Pressure cooker, Side dish
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Pressure Cooker Mexican Brown Rice

Bowl of Mexican brown rice with napkins

Pressure Cooker Mexican Brown Rice

Who knew peas were so controversial?

I’m trying to eat more whole grains, so I’m writing a Mexican brown rice recipe. My goal is the rice on the side of a combo plate from my local Tex-Mex joint. (To pair with my PC refried beans recipe.) They always have a few peas and carrots mixed in with the red rice, and I like the extra bit of color, so I added them to my recipe.

To me, the bigger question was “tomato sauce or diced tomatoes?” As part of my recipe testing, I made batches of Mexican rice to compare them, and posted a picture. No one seemed to care about how the tomatoes gave the two batches different looks. 1

Everyone did notice the peas. “Ew! Not peas!” was a common response. It’s OK! The peas are optional!2

The Great Pea Controversy aside, this is a fine batch of rice. Pressure cooking makes brown rice quick enough to serve with weeknight dinners. My problem? My kids love white rice, and when I make rice in the pressure cooker, they get suspicious. I get serious sideye and the question “Is this brown rice?” Not this time – the red rice looked like their usual Mexican restaurant combo plate, and they dug in without question. We have a winner!

Video: Pressure Cooker Mexican Brown Rice (1:40)

Pressure Cooker Mexican Brown Rice []

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Mexican Brown Rice in a bowl with napkins

Pressure Cooker Mexican Brown Rice

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x


Pressure Cooker Mexican Brown Rice. The classic Tex-Mex side dish, made with whole grain brown rice.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice (Or brown jasmine rice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots (optional)
  • Minced cilantro (optional)


  1. Prepare the rice: Put the vegetable oil and garlic in a cold pressure cooker pot, then set the pressure cooker to sauté mode. (Use medium heat with a stovetop PC). Wait for the garlic to start to bubble around the edges, but don’t let the garlic brown, about 3 minutes. Stir the rice into the pot to coat it with the garlic oil. Stir in the water, and then pour the tomato sauce on top.
  2. Pressure cook the rice for 20 minutes with a natural pressure release: Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes in an electric PC or 16 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 more minutes. (You can quick release any pressure left after 15 minutes if you are in a hurry).
  3. Stir in the extra ingredients and serve: Remove the lid from the pressure cooker – watch out for hot steam. Stir the frozen peas and carrots into the rice, then put the lid back on and let sit for 5 minutes to heat the peas and carrots. Fluff with a fork, sprinkle the minced cilantro on top, and serve.


I usually add a 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt with rice. Canned tomato sauce has a lot of sodium in it, so I don’t add salt to this recipe. If you use low- or no-sodium tomatoes, I’d add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or the rice will taste bland.


  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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Pressure Cooker Refried Pinto Beans
Pressure Cooker Brown Jasmine Rice
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My other Pressure Cooker Recipes

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  1. Tomato sauce won, by the way – it flavors the rice more and gives it that “red rice” look.
  2. I always add them; Mexican rice doesn’t look right to me without a few peas and carrots.

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Side dish


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

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