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

How to Make Spanish Rice

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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!

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes
Servings: 6 - 8 servings
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
Author: Samantha
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: spanish rice
Whether you want to call it Spanish Rice or Mexican Rice, this festively flavored side dish is a guaranteed winner around the dinner table. 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!
  • 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
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted garlic tomatoes do not drain
  • 1 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
  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. Stir, fluff with a fork, and serve.
Nutrition Information

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

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

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How to make the BEST Spanish Rice (also known as Mexican Rice)! This is so easy and flavorful! #recipe #sidedish #rice #easydinner #mexicanrice #spanishrice #ricedish


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.

26 comments on “Spanish Rice”

  1. 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!

    • 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.

  2. 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!

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. One of my favorite rice recipe. Love the presentation. Looks so delicious and flavorful.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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!

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

  11. I wouldn’t have guess that is so easy to make! Perfect for a Mexican themed dinner party!

  12. I love that this recipe is from scratch. I don’t like all the additives in the typical spice packet.

  13. This sounds like a great easy recipe. I love that it can be done in one pot!

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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