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Easy Instant Pot Mexican Brown Rice {Meal Prep & Freezer Friendly}

Tasty Mexican brown rice is a great addition to your weekly meal prep! It comes together so quickly in the Instant Pot you can also decide to make it last minute for Taco Tuesday. 

Plate with Instant Pot Mexican brown rice and black beans. Pressure cooker mexican rice.

Are you an Instant Pot lover too? Raise your hand in the air!

When I first got my Instant Pot, I wasn’t so sure about adding another “gadget” to my kitchen, one that might end up just collecting dust and taking up valuable space.

Well, I can say that nearly 2 years later, that is certainly NOT the case! I use my Instant Pot so often that I’ve never even “put it away”. It’s always sitting out in my kitchen, ready and waiting.

On Taco Thursday (yeah, yeah… I know it’s supposed to be Taco Tuesday. Ha!), it gets a double workout. First, I use it to make a perfect batch of black beans (from dry beans to perfect beans in less than 2 hours, with only 5 minutes of hands-on work?!? SOLD!), then I use it to make tasty Mexican brown rice.

The BEST Way to Cook Brown Rice

Before I purchased the Instant Pot, I tried pretty much every brown rice cooking method out there.

Occasionally, it worked out, but the majority of the time, I ended up with chewy rice that was burned and stuck to the bottom of the pan. I started to dread making brown rice.

After cooking brown rice in the Instant Pot, I was HOOKED and I will never use any other method again! Perfectly cooked, no mush rice every time.

Ingredients needed to make Mexican Brown Rice in the Instant Pot. Pressure cooker brown rice Mexican style.

Can You Make Mexican Brown Rice?

Absolutely! While you can certainly serve plain brown rice on Taco Night, I like to dress it up a bit and infuse it with more flavor – brown rice, Mexican style!

If you are in a rush and don’t have time to chop and saute the veggies, you can substitute them with a bit of onion powder and more paprika. No judgment! I’ve done it plenty of times when I need to get food on the table FAST.

Chopped red pepper and red onion on a wood cutting board with a knife. Prepping veggies for brown rice, Mexican style, in the pressure cooker.

If you have some bone broth or stock on hand, you can use that instead of water. It makes the rice extra flavorful and adds a little extra nutrition.

While this rice only cooks in the pressure cooker for 22 minutes, I recommend that you give yourself 1 hour from start to finish (chopping veggies, sauteing, pressure cooking and pressure release).

I’ve read that a good rule of thumb with Instant Pot recipes is to double the actual cooking time, to account for the time it takes for pressure to release.

In addition, brown rice always benefits from being “fluffed” with a fork, then recovered and allow to “rest” for 5-10 minutes before serving, so take that into account.

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Serve up this Mexican brown rice for Taco Tuesday or any time you want a quick and easy, but also super flavorful side!
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Easy Instant Pot Mexican Brown Rice

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4 from 1 review
  • Author: Lori Hernandez
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 48 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Make Taco Night more festive with this tasty brown rice side dish! Using an Instant Pot makes it quick and easy.


Units Scale

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  1. Place the oil/butter, chopped onion and chopped pepper in the Instant Pot and press “Saute”. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until veggies start to become translucent. Stir often to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  2. After 5 minutes, turn off the “Saute” function. Add the tomato paste, salt, cumin and paprika. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Add rice and water to the pot.
  4. Place lid on Instant Pot and press “Manual” (or “Pressure Cook”, depending on your model) and use the [-] button to set to 22 minutes.
  5. Once time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally (about 10 minutes). Remove lid, fluff with a fork, then put the lid back on for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Allow rice to rest with lid on until you are ready to serve.


Experiment with flavor and spice level to make it your own. You could try adding more spices or substituting some of the bell pepper for a spicy pepper, like jalapeno or a milder poblano pepper.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 282
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 593mg
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 51g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 5g

Making Mexican Brown Rice Work for Meal Prep

Mexican brown rice is a great recipe to incorporate into your weekly meal prep. You don’t have to change the recipe at all. Just portion out the rice into your meal prep containers if you’re planning to take these for a work lunch, or pop into a glass storage container to reheat and serve later in the week.

Quick tip – brown rice reheats better with a little extra liquid or fat. Don’t forget to add an extra splash of bone broth or a little drizzle of avocado oil for the best reheating results.

Brown rice also freezes beautifully, so if you are a fan of large batch cooking, you could double this recipe and freeze some portions for later.

I like to use the straight-sided pint or pint-and-a-half mason jars for freezing. Just pull the jars out the night before and allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave or a pan on the stove with a little water added.

Bonus: Tomato paste can be frozen in 2 tbsp portions, which makes it quick and easy to throw into the pot. I make my own tomato paste and freeze it in ice cube trays, as described in my post about 3 Easy Ways to Preserve Tomatoes (That Don’t Involve Canning).

Related: See more meal planning tips and tricks!

Serving up Mexican Brown Rice

This recipe is a great side for any Mexican flavored meal. Here are a few dinner ideas for you to check out.

Enjoy the recipe! I hope it becomes a staple for your family too!

Plate with Instant Pot Mexican brown rice, black beans and a lettuce wrapped taco. Ingredients and instant pot on the counter. Pressure cooker Mexican rice.
Have you tried cooking brown rice in your Instant Pot? Let me know what you think about it!

Still have questions about your Instant Pot? Maybe this will help.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

2 thoughts on “Easy Instant Pot Mexican Brown Rice {Meal Prep & Freezer Friendly}”

  1. Glad I made it and shall do so again. Amended the ingredients to include 1/2 tsp chipotle powder for moderate chili heat and 1 oz minced sun dried tomatoes for sweetness and color. Used organic short-grain brown rice lightly dry toasted before going into the IP. And increased IP cook time for the 6,000 ft. elevation where it was cooked. Four Stars because: 1) The finished dish was more oily than my preference, so next time I will cut the (olive) oil in half. 2) Because of IP up/down cycle times the total time was well over 1 hr. 3) No nutrition facts seen for this recipe. Even so there were recipe requests, and 8 happy adults ate it all as the starch side-dish at a 4-course Latin-American dinner party.

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Dean! Thanks for the note to add nutrition facts. 🙂

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