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 full of Easy Spanish Rice with a spoon

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 pan of Spanish rice with a serving spoon and some 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.

Easy Spanish Rice in a white bowl 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!

Easy Spanish Rice in a white bowl with a spoon
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Spanish Rice

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!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 - 8 servings
Author Samantha
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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ 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 ½ ounces can diced fire roasted garlic tomatoes undrained
  • 8 ounces can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper add more to taste for more spice


  • Combine olive oil and butter in a deep saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Heat until butter is melted.
  • Add rice, onion, and bell pepper and cook until rice is golden brown and veggies are tender.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add undrained diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper and stir well.
  • Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  • Allow rice to sit covered about 5-10 minutes to absorb any liquid. Stir, fluff with a fork, and serve.
4.91 from 33 votes

Nutrition Information

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

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

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Easy Spanish Rice in a pan and a bowl with writing
Spanish Rice in a bowl with a spoon and writing

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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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4.91 from 33 votes (25 ratings without comment)

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  1. I made this as written with exception of regular diced tomatoes+ a can of Rotel tomatoes (instead of tomato sauce), chipotle pepper (instead of cayenne), smoky chipotle better than bullion (instead of chicken broth), and added shredded cooked chicken breast. I only added the S & P, none of the other spices.5 stars

  2. Totally delicious! I have quite a bit leftover since it’s just my husband and me. Is it freezer friendly?

    1. So happy you enjoyed it, Judy! And Yyes, you should be able to freeze the leftovers.

  3. I followed this recipe to the “t”! While it is flavorful it definitely has the consistency of a casserole and there is no way I’d call this a “fluffy” rice! The liquid needs to be altered to “fluff” the rice.”

  4. This is now my favorite Spanish rice recipe. I have made Spanish rice many different ways, but I’m going to stick with this recipe from now on. I added hamburger to make it a full meal.5 stars

  5. 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?

    1. Otherwise the recipe is perfect and has a lot of great flavors could use some cumin and paprika or jalepeno pepper.

  6. 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 :)

  7. 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.5 stars

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

  8. 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.)