With only four simple ingredients, this cheesy Mexican rice is a filling side dish your family will love, plus it is quick and easy to prepare!
"Cheater-cheater pumpkin eater!" That is what I think to myself whenever I make this easy Mexican side because it really isn't really how your abuela prepared rice at all. It is my cheater version of it, loaded with cheese to make it creamy and delicious. So maybe I should call it "Cheesy Mexican-Inspired Rice"? Eh, take one bite and you won't really care one way or another... It just tastes good.
Cheesy Mexican Rice
The secret to this easy version of Mexican rice is to replicate the traditional flavors with salsa instead. Salsa is very flavorful and it eliminates almost all of the cooking and prep work you would otherwise do. Cheesy is added at the end to make the rice irresistibly creamy and delicious!
How to Make Cheesy Mexican Rice
This Mexican-style side dish is no harder to make than preparing plain white rice. Rather than using water, I use chicken broth for added flavor and simmer along with the rice and salsa in a small saucepan (affiliate link) until the rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed. This is the exact same process as making traditional rice. The only difference is at the end we mix in the cheese.
Troubleshooting This Recipe
There are two potential issues that people run into when making rice. First, if you simmer too quickly the liquid can cook out before the rice is tender. If that happens just add a splash of water or chicken broth, recover the saucepan and continue to simmer.
The opposite issue is if your rice gets tender before all the liquid has absorbed. If this happens, simmer with the lid uncovered to allow the liquid to evaporate.
Mexican Cheesy Chicken and Rice
One easy way to customize this recipe is to transform it into an entree by adding chicken. This would be perfect for using up leftover chicken breasts (grilled chicken breasts would be particularly flavorful). Just cut up the chicken in bite-sized chunks and place it in with the rice to warm when the rice is almost done cooking.
What to Serve with Cheesy Mexican Rice?
This recipe pairs nicely with an assortment of Mexican dishes. If you are looking for inspiration, try it pair with my Easy Chicken Enchiladas, Grilled Steak Fajitas, Black Bean Tacos, or Mexican Shredded Beef.
Cheesy Mexican Rice
- 1 cup white rice (uncooked)
- 1 ¾ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Add rice, chicken broth, and salsa to a small saucepan. Cover and gently simmer on low for approximately 20 minutes, or until liquid has absorbed into the rice, and rice is tender.
- Stir in cheese and serve.