Taco Rice

4.84 from 6 votes
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This taco rice recipe has everything that you love about tacos, but with rice instead of tortillas. It’s packed with juicy meat, melty cheese, and all your favorite Mexican seasonings. 

A plate with taco rice, topped with lettuce and cilantro, with tortilla chips on the side


If you’re anything like me, then you can’t get enough Mexican food. Whether it’s burritos, tacos, or fajitas, there’s simply no such thing as too much. This taco rice recipe has quickly become one of my favorite foods to make when I’m craving Mexican food. Who needs a tortilla when you’ve got all of your favorite taco ingredients cooked up with tender rice? 

The star of this recipe is the beef, which is juicy, tender, and loaded with flavor. Tomato sauce and melty cheese make the taco rice super rich, and it’s perfect for topping with your favorite condiments and garnishes. You’ve got to try making this recipe!

Close up of a spoon taking a spoonful of beefy taco rice out of a skillet

Why You’ll Love This Beefy, Cheesy Rice

I make this recipe all the time, and I’m confident that you’ll love it just as much as I do. Here are some of the best things about it.

  • Fast and easy. This is a go-to weeknight meal for me because it’s so quick. It doesn’t take much time or effort to make this meaty rice dish. If you’re tired after a long day of work, this is a great way to have a hearty, comforting meal that won’t wear you out. 
  • Healthy. Taco rice tastes indulgent, but it’s pretty healthy. It’s loaded with rice, beef, and tomato sauce, and you can top it with lots of healthy garnishes like avocado and tomatoes. It’s a good reminder that a lot of the best foods can be good for you!
  • Customizable. You can easily adapt this recipe to make it perfect for you. You can swap out certain ingredients, add new flavors, or get creative with the toppings.  
Overhead view of the ingredients needed for taco rice: a bowl of raw ground beef, a bowl of shredded cheddar cheese, a bowl of rice, a bowl of taco seasoning, a bowl of diced onions, a bowl of garlic, a bowl of tomato sauce, and a pitcher of chicken broth

Ingredients Needed

This recipe uses a lot of ingredients that you probably already have in the fridge or pantry. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact amounts of every ingredient.

  • Onion – I use a white onion for this recipe, but red or yellow onions will work fine.
  • Garlic
  • Ground beef – Make sure to use lean beef.
  • Taco seasoning
  • White rice – You’ll need to use uncooked rice for this recipe. Long grain rice works best.
  • Chicken broth – Try to use low-sodium chicken broth.
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cheddar cheese – For best results, shred your own cheddar cheese. However, pre-shredded will work fine, too. 

How to Make Taco Rice

This recipe only takes about 35 minutes to make, and it’s so straightforward. 

  • Cook the beef. Brown the beef in a large skillet, and use a spoon or spatula to break it up. 
  • Add the onions. Put the onions in the skillet with the beef, and cook until the onions are soft and the beef is cooked through. Then drain the excess grease from the pan.
  • Sauté the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet, and cook until you can smell it. This should take about 1 minute.
  • Season. Add the taco seasoning and stir until the meat is well coated. 
  • Add the rice and liquid. Put the rice, tomato sauce, and chicken broth into the skillet, and stir to combine.
  • Cook. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender. This should take about 20 minutes. 
  • Add the cheese. When the rice is finished cooking, add the cheese and stir until it is melted and well combined. 
A wooden spoon stirring shredded cheese into beefy rice
  • Serve. Garnish with your favorite toppings, and serve the rice. 
Overhead view of a skillet filled with beefy taco rice, topped with cilantro

Tips and Variations

Here are a few different ways that you can make this recipe perfect, or adjust it to make it your own.

  • Brown the meat. When cooking the beef, make sure to really brown it. Browning ground beef is how you get flavor in the meat. The more you brown the beef, the more flavorful it will be. So don’t be afraid to get some color on it. 
  • Sub turkey. If you want to use a healthier meat, or just prefer the flavor, you can replace the ground beef with ground turkey. It will still taste absolutely fantastic. 
  • Make your own taco seasoning. One fun way to make this recipe even better is to use homemade taco seasoning instead of buying some from the store. My taco seasoning recipe is so easy to make!
  • Have fun with the toppings. I treat taco rice kind of like nachos and load it up with my favorite toppings. That means ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, and avocados. But you can add any kind of toppings you want, including salsa, hot sauce, guacamole, lime juice, or cotija cheese. 
Overhead view of taco rice on a plate, topped with cilantro, next to tortilla chips and a salad of lettuce and tomatoes

Serving Suggestions 

This beefy taco rice can be a meal all by itself. But I love to serve it with some of my favorite Mexican side dishes. Here’s what I’d serve this recipe with.

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Taco Rice

This rice is just as good, if not better, as a leftover. Keep it in an airtight container and it will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a covered dish for 15 minutes in a 375F oven. You can also reheat over medium heat on the stove, but add a splash of water or chicken broth so the rice doesn’t dry out. If you want to use a microwave, cook on 80% power in 30-second increments.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

Definitely! Store the leftover cheesy rice in an airtight container and it will last in the freezer for 3 months. Thaw overnight or defrost fully before reheating.

Taco rice on a plate, topped with cilantro, with tortilla chips behind it

More Easy Mexican Recipes

Like I said, there’s no such thing as too much Mexican food. So make sure to try some of these other great recipes.

Taco rice on a plate, topped with cilantro, with tortilla chips behind it
4.84 from 6 votes

Taco Rice

By Erin
This taco rice is full of juicy beef, melty cheese, and tomato sauce. It's the perfect easy weeknight meal when you're craving Mexican food!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 5 servings


  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning, 1 packet
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Optional Toppings

  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeños
  • Avocados
  • Tortilla Chips


  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, breaking it apart as you cook.
  • Add the onions and cook until they're soft, and the beef is no longer pnik in the middle. Drain away the grease from the pan.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until you can smell it.
  • Stir in the taco seasoning until the meat is evenly coated.
  • Pour in the rice, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Stir until well blended.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender, while occasionally stirring.
  • Once the rice is cooked, stir in the cheese.
  • Serve with the toppings of your choice.


  • For best results, use my recipe for homemade taco seasoning.
  • If you want to make this recipe healthier, you can use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.
  • Reheat in a covered baking dish for 15 minutes in a 375F oven.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 867mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 472
Keyword: cheesy rice recipe, easy mexican rice recipes, ground beef and rice recipes, mexican rice
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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  1. I love making this and eating it throughout the week! The flavors develop a lot over a couple of days!