Recipe Swap: Mexican Rice Casserole

Are you on a sugar high from my posts earlier this week? Here’s a delicious savory dish for you, brought to you from Jenna’s Cooking Journey via the What’s Cooking Swap, hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking.

The theme this time around was side dishes. Side dishes are often over-looked, especially in this household. I say that I spend a chunk of time one weekend day, planning meals for the week, but really, I’m planning the main dishes. Dinner time comes around, and five minutes before dinner is ready, I throw a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave to steam.

When I received my swap assignment, Mexican Rice Casserole, my first thought was “Taco night!” And after I read the recipe (especially the layer of melted cheese on top!), I decided taco night needed to happen sooner rather than later.

And what a treat it was. With all that melty, cheesy goodness, how could it not be? Jenna wondered if she picked up a can of diced tomatoes and spicy chiles, because her dish came out spicy, but I know my can of tomatoes and green chiles was labeled mild and ours had some spice, too — not that it was unwelcome! We love spicy! If you don’t, cut back on the cumin and black pepper.

Mexican Rice Casserole

Serves 6 to 8 servings
Meal type Side Dish
Region Mexican
Website Jenna's Cooking Journey


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ Large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 can (14.5-oz) whole tomatoes
  • 1 can (10-oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Rotel)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh cilantro, for topping (optional)


Step 1
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Have a 2 ½ quart casserole dish near the stovetop.
Step 2
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently so that the garlic doesn't burn.
Step 3
Reduce the heat to low and add the rice. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
Step 4
Add the can of whole tomatoes, and the can of diced tomatoes and chiles, and the cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and equally distribute the spices, and cook for 2 minutes.
Step 5
Add the water and stir to combine. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat back to low, cover the skillet and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is just barely underdone.
Step 6
Pour the contents of the skillet into the casserole dish. Spread the shredded cheese in an even layer over top and place in the oven uncovered. Bake until the cheese is melted and the rice is done, about 15 minutes.


Check out the other side dishes from the swap by clicking on the photos below!


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