Spanish Rice

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Spanish Rice (or some people call it Mexican Rice), this festively flavored side dish is a guaranteed winner around the dinner table.

A simple Spanish Rice can be made in just one pot, and it is easily adjustable to be as spicy (or not spicy!) as you’d like!  We serve this along side tacos, fajitas or even grilled chicken or steak!

White bowl filled with Spanish rice and a pan of Spanish rice in the background

Spanish rice (also commonly known as Mexican rice) is a simple but incredibly flavorful side dish that pairs well with so many different dinner options (like Shrimp Fajitas). You’ll see how to make Spanish Rice with just a handful of ingredients, one pot, and a few simple ingredients. You can have this easy side dish on the table in under thirty minutes.

There are a lot of recipes out there for easy Spanish rice, but this is my personal favorite, and it can be easily customized to make it spicier if you have taste buds that like that sort of thing! 😉

Plenty of recipes use fresh tomatoes, and while you can certainly substitute them here, after a lot of trial and error, I’ve found that using canned diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted ones) not only makes this rice much easier to make, but it actually makes the flavor even better.

A skillet full of Mexican Rice with cilantro garnish

How Do You Make Spanish Rice?

Spanish rice is surprisingly easy to make! You’ll start with a little bit of oil and melted butter in a deep saucepan or Dutch oven and heat until the pan is hot.  Next, add your finely diced pepper and onions and your rice (I recommend using long grain white rice for this recipe). Cook until the veggies are tender and the rice has begun to turn golden brown, and then add a few cloves worth of minced garlic.

Finally, you’ll add the remainder of your ingredients: diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and spices, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer your Spanish rice until most of the liquid has been cooked up and the rice is tender.

If you like a little extra heat with your Spanish rice, you can increase the amount of cayenne pepper that you use in this recipe. I stick with a conservative 1/4 teaspoon, which gives it just a touch of heat but isn’t overwhelming.

White bowl filled with Spanish rice, with a spoon

What Should I Serve With Spanish Rice?

Spanish rice goes best with Mexican-themed dishes including crockpot chicken tacos, fajitas, or carnitas. However, this rice should not be limited to just Mexican dishes! We also enjoy it as a side with everything from pizza to pulled chicken sandwiches!

I’ve also made this Spanish rice recipe into a full-fledged meal in the past by adding leftover shredded chicken — delicious!

4.5 from 6 votes
Review Recipe

Spanish Rice

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 - 8 servings
Author Samantha
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Spanish Rice is a festively flavored side dish is a guaranteed winner around the dinner table. It can be made in just one pot, and it is easily adjustable to be as spicy (or not spicy!) as you’d like!


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion finely diced (about 1 cup diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper finely diced (about 1 cup diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted garlic tomatoes undrained
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper add more to taste for more spice

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  1. Combine olive oil and butter in a deep saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Heat until butter is melted.
  2. Add rice, onion, and bell pepper and cook until rice is golden brown and veggies are tender.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add undrained diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper and stir well.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  6. Allow rice to sit covered about 5-10 minutes to absorb any liquid. Stir, fluff with a fork, and serve.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 289, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 947mg, Potassium: 485mg, Carbohydrates: 46g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 5g, Vitamin A: 1305%, Vitamin C: 42.6%, Calcium: 54%, Iron: 2%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword spanish rice
How to make the BEST Spanish Rice (also known as Mexican Rice)! This is so easy and flavorful! #recipe #sidedish #rice #easydinner #mexicanrice #spanishrice
Spanish Rice in a white bowl

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About the author


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Samantha is the creator behind the dessert blog “Sugar Spun Run”, a website she began as an excuse to appease her insatiable sweet tooth. Here she shares original, from-scratch desserts, usually of the chocolate variety. If she’s not in her kitchen (more likely than not coated in a fine dusting of powdered sugar), you’ll probably find her hanging out with her husband and their two dogs, Penny and (Princess) Leia.

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  1. The normal ratio for cooking rice is 1: part rice to 2 parts liquid i see a lot of high rated recipes that have a 1 to 2.5 ratio this one is 1 to 3.2083 so my guess is this is going to be rather soggy….anyone else have this experience?

  2. made a batch for lunch today, Substituted fire roasted tomatoes with jalapenos, substituted a can of tomato soup added some canned pork………….excellent!! we have nummy leftovers :)

  3. Hello, I looked through a number of Spanish rice recipes before I found this one. One of the reasons I chose this one to try was it was neither to simplistic, like just adding salsa to rice, nor was it to complicated, with which seemed to me to be far too many ingredients. I rarely comment on anything but this was absolutely delicious! Everyone in my family loved it. I was asked to make it again and I started getting a little nervous when it did not come up in my search for Spanish rice. I copied the recipe into notepad so I can easily find it in the future. I want to say thank you on behalf of my family and myself for an amazing recipe.

    1. I’m so happy to hear how much you love the Spanish rice Steve! Thank you for commenting :) You made my day!

  4. Do you have any guidance on scaling up this recipe? I’m planning on making it for a crowd using 6 cups of rice, and I know recipes don’t alway behave the same way when you double or triple or quadruple them. (And it goes without saying I’d prefer to avoid making a quadruple testing batch, if possible.)

  5. Mine came out like mush too :((… way too much liquid… I actually kept thinking this when assembling it but followed the recipe to a “T”..tasted fine but i had to cook it another 20 minutes just to boil off the amount of liquid left after the recommended amount of time so as result the rice was way overcooked resulting in the mush..I think the recipe is perhaps flawed (?)

    1. I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you, I do understand it’s disappointing when a recipe doesn’t work as expected. Adding cook time would cause the rice to overcook (as your total cook time would be 45 minutes).

      What type of rice did you use? Was your can of tomatoes 14.5oz? We did test the recipe again today and it worked out well for us, we didn’t find it mushy or overcooked. I did allow the rice to sit covered for a few minutes to absorb any extra liquid, that could possibly help. We also did try this recipe with drained tomatoes and it worked well. I have updated the recipe to include this information.

    2. If too little oil is used to brown the rice it will seem mushy. If it doesn’t get to sit a few minutes it may seem mushy. Cooks need to read, read, read. Anyone who thinks cooking is simple is mistaken.

      1. I think that some people don’t actually know what that means, and used white Minute Rice, so it came out mushy. My family loves Spanish Rice on occasion, especially as a side when we have Meatloaf & Broccoli. This is delicious, and it came out perfectly for me. Thanks :-)

  6. I’ve shared this recipe with many siblings. After we lost Mom last year ( at 92) I thought her recipe was gone forever. I’m making this for the fourth time along with a lightly sauted pork steak. I don’t eat that much meat anymore but like to cut up the pork, add to the cooked rice and I get, perhaps, three more meals. Real food!

    1. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom, the recipes and foods we enjoyed growing up become such special memories. Thank you for sharing with your siblings.

  7. Terrific! Changed to ingredients I had on hand: 14 oz. canned diced tomatoes, 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes., all undrained. No chili powder. Apologize for changes, but it was really delicious, despite changes. Otherwise, stuck to recipe and appreciate all suggestions!

  8. I love spanish rice! There are so many ways to use it in meals. This recipe looks especially delicious!

  9. Spanish rice is so good and I’m loving the looks of your recipe! We like to make sure to have plenty to use in burritos later in the week!

  10. I bet this rice sounds like it will be delicious with your skillet shrimp fajitas!!! Oh my goodness, perfect for a hearty and flavorful meal!

  11. This is one of my favorite ways to eat rice. It’s so flavorful and I really like the spices in it!! Add a little bit of meat to it and you’d have a main dish!! Your recipe sounds really yummy.

  12. I’m always looking for simple side dishes for spicy meals. This looks easy and delicious and easy to make on busy nights.

  13. Yum, this looks so much better than what’s served at a restaurant. I love that you can also adjust the spice level to your liking. I would have a hard time not making this my main course!

  14. This is my kind of rice. Lots of flavor packed into a simple dish. I’m giving this a try for Cinco de Mayo!

  15. spanish rice. Wow, never tried this one .Will surely try it soon. Can you please share what all types of rice can one use to make this recipe.

  16. I’m kinda surprised becaue the way cooking Spanish rice is kinda like Asian fried rice and actually, I’m making one the egg fried rice recipe.
    I’m so excited to try this one to know the difference xD

  17. I want to let you know that Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice are not the same at all. The spices for both are totally different. I don’t know why people makes that observation. People need too do more research.