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Jan 13

Cheesy Amazing Mexi-Rice

Cheesy Amazing Mexi-Rice

Caramelized cheese.

Oh, you want to know more? I found this recipe on Pinterest and the ‘caramelized cheese’ part pretty much sold me right away. If you’re thinking “what exactly is caramelized cheese?” then you are in for a treat! You know when you make a grilled cheese sandwich and some of the cheese leaks out of the bread and sizzles on the pan, forming a salty, smoky, crusty piece of bonus cheese deliciousness? That is caramelized cheese, and it’s amazing.

This rice is going to knock your socks off because it is literally coated in caramelized cheese. You get some of that smoky, cheesy flavor in every bite. I know I’m dwelling on the cheese, but there’s lots of other great stuff in there too. Tomatoes, green peppers, black beans, olives, corn and chicken round this dish out and give it hearty Mexican flavors. The cheese is what sets this rice apart though. It does take some time for the cheese to caramelize (about 40-45 minutes total), but since you are absolutely not allowed to stir it more often than once every 5 minutes, you can do other things at the same time. The only problem is that you’ll be able to smell it and it smells incredible. I can’t believe I made it 45 minutes without diving face first into the pan.

I added chicken breast and black beans to make it heartier because I wanted to eat it as a main course, but if you’d prefer to serve it as a side dish or make it vegetarian it would be just as delicious without the chicken. I’m even tagging it as vegetarian and listing additional nutrition information sans chicken because it would be such an easy change. If you serve it as a side dish you can simply halve the nutrition information and make fourteen ½ cup servings.

I frequently look forward to eating my leftovers, but I think I felt extra excitement about these. It’s all in the cheese.

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Cheesy Amazing Mexi-Rice

Yield: 7 (1 cup) servings


  • 4 cup cooked brown rice (I used Uncle Ben’s and cooked mine the day before to save on prep time – recommended!)
  • 6 oz (about 1 ½ c) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes in their juices
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (I used frozen right out of the freezer)
  • 1 (2.25 oz) can of sliced black olives, minced
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced (I used a rotisserie breast) – *omit if making this vegetarian*
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. In a large (really large) bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix together with a large spoon until thoroughly combined.
  2. Bring a large nonstick sauté pan (what I used) or cast iron skillet (do not use a stainless steel pan) over medium heat and add the rice mixture, spreading it out across the bottom of the pan. Let it sit and cook that way in five minute intervals, stirring in between. Do not stir more frequently than every five minutes – you are waiting for the cheese to caramelize before scraping it off the bottom of the pan! Scrape the cheese off the bottom and stir it in every five minutes for 35-45 minutes (I did the full 45).

Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints (with chicken):
8 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on, a serving was 10 SP on the previous program

Weight Watchers Points Plus (with chicken):
8 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on

Nutrition Information (with chicken):
315 calories, 36 g carbs, 3 g sugars, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 18 g protein, 6 g fiber (from

Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints (without chicken):
8 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on

Weight Watchers Points Plus (without chicken):
7 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on

Nutrition Information (without chicken):
282 calories, 36 g carbs, 3 g sugars, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 12 g protein, 6 g fiber (from

slightly adapted from The Kitchn


36 Responses to “Cheesy Amazing Mexi-Rice”

  1. #
    Cindy L. — January 13, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

    The carmelized cheese is my FaVoRiTe part of a grilled cheese sandwich! This sounds so good ! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks

    • emilybites replied: — January 15th, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

      Mine too, Cindy! You’re going to love this! Let me know what you think. 🙂

  2. #
    Anonymous — January 14, 2012 @ 4:18 am

    I am just restarting WW and am new to the points plus plan. I know with the old plan when you doubled portions you added a point. Is that the case now? It would save me so much time to just get the points from here but for my husband who has more points I would probably need to double. So how do I recalculate or adjust the points?

    • emilybites replied: — January 15th, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

      I don’t think that was ever a rule on the old plan but I suppose overestimating is better than underestimating. It really depends from recipe to recipe whether the points per serving change when you eat multiple servings at once. I’m including nutrition information for all my recipes now, so my suggestion is just to double that and run it through your Points+ calculator on the site!

  3. #
    Ms Jelena — January 15, 2012 @ 5:20 am

    YUM!!! I must make this!!

    • emilybites replied: — January 15th, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

      Thanks! Hope you like it!

  4. #
    Larissa — January 22, 2012 @ 12:51 am

    This is soooooo good! My husband & I really enjoyed this. I added a little bit of fresh cilantro to it also and it was wonderful!

    I look forward to all your recipes as you post them. They are “real” food that my whole family will eat….even the picky kids! Thank you for posting these great recipes!

    • emilybites replied: — January 22nd, 2012 @ 12:53 am

      Cilantro would be perfect – great idea! I will definitely add that next time I make this. Thanks for such a nice compliment. I love hearing that the whole family enjoyed it! 🙂

  5. #
    Denielle — January 24, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    Loved this! I added a little Adobo seasoning and made it with some crockpot salsa chicken.

    • emilybites replied: — January 24th, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

      Sounds like a great combo!

  6. #
    Psydeways — January 28, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

    This was delicious. We used Cabot 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese and it still had that crunchy/caramelized “grilled cheese” taste. Yum. Thanks for the recipe.

    • emilybites replied: — January 29th, 2012 @ 1:26 am

      Thanks, I’m so glad it was a hit!

  7. #
    Lindsay — January 31, 2012 @ 5:07 am

    Making this right now! I am stoked to try it…it smells DELICIOUS. Although, I am sad because I had wanted to get some FF sour cream to go on top once it was done and I forgot to write it on my list. Oh well, c’e` la vie.

    • emilybites replied: — January 31st, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

      I hope it was as good as it smelled! It was for me. 🙂

    • Lindsay replied: — February 3rd, 2012 @ 1:11 am

      It was freaking phenomenal! My hubby even enjoyed it. Usually, when I make “light” recipes, he’s response is simply “Yeah, it’s good.” or “It’s ok.” but for this, he was “OMG GOTTA HAVE SECONDS NOM!” And the left overs were quite delicious, as well!

    • emilybites replied: — February 3rd, 2012 @ 1:17 am

      Yay, husband-approved! 🙂

  8. #
    Erin — February 24, 2012 @ 12:57 am

    Holy moly! Just finished making this and took my first couple of bites and then had to come on to tell you THANK YOU! This recipe is delicious!!

    • emilybites replied: — February 25th, 2012 @ 11:43 pm

      So glad you love it! The leftovers are great too. 🙂

  9. #
    Jennyen — March 26, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    I just finished cooking and eating this. Fantastic!!! Thanks for all of the recipes. Everyone I have tried I have loved.

    • emilybites replied: — April 17th, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

      Thanks, Jenny! I’m glad you loved this 🙂

  10. #
    Jennyen — March 26, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. #
    bc — April 16, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

    Had this tonight and it was great!! Kind of like an enchilada on a plate. Thanks!!

    • emilybites replied: — April 17th, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

      Happy to hear it was a hit!

  12. #
    Nicole — June 19, 2012 @ 4:51 am

    Quite yummy! 🙂 I forgot the chili seasoning but it was still spicy. Come to think of it, must have been because I used black beans with jalapenos and tomatoes with green chilies… ? Anyway, I left out the olives and green peppers since I just didn’t have them on hand.

    I used reduced fat cheese and it still caramelized and got yummy. I also used canned corn. I think next time I would actually reserve some of the corn liquid or maybe even use creamstyle corn for a different flavor/texture.

    Question for you all, my sister wants to make this for her hubby but he won’t eat corn. I think the corn adds a much-needed sweetness and a delicious crunch. What do you guys think she could use instead? I suggested peas and fresh chopped carrots already.

    • Amanda replied: — August 2nd, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

      I don’t like olives… so I just left them out and added broccoli. It worked really well! Maybe that would work?

  13. #
    Amanda — August 2, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    Just finished making this. All of my roommates are boys and when it’s my turn to cook (we do a rotating meal where everyone cooks once a week), they always hover around wondering what I’m going to cook. The past couple of weeks I have been using your recipes, always to great success! Tonight was no different, they absolutely loved it! 😀

  14. #
    Carrie Appel — August 6, 2012 @ 3:02 am

    I seriously cannot tell u how much we LOVED this dish! We added the chicken in as well & WOW! This dish IS…AMAZING!!! (: I am gng to do a review on it on my on blog STAT!(: I’ll let u know so u can come check it out!!

  15. #
    Nicole — August 9, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    I’m going to make this again. Amanda, thanks for the broccoli suggestion to replace the corn! 🙂 I’ll suggest it to my sister.

    Anyway, I have ground turkey in the fridge so I’m going to make this with that instead of the chicken. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work quite well! I’m excited! 🙂

    • Nicole replied: — August 13th, 2012 @ 2:19 am

      YUMMY! This is why I prefer cooking to baking. 🙂

    • Nicole replied: — April 14th, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

      Making this yet again. Brown rice is cooking in the rice cooker! Unfortunately, hubby has to watch his spicy and tomato-y so I’ll be adapting this again to his needs.

  16. #
    Christy — November 9, 2012 @ 11:45 pm

    I recently showed my husband your website and asked him to pick a few recipes that he thought sounded good. His response was “Wow! I think it might be easier to tell you what doesn’t sound good because I think I’d like almost all of them” We ended up making a full week’s menu with recipes from your website. We had this one tonight and it was delicious! Last night we had egg and sausage cups (the husband ate 6 of them! he clearly isn’t watching his weight). Thanks for providing such great recipes!

  17. #
    anna — May 24, 2013 @ 12:44 am

    You weren’t kidding about trying not to dive face first into the pan! I just got past my first stir but I had to sneak a bite. I used some leftover pork and didn’t have any olives and used half pepperjack and half cheddar cheese. Can’t wait for the finished product!

  18. #
    Anonymous — January 21, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

    This sounds amazing! But I only have stainless steel pans and I can’t see buying a pan just for this recipe :(:(

  19. #
    Leah — October 24, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

    I made this the other night with chicken italian sausage instead of chicken – it was delicious! Thank you for all your awesome recipes =]

    • Emily Bites replied: — November 4th, 2014 @ 8:38 am

      Glad you loved it!

  20. #
    Courtney — February 13, 2015 @ 6:54 pm

    First, let me say how much I love this site! I was so excited for this recipe. But my cheese just ended up burning. I even turned the heat way down but the damage was done. What did I do wrong?!

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