It’s impossible to enjoy Taco Tuesday without an authentic side dish of Mexican-inspired rice. Bright, colourful and aromatic, this quick and easy one-pot Mexican rice casserole recipe will have your family licking the bowl clean and asking for more. Not only does this recipe make clean-up time faster, but it’s also full of delicious vegetables that even your kids will enjoy during your busy weeknights.

While this recipe is vegetarian-friendly, it can easily be modified for meat lovers and vegans by switching a few simple ingredients. If you’re really short on time, you can substitute fresh vegetables for frozen ones. You can also buy pre-shredded cheese and still enjoy the same authentic Mexican food flavours of Puerto Vallarta.

Which rice should I use to make a Mexican rice casserole?

For this recipe, you should use long-grain white Basmati Rice. Basmati white rice is more fluffy and less sticky than other types of rice. It is the ideal rice to make stir-fries, curries and casseroles, as it is less starchy and gives you that perfect flaky texture.

However, if you want to add more fibre and iron to your diet, you might choose long grain brown rice. It is slightly chewier but retains the same flakiness as Basmati. While you’ll still be able to enjoy a good, hearty Mexican casserole, using brown rice means your recipe will need to boil a little longer. Because the grain’s bran is intact, it requires longer cooking time, and you will need to adjust accordingly.

Can I make this recipe using a rice cooker?

While the one-pot recipe won’t require washing various pots and pans at the end of the day, you can easily make a Mexican rice casserole using a rice cooker. A rice cooker is the simplest way to get that perfect rice every time. You don’t have to worry about burning the bottom or adding liquid to achieve the desired texture. In fact, you don’t even have to check up on it every few minutes.

You can pre-make a batch of rice in your rice cooker and then add the cooked rice to the recipe. Furthermore, you’ll need to omit the vegetable broth from the list of ingredients and reduce cooking time to approximately 10 minutes until all ingredients are well blended.

What can I serve with a Mexican rice casserole?

You can serve this tasty Mexican casserole with any other Mexican recipes to stay in the Mexican flavours. You can make Mexican stuffed peppers, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, fajitas, or tortilla chips. It’s also a great addition to any weekend meal. Whether you’re serving roasted chicken or sirloin steak and salad, a Mexican rice side dish will provide that little touch of southern heat. Mexican rice casserole can also be an all-in-one meal.

Mexican Rice Casserole

a mexican rice casserole served in a bowl


  • 1 tbsp Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 small Zucchini, sliced
  • 1 Cup Corn Kernels, or frozen corn if you don't have corn kernels
  • 1 (14 oz) can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Cup Dainty Basmati Rice
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • ½ tsp Oregano
  • ½ Vegetable Broth
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ Cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped



In a saucepan, heat the virgin olive oil over high heat. Add yellow onion, garlic and red bell pepper. Stir frequently until yellow onions have softened and are translucent, about 3 minutes.


Stir in zucchini, corn and black beans until tender, about 2-3 minutes. You can add frozen corn, it will thaw in less than a minute!


Stir in diced tomatoes, Basmati rice, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano vegetable broth, kosher salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, bring to medium heat and simmer until rice is cooked and tender. About 15-20 minutes.


Sprinkle cheddar cheese until melted, about 2 minutes.


Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.

Is Mexican rice casserole considered healthy?

This recipe is chock-full of healthy vegetables and can be modified according to your liking. You can also put your personal spin on it and use any leftover vegetables found in your fridge to get even more amazing flavours. Switching the vegetables might require minor adjustments to the cooking time, but adding a little liquid should keep all the ingredients tender until cooked.

However, if you’re lactose intolerant, you’ll need to substitute the cheese with lactose-free cheese. If you’re watching your calorie intake, remember that cheddar cheese is high in fat. So you might need to reduce the amount called for. But, if you’re still craving that gooey, cheesy texture, dust your tasty casserole with some fresh Parmesan cheese and enjoy your delicious meal.

Vegan substitute

If you follow a plant-based diet, luckily, most of the ingredients in this Mexican rice casserole are vegan-friendly. You can even add green chiles if you appreciate spicy dishes. While you can decide not to add cheese altogether, the texture won’t be the same, and it is best to replace it with your own substitute. One option is to buy vegan, plant-based cheese at your local health food store and add vegan cheese to your Mexican casserole dish, so you will have a complete vegan meal.

Meat-friendly option

Ground meat is a beneficial ingredient to have on hand for days when you’re short on time and want to whip up something quick in the kitchen. No chopping is required, it goes well with almost anything, and is full of protein, which keeps you full for longer. You can make this ground beef recipe using ½ pound of lean ground beef.

Add it with the yellow onion, garlic, and red bell pepper, and let it brown for 2–3 minutes until the beef is no longer pink. However, to get a rich, flavourful Mexican casserole, you might need to increase the measurements of dried spices to compensate for the addition of the meat.

How long will Mexican rice casserole last?

This recipe is just as delicious the next day. Maybe even more so. Whereas some recipes lose their flavour and texture once refrigerated, with this delicious Mexican rice casserole, you won’t have to worry about that.

Let the casserole rest on the counter, place it in a re-heatable container, and store it in the fridge in an airtight container. The recipe will keep for three days. You can also freeze it in an airtight bag for up to two months, and It will still be a delicious meal.

For more delicious Mexican-inspired recipes to delight your taste buds, try our quick Mexican-Inspired Rice Stuffed Peppers Recipe and flavourful Mexican Cinco Di Mayo Chicken & Rice Recipe.