If you're a fan of Mexican dishes (and one-skillet meals), like I am, you're going to fall in love with this simple Mexican beef and rice skillet recipe. It's the easiest dish that will absolutely fulfill your Taco Tuesday cravings or elevate any other day of the week.
This simple dish combines lean ground beef with hearty beans, fragrant aromatics, and savory spices for a meal that will call the whole family to the kitchen with just the smell of it cooking on the stove. Serve it on its own in the style of a southwest bowl, make it an appetizer with corn chips on the side, or fill a tortilla with it for an incredibly tasty taco.
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Why You’ll Love This Mexican Skillet Recipe
- Versatile - This easy dish is a perfect meal for busy weeknights, but it can also be part of a simple meal prep plan or be cooked up for a crowd if you’re having a party. You can even serve it as an appetizer!
- Easy - With only one pan, not only is this Mexican-inspired dish easy to prepare, it also saves time on cleanup.
- Convenient - All of the ingredients are either already in your pantry or easy to find at any store.
These simple ingredients are easy to locate at the grocery store and come together quickly for a hearty weeknight meal that brings all of the Mexican flavors to the table.
- Olive oil: Olive oil adds rich flavor while sautéing.
- Yellow onion: Onion imparts its signature savory flavor into the dish. You can also use green onions for a pop of color.
- Poblano pepper: Poblanos add a smoky flavor and mild heat to the beef and rice.
- Lean ground beef: Using lean beef minimizes the amount of fat that needs to be drained from the pan.
- Garlic: This pungent aromatic brings garlicky goodness to the dish.
- Taco seasoning mix: This seasoning blend that incorporates cumin, chili powder, and paprika (among other spices) brings spiciness and earthiness to the dish. I recommend my easy gluten-free homemade taco seasoning blend.
- White rice: Rice helps to make the dish hearty and soaks up the flavors of the sauce - long grain rice works best. Be sure to use regular rice and not instant rice.
- Beef broth: Beef stock helps to cook the rice and lends a savory flavor. If you're following a gluten free diet, make sure to use broth that is marked as gluten free since this is a product that frequently contains hidden gluten.
- Black beans: Beans add protein and a creamy element to the dish. If you're using canned black beans, make sure they are gluten free. I recommend Bush's brand.
- Salsa: Salsa adds bright flavor and a touch of heat. If you don't have it handy, you can also add diced tomatoes.
- Cilantro: This herb adds fresh herbaceousness to the beef and rice skillet.
- Add your favorite toppings: Shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo, lime wedges, or hot sauce.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Instead of olive oil, use any neutral flavored oil like vegetable oil, avocado oil, or canola oil.
- Swap out the white rice for brown rice. Brown rice will require an additional ½ cup of broth or water.
- Use another meat like ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground pork.
- Instead of black beans, try other hearty beans like pinto or kidney beans.
- Substitute That basil or parsley for the cilantro.
- Make the dish spicier with diced jalapenos, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or hot sauce.
- Add more veggies by adding a cup of canned or frozen corn with the rice.
- Make the dish vegetarian by swapping out the beef broth for vegetable brother and substituting plant-based protein for the beef.
- Add red or green bell pepper for extra flavor and crunch.
- Serve this on its own or scoop it up with tortilla chips or spoon it into warm corn tortillas for a satisfying taco.
- For a lower carb version, swap out the rice for cauliflower rice. Cook the rice separately. Omit the beef broth and add the cooked cauliflower rice to the finished meat & bean mixture.
How to make a Mexican skillet meal
STEP 1: Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the onion and poblano pepper and cook until softened.
STEP 2: Add the ground beef to the pan with the onions and peppers. Break it up into pieces and cook until browned.
STEP 3: Drain the fat from the cooked beef. Return the pan to the heat and add the minced garlic.
STEP 4: Add the rice, salsa, black beans, taco seasoning and beef broth to the skillet. Stir well. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is done and the liquid has been absorbed.
STEP 5: Once the rice is cooked, stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.
If you want to add shredded cheese, sprinkle it on top of the dish after stirring in the cilantro. Replace the lid and allow the dish to sit for about 5 minutes. The retained heat and steam will melt the cheese.
You can easily store this simple skillet meal in the fridge for up to 3 days by placing the leftovers in an airtight container.
Rice and ground beef together are a hearty powerhouse of protein and carbs that are perfect for filling you up after a long day or a workout. With an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, you’ll be ready to conquer what’s left of your day after this mouthwatering meal.
Ground beef has plenty of protein and is full of zinc which helps the immune system. It’s also high in B vitamins which are good for your brain. Ground beef can contribute to higher cholesterol if not eaten in moderation.
A combination of beef and rice does have a good amount of protein, largely from the beef. In this recipe, beans provide a healthy dose of protein, too.
Other dinner recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Mexican Beef and Rice Skillet
- Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Once the oil is hot, add the onion and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes until the color of the peppers begins to dull.1 cup Yellow Onion, ½ cup Poblano Pepper
- Add the ground beef. Break it up into small pieces and cook until browned. Drain the fat.1 pound Lean Ground Beef
- Add the garlic, continue cooking for another minute while stirring constantly.3 cloves Garlic
- Add the taco seasoning, rice, beef broth, beans and salsa. Stir together to combine. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the liquid is gone, about 15-20 minutes.3 tablespoons Taco Seasoning, 1 cup White Rice, 2 ½ cups Gluten Free Beef Broth, 15 ounce cans Black Beans, 1 cup Salsa
- Remove from heat. Stir in the cilantro. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.¼ cup Cilantro
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.