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This easy Mexican rice casserole is the perfect weeknight meal to satisfy the entire family! You only need 10 minutes of prep time to make this comforting, hearty dish, making it a win for flavor and convenience.
This is the easiest casserole dish to make any night of the week, with the option for meal prepping too! It is warm, satisfying, and super cozy with melted cheese, tender vegetables, and the perfect blend of spices to give this dish it’s authentic Mexican flair.
My whole family loves this vegetarian Mexican rice casserole recipe and it has become a regular in our house for busy weeknights. With one bite into the cheesy goodness, you’ll be hooked! Plus, it is vegetarian, can easily be made vegan, and is naturally gluten-free to accommodate the various dietary needs of your loved ones.
👩🏽🍳 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Meal Prep: This vegetarian Mexican rice bake can serve your whole family, with plenty of leftovers the next day. You can also portion it out into individual servings for the week as an easy grab and go recipe for lunch!
- Versatile: Serve this dish as a main course or as a side dish! You can even use it to make your own tacos and top with your favorite taco toppings.
- Convenient: With only 10 minutes of prep time and 65 minutes of cooking time, you can quickly whip this easy recipe up and then focus on other things while it cooks!
- Flavorful & Delicious: This Mexican corn and rice casserole is loaded with tons of taco flavor thanks to the seasonings and the sauteed veggies! It’s so hearty and satisfying, it’s sure to become a family favorite!
Latest Recipe Video!
This Mexican rice recipe uses many pantry staples you probably already have on hand! Conveniently grab all of the fresh ingredients that you’ll need at your local grocery store. See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for nutritional information.
- Olive Oil: Use extra virgin olive oil to saute the vegetables, bringing out their flavors and tenderness.
- Red Onion & Garlic: Chopped onion and minced garlic are a must in this Mexican skillet casserole!
- Bell Pepper & Corn Kernels: Diced red and yellow bell peppers add flavor and boost the nutritional value of this tasty casserole. Frozen corn is a convenient addition for extra fiber and texture.
- Black Beans: Black beans add extra protein to this easy Mexican rice bake.
- Taco Seasoning & Jalapeno: Using a premade taco seasoning will save you time and load this dish with tex-mex flavor. Add a bit of spice with deseeded and chopped jalapeno peppers!
- White Rice: I prefer white rice for this Mexican meal, which has a great texture and absorbs the flavor of the seasoning perfectly.
- Diced Tomatoes: Use the whole can of diced tomatoes so the rice can absorb the sauce!
- Vegetable Broth: Vegetable broth will give the rice extra flavor, opposed to using water.
- Mexican Blend Cheese: This cheesy Mexican rice casserole uses Mexican cheese blended within the dish and top of it for extra gooey texture.
🍲 Ingredient Substitutions
- Oil: Use any high-heat oil that you prefer for sauteing the vegetables.
- Veggies: Try orange or green bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or carrots in this rice and bean casserole.
- Beans: Pinto beans or refried beans are also tasty options for this Mexican rice bake.
- Spices: Make your own blend of spices using chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, and cayenne.
- Rice: Brown rice can be used instead of white rice for more whole grains, but you might need to adjust the baking time as brown rice takes longer to cook. You can also use long grain basmati rice if you prefer.
- Tomatoes: Tomato sauce or tomato paste can be used instead of diced tomatoes. Just be sure to add in some additional liquid if you use paste.
- Broth: Use chicken broth or beef broth in place of the vegetable broth if you do not need this recipe to be vegetarian or vegan.
🔪 How To Make Mexican Rice Casserole
Making a Mexican casserole with rice and beans is super easy! It is the ultimate lunch or dinner recipe for anyone who likes a dish with plenty of flavor but minimal effort. Here is how to make this recipe for Mexican rice casserole:
Preheat Oven, Saute Onions & Garlic: The first step to make this Mexican rice skillet is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C. Then, heat the oil over a medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, until translucent.
Add Ingredients: Remove from the heat and add all ingredients from red bell peppers to vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
Mix In Cheese: Pour the rice mixture into a baking dish and stir through ½ cup of cheese.
Bake, Add Cheese Layer: Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Test to ensure the rice has cooked through. When the rice is soft, remove the foil, top with remaining cheese and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese melts.
Serve: Serve topped with sliced jalapeno peppers, chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of sour cream.
💭 Expert Tips
- Tender Rice: Test the rice to make sure it is cooked through. If after 50 minutes the rice is still a little firm, cover with foil and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Allow Cool Time: Allow the black bean and rice casserole to sit for 5 minutes before serving with your favorite Mexican toppings and sides.
- One Pot Casserole: Make this a one pot Mexican rice casserole by sauteing the veggies in a cast iron skillet, which can then directly be transferred over into the oven! Easy clean up and minimal effort.
- Spicy Rice Bean Casserole: For extra heat add 1-2 tsp dried red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. Additionally, add your favorite hot sauce or fresh jalapeno peppers when serving this dish.
- Mexican Chicken Rice Casserole: Make a cheesy chicken casserole with either shredded chicken or grilled chicken breast slices.
- Other Meats: You can add in lean ground beef or ground turkey for additional meat options in this Mexican casserole with rice.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
This baked Mexican rice casserole is so versatile, you can serve it in several ways! Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:
- Salsas: Add extra flavor to the Mexican bean and rice skillet with fresh salsa, like this Chipotle corn salsa, salsa verde, or pineapple pico de gallo for a sweet and spicy twist.
- Sides: Serve this Mexican rice and beans casserole as your main dish, alongside delicious sides such as healthy guacamole, sour cream, smokey red pepper crema, enchilada sauce, tortilla chips, or corn fries.
- Toppings: Top your casserole with sliced jalapenos, fresh cilantro, green onions, green chiles, or fresh squeezed lime juice.
- As A Side: This Mexican beans and rice casserole makes a tasty side dish to accompany other Mexican recipes! Try it out with these Keto enchiladas, vegetarian stuffed poblano peppers, or vegetarian black bean tacos. Additionally, you can use the rice mixture as your filling for enchiladas, stuffed peppers, tacos, or burritos!
🙌 Dietary Adaptations
This one skillet Mexican rice casserole is gluten-free, vegetarian, and soy-free already! Here are two other ways to modify this recipe for other dietary needs:
- Vegan Option: For a vegan Mexican rice casserole, use vegan cheese or omit the cheese altogether.
- Oil Free Option: Saute the onion and garlic with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable broth instead of olive oil if you prefer an oil-free casserole.
Here is how to store and keep this Mexican rice and beans casserole:
- Refrigerating: Store leftover Mexican skillet rice in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezing: Place the rice into a freezer container and store for up to 1 month. Thaw before reheating.
- Reheating: Reheat the casserole in an oven safe dish at 325 F until warmed – approximately 15-20 minutes depending on the portion. Additionally, you could heat your serving up on a skillet over medium-high heat.
The kind of rice you use in a casserole does matter from a texture standpoint, but it does not make or break the dish as the flavor will be amazing regardless! The best rice for a rice casserole that I recommend using is long-grain rice since it is less starchy. Many rice casseroles use instant rice since it is faster, but this Mexican rice bake recipe uses uncooked rice which is a great way to soak up all the flavors as it cooks!
You do not necessarily have to cover a casserole with foil when baking, but it will protect the casserole from burning on the top. You can wait and monitor the vegetarian rice casserole in the oven, adding the foil once you see the top turning golden brown.
White rice will absorb any flavors added to the liquid while it cooks. While this recipe calls for taco seasoning, you can also use your own blend of spices. For Mexican recipes I suggest spices such as cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, or mustard seed. You can also throw in a bay leaf while the rice cooks, and simply remove the leaf before serving.
If this black beans and rice casserole is mushy it may be that the liquid to rice ratio was measured incorrectly, or that the rice was overcooked. To avoid a mushy casserole you can also use precooked rice from the day before, which will be a bit more dry and firm. If you do use precooked rice though, you don’t have to bake this nearly as long – instead of baking it for 50 minutes, I recommend cutting that time down to 15 minutes.
🍛 More Casserole Recipes!
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Vegan Enchilada Casserole
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Black Bean Casserole with Quinoa
- Vegan French Toast Casserole
- Pinto Bean Casserole
- Layered Taco Casserole With Tortillas
- Keto Breakfast Casserole
Love this plant based mexican recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page!
📋 Recipe Card
🎥 Watch How to Make It
Mexican Rice Casserole
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 3 clove garlic minced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- ½ yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 14 oz can black beans washed and drained
- 1 jalapeno pepper deseeded and chopped
- 3 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 14 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C.
- Heat the oil over a medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add all ingredients from red bell peppers to vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
- Pour the rice mixture into a baking dish and stir through ½ cup of cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Test to ensure the rice has cooked through.
- When the rice is soft remove the foil, top with remaining cheese and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.
- Serve topped with sliced jalapeno peppers, chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of sour cream.
- Saute the onion and garlic until translucent, this should take approximately 2-3 minutes.
- For extra heat add 1-2 tsp dried red pepper flakes when ading the bell peppers to the mixture
- Test the rice to make sure it is cooked through, if after 50 minutes the rice is still a little firm cover with foil and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Use vegan cheese to make this recipe vegan friendly.
- Store leftover Mexican rice in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Allow the Mexican rice casserole to sit for 5 minutes before serving with your favorite Mexican toppings and sides.