Mexican Fried Rice is more than the sum of its parts – and there might be quite a few. Use leftover rice to cook this quick dinner even quicker. While you’ll start simply enough with scrambled eggs, black beans, corn, and jalapenos for a savory side, you might end up with all that, plus avocado, chorizo, pico and queso fresco for a main meal. It’s an adventure in a bowl!
I love a simple side. So much so, that it could be on my epitaph, or the title of my autobiography, or a line of OSK tote bags. (Don’t get any ideas… I’m not that bored in the kitchen yet.) And let me turn that phrase again, because by simple, I don’t just mean “easy.” (Though who doesn’t love that?) I also mean, simplifying. Like, it’s an easy dish that makes my life easier when I make it. Make sense?
The particular side in question today, Mexican Fried Rice, is indeed, very easy to make. Yes, it’s got a number of “moving parts,” but this Mexican fried rice recipe for beginners is basically a step-by-step add-in recipe. And if you use leftover rice, it’s done in 30 minutes or less. But that’s almost neither here nor there…
Because the best thing about fried Mexican rice is that it’s so easy to use in other ways – it’s a side, it’s a stuffing, it’s a base, it’s a whole-ass meal, if you want it to be. It also doesn’t hurt that this healthy fried rice is gluten free and vegetarian. And it hurts even less that it’s super kid friendly.
So if being whatever I need it to be isn’t the most simple simplifying thing ever, I don’t know what is and should stick to designing tote bags instead.
How to Make Mexican Fried Rice
Mexican Fried Rice with leftover rice is an easy start to a flavorful meal. Build this savory side with onion, garlic and jalapeno. Fry the rice with corn, black beans and a splash of lime juice, before tossing in soft scrambled eggs. Ready to eat in as little as 30 minutes.
- SCRAMBLE EGGS. Scramble the eggs in butter over medium heat until cooked to your liking. Set aside.
- ONIONS & GARLIC. Saute white onion until soft, then add minced jalapeno and garlic, cumin, and paprika. Cook 1 minute more slightly toast the spices.
- ADD TOMATO PASTE. Work tomato paste into the onion mixture, cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes until it’s evenly blended.
- FRY THE RICE. Increase the heat to medium high then add cold, cooked rice to the skillet. Toss until it’s evenly combined with the onion/tomato mixture. Smooth everything into an even layer using a rubber spatula, then fry, undisturbed, for 5 minutes – this allows the bottom to crisp, adding both additional texture and flavor to the fried rice.
- VEGGIE TIME. Pour in the the lime juice, then loosen the rice from the bottom of the skillet. Add black beans, corn, and canned green chiles. Cook, tossing constantly, until the corn is completely defrosted and the rice has absorbed the liquids and looks dry.
- FINISH. Stir in the scrambled eggs and fresh cilantro. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt, pepper, and/or lime juice to taste.
- SERVE. Portion into bowls and add your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
- It’s a myth! Day old rice isn’t necessary. But you do need COLD and DRY rice. So if you don’t have leftovers in the fridge, go ahead and make a fresh batch – we like the instant pot method. Once you’ve cooked your rice, cool it down completely first – spread it onto a baking sheet or a large plate, let it air dry for 10 minutes, then stick it in the fridge for a further 15-20 minutes, until fully cooled.
- Be sure to actually FRY the rice. This means spreading it into an even layer to increase the surface contact with the skillet and letting it pan fry for 4-5 minutes.
Garnishes really make a dish, especially in mexican-style recipes. Top fried mexican rice with…
- pico de gallo or salsa
- sour cream
- shredded cheddar, or crumbled cojita or queso fresco
- plenty of lime wedges
Make It Your Way
Add more protein: chorizo sausage (crumbled or diced) or leftover pulled pork work beautifully in Mexican fried rice. Cook the chorizo after cooking the eggs, then remove and set aside. Sear pulled pork for 3-4 minutes after scrambling the eggs to crisp it up a bit, then set aside. Fold additional proteins in with the eggs.
Add more vegetables: diced bell peppers add color, plus extra fiber and vitamins. Add them with the onions.
Swap the beans: red kidney beans or pinto beans are a great substitution for black beans in vegetarian Mexican fried rice. Drain and rinse first.
Serving Mexican Fried Rice
Mexican fried rice and beans is a meal unto itself, but we definitely recommend including toppings and/or add-ins (see above) to make it more robust.
That being said, it’s also a robust side on its own, and it perfect as a companion for other Mexican-style fare. It’s absolutely perfect for Taco Tuesdays with favorites like our Chicken Street Tacos or Skirt Steak Tacos. But don’t sleep on serving it next to unsung heroes like Ground Beef Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes or Pulled Pork Tamale Pie.
As a big fan of fried rice for breakfast, Mexican fried rice with eggs is a particular favorite for making into breakfast burritos.
- Warm up your Tex Mex fried rice (see instructions below)
- Portion the fried rice into the center of a large tortilla
- Layer with toppings, if preferred. (Crumbled sausage, salsa, or guac, are great, just don’t pile too thick!)
- Add two tablespoons shredded cheese – cheddar, jack, or a taco blend
- Wrap snugly and pan fry for 3 minutes in a lightly greased skillet. Flip and fry 3 minutes more.
Storing and Reheating Mexican Fried Rice
While some say reheating on the stovetop is best, I find it excessive. IF there are leftovers, there’s not enough to warrant a full fry. Mexcian style fried rice happens to reheat reheats perfectly in the microwave – it’s one of the reasons it’s so great for meal prep.
Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of water per 1 cup portion (to keep from drying out) and microwave on medium heat for around 2 minutes. Stop and stir every 30 seconds to evenly distribute moisture and heat.
More Mexican Style Sides
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans with Poblano
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn Stuffed Peppers
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Roasted Corn Salsa
Did you make this Mexican Fried Rice recipe? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- Rubber Spatula
- 4 large eggs
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 3 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 c cold cooked rice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 c frozen corn
- 1 4- oz can green chiles
- ¼ c chopped cilantro
- Diced avocado
- Sour cream
- Pico de gallo
- Lime wedges
- Combine the eggs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and gently whisk.
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 12” skillet over medium heat until it melts, then foams. Add the eggs, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, then cook 1-2 minutes, until the edges are set. Using a rubber spatula, lightly scrape the edges towards the center to scramble the eggs. Allow to cook and set another 1-2 minutes, then scramble again. Repeat this process 1-2 times more, until the eggs are scrambled to your liking. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and heat until the butter melts, then foams. Add the onion, toss to coat in the fat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute more.
- Add the tomato paste and work into the onion mixture, stirring frequently, until it’s evenly worked into the vegetables and deepens in color slightly, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the rice to the skillet, then increase the heat to medium high. Toss the rice with the tomato paste and vegetable mixture until evenly combined. Smooth the rice and onion mixture into an even layer using a rubber spatula. Fry, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. This will allow the bottom layer to crisp, adding additional flavor.
- Pour the lime juice over the rice, then loosen the rice from the bottom of the skillet, stirring the lime juice into the rice. Add the black beans, frozen corn, and green chiles. Cook, tossing constantly, until the rice is dry and the corn is completely defrosted.
- Stir in the scrambled eggs and cilantro. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, and/or lime juice until the flavor sings.
- Portion into bowls and add your favorite toppings. Serve immediately.