Mexican Brown Rice Bake – Gluten Free

by Sharon on March 18, 2015

This Mexican Brown Rice Bake is easily tossed together using pre-cooked rice and chicken along with a homemade enchilada sauce and protein packed refried beans. It bakes up bubbly and delicious, with leftovers heating up like a dream.

Mexican Brown Rice Bake

I’ve been to Mexico once.

Tijuana to be exact. We didn’t have any authentic guacamole and we didn’t splash around in the warm water. It was a tour bus my family took on a day excursion during Disneyland trip when I was about thirteen.

My dad was on a mission to buy leather jackets for all! I’m guessing leather was a bargain in Tijuana? My sister and I also each got a beautiful silver necklace. My sister, who was rocking quite the banging eighteen year old body, created a bit of a ruckus in the streets, getting whistled at, and the like. Obviously, this didn’t sit too well with my dad, who rivaled my sister’s looks with evil glares to the catcalling men, and we were marched back to the tour bus to wait.

Meanwhile, two boys around my age got on the bus and entertained the remaining passengers waiting with some traditional Mexican music, singing and guitar playing. They passed a collection plate around and I gave them my last ten American dollars. I saw them waving at us from the street as we left, quite happy with their windfall.

And that was Mexico.

I’ve never been back.

I missed out on the food and beach, but I did experience a bit of their culture.

Mexican Brown Rice Bake

Mexican Brown Rice Bake

This Mexican Brown Rice Bake is my homage to home cooking. I made the refried beans and the enchilada sauce from scratch, like a true home cook, which was my culture growing up.

My mom was a real housewife, but not like one from the OC, that’s for sure. 😉 She got up before everyone, packed school lunches consisting of sandwiches on homemade bread, fresh baked cookies, and fruit from our trees. Then it was onto hot breakfasts for us four kids, followed by cleaning and organizing our massive home, and picking veggies from our garden to go with dinner.

I feel like it’s a life I would love for myself. Minus the four kids, of course. Louis the cat works for us. 😉

Mexican Brown Rice Bake

A nice family meal

I hope you make it with love and share it with the ones you cherish. 🙂

Mexican Brown Rice Bake

Serves 4

Mexican Brown Rice Bake – Gluten Free
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  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 cup dry brown rice
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 3/4 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp chili flakes, optional


  1. Cook brown rice --> I like this method
  2. Heat oven to 350 and grease a 9x9 baking dish
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the shredded chicken and enchilada sauce. Mix in the rice and beans and stir until it's all combined
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared 9x9 dish and top with the shredded cheese, diced peppers and chili flakes
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 to get a bit of crispiness to the layer of cheese



Click for the Nutritional Stats




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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

karen March 19, 2015 at 12:39 pm
Haven't ever been to Mexico either; but LOVE their food. I think it would be the trip where I would actually gain weight, rather than lose. ;) Love how easy this dish is, and plus...all that protein! & cheeseeeee!
Sharon March 19, 2015 at 11:00 pm
Cannot forget cheese. Have I mentioned I like cheese? Say cheese!
Olivia - Primavera Kitchen March 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm
This brown rice dish looks divine. Pinning it for later ;-)
Sharon March 19, 2015 at 10:59 pm
Thanks so much Olivia! Love the pin love. :)
Teresa March 25, 2015 at 8:37 pm
This looks delicious! I spent the better part of a year travelling around Mexico and it's well worth a longer visit. All the states have different food traditions and there is so much history and art in the cities there.
Sharon March 25, 2015 at 11:14 pm
Wow! What an adventure that must have been. It does look beautiful and some of the nicest people I've met are from Mexico. One day ...
Mary September 7, 2015 at 9:26 pm
This recipe looks amazing. Does it work the same with white rice?
Sharon September 7, 2015 at 9:32 pm
I haven't tried it using the white, but I would assume so. Cook the rice separately and it should turn out the same. :)
Nyssa September 13, 2015 at 7:58 am
Have made this a dozen times! Super easy to make and it's delicious.
Sharon September 13, 2015 at 8:03 am
Hey thanks Nyssa! It's a favourite around here too! :)
Maura Weins October 11, 2015 at 9:51 pm
Can you make this and freeze for later?
Sharon October 13, 2015 at 1:01 am
You know, I haven't tried it but I'm pretty sure it would be fine frozen. Let me know if you try it.
Karen March 4, 2017 at 2:07 am
Hi Sharon. Is 1/4 cup chilli powder supposed to be 1/4 tsp? Also the 3 tbsp cumin in refried beans right?
Sharon March 6, 2017 at 11:17 am
The amounts are correct for these recipes as written. Thanks!
Jeanine October 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm
What is the oven supposed to be preheated to?
Sharon October 26, 2015 at 1:39 pm
I believe the recipe says 350.
Kristine November 3, 2015 at 8:48 pm
Around how many cups of chicken?
Sharon November 5, 2015 at 8:48 pm
Maybe about 4?
RobynT February 18, 2016 at 6:39 pm
I have been to Tijuana once also, had a drink at the original "Caesar's Palace" hotel where they invented Caesar salad. Love the sound of this recipe, pinning for my son's family who are all gluten intolerant. Thank you :)
Sharon February 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm
Thanks Robyn! Sounds like Tijuana was a bit more fun for you than me. We just crossed the border then came back. No time for drinks. ;) I hope your son and family enjoy the recipe! We love it. :)
Amanda OBrien March 29, 2016 at 9:27 am
Can you use long grain rice or is this instant? Should i cook the long grain rice first?
Sharon March 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm
I used brown rice, but any kind of cooked rice should work. One cup of dry rice, cooked. Enjoy!
Judi June 13, 2016 at 7:18 pm
This was amazing. I didn't have green pepper so I used scallions and instead of brown rice is used Jasmine rice. Thanks for sharing it will certainly be a staple in our home
Sharon June 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm
Thank you Judi! So happy that you enjoyed it. :) I love finding those 'staple' dishes. Have a great week!
Sarah Elizabeth June 15, 2016 at 10:49 pm
This dish is delicious and easy to make I'm in Love!
Sharon June 17, 2016 at 11:15 am
I love that YOU are in love. ;) Have a great weekend Sarah!
Michelle August 4, 2016 at 10:53 pm
This is the second time making this, the first time I did not have any re-fried beans because someone (boyfriend) ate them so I used black beans. This time around I have the beans but I am using ground beef instead of chicken. Both times I used white rice instead of brown, a can of green chilies instead of green peppers, and added a can of drained corn. The first time was really good but did not hold together very well, I am hoping this time it will hold together since I am using the re-fried. I like recipes like this because you can play around with it and it still turns out great. :)
Sharon August 5, 2016 at 12:14 pm
Me too! You should think about blogging. :)
Sarah September 14, 2016 at 9:21 pm
I am made this tonight. I used ground turkey and cooked it with cumin seed, cyenne pepper, salt, pepper, onion and garlic, then put pepper jack cheese blend on top.. I am very happy how this has turned out!
Me!! September 28, 2016 at 10:08 pm
How exactly do u cook the chicken?? Grill it?
Sharon September 29, 2016 at 11:53 am
You can use any cooked chicken. I use this marinade and cook in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes. You could totally grill it in much less time. I like to make extras when I cook up chicken, then I have it in the fridge for meals such as this one. :)
sue October 2, 2016 at 10:35 pm
can you omit the chicken and make it vegetarian
Sharon October 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm
Absolutely! That is actually a great idea for meatless Monday today. :)
Sue October 8, 2016 at 11:24 am
Covered or uncovered? Well, mine is covered and in the oven now. I added diced jalapeño and fresh cilantro. Oh and only 1/2 cup of cheese, it's my downfall so I use it sparingly. Can't wait to try this tasty little number!
Sharon October 8, 2016 at 3:58 pm
I don't cover mine, but I can't see how it would hurt. I hope it turned out and you loved your meal Sue!
Sue October 8, 2016 at 8:12 pm
No kidding the best ever! Soooo delicious. Thank you! Ps it came out fine by covering it.
Sharon October 9, 2016 at 12:48 pm
Great news! So adding jalapenos next time I make this, by the way! :)
Akwana October 18, 2016 at 1:00 am
What kind of cheese do you use?
Sharon October 18, 2016 at 11:33 am
I use an organic marble cheese. Anything that's melts good will work in this recipe. Thanks!
Todd the chef November 13, 2016 at 7:14 pm
This was a very easy and tasty recipe to make. I used black beans, which gave the bake a very robust flavor and texture. I like the possibilities of variations that can be done with the existing recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Sharon November 14, 2016 at 11:00 am
Thanks Todd! It is definitely a recipe open to lots of variations. Have a great week!
Shannon December 15, 2016 at 5:35 pm
Great recipe! This is one of the only dishes I can fix that will feed my whole family agreeable..that includes a 10 month old and 3 year old and a husband ? I left out the chili flakes for the kids..then made a soup from the leftovers..just added corn tortilla strips that I cut up and some more enchilada sauce a water and boiled it up..dinner again! Thank you!
Sharon December 16, 2016 at 11:10 am
Thanks so much Shannon! I love when the kiddos are happy - it's the true test of recipe success. ;) Happy holidays to you and the family!
Shannon December 17, 2016 at 11:09 am
Has anyone ever tried this with ground beef?
Sharon December 17, 2016 at 11:37 am
I haven't but I'm sure it would be delish! Let us know if you try it. :)
Lexie January 25, 2017 at 1:47 pm
I have a question, on the recipe for the Mexican Brown rice bake, it says 3/4 cup dried brown rice.... Do you cook the rice before hand or do you just throw it in the ingredients uncooked? Sorry for asking a dumb question. Thanks for your reply.
Lexie January 25, 2017 at 3:05 pm
Never mind, I completely missed the instructions #1. Duh!!!
Sharon January 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm
No worries! I always cook extra rice when I make a batch. It will last in the fridge for up to a week. Then you have it on hand to throw into other meals. :)
DC January 30, 2017 at 10:51 pm
You saved two halves of a rotisserie chicken breast from being thrown out, in two days. Strangely, when I saw your recipe, my thoughts leapt, thinking how I could make this simple and easy recipe with those two and some of my favorite ingredients. I really dislike cooking because it takes up too much of my time and it is just too much. But then there it was looming out at me, as if saying - you can do this. I had the perfect amount of T.J.'s left over bottled enchilada sauce and the perfect amount of previously shredded Tilamook mild cheddar. I used T.J.'s refried black beans butI didn't want to waste the rest of the beans. To the beans I mixed in a little EVOO and Garlic salt then added to the mix of rice sauce and chicken. With the left over beans in the can I did the same with the oil and garlic salt and a piece of chili powder, then spread them on the bottom of the baking dish. I layered the mixture over the beans and then did an all over sprinkle with garlic salt. Next. I layered the pickled Jalapeño rings, a thick covering of the cheese and then the red pepper seeds. Absolutely satisfying and delicious and what a great way to use leftover but somewhat tasteless chicken breast. This s a repeat recipe and might also try it with Ground Beef. P.S. I never write comments but for some strange reason I just did...
Sharon January 31, 2017 at 12:56 pm
Thanks for the great comment, DC! And I love the idea of doing this with beef. Thanks again and enjoy the rest of your week. :)
Laverne February 10, 2017 at 5:06 am
Lovely recipe-hubby loved it. Thanks.
Sharon February 10, 2017 at 11:25 am
That's the best endorsement, Laverne! I love happy hubbies. ;) Thanks so much.
Cristal February 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm
Needed to go food shopping but I was able to make this with what we had - just needed to do a salsa concoction instead of enchilada sauce. So fast and easy and it was a hit with everyone. Will definitely make again!
Sharon February 19, 2017 at 3:53 pm
Awesome! Sp glad that everyone enjoyed. :) Thanks so much Cristal.
pam April 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm
Can you freeze this meal?
Sharon April 17, 2017 at 9:25 am
I haven't personally, but I'm sure it should be fine for the freezer. Thanks Pam!
Barbara April 18, 2017 at 8:33 pm
I'm gonna try this recipe this week, with an avocado sauce on it :)
Sharon April 18, 2017 at 8:51 pm
Sounds delicious! Creamy avocado would be a great pair with this recipe. Yum! Hope you enjoy. :)
Kristina November 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm
I was just wondering if the enhalada sauce makes it spicy? Is there an alternative sauce if so?
Sharon November 19, 2017 at 10:38 am
The sauce definitely has chili powder spice but not a fiery heat. Maybe just crushed tomatoes would work for a milder taste?
Jenn January 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm
How do you portion this out for the 21 day fix?
Sharon January 7, 2018 at 6:57 pm
Hey Jenn! I'm not sure, sorry. The nutrition stats are linked though, if that helps. :) Have a great week!
Miss Food Fairy January 23, 2018 at 7:12 pm
Sharon this looks delicious! I'm always looking for new ways to make brown rice tasty :) Hubby eats a lot of brown rice when he's working out but for me it can be a bit boring. Pinning this for later. PS I also love a lot of cheese ;)
Sharon January 24, 2018 at 9:15 am
Very nice to meet another cheese lover! And lucky you with a brown rice loving hubby ... mine despises it! haha Hope you enjoy this one!

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