Cheesy Skillet Tex-Mex Rice

Skillet Tex-Mex rice with black olives, red bell peppers, corn, chili powder and sharp cheddar cheese. The moment I set eyes on this I had to have it but the technique, at first, totally scared me off. I kept coming back to it until I finally caved from wanton food lust.

The original recipe from the Kitchn tells you to crank the heat up to medium so the cheese can caramelize a.k.a. burn so you have charred black bits of cheddar cheese floating throughout your rice. Which, by the way they swear is “this side of heaven”.

I didn’t trust the recipe. I have no problem admitting it. I wasn’t feeling brave, only hungry. Every fiber of my being wanted to eat Tex-Mex rice for dinner. Unburnt.

So, instead, I cranked the heat up to medium-low and got crusty, golden brown bits of flavor off the bottom of my cast-iron pan instead of burnt ones. 

If you’re feeling brave enough to try the burnt cheese method let me know how it goes. I want you to go first. Then maybe, just maybe I’ll have the courage to try it too. . .

Because this is insanely good rice. Rice I want to eat for breakfast, second breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Rice I could eat every day of my life and still crave for more.

Rice that totally rocks my taste buds.

Rice so completely unforgettable that I will be making it every chance I get. Over and over again.

For the rest of my entire life.

Hope it’s a long one.

Cheesy Skillet Tex-Mex Rice

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Cheesy Skillet Tex-Mex Rice


1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
1 red or green bell pepper, diced small
4 cups cooked and cooled brown or white rice (1 cup uncooked)
1 + 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1 (16-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes and their juices
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup minced black olives
1 - 2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
coarse salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet heat the oil over medium low heat and saute the pepper with a dash or two of salt and pepper until tender. Allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients lightly mashing the tomatoes against the bowl and starting with one teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few cracks of black pepper.
  3. Heat the same skillet over medium-low heat and lightly grease. Add the rice mixture and cook 20 - 25 minutes scraping the rice up off the bottom with a metal spatula every 5 minutes or so. The goal is to get some crusty, brown (but not burnt) bits. Taste and season if needed halfway through.
  4. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.


Adapted from The Kitchn

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  1. says

    I love rice like this at restaurants, but I am a rice FAILURE at home :( I can’t even make instant rice– it just doesnt work. This looks so tasty though, maybe I’ll get someone else to pre-cook the rice for me haha

    and burnt cheese is THE BEST! I often let my grilled cheese (or better yet, grilled cheese on a waffle iron) run cheese all over the pan and burn, so I can scrape it off and eat it that way. You just… have to try it. Can’t explain

  2. says

    wow this looks so delicious… Southern/mexican food isn’t really my strong point but I just did a taco post so I’d love your opinion!!

  3. says

    You know, crusty golden brown bits sound way better than burnt bits to me…so perhaps I’ll stick with your method. You’re right…this is inspiring some serious wanton lust.

  4. says

    Hi Reeni, the rice looks wonderful with all the tasty specs in it.. I wouldn’t go for the burnt cheese version either (maybe just crunchy) XOXO

  5. says

    The cheesy part of got my attention! I bet it’s a good side dish but also would be good in burritos and other dishes!

    Moon, we’re thinking it’s about time for another post featuring your handsomeness! Purrs, Angel & Isabella

  6. Lindsey V. says

    That sounds so good! I’ll have to make this rice soon. Personally, I am really not a fan of olives, so I think I will try replacing those with black beans. Yum!

    Thanks for the recipe. :-)


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