One-Pot Mexican Rice Skillet Dinner

Prep Time 10 min.
Cook Time 26-30 min.
Total Time 10 minutes
Yields About 7 cups + toppings


  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (no need to thaw if frozen)
  • 1 cup uncooked instant brown rice
  • 7 teaspoons taco seasoning (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Tapatío)
  • 1/2 cup shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • Optional toppings: additional cheese, additional salsa or hot sauce, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, minced fresh cilantro, guacamole or chopped avocados, chopped green onions, reduced-fat sour cream


  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook beef (or turkey), onions, and garlic, stirring to crumble, until meat is browned and onions have begun to soften (about 8-10 minutes). Drain if needed.
  2. Add water, salsa, corn, rice, taco seasoning, and hot sauce to skillet, stirring to combine. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat until rice is done, stirring occasionally (about 18-20 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
  4. Serve with desired toppings.


Recipe Notes

Taco seasoning: We recommend avoiding taco seasoning mixes that contain MSG. Also, there are differences in the amounts of sodium (and other ingredients) in various brands, so it's a good idea to read the nutrition information for the brands offered at your store.

Make-ahead tips: Most of the veggies and toppings for this recipe can be chopped and prepared ahead, then kept in separate, sealed containers in the refrigerator. In addition, this Mexican Rice Skillet reheats well, so it's a good make-ahead dinner option. You can cook the meat, garlic and onion in advance, and then refrigerate that until you're ready to finish the final cooking step at mealtime. Or, you can actually cook this recipe all the way through ahead of time – in the morning or even the day before – refrigerating it until you're ready to reheat it at dinnertime, then adding your fresh toppings at the table.

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