Southwestern Beef and Rice Skillet

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This southwestern beef and rice skillet is the perfect dish for any busy family. It's loaded with beef, rice, beans, cheese, and zesty southwestern spices. It's a satisfying dish that only takes one-skillet to make!

Closeup shot of spoonful of cheesey southwestern beef and rice skillet over skilletful of more beef and rice.

I love cooking with ground beef. It's just so versatile. I also love any kind of Tex-Mex or southwestern dish. I made this hearty, cheesy, beefy skillet to help me feed my ravenous family while still keeping things simple for me.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

  • It only takes a few simple ingredients to make.
  • It's a hearty, filling dish that will satisfy the entire family.
  • It's full of delicious southwestern flavors.
  • It's an easy, one-skillet meal.

Top Tip

Cook your ground beef until cooked through and no further. Overcooked ground beef is tough, rubbery, and flavorless.

Closeup shot of plateful of cheesy southwestern beef and rice skillet.


You'll only need a few basic ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store. Like any good skillet, there's nothing fancy here. Be sure to check the recipe card at the end of the post for exact quantities.

  • Ground beef
  • Chopped onion
  • Chili powder
  • Salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Red kidney beans, undrained
  • Long grain rice, uncooked
  • Water
  • Chopped peppers
  • Shredded cheese
Overhead shot of individual southwestern beef and rice skillet ingredients in bowls on table


It only takes a few minutes and a few easy steps to make this simple, one-pan recipe. The highlights are right here, but you'll find the exact instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.

1: Cook the beef and onions.  

Overhead shot of beef and diced onions in skillet

2: Add all remaining ingredients except cheese and simmer.

Overhead shot of beef and onions in skillet sprinkled with southwestern spices.
Beans, tomatoes, and rice added to skillet with beef, onions, and spices.
Overhead shot of cooked southwestern beef and rice skillet in skillet.

3: Add cheese, cover, and let the cheese melt.

Overhead shot of cheesy southwestern beef and rice skillet in skillet.

Substitutions and Variations

  • You can make this dish with ground chicken or turkey.
  • Try making this dish with chorizo for even more Tex-Mex flavor.
  • For an extra kick of heat and flavor, add diced jalapenos.
  • Cheddar, Colby Jack, Mexican, and Taco Blend cheeses work well in this recipe.


  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Skillet
  • Can opener
Closeup shot of spoonful of cheesy southwestern beef and rice skillet.


Refrigerator: Store for up to 4 days in an air-tight container.

Freezer: Store for up to 3 months in an air-tight, freezer-safe container.

Reheat: Microwave individual portions covered at 1-minute intervals until hot.

Make Ahead: This skillet reheats well, but it's at its best when fresh from the stove.

What to Serve with Southwestern Beef Skillet

This delicious southwestern beef and rice skillet is a full, hearty meal on its own. I recommend keeping things simple and serving it with:

  • Side salad
  • Garlic bread
  • Breadsticks
  • Churros for dessert


  • Don't overcook your ground beef when browning it, or it will get tough and rubbery.
  • Stir occasionally when simmering the skillet to prevent sticking.
  • Don't overdo it when stirring your skillet. You don't want to smush the rice.
Closeup shot of plateful of southwestern beef and rice skillet


What is the difference between a skillet and a pan?

A skillet has shorter, curved sides making it easier to stir, flip, and move ingredients around. A pan has higher, straight, vertical sides.

Why didn't my rice get soft in my skillet?

If the heat is too high when cooking your skillet, the water will evaporate before it can soften the rice. You also may simply have not cooked the skillet long enough.

What is the best ground beef to use for a skillet?

80/20 or 85/15 are the best ground beef choices for a skillet. They're lean but not so lean that the beef will be flavorless.

Check out more delicious dinners!

Yield: 6 servings

Cheesy Texas Beef Skillet

Cheesy Texas Beef Skillet

This cheesy southwestern beef and rice skillet is a cheesy, beefy, one-skillet meal that perfectly satisfies a family on a busy weeknight.

Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 16 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans, undrained
  • ¾ cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup chopped peppers
  • 1 cup shredded cheese


  1. In a large skillet, add onions and ground beef. Brown meat until no longer pink and onions are tender. Drain if necessary.  
  2. Sprinkle chili powder, salt, and garlic salt over cooked meat.
  3. Add tomatoes, beans, uncooked rice, water, and chopped peppers.
  4. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. 
  5. Top with cheese. Cover until cheese is melted and serve.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 397Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 86mgSodium 842mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 5gSugar 5gProtein 30g

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