Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice is a flavorful and vibrant side dish that’s perfect for complementing a variety of main courses. This recipe combines tender white rice with a rich blend of tomatoes, spices, and aromatic onions and garlic. Finished with a touch of fresh cilantro, it’s a delicious and easy addition to your meal.


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped small
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 ounces petite diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Optional: fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish


  1. Cook the Rice: In a large skillet, combine the rice and the chicken broth over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer for 18-20 minutes, just until done. Fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer to a separate dish and cover with a lid to keep warm.
  2. Prepare the Tomato Mixture: Melt the butter in the hot skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and slightly browned, approximately 2 minutes. Add the garlic, toss to sauté, and cook for about 30 seconds longer. Add the tomatoes and the spices (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika) and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with a lid and reduce to simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine and Serve: Add the cooked rice to the tomato mixture and stir well to combine thoroughly. Turn off heat and cover with a lid to keep warm. If desired, garnish with cilantro just before serving. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Calories: Varies by serving size
  • Servings: 8

Serving and Storage Tips :

Whether you’re preparing Spanish Rice for a family dinner or a gathering with friends, here are some serving and storage tips to make the most of this flavorful dish:

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish Creatively: Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the Spanish Rice just before serving to add a burst of freshness and color.
  2. Pairing Suggestions: Serve Spanish Rice alongside grilled chicken, beef tacos, or even as a filling for burritos for a complete meal.
  3. Make it a Meal: Use Spanish Rice as a base for dishes like stuffed bell peppers or as a filling for enchiladas to enhance their flavor.
  4. Family-Friendly Option: Kids love Spanish Rice! It’s a great way to introduce them to different flavors while keeping the meal familiar and comforting.
  5. Serve Warm: Spanish Rice is best served warm, so keep it covered until ready to serve to retain its delicious flavors.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover Spanish Rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Ensure it cools completely before refrigerating.
  2. Freezing: Spanish Rice freezes well. Portion it into freezer-safe containers or bags, label with the date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  3. Reheating: To reheat, gently warm the rice in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. You can also microwave it, covered, with a splash of water to retain moisture.
  4. Meal Prep: Spanish Rice is ideal for meal prepping. Cook a batch ahead of time and portion it into individual containers for easy grab-and-go lunches or quick dinners during busy weekdays.
  5. Flavor Enhancement: Before serving leftovers, consider adding a squeeze of fresh lime juice or a sprinkle of additional spices to refresh the flavors.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can enjoy Spanish Rice not only as a delicious side dish but also as a versatile component of various meals. Whether freshly prepared or reheated, its vibrant flavors will continue to delight your taste buds.


Spanish Rice is a versatile dish that lends itself well to creative variations. Here are some ideas to customize and elevate this classic recipe:

1. Vegetarian Option:

  • Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to make it vegetarian-friendly.
  • Add diced bell peppers, corn kernels, or black beans for added texture and flavor.
  • Increase the amount of vegetables like zucchini or spinach for a nutritious twist.

2. Protein-Packed Additions:

  • Stir in cooked chorizo, diced cooked chicken, or shrimp for a heartier meal.
  • For a plant-based protein option, mix in cooked tofu or tempeh seasoned with Mexican spices.

3. Cheesy Delight:

  • Sprinkle grated cheese such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or cotija over the rice just before serving for a creamy texture.
  • Create a cheesy Spanish Rice casserole by layering it with cheese and baking until bubbly.

4. Spicy Kick:

  • Adjust the amount of chili powder or add a pinch of cayenne pepper for extra heat.
  • Incorporate diced jalapeños or green chilies for a spicier flavor profile.

5. Mediterranean Twist:

  • Use diced tomatoes seasoned with Mediterranean herbs like oregano and basil.
  • Add olives, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese for a Mediterranean-inspired Spanish Rice dish.

6. Tex-Mex Fusion:

  • Mix in salsa or diced tomatoes with green chilies for a Tex-Mex flair.
  • Serve with guacamole, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime for a complete Tex-Mex experience.

7. Seafood Sensation:

  • Substitute some or all of the chicken broth with seafood broth.
  • Add cooked seafood such as shrimp, scallops, or diced fish for a seafood twist.

8. Healthy Grains:

  • Replace white rice with brown rice or quinoa for a nuttier flavor and added nutrition.
  • Adjust cooking times and liquid amounts according to the grain used.

9. Fusion Flavors:

  • Infuse international flavors by using coconut milk and curry paste for a Thai-inspired Spanish Rice.
  • Incorporate soy sauce, sesame oil, and diced vegetables for an Asian-inspired twist.

10. Breakfast Boost:

  • Serve leftover Spanish Rice as a base for a hearty breakfast bowl topped with a fried egg, avocado slices, and salsa.

Experiment with these variations to create a Spanish Rice dish that suits your taste preferences and meal occasions. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal or planning a festive gathering, these ideas will help you transform Spanish Rice into a delightful and unique culinary experience.

FAQs :

Here are answers to some common questions about Spanish Rice to help you make the most of this delicious dish:

1. What is Spanish Rice? Spanish Rice, also known as Mexican Rice, is a side dish made from white rice cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices like chili powder and cumin. It’s flavorful and often served alongside Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes.

2. Can I use brown rice instead of white rice? Yes, you can substitute brown rice for white rice in this recipe. Keep in mind that brown rice may require longer cooking times and additional liquid.

3. How can I make Spanish Rice less spicy? To make Spanish Rice less spicy, reduce the amount of chili powder or omit it altogether. You can also use mild chili powder or replace it with a combination of paprika and cumin for a milder flavor.

4. Can I make Spanish Rice ahead of time? Yes, you can make Spanish Rice ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for longer storage. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

5. What can I serve with Spanish Rice? Spanish Rice pairs well with a variety of dishes such as grilled chicken, beef tacos, enchiladas, or as a filling for burritos. It’s also delicious alongside beans, grilled vegetables, or as part of a taco salad.

6. How do I prevent my Spanish Rice from becoming mushy? To prevent Spanish Rice from becoming mushy, ensure you use the correct rice-to-liquid ratio and cook it uncovered until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork after cooking to separate the grains.

7. Can I make Spanish Rice in a rice cooker? Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a rice cooker. Combine all ingredients in the rice cooker according to your rice cooker’s instructions and cook until done. Fluff with a fork before serving.

8. Is Spanish Rice gluten-free? Yes, Spanish Rice made with ingredients like rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices is typically gluten-free. However, always check labels on store-bought ingredients like broth or spices to ensure they are gluten-free.

9. How do I adjust the spiciness of Spanish Rice? Adjust the spiciness of Spanish Rice by varying the amount of chili powder or adding spicy ingredients like jalapeños or hot sauce according to your taste preferences.

10. Can I make Spanish Rice without tomatoes? While tomatoes are a key ingredient in traditional Spanish Rice, you can experiment with substitutes like tomato sauce or salsa verde for a different flavor profile. Adjust the liquid and seasoning accordingly.

These FAQs cover common queries about preparing, storing, and customizing Spanish Rice to help you enjoy this versatile dish to the fullest. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned cook, these tips will assist you in creating a perfect batch of Spanish Rice every time.

This Spanish Rice recipe is a delightful addition to any meal, providing a burst of flavor and a comforting accompaniment to your favorite dishes. Try it today and savor the rich blend of spices and aromatics!