Flavorful Spanish Rice

This flavorful spanish rice is a perfect side dish to serve along with tacos, burritos or enchiladas! Start to finish, it’s ready to go in less than 30 minutes!

I used to struggle with making homemade rice, but lately I’ve mastered a few recipes like my better than takeout fried rice, my cilantro lime rice & my rice pilaf. It’s a great side dish for a lot of different dishes!

Spanish rice with fresh cilantro in a skillet on the stove

Better Than Boxed

I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you all for weeks now! It’s quickly become a family favorite and goes perfectly with the Mexican-inspired dishes I’ve been whipping up lately.

I haven’t always been the best at making seasoned rice, somehow it always turns out bland or mushy, but not this time! It cooks up beautifully and tastes absolutely amazing!

I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I don’t like giving up, but that’s a good thing right? I finally feel comfortable making my own rice instead of using a box 🙂

Ingredient Tips

Chicken broth: If you want to try and make this vegetarian you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

More spice: Use more cumin or chili powder. Add a splash of hot sauce or use spicy salsa instead of tomato sauce. Add in some diced jalapeno

Rice: We like using long grain white rice as opposed to short grain rice, this way the rice is light and fluffy, rather than sticky. You can use instant rice, but the cook time will be for about ½ the time. You can also use brown rice, but be aware that you will have to double the cook time on the rice.

Can you use salsa instead of tomato sauce? If you want to add more flavor and spice to your spanish rice you can substitute the tomato sauce for salsa.

Can you add beans? You can add in a can of beans to add more protein to the dish, but you can also just serve beans on the side. We love Mexican Black Beans and No Soak Instant Pot Pinto Beans.

Cilantro Lime Rice | lifemadesimplebakes.com

How to Make Spanish Rice

This Spanish rice is incredibly easy to make and is ready to go in less than 30 minutes. All you need is a few simple ingredients and a large skillet to make this bold & flavorful side dish.

RINSE. Add rice to a large colander, rinse under cold water for 1 minute.

SAUTE. In large pan set over medium high heat, add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add rice and sauté along with the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.

SIMMER. When the onion is tender and the garlic is translucent, add the bullion, cumin, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, fire roasted tomatoes with chilies, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low.

COOK. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked throughout. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

  • Keep warm? Most rice cookers have a warm function. This should suffice for up to 2 hours. If you made the rice on the stovetop put it in the crockpot to keep it warm. Set it on low or even warm and add an extra ¼ cup of water.

To make in the Instant Pot: Put your instant pot on saute and mix together all your spices, tomato sauce, and bouillon. Then pour in your rice and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.

To make in the crockpot: Pour everything into a crockpot, sprayed with nonstick spray, and cook on low for 5 hours or on low for 2.5 hours.

A spoonful of homemade Spanish rice

Storage Tips

Keep leftover Spanish rice STORED in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. REHEAT in the microwave until warmed through. If you want to add some moisture back into it you can add a splash of water.

You can FREEZE this rice really easily. Place the rice in freezer safe and air-tight bags for 4-6 months. Microwave from frozen stirring occasionally until warmed through

For more Mexican side dishes, try:

Flavorful Spanish Rice

Easy Spanish Rice Recipe

This flavorful spanish rice is a perfect side dish to serve along with tacos, burritos or enchiladas! Start to finish, it's ready to go in less than 30 minutes!
4.55 from 11 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 165kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice - uncooked
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tsp chicken boullion
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles - (Muir Glen brand is what I used)
  • 1/2 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can low sodium chicken broth

Instructions

  • Add rice to a large colander, rinse under cold water for 1 minute.
  • In large pan set over medium high heat, add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add rice and sauté along with the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
  • When the onion is tender and the garlic is translucent, add the bullion, cumin, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, fire roasted tomatoes with chilies, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked throughout.
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Video

Notes

-If you like your rice to have less tomato flavoring, just add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
-I garnished mine with a bit of chopped cilantro, this is totally optional, but adds a bit of additional flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 6g | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 181IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

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About the Author

Natalie

Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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Comments:

  1. Wow! This is a new favorite!! Made it last night to go with Salsa Verde chicken. My husband doesn’t like tomatoes in any form except occasionally ketchup, but this looked so yummy I had to try it. My husband loved it! He didn’t say anything about the tomatoes 🙂 This one is definitely a keeper!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

      1. This recipe is definitely a keeper in my house it makes the third time I have made it for my husdand and son and they just love it

  2. Ohmygoodness! This is wonderful. No more package rice for me. I’ve already used it as a filling for rolled up corn tortillas, I’ve added cooked chicken to it and I’ve just eaten the last of it as a cold rice salad! I LOVE THIS RECIPE! Thanks for sharing! I’m going to add corn niblets to it next!

  3. I’d there a reason you would have to serve this immediately? I’m mplanning on making this for my husband to bring to a work potluck tomorrow. Thoughts on reheating?

    1. Hi Brittany! I usually say that just so people serve it while it’s fresh and hot. But I can definitely say from experience, that it tastes just as good when it’s reheated 🙂

  4. Love, love, love this recipe! Just made this for dinner to go with enchiladas. Amazing flavor! I did not have any tomato sauce so I made it without. It turned out amazing! Thank you!

    1. I’m sure it would work, however, I haven’t tried it before. I think the rice probably tastes better the longer it’s able to cook in the seasonings. Please let me know if you decide to use it 🙂

  5. Maybe a silly question but please clarify for me ;-). When you say 1/2 diced tomatoes and 1/2 tomato sauce do you ahlef of the 14.5 oz can?? Thanks

  6. Is it possible to substitute with brown rice instead of white rice? I’m not sure how well the brown rice would cook in a pan instead of the usual method on water.  Thanks!

    1. I used Himalayan Pink Rice (cooks like brown rice). Tasted good. Just simmer much longer than 20 min. !!

    1. Hi Betty! Tomato chicken bullion is similar to chicken bullion. It’s usually sold in a jar or cubes (Knorr), sometimes near the chicken broth or sometimes on the “ethnic” aisle near the hispanic food products. Hope that helps 🙂

    1. Good question! I haven’t tried that method before. If you do try it, please come on back and let me know how it turned out!

  7. Do you use quick rice or the kind that is the bag? I don’t know if it matters but I don’t cook rice often.

  8. I love this recipe! I made it as is the first time and loved it, Then I turned it into a one pot dinner by adding black beans, corn and chicken. It is really tasty!!

  9. Using brown rice cooked in an Instant Pot according to Natalie’s “effortless method” I made a very mild version of this Spanish Rice recipe that my family loved.
    Can’t wait to try that rice pilaf recipe next.

    1. I’ve used basmati before and it turned out just fine. Check for doneness and then add a little more time if needed.

  10. I have made this multiple times subbing out the rice for quinoa since I cannot eat rice. It is amazing!! I use the whole can of tomato sauce and the whole can of tomatoes with Chile’s since quinoa needs more liquid for cooking.. Thank you for this great recipe!

    1. Hi Karl, I haven’t tried this recipe with microwave rice. The liquid ingredients are measured for a rice cooked over the stovetop, it absorbs as it cooks. If you plan on making all of it in the microwave that may work, but I can’t really say for sure. Sorry I’m not much help. Please let me know if you end up giving it a try, I’d love to hear how it went!

  11. i don’t understand. when you say put the rice in the olive oil and garlic, are you putting the rice in as uncooked or cooked?

  12. I would like to make this for a child’s birthday party for 30ish people… that includes the children. Would you recommend double or triple this recipe? Would it be ok to use a large pot instead of a pan? 

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Bre, I would definitely suggest tripling this recipe, and you definitely need a big pot! I hope everyone enjoys it!

  13. This is so similar to the Spanish rice I make but I first fry up 4-6 slices of bacon and use the bacon grease to brown the rice and saute the onions and garlic. I add the chopped bacon to the finished rice before serving. Adds a lot of flavor.

    1. I haven’t used brown rice, so I am not sure. You made need to adjust the time. I would google the differences between cooking with the different rice.

  14. 5 stars
    I made this exactly as instructed and it is Absolutely the  BEST Spanish Rice I’ve ever had. So marginally more difficult than regular rice that there’s no reason not to MAKE THIS!!!! If there Is one reason not to make it, it is that you will likely eat too much, it seriously is that good! Perfect accompaniment to the best chicken enchiladas I’ve ever had (see skinny taste.com).
    And no, I have no affiliation with that recipe or website, just love those chicken enchiladas!

  15. 5 stars
    In reply to the questions about using leftover cooked rice or precooked rice, by all means use it. You can even saute/brown it with onions/garlic/ etc. Twice cooked is no problem; just simmer it with the flavorful additions for five more minutes. The flavors soak in quickly.

    I use my microwave in stead of the stove. Heat oil in a Pyrex dish til hot, add veggies and continue cooking on high with frequent stirring until browned or clear. Toss in all other ingredients and time cook it for five minutes at power level five or six.and it’s done.