Skip the restaurants and make your own Mexican Rice right in your Ninja Foodi! It's easy, it's quick and, most importantly, it's delicious!
I must confess that I am not a fan of boring food and have always found that the rice served in most Mexican restaurants to be a bit on the boring side. I usually coat mine with melted cheese to jazz it up some.
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With this recipe for Ninja Foodi Mexican Rice, it's already jazzed up! The flavors are simple and not spicy, but they are so well-balanced that you can eat this as a main meal!
Seriously, I have done it! I simply added some leftover Mexican Shredded Chicken, a little cheese, a dash or 5 of hot sauce and called it dinner! Delicious dinner at that!
What Can I serve with this Mexican Rice?
Like I said above, I love it with some Mexican shredded chicken, but there are tons of uses for this rice!
It pairs perfectly with some Homemade Refried Beans! You can make those right in the Ninja Foodi, too!
This rice is also great for stuffing into burritos or chimichangas (recipe coming soon)
What would you serve with your Mexican Rice?
What kind of Rice do I need to make Mexican Rice?
You will have the best results if you use a basmati rice, but you can use any long grain rice if that's all you have.
Basmati rice will give you the correct texture for your Mexican Rice and it cooks up fluffier and drier than other types of long grain rices.
Other long grain white rices, like Jasmine or plain white rice, tend to be a little stickier when cooked, but I'm pretty sure they will work in this recipe as long as you toast them up first.
If you want to use a brown rice instead of a white rice, you can do that, as well, but you will need to increase the steaming time for sure. Although I have not tested this recipe with brown rice, I would start off with more liquid, maybe 3 cups and increase the time to 30-40 minutes. OR, you can certainly PC the brown rice and shorten that time a bit.
Do I Rinse the Rice?
I almost always recommend rinsing your rice really well before cooking, but I didn't rinse the basmati before toasting it in this recipe.
My thought process was, why wet something you want to toast? It didn't make sense to do it that way, so I didn't. Then, I looked it up on the internet and I am not sure if I should have rinsed it or not.
I looked up various rice pilaf recipes that use the same technique of sautéing the rice and they don't mention rinsing the rice first, but in other places on the internet I do see that it is recommended to rinse the rice before sautéing.
I think it is perfectly fine either way, but I didn't rinse my rice and it was perfect!
Can I make this Mexican Rice in an Instant Pot?
Usually most recipes for the Ninja Foodi can be easily converted to the Instant Pot, especially the new Instant Pot Duo Crisp, however, the steam function does work a little bit different on most IP's.
On most Instant Pots, the steam function is used with the vent closed. I do believe there is one model where the steam function does work with the vent open, but on my Instant Pot Duo Crisp you have to close the vent in order for the countdown to start.
This really makes no sense to me because if you trap the steam in by sealing the lid, wouldn't that be like pressure cooking? Trapped steam creates pressure.
Anyway, you can certainly make this recipe in your Instant Pot, but I would go ahead and use a 1:1 ratio of rice to liquid and PC for 2 minutes instead of steaming since I'm not really sure how long to advise you to set the steam function on the IP. Next time, I'll make this in my IPDC and then I'll update the post with better directions.
Is this Mexican Rice Spicy?
Nope, not even a little bit! Of course, you can change all that with a little chipotle pepper or keeping the seeds in the jalapeno pepper.
I like to keep mine basic and then spice it up when serving so everyone can enjoy it the way they like it.
Can I change the Vegetables or omit them?
Sure! I do think the onions give a lot of flavor and I love the look of the carrots and peppers, but you don't have to use any of them if you don't want to.
You can also add more if you like. I think corn would be great and even black beans would work great.
I would drain and rinse the beans and add them in before you steam the rice.
How does the Steam Function Work on the Ninja Foodi?
The steam function on the Ninja Foodi is one of my favorite functions! I use it all the time to heat up leftovers and it works great!
I had had a problem with PC rice right in the inner pot getting sticky and clumping and then I tried the steamed function! WOW! That's all I have to say!
The rice was so nice and fluffy and not sticky at all. I knew this would be a great way to do this Mexican Rice recipe and it is!
The steam function uses the pressure lid, but you have to keep the valve VENTED in order for it to work correctly. You want the steam to escape as it cooks.
You also have to increase the fluid amount because there is evaporation and if you don't add enough, you can run out and scorch your rice. I found that for basmati rice a 1:2 ratio is great. So, for every cup of rice, you will need 2 cups of water. This should apply for jasmine and plain long grain rice.
You may have the red or silver pin pop up during steaming and don't worry about that. As long as your valve is vented, you are fine. If the steaming time has run out and the Ninja Foodi switches over to "keep warm" and the pin is still up, just wait until it drops naturally and then open the lid.
If you haven't tried the steam function yet, you are going to LOVE it!
How to Make Mexican Rice in the Ninja Foodi
Cut up all the vegetables into 1/4" dice. I removed the seeds from the jalapeno pepper, but you can add them in if you want a little more heat.
Heat the oil in the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi on high sear/sauté and add the 1 cup of rice. Stir constantly while the rice toasts in the oil. You should see it starting to brown within 3-5 minutes.
Then, add the vegetables and spices and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
Add 2 cups of water to the rice and place the pressure lid on. Make sure the valve is turned to VENT and select the steam function for 8 minutes.
When the time is up, remove the lid and stir the rice. You can also leave it on keep warm until you are ready to serve it.
Top with desired toppings and Enjoy!
Ninja Foodi Mexican Rice
- Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker
- 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil any oil is fine
- 1 cup basmati rice
- ½ green pepper diced
- 1 onion about 1 cup
- 1 carrot diced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced
- 2 Tbsps tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 1½ tsp fine grind sea salt
- 1½ tsp cumin
- 1½ tsp smoked paprika
- Place oil in the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi and heat on high sear/sauté. I do not rinse the rice in this recipe since we are toasting it. Dice all the vegetables into ¼" dice.
- When the oil is hot, add the rice and sauté on high for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- When the rice starts to brown, add in the vegetables and the seasoning blend. Stir and sauté 3-5 minutes. Add in tomato paste and stir to combine. Pour in 2 cups of water and put the pressure lid on. Turn the seal to vent and select the steam function for 8 minutes. When finished, remove lid and stir rice.
- Serve & Enjoy
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.