If you forget about it and let it come down naturally all the way, no harm done, still perfect.

  4. Fluff the rice and enjoy!

Restaurant style Mexican Rice is my favorite side dish with Mexican food and it's so easy in the Instant Pot!

8 thoughts on “Restaurant Style Mexican Rice – Instant Pot”

  1. It says to add tomato sauce at two different points in the recipe. Which is correct or should it be split and added twice?

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