Cheesy Mexican Salsa Rice

Using just 3 ingredients, this rice side dish is super easy to make! It is the perfect side dish for a Mexican dinner.

Close up picture of a bowl of Mexican rice.

Anytime I am cooking, I love any hack or shortcut that can simplify home cooking. This salsa rice recipe is a super simple way to make Mexican rice that both tastes great and is a breeze to prepare.

We love Mexican food, including tacos, fajitas, burritos, flautas and more. When it comes to cooking Mexican food, I like to make a full meal with all sorts of dishes. This cheesy salsa rice is an ideal side dish for any Mexican dinner and I love how easy it is to make so that you can spend more time of any of the other dishes you plan to make.

A bowl of rice in front of a skillet.

This Rice Is EASY To Make!

I have some more traditional Mexican rice dishes on the site  – Mexican Rice with Black Beans and Corn and Chorizo Fiesta Rice Bake. While both of those are delicious, I love how using a jar of salsa can gives the same Mexican flavours in this cheesy salsa rice and it can be cooked as quickly and easily as making plain white rice.

Stirring in some grated cheese to this salsa rice, gives it a creamy and cheesy flavour. I love using this rice as one of my fillings for burritos .

So good and so simple!

Overhead picture of cooked rice.

Ingredient Notes

This recipe for Mexican rice is so easy and uses only three ingredients and water!

  • Salsa – the salsa is what gives the rice its Mexican flavour. Different types of salsa will give different flavours, and heat levels!
  • Rice – I use long grain rice
  • Grated cheese – you could use grated cheddar, Monterey jack or other kind of cheese. You could also use a cheese blend.
  • Water
A measuring cup with salsa over a pot.


This Mexican rice is so simple to make. Dump in the salsa with the water.

Obviously, there are different types of salsa out there. I like to use a ‘chunkier’ kind of salsa as that results in more chunks of tomatoes and peppers in the finished rice.

Expert Tip! Depending on your desired heat level, you can choose a salsa that is mild, medium or hot. Or you can also mix it up by using a jar that has corn or black beans in the salsa.

A measuring cup with uncooked rice over a pot.


Add in the dry long grain rice and stir.

A pot with salsa water and rice simmering.


Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let the rice simmer for 12 minutes.

Cooked rice in a pot that has simmered with salsa.


After the rice has finished cooking, check to see if all the liquid has been absorbed. If there is a bit more liquid, cook for a couple minutes more. Stir the rice so that it doesn’t clump together.

A measuring cup of grated cheese being dumped into a pot of cooked rice.


Dump in the cheese. I use a blend of grated cheddar and monterey jack cheeses. 

Cheese rice in a pot.

Stir in the cheese and keep stirring until the cheese is melted and creamed in with the rice.

A bowl of mexican cheese rice.

More Mexican Recipes!

If you are looking to make a full Mexican meal, here are a number of other recipes that can go very well with this salsa rice.

Cheesy Mexican Salsa Rice

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Easy recipe for Mexican rice that is a perfect side dish for a Mexican dinner. Made with rice, salsa & cheese – great in burritos, tacos, fajitas and more.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese cheddar, monterey jack or other cheese


  • Add rice, salsa and water to a pot and stir. 
  • Bring to a boil. Stir to make sure rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Lower heat to a simmer. Cover with with lid and cook for 12-15 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in the grated cheese.
  • Serve warm.


Per serving:

Calories: 273.05kcalCarbohydrates: 41.62gProtein: 9.57gFat: 7.44gSaturated Fat: 4.57gCholesterol: 22.25mgSodium: 596.43mgFiber: 1.77gSugar: 2.73g

Nutrition Disclaimer


Close up picture of a bowl of Mexican rice.

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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Recipe Rating


  • Although the rice stuck a bit to bottom of pan while covered and simmering, this recipe was quite delicious 😋 I added side of seasoned black beans and corn. Put everything into a warm tortilla wrap.

    • Reply
    • We enjoy adding this rice to a tortilla wrap as well!

  • This sounds delicious!

    • Reply

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