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. Dakota says

    I love anything with cheese, and rice is my favorite dish EVER! Looks like a great recipe, I can’t wait to try it out! :)

    Thanks for the yummy ideas!


  2. Lori says

    I think golden brown would be the way to go. I’m not a big fan of burnt anything. Rice has been a staple for us lately. This is going into my recipe rotation. Yum!

  3. Kim says

    Ha ha….reading this post made me chuckle several times. First of all, I totally feel you on second guessing recipes. Burnt cheese wouldn’t appeal to me either, but slightly browned cheese that is just starting to crisp up definitely does. The rice looks terrific.

    And, lastly, I hope you do indeed live a long life! You have a lot of recipes you still need to make…ha ha. I actually have a recurring dream that someone is chasing after me trying to kill me and the first thought that pops into my head is “no, I can’t die yet. I have way too many recipes left on my to-do-list.” Crazy, I know.

    • Jeannie says

      I always go for the crusty bits at the bottom, they are my favorite…so I usually serve the boys first and ended up with the best bottom part:D Great look photos!

  4. zerrin says

    Looks so appetizing! I love the combination of cheddar and rice! We generally have rice as a side dish, but this one sounds so tasty and flavorful that I would have it as a main dish. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. pam says

    I can not begin to tell you how good this sounds!! I will play it safe with the browned bits too. Nothing better than some lovely browned cheese!

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