Spanish Rice

My mother browns the rice in a separate pan from the pot she uses to heat the stock. This is just to save time. You could easily brown the rice and onions, and add cold stock and tomatoes to it, bring to a simmer, cover and cook, all in one pot.

If you have homemade stock, use it! That's what will take this Spanish rice from good to great.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (can use up to 1/4 cup)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups* chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

*Check the instructions on the rice package for the proportions of liquid to rice. They can range from 1:1 to 2:1. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice, then for this recipe, use 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.


1 Brown the rice: Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium/high heat. Add the rice and stir it so that the rice is lightly coated with the oil. Cook on medium high heat, stirring often, until much of the rice has browned.

spanish-rice-method-1 spanish-rice-method-2

2 Add onion, garlic: Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently another 3 minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook until the onions are translucent and softened, about a minute more.

3 Combine broth, tomato, oregano, salt, and browned rice and onions: To save time you can bring the stock to a simmer in a separate saucepan, with the tomato, oregano, and salt.


4 Combine the rice and broth mixture:  Add the browned rice to the simmering broth (or broth to the rice, depending on which pan has a cover). Or you can skip the simmering step and just add the broth and tomatoes to the rice.


5 Simmer, cover, cook until the rice has absorbed the stock: Bring everything to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat to barely maintain a low simmer.

Cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package.

Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

spanish-rice-method-5 spanish-rice-method-6

Fluff with a fork or spoon to serve.

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  • Rashelle

    This recipe is an awesome base! I’ve added cumin & turmeric every time I have experimented with this recipe. This might be the 4th time I’ve made a variation of this in the last 3 weeks. So thank you! I’ve used 1/2 veg or chicken stock 1/2 water. I’ve added frozen corn and lots of other veggies to it. Threw it in tacos. Literally anything can be done. And it’s simple and quick. Love it.


  • Terri

    It was delicious. I did sprinkle a little cumin and turmeric in as well. I’ll be making this again.


  • Victoria

    So very close to the way my mother made it. I asked her for her recipe, which came from my great grandmother, and all she could say was a little of this and a little of that. She has sinced passed. And all my father can say is “I don’t know.” Made this for myself and hubby and caught him picking rice that had fallen onto his shirt into his mouth. I call that a success!! Will be using this tomorrow night as a side to enchiladas. Thank you Elise


  • Hugh

    This was awesome and made for the best homemade burritos we’ve ever pulled off in our household! Thanks!


  • Mary

    Looks divine but I will sub cumin for the oregano and add green and red peppers as well ;)

  • sandy

    It turned out good, I do believe I will add more garlic next time.


  • mike

    Elise, your help, please. I want to make this recipe, but need to feed 30, as a side dish. Any suggestions for how to modify the rice/stock ratio?
    Thank you.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mike, great question! I’ve never scaled this recipe up by that much. The ratios of rice to stock should be pretty much the same. You’ll just need to multiply everything by about 6 as the base recipe serves an average of 5 people.

      • mike

        Hi Elise, thank you for your reply! I used 4 cups (dry) long grain rice, rinsed and drained several times, ’til water ran clear, then left to drain. Browned in 1/2 cup oil. Added 6 cups of Knorr (1 tsp/cup) and 6 fresh, processed Roma tomatoes (for color). Pepper, cumin, bring to boil, lower to simmer cook for about 25 minutes. Thank you again. mike

  • Julie from Ohio

    Currently making this as we “speak.” LOL I am not a fan of oregano in my Spanish/Mexican dishes, so I substituted cumin instead. It is smelling SO good up in here! I have no doubt it will be delicious!


  • Rich

    Sounds delicious, and am going to make for this weekend’s housewarming party. If I make it ahead of time, will it keep for a couple of days and reheat well?

  • Gary

    Just made this spanish rice as a side dish to my chicken fajitas and it just flew out of the pan. OMG, great taste, easy recipes the type you can walk away after assembled.


  • Sophia

    I love to cook and most of what comes out of my kitchen makes me and my family pretty happy. But I have never been on good terms with rice, especially anything Mexican or Spanish. This was amazing! So incredibly easy (I used my instant pot to sauté and then cook the rice). My husband, who loves rice, and Spanish rice in particular, finally loved rice that I made.


  • Diane

    Maybe depends where you are from what you consider Spanish Rice. Found this bland, dry, and needing much more tomato. Added poblano pepper which helped some but ended up dumping salsa on it to add flavor.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Diane, hmm, if it was bland, it needed more salt. If it was dry, it probably cooked a little too long or without enough moisture for the rice you used. This is a very simple recipe with few ingredients. Because of that, the outcome is completely dependent on the quality of the ingredients that go into it. I almost always use a rich homemade chicken stock for this Spanish rice. My parents these days rely more on “Better than Bouillon” which tastes pretty good, though you have to watch the salt level. You can also easily add chopped carrots, peas, chopped chiles (as you found) to this rice to dress it up. Some people have complained that the recipe has too much tomato, for you, obviously not enough. But you can add more to taste, the recipe is wonderfully flexible that way.

  • Michelle

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! I have made it several times now.


  • Loriann

    Excellent! I added a little cumin! Thanks


  • Mary


  • Jody

    My family loves this rice. Its our new go to recipe for Spanish rice!


  • Paula

    This was really good! I made it with brown jasmine rice (1.5 cups) and just cooked it longer. Used tomato paste. Gave us that simple and good rice that we enjoy in Mexican restaurants.


  • Cynthia

    Can u make this in a rice cooker?

  • Julie

    This is by far the best Spanish rice recipe I have ever tried. It never fails, and we absolutely love it.


  • Sonia

    First I will say this recipe it very authentic as my mother made it in much the same fa shion.
    I made it with a few alterations…Knorr chicken bouillon instead of homemade stock. Stewed tomatoes left unstrained and water to fill the balance needed. Came out great…family loved it.
    Thanks for sharing it!


  • Jeanne

    I have made this several times in the past. Lightly browning the rice takes the rice over the top.

  • Ever

    This is now a staple in my household. Love it. I have used garlic powder in place of garlic at times but no doubt real garlic adds the best flavor. Thank you for sharing this recipe.


  • Krystal

    Great start to Spanish rice. We made this yesterday and it was a bit bland so Personally Cumin and garlic salt is a must in this dish. I altered it a bit by adding a spoon full of diced tomatoes and a spoon and a half of tomatoes paste. But to get the flavors of Mexico in the dish definitely add cumin and garlic salt to taste to get the recipe to a 5 star.


  • Harkin

    This is similar to my mom’s (3rd generation Mexican Angeleno) recipe. Simple and excellent.

    She would pre-fry the rice in the oil but not till brown, just white and opaque “like little maggots – Mom was unique).

    Onion and garlic the same but El Pato spicy tomato sauce and cilatro (with about 10 min left) were all she added. Mom would sometimes toss in a few stray mixed veggies just to put a signature on it.

    The trick is watching the rice to catch it just before the liquid exhausts, this rice is very easy to burn.

  • Emily

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. It turned out great,


  • Susannah

    I love this recipe! I doubled it for a function I was going to and everyone couldn’t get enough. Could I triple the recipe? I need to make enough for 30 people, but I don’t want to throw off the ratios of the ingredients.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Susannah! Emma here, managing editor. In theory, you should just be able to triple everything. If you’re a little hesitant, then you could triple the ingredients, but then cook everything in two separate pots (in other words, make 2 batches of 1.5x the recipe!). That would probably give you some insurance on the cooking time and quality of the finished recipe. Good luck!

  • Wendy

    Can you use the sticky rice like for sushi?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Wendy! Emma here, managing editor. For this recipe, it’s best to use medium- or long-grain rice like Basmati or Jasmine rice. The rice used for sushi is a short-grained rice and it cooks differently. You could substitute it in a pinch for a casual weeknight dinner, but I wouldn’t recommend it if this is a dish you’re making for a party or other special event. Hope that helps!

  • Karen Strgacich

    Great recipe and so easy! Everyone commented on how delicious it was!


  • sue

    Too dry and sticky. Not enough flavor


  • Mary

    This recipe made a perfect pot of rice! It went along with your turkey verde recipe that I made with chicken thighs. I’ve had trouble making the perfect pot of rice as it usually turns out too mushy. I am going to try your browning of the rice and hot stock method when I need a plain pot of rice! Thanks once again!


  • Lee Anne Remmel

    Could this be made ahead and warmed up? Just earlier in the day?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lee Anne, sure! You can easily make it ahead and reheat.

      • Lee Anne

        Thank you!!

  • Helen Shaw

    Really delicious! I used one cup basmati and one cup red rice. I also improvised and added turmeric, paprika and a dash of cumin. Used fresh tomatoes and added fresh cilantro (coriander) sprinkled on top once served with a side of homemade black beans. Sooo good!


  • JT DDraper Jr

    Spanish rice is delicious.

  • Lolo Eissa

    I did it and it was amazing, my husband and I loved it.
    Thank you for your effort :)


  • Lolo Eissa

    Hello wanted to ask should I soak or wash the rice first or just use it?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lolo, no need to rinse the rice.

    • Helen Shaw

      I used basmati rice which is ‘dirty’ so I definitely washed mine, but I also used packaged rice which is already washed so no need to wash that one.

  • Mark

    I add a tablespoon of chipotle (minced) with adobo sauce into the broth . Adds a smokey flavour .

  • Shaula

    Love it… used bone broth 1 cup and the rest of the water was plain. Used green onion plus the regular onion and cilantro (mmmmm) trim and peeled fresh tomato along w the tomato purée. Thank you!


  • Mimi

    Do I wash the rice first?

    • Elise Bauer

      No, but then I’m using rice that you don’t typically have to rinse first.

    • Mark

      Rinse white rice only . You don’t want sticky starch gluing your rice together.

      • Elise Bauer

        I think it depends on the specific rice. I use a long grain white rice that you do not need to rinse. Also, if you rinse the rice, you then need to let it dry completely, otherwise it will not brown. And in this recipe, you need the rice to brown.

  • Peyton Verdin

    Soooo delicious!


  • maria

    Eileen B when the latinos make spanish rice we always brown it first. It keeps it from sticking or becoming pasty. Especially if over cooked. Also once you gain experience making it you won’t even have to measure the water.

  • Eileen B

    You really really need to brown your rice! This is a huge family favorite. We do it every time we make burritos or tamales.


  • Janet Moga

    Top notch! I’ve made this several times. Super easy. I love the nuttiness of the toasted rice. A definite go-to for big groups and mexican dinners. Thank you!


  • Karen

    This recipe is fantastic! I used short grain brown rice instead of long grain white. After toasting the rice I put the rice plus broth and tomatoes in the rice steamer and it came out great! So simple and so delicious!

  • Barb Giudice

    I have made this several times & it is the best Spanish rice recipe I have ever used. The only thing I add is some green chilies. It is easy to make & oh so good!

  • Dewey Mckinley

    Toss the dry rice into some olive oil 3TBS till brown stirring on med heat add onions an etc…

  • Dewey Mckinley

    The recipe was so easy to follow an I made my wife the taste tester an it was a double thumbs up I also made steak fajitas to eat with it totally an awesome supper Thanks for the recipe !!!

  • Austin Kriebaum

    Is the rice cooked before you brown it?

  • John

    I add peas,carrots and garbanzo at the end of cooking the heat from the rice cooks it just right for me.Oh don’t forget to cover rice after adding ingredients.

  • Amanda

    Love it! I added some black beans to mine and it was wonderful!

  • Pamela

    Made this for a family dinner with a Mexican theme. My son’s partner is Mexican so it was with a little trepidation that I served it. Imagine my pleasure when he told everyone that it tasted just like his mom’s!!! Easy to make and delicious. Will definitely make again

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Pamela, I’m so glad everyone liked it! It’s a classic in our family.

  • Mary K

    In addition to the changes I made to the recipe, I also used a can of diced tomatoes and its juices. I had to experiment with the water to rice proportion because it’s a 1:1 ratio in my rice cooker, but it’s 1:5 to a little more in the skillet (and that’s over low heat with the lid on). Browning the rice before cooking is GENIUS!

  • Mary K

    I used 2 heaping teaspoons of Beef Better than Bouillon and added a pound of cooked hamburger (salted and peppered) and a chopped green pepper to the recipe. I didn’t have to add any additional salt and my family loved it! We will definitely make this again!

  • Helena K. Keith

    I’m going to try this recipe but will use a mixture of red rice + non-long grain white rice (both locally, Bali, grown rice). Would that work, plus adding some sweet paprika powder?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Helena, the only problem with mixing the rices is that different types of rice can take different amounts of time to cook. But if the two types of rice you are proposing to use both take the same amount of time to cook, there should be no problem. Sounds great!

  • Vonnie

    I have always doubled the amount of liquid to long grain rice and it comes out great. If you don’t put enough liquid the rice won’t cook. Also, one teaspoon of salt isn’t enough for my taste but you can always more salt after it’s cooked. Cilantro adds such a nice flavor. If you want rice quick and are too lazy to use fresh onion or garlic, onion and garlic powder work nicely.

  • Vicki

    The boxed Mexican rice has been our “go to” more and more we found it had no flavor. I found this recipe and gave it a try. We loved it. I used chicken broth and a can of Ro Tel w/green chili’s cause that’s what I had it worked great. I’ll make this again for sure.

  • Gloria Rigsby

    I added a little chopped cilantro.

  • Bill Force

    Having been reared in SoCal Spanish Rice was a “staple” in our house so I tried this one, GREAT. The only thing I added was a tablespoon of El Monte Hot sauce and the rice is awesome.


  • Ann

    Hands down the best recipe for spanish rice I’ve ever tried!!! Thank You so much for sharing :)

  • Nick Bariola

    This was the first time I made Spanish Rice and this recipe was Awsome! I did not have any tomatoes so i used a can Original Ro Tel and it was great.

  • Heather Rudebusch

    I made this recipe with vegetables broth. Not sure if that was why nobody liked it. Looked back at the recipe several times but could not tell what I did wrong. Will probably be looking for another Spanish rice recipe.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Heather, if you made this with canned or boxed vegetable broth, I can see why nobody liked it. I haven’t found a single prepared veg broth that tastes good. The rice is going to absorb the flavor of the broth, so if the broth tastes good, so will the rice. If it doesn’t, it won’t. I usually use homemade chicken stock when I make this rice, but even bouillon (or “Better Than Bouillon”) will work fine.

  • Jane

    For more years than I care to remember I knew a recipe almost identical to this simply as Mother’s Savoury Rice. A firm family favourite, I tried this version and liked the addition of the herbs.

  • darlene

    i tried this for the first time, you recipe, that is, and it’s good … i have one but i’m tired of it … this is much lighter and i like that … i did add cumin, though, and mexican oregano from penzeys, too {cumin is from there, also, and is good, as are all their spices and herbs ….} .. thanks for the great recipe ….

  • Daizah E

    I absolutely love this recipe . The rice is soooo good. I loved this recipe! It was so easy and came out very tasty. I think next time, just to see how it comes out, I will add a touch of saffron. However, without it, it was amazing. I used the tomato paste and it worked well. Loved it! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Anders Svensson

    Hey Elise Bauer. I have made this recipe five or six times. And also will make this recipe today at night. This technique is foolproof and tasty. Thank you so much for the given making steps.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Anders, I’m so glad you like the recipe, it’s a family favorite!

  • MitchV

    I’ve made this three times now and tonight will make four. The technique is foolproof (I would know) and delicious. The only minor tweak I make is to use achiote oil to brown the rice for a little extra color and flavor.

    Thank you very much for the tip. This is a great side dish and easy.

  • Mike

    No cumin?

  • Joe

    Elise, had lost my old spanish rice recipe. Did your mom’s. Awesome. Had a yellow pepper so used it up. Added a thitch of sambal to spike it…served it with my Chilean empanadas….
    Thank you for such a great recipe.


    • tracy ryder

      I’m looking for an authentic empanada recipe if you don’t mind sharing?

  • Felicia

    Love this recipe! Thanks so much!

  • Sunshine

    Just made this recipe to go along with our tacos and burritos! It is so good!!! Love it and thank you so much for sharing it.

  • Jolie

    Absolutely love this recipe! It is my staple rice recipe that turns out great every time. Thanks!

  • Julie

    I have been using this recipe for a year now, and we just love it. I love to take the leftover rice, mix it with leftover taco meat, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, and then sprinkle shredded cheese on top and stir it all together for lunch the next day. Amazing! I could eat it every day. Thank you!

  • Kris

    This is THE BEST Spanish rice recipe I have found. Finally!!! Thank you so much, Elise, for sharing! My search is over ;)

  • Janice

    This was amazing. Thanks so much for posting.

  • pam Non-green XD

    this is a keeper! (although i used bacon)

  • June

    I made the rice this evening and followed the bag portions which was 2 C rice: 4 C liquid. I followed the recipe on everything else. It took double the time and was still mushy. Some of the rice was had and I could not tell if it was over browned or undercooked. Disappointed. I’ve cooked Japanese rice all my life and never had a problem. Just with my attempts on Spanish Rice. Any suggestions?

    • Judith Rosa

      Follow the recipe. It calls for only three cups of liquid. I have been cooking rice for 50 years and find that bag proportion of water are way too much. Same for quinoa, if youfollow bag suggestion all you get is an inedible glob.

  • Shelli Fryer

    Hey Elise – Love this Spanish rice recipe!! It is now our go to recipe and my 15 year old’s signature dish! Thanks for sharing

  • DeeAnn P.

    I loved this recipe! It was so easy and came out very tasty. I think next time, just to see how it comes out, I will add a touch of saffron. However, without it, it was amazing. I used the tomato paste and it worked well. Loved it! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Cindy T

    Living in Hawaii, I forgot about browning rice before cooking; everyone here uses the rice cooker to make plain rice. Previously we lived in Georgetown, SC, and a recipe like this was in my Low Country rice cookbook for tomato rice. I need to broaden my rice horizons again! I made this tonight with some fresh green beans added with the onions/garlic (don’t ask, I don’t know why I did it.) Great rice texture, needs a little spice kick so I will put something on the table in case the mole sauce is not enough. I don’t know if I can wait til supper. Maybe I need to taste it again! Thanks for the great recipe and all the comments!

  • Sally

    My step-mother used to make the “best” Spanish rice and I’ve been trying
    to duplicate it for years without success. This wasn’t like hers at all; it was better! I did add some cumin and diced green bell pepper. It’s a keeper.


  • Bob Y

    Hi Elise: There is a comment from 2010 asking about the use of a rice cooker. While another commentator replied, I would be interested in your take on the subject. Sounds delicious.

  • Debra

    There’s a good recipe in Joy of cooking but it uses bacon. Love your version….a bit healthier! LOL

  • Pam Green

    Hi Elise: I just finished reading Maya Angelou’s wonderful cookbook (“Halleujah! The Welcome Table”) and was struck by the similarity of this recipe to hers for red rice – has bacon and green pepper. Anyway, highly recco the book if you haven’t run across it.

  • Steve

    I’ve made several versions of this type of rice in the rice cooker with variations based on what’s on hand. I generally just throw everything in the rice cooker, but I like the idea of sauteing first and will try that.

    Flavor-wise, I preferred versions with tomato paste, but for aesthetics, diced fresh tomato gives it more of a pilaf look. I usually add some cumin and hot sauce for a little kick. I’ve also tried jarred salsa as a lazy way to add tomatoes, onions and heat. My one attempt wasn’t bad, but it needs some tweaking.

  • DigitalSignalX

    Are there any other spices you’d could suggest that might add to its south western accent? Garlic, onions and tomatoes seems like merely a good start to this great dish!

  • Ana

    In portuguese this is called “arroz de tomate”, or tomato rice.

  • Natalie @ Paper & Birch

    This sounds delish! Any chance you think I could make this in a rice cooker?? It’s the only way my rice ever turns out edible :D


    I am Valencian (Spain) the region where paella and most of traditional Spanish rice dish come from and I did not know this way of preparing rice you call it Spanish rice. Is it Mexican?

  • corey

    Oh, wow. I’d forgotten that I’d commented on this back in 2004. My grandma, who I referred to in my comment, has since died and it was so lovely to skim the comments and come across a surprise reminder of her and her insistence that the broth for spanish rice be “hot, hot”. Thanks for that, Elise.

  • Caryn

    Thanks for this recipe! I have been looking for recipes that don’t use “a can of” anything and this one is perfect! I love your blog and the recipes are super easy to use in our unprocessed home!

  • Laura

    Hey Elise!
    Quick question, could I omit the tomato? I despise tomatoes with a passion.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Laura, if you leave out the tomato, you will still have a perfectly fine rice dish, it just won’t be this rice dish. But it will still be good.

  • Lori Sullivan

    Variation: In med sauce pan over med heat add 1c water or stock, 3/4c tomato sauce, 1/4c green olive juice (reserve olives will need later-from a med size jar of spanish olives found in grocery stores, the kind with pimento inside) and 1t-1T tomato bulion powder (from Mexican food section of grocery stores) – let simmer on med until needed for rice. In large skillet, add 1c uncooked white, basmati rice in 1-1.5T veg oil over med-low heat, stir occasionally, for 3 min until rice is light brown and sort of toasted. Reduce to low add 1T mined garlic, and a hand full of finely chopped yellow onions-stir and cook about 1-2 min. Add 1t-1T cumin and S&P (to taste), stir and cook another min. increase heat to med add 1 3/4- 2c of “heated stock mixture”, mix in quickly, add a handful of the reserved green olives, stir once, turn up heat to med high, cover cook 1 minute only- DO NOT OPEN LID, reduce heat to low(est) cook 20 min. If your lid isn’t perfectly tight on skillet, cover with foil (work quickly) then place on lid. *For meat lovers, once rice is finished cooking, you can carefully mix in 1-2c shredded or cubed cooked pork. After rice cools, can be stored in refrigerator up to 4-5 days (may need to add a touch of water when re-heating.)

    • Lori Sullivan

      *the handful of olives added to rice are drained no additional olive juice added and forgot to mention when rice is finished cooking add a squirt of fresh lime and small handful of chopped cilantro. Mix in carefully while using a fork to “fluff.” Can use substitute Mastmata rice.

    • Elise Bauer

      In general I wouldn’t recommend basmati rice for making Spanish rice, as the flavor is not what you are looking for in this dish. But if it works for you, great!

      • Lori Sullivan

        With the amount of tomato and spice in this version, it doesn’t matter if using basmati or masmata rice.

    • Elise Bauer

      Thanks for sharing your variation Lori! I’m always curious to see how readers are changing up the recipes to suit their tastes.

  • jen

    Our family’s Mexican rice is something I have been trying to get exactly right for quite a while. The recipe is a little different than yours — I finally got it right when my grandmother gave up two secrets that she had left me without for months … 1) brown the rice uncomfortably long – until it’s about to burn and 2) add a squeeze of lemon at the end.

    Interesting how families do things just a little differently when it comes to recipes. I am sure there could be an entire book with various family Spanish rice recipes. How about those people that add peas to their rice???

  • Crystal

    Best Spanish rice I have ever had . Beats my grandmas and that’s saying a lot

  • Natalie

    I cut up leftover BBQ rotisserie chicken and added with rice into the liquid-1 pot meal! Came out great.

  • Bill

    I knew there was a right way to make this. “Seek and ye shall cook” :) This rice is just a beautiful thing. Thank you!!

  • Carla

    I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia right now and was looking for new recipes to spice up my cooking. This was an easy recipe for my limited resources. Thanks!

  • Elizabeth

    This is the best Spanish rice I have ever made! Mine would often come out kind of gummy. I think browing the rice first helped and also using chicken broth instead of water definitely helped with the flavor. I also added a bit of chopped red, orange and yellow pepper for color and tast, and used part of a can of rotel type tomates and a bit of the jalapenos for the tomato component. My son, who said he did not like Spanish rice, loved it! Am taking it to a get together tonight, to go with shredded pork and tortillas, mexican fried potatoes, pintos and mexican corn.. lol.. my family loves mexican/latin foods! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Sharon

    What brand of rice do you use? I have only used Japanese rice where you have to wash it a bunch of times and am a little nervous about using rice that you don’t have to wash (much less sautee dry before using). Is there a brand of rice specifically for Spanish rice?

    No particular brand, just regular white rice. I would try to get some that you didn’t have to rinse first. ~Elise

  • Hillary

    Rice was great! I added a finely diced chipotle in adobo for a smoky kick – delicious!

  • MalinoisMom

    Okie Dokie. I must have done SOMETHING wrong. The rice tastes great, but it is still a bit “mushy”. Do I need to saute it in the EVO longer or what? I sooo want to get this Spanish/Mexican rice thing down to a consistent science.

    Perhaps. Or maybe just use less liquid. ~Elise

  • Heather

    Add about a t of cumin for more flavor

    • Tracy

      Yes! I’ve tried it a few times and played around with different seasonings. But I was finally most happy with it, when I used green onions and added 1 tsp of cumin and some red chilies. Perfect.

  • sandy

    I love this! just made it (for a potluck tomorrow @ work) almost exactly as instructed, i used brown rice 2 cups dry to 4 cups chicken broth and 1/4 cup tomato paste. it is so awesome. not spicey just flavor. I liked it because it wasn’t 9000 ingredients. thanks!

  • Robyn

    I really enjoyed this recipe. I added adobo and little more of the tomatoes. The taste was truly authentic!! I made some red beans with it, my house smelled awesome!! My family loved it. This one is a keeper! Thank you for sharing.

  • KJ76

    I made this rice to go in some burritos, (the rice, pinto beans, and ground turkey with some taco seasoning) some of the best I’ve ever had.

  • Stacie

    I made this recipe today for a family get together & it was great, I used the original recipe along with a few different tips & suggestions from other comments on here & it was a hit, didn’t even have much left over, which was the best compliment of all.

  • Lisa P

    we eat a lot of mexican food at our it! my recipe involves a cast iron pot w/ lid. i start by roasting a couple garlic cloves in the hot pot. Peel and toss them in a food processor along with a can of Rotel, 1/2 of a small white onion and a bunch of fresh cilantro and blend. Add a couple T. of olive oil to the hot pot and add med. grain rice to hot oil. Med grain rice makes it much more authentic. Stir fry the rice until kinda browned. Add the sauce u made to the cooking rice…be careful, it will steam up at you!! I then add chicken broth, mix it up, cover and pop it in a prepared oven to cook for 25 min. Bring it out when done and let it sit a 5-10 min then uncover, fluff and enjoy! yummmmy!! never fails.

  • Nick Tay

    Tried it and it was so easy and tasted amazing!

  • Alicia

    I have tried many, many, many recipes for Spanish/Mexican rice and they just weren’t good and I was becoming disheartened about finding one I liked. Sunday I just typed Spanish Rice into Google and your recipe was the first to pop up. After reading the recipe I thought it sounded much like my recipe for rice pilaf. So I gave it a whirl. And it was a hit at my house. My 11 year old son said that he loved that rice. Your recipe is going into my “most loved” recipe folder. Thank you for a great recipe.

  • sarah

    Wonderful recipe. Tastes just like the rice my friend’s mother always made to accompany traditional dinners (she was Mexican). Delicious.

  • Motyka

    I never would have thought something so simple would be so memorable, but to this day, I will hear comments from a random person on the elevator at work who stopped off at one of our potlucks almost a year ago comment on “that rice”! I was asked to bring it again to celebrate cinco de mayo tomorrow at work!

    I agree with the other commenters that the trick is to really brown the rice. I was surprised to hear some of the difficulties in cooking the rice, because Murphy’s Law seems to always get me!

    Also, I just read through the recipe and realize that I haven’t been following the instructions on heating the broth first (oops!). I guess I haven’t made it with hot broth so I don’t know the difference on this. My rice seriously comes out fantastic without this step… have I just been lucky? Would it actually improve by using hot broth? WOULD APPRECIATE ANY INFO ON THIS!


  • Christy

    If you’re making this recipe to feed 30 what are the measurements? Should I make separate batches? If I use can tomatoes how would I account for the juice that is in the can? This looks so yummy I can’t wait to try it on my party guests. Oh also I am going to add bell peppers. Thanks for your help!

    Hi Christy, you can measure out the juice from the can and just include that as part of the liquid you add to the rice. As for scaling the recipe up, you’re on your own there. Your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  • Maureen

    Thanks for this EASY recipe! I always have a difficult time making rice and it never absorbs all the water or gets fully cooked. I think the trick is bringing the liquid to a simmer and then adding the rice which is also hot from browning.

  • Pat

    I had never made Spanish rice before, but needed a recipe to make to go along with enchiladas for a ski trip. There were 17 people on the trip so tripled the recipe. The rice turned out PERFECT and everyone loved it. It made a huge amount, and we had more than enough for the next night’s dinner (it was delicious reheated) and still had leftovers. Thanks for a great recipe. I will definitely be making this again.

  • daria

    I made it for dinner tonight and it was very good! I only cooked half a cup because I’ve had bad experience with spanish rice before. I made it exactly as posted, using tomato paste and homemade chicken broth. I love jasmine rice and I have learned the amount of water that I use to cook it so I used the exact same amount of broth. It turned out perfect – not mushy or dry.

    I will definitely make it again. Maybe will try a little less tomato paste and add some saffron. I also like the idea of adding fresh cilantro as some reviewers suggested.

  • sarah o'hara

    This is wonderful! I could never figure out the Spanish rice the way we love it in our Tex-mex eating places either,but I just tried this using a can of Rotel tomatoes and a can of Swanson’s chicken broth,carefully measured the liquids,and it came out perfect! Fluffy and seasoned just how we like it…hot! If you can’t take the heat though, maybe use only half a can of Rotel and then just some chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce,but just be sure to measure ALL your liquids you put in before adding the rice. Then cook with a good saucepan with lid and after bringing to a boil,simmer on the lowest possible heat till moisture is absorbed. Thank you so much for this..we will be eating this tomorrow night with tacos & enchiladas for our regular weekly Mexican dinner night at our house!

  • Karen

    I’ve made this rice several times and loved it more each time. Personally, I like the flavor of the rice with tomato paste. It seems richer. But I throw some fresh tomatoes in at the end. I also use brown rice and vegetable broth. This is the only Spanish rice recipe I will make.

  • Karen K.

    This was the best-looking recipe I found online, so I tried it tonight and it came out very well, much better than restaurant rice. I used long grain brown rice to maximize the nutritional value. I also used avocado oil instead of olive oil because it cooks well at high temps (for browning the rice) and has a more neutral flavor.

    What I liked about this recipe was the fresh tomato instead of the tomato paste. You can always taste the difference between fresh and canned. Some people said that they added salsa to theirs for a kick, but I think I’d try some sliced jalapeno instead and pick it out after cooking. Again, fresh is always better than canned in my opinion. I threw some chopped cilantro in towards the end, which was excellent.

    I used organic vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and it was just as good! To me, it’s really the tomato, onion, and garlic that make this rice, not the fact that it’s cooked with chicken broth.

    Lastly, if your rice seems too wet, you just need to let it cook more until all of the water cooks out. Also, sometimes it’s better the next day, re-heated.

  • Michele

    Just found this site last week while looking for an easy but tasty Spanish rice recipe to serve to my very picky children with tacos. This was a hit! My two year old refused to try it at first insisting he didn’t like it but after reminding him of the no desert rule he tried it and proceeded to ask me to save some for his lunch the next day. That is a high complement from him. I’ve made similar dishes in the past but really browning the rice made all the difference. Browsing for more goodness now. Thanks!

  • Tiana C.

    I’m a newbie to your site. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I have been looking high and low for one like this for a while. I ended up adding 1 minced chipotle in adobo and some smoky paprika during step 1. Then I put the entire rice mixture in a rice cooker, along with the broth and 1 can of (drained) diced fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies. It turned out wonderfully!

  • christina

    I came across this recipe today and made it for dinner tonight and we all enjoyed it. I made only half the amount and used some leftover tomato sauce and it was wonderful. Thanks!

  • MissKC

    I made this recipe today to go with tacos. Everyone loved it, even the grandchildren. I made with brown rice, and added a couple dashes of turmeric (for good health). I used strained tomatoes; I just had to make sure that the vegetable broth plus tomatoes equaled the total amount of liquid.

  • Ashley R.

    Elise – I made this for company on Sunday, and it was divine! I used a can of drained diced tomatoes and achieved a beautiful color and perfect taste. I’ve always shied away from making non-instant rice…for some reason it seemed intimidating to me. But then I succeeded at making your recipe for Shrimp Risotto, and figured, ‘Hey! If I can conquer risotto, I can do this!’. My menu was exclusively from your site: Carnitas, Spanish Rice, Perfect Guacomole and Fresh Tomato Salsa. I’m commenting on the rice, because it was the talk of the evening! My home-cooked meal was perfect, and I thank you!

    So glad to hear it! ~Elise

  • Erin

    Wow, this is so easy and so yummy! I have been eating this all week with pretty much everything. It’s definitely going to be a new staple for me. I didn’t change a thing and was so surprised- this rice tastes better than many Mexican restaurants I have had it at! My family loved it. Thanks for yet another great recipe.


  • Maxine

    I just finished trying this great recipe! I had beef bouillon cubes so I made beef broth. I used one large regular tomato and two ripe roma tomatoes instead of tomato sauce or paste. I also sprinkled a bit of paprika for color since I used fresh tomatoes. Super good!

  • Mol1

    I made your Spanish Rice today for a potluck and everybody loved it. The flavor of diced fresh tomatoes is rather mild, so I added 1/2 tsp tomato paste as well – thus giving a more consistent tomatoish flavor for the rice. I added a pinch of cumin powder and a bay leaf too. I always find great tasting recipes on your site and I am a big fan!

  • Dan

    I made this today it was really good, but i’d suggest not using the tomato paste and going with the alternative of diced tomatoes, it looks better and tastes better. Nice recipe!

  • Lissa

    Spanish rice is one of the hardest Spanish dishes to make. Mainly because of the browning, and the water-to-rice ratio is never as simple as the packaged directions, especially if you add veggies to the rice. There are so many different ways to make it and it NEVER comes out exactly the same each time.

    I prefer tomato paste, but tomato sauce can be used as well.

    And I agree with the previous posters that said the best Spanish rice is browned to the point of ALMOST burning, and the water/stock needs to be extremely hot. If I’m making a massive pot for a party, I like to add a package of mixed frozen veggies for color and flavor (peas/corn/lima beans/green beens).

    This site is amazing by the way!

  • Char

    I opened a package rice mix tonight to find it yucky inside. So, I came to the computer and simply typed in “spanish rice”. I sauted onion, green pepper and garlic in olive oil, added 1 cup of reg. rice and some canned tomatoes and about 3/4 cup water (no chicken stock on hand.) I added a bit of salt, cumin and chili powder and reg. pepper. It was great. I’m hooked. Loved everyone’s suggestions. Can’t go wrong!!

  • Lori

    Hi – do I saute the rice uncooked first? Raw? Thanks!

    Yes, you sauté the raw rice. ~Elise

  • m.fitz

    I made this to go with my enchiladas for dinner tonight. Delicious! I will definitely use this recipe as my go-to for Spanish rice. Thanks!


  • Lisa

    When someone speaks of browning the rice, they are not talking of brown rice, they are talking about sauteing (browning) it on the stove with butter or some other fat. Brown rice had not been as processed, the outter covering of the rice grain remains, it will require more liquid and a longer cooking time.
    Why not freeze the extra tomatoe paste in a ice cube tray in the amounts that you would use, for the next time. Or for something else that might call for it.
    Also freeze the stock in the amounts you would use for the next time.

  • RD

    I made this last week to go with chicken enchiladas. I used chopped tomatoes because I hate opening a can of tomato paste for 1 or 2 tablespoons and then tossing the rest (I hear you can buy tomato paste in a tube but I’ve been unable to locate any). We really liked this recipe. I would like to make it again with the chopped tomatos AND tomato paste to give it more of the red tinted color most people associate with Spanish/Mexican rice.

    • Sally

      When I used tomato paste I cans I took whatever wasn’t used and measured it in tablespoons and then froze it. When it was frozen I put it Ina Ziploc bag to be used as needed.

  • Sian

    Delicious! Absolutely delicious. I like it with the fresh garden tomatoes. Simply the best rice recipe I have had in a very long time. And the best Spanish rice ever. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mary-Kate

    THANK YOU FOR THIS RECIPE! I have Celiac disease and I’m constantly seeking rice recipes that don’t make me want to cry because they’re so dull. This was easy (I’m a terrible cook), affordable and really wonderful. AND, I have loads of leftovers which delights me to no end.

    Thanks for taking the time to post this, I really appreciate it and my pathetically limited diet thanks you.


  • Andrea

    This sounds almost like the recipe my mom has made for years, only we use green pepper, 1 can diced tomatoes and instead of seasoning it with oregeno, we use cumin to give it that Mexican flare! Yummy!

  • Danny

    I’ve tried using your recipe a couple of times using brown rice and each time it comes out hard and crunchy instead of soft. Rice has been left in skillet for almost two hours and never gets quite cooked. What am I doing wrong?

    The recipe calls for white rice, not brown rice. If you cook with brown rice, not only do you need to triple the cooking time, you likely need to double the amount of liquid. White rice is typically 1:1 rice to water ratio. Brown rice is usually a 1:2 rice to water ratio. Check the cooking instructions on your package of brown rice. ~Elise

  • Sami

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I tweaked it a bit to our tastes but even on it’s own was delicious. I made it to go with some homemade fajitas the other night. Well… I had a ton left over even after making a dozen or more fajitas for my family of 6 (7 but one is a baby lol)
    So I thought I would share what I used some of the leftover rice for today.
    Breakfast for me and two of my daughters as follows.

    5 eggs beaten
    3 T Salsa
    5 heaping T of the rice
    Real bacon pieces
    butter or margarine
    mini corn tortillas
    sour cream if desired

    In a small frying pan melt about 2 T butter add bacon pieces and fry until crispy or to desired texture. Add beaten eggs. Stir constantly over medium high-high heat until almost cooked through, add salsa and rice and finish cooking.
    Pour onto a plate
    Wipe the inside of the pan with a clean wet sponge and return to medium-medium high heat. Butter both sides of a tortilla very lightly and place in frying pan. (should sizzle or heat isnt high enough) fry on one side until just starting to get golden brown areas then flip and repeat. Flip out onto a small plate add some egg mixture top with sour cream and roll/fold and enjoy. Repeat for each. Very Delicious!
    Enjoy and hope someone likes :)


  • Lanee

    I love this recipe! I tried it according to instructions and tried it again using brown rice and El Pato (instead of tomato paste/sauce) and it turned out great both times. The El Pato salsa de chile fresco (I get it at Food 4 Less but you can probably find it at a Mexican market) adds a spiciness that goes great with the rice.

  • crystal

    I could never do my moms rice till now! I spent two years just making it sticky and not even close to hers. My husband loved the way it came out! Thanks a whole bunch:)

  • Jolie

    “Heating plastic with steam, then letting the steam seep back into the food is releasing Phtalates, which act pretty much like hormones. This is not a good idea.”

    I also try to avoid heating plastic with my food… A possible solution is to create a ring out of aluminum foil to sit between the pot and the lid. I do this when I need a really tight seal to keep the steam in.

  • AndrewBoldman

    da best. Keep it going! Thank you

  • Kathy

    I tried this recipe tonight. The flavor was great…but most of the rice was mushy and some was still hard. Any advice for next time?

    That’s weird. Mushy and hard rice at the same time? I’ve been making rice for 25 years and I swear that has never happened to me. Don’t know what to tell you, other than try a different brand of rice. ~Elise

  • Eva

    Kudos to James up there for the 1 cup to half cup rice! My predicament was having to cook spanish rice for 50 people. In this case, the 2 to 1 ratio did not apply. The more rice you have in the pot the less water you need. I used a tip from Ming on KPBS. He used his hand to measure. The distance from the knuckle to the first bend was how he did it. At first I thought he was bat sh** crazy but after frying up a 2 pound bag of rice and staring at it for half an hour I thought “GO FOR IT!” It turned out PERFECT. I fry the rice first in peanut oil until (as the other poster up there said) every grain was dark almost too brown color. Then I added chopped onion, green peppers, garlic and salt/pepper and stirred for a few minutes. Then I added the hot water mixed with the podwered Knox bullion Tomate flavored until it was about an inch above the rice. It was mmmmmmm yummy. It lasted about 20 minutes at the party. So for those of you trying it out I have 3 rules and my rice comes out great every time (I get volunteered for my fams and neighbors parties ALL THE TIME)

    1. You gotta take the time and FRY THE RICE. Not quickly, honestly, for 6 servings it takes me at least 15 minutes to fry the rice first.

    2. Use Tomate Flavored Bullion (it’s made by Knor and in the soup isle) instead of tomato sauce. Dissolve it in hot water before adding to rice.

    3. Once you get this basic down, don’t be afraid to add different things to it. I add a can of Veg-all or peas to it, I even put chicken in it for Arroz con Pollo.

  • Tiffany

    This was very good! I made it last night to go with a tortilla pie and it just completed the dish. I used to use pre-packaged Spanish rice as I never knew how to make it, but now with this recipe in hand, I’ll never go back!

  • Sara

    I made this tonight and it was great. I think I will be making this very often with all types of dishes, it is so flavorful and so much better than plain old rice. I made it with your enchiladas (my first foray into enchiladas) and your homemade salsa. It was a great meatless Friday meal. Thanks!

  • keely steger

    I cannot get over how incredibly delicious this rice is. Made it for the first time 2 nights ago, have eaten it every day since. Thank you!

  • natalie

    I’m born and raised in New Mexico, but for some reason my parents never made this and I haven’t before either… I’m used to having it at restaurants as a side all the time :-) I’m going to use vegetable broth (some vegans will be eating it), and add cubed cooked carrots and peas (don’t know why but growing up I always remember those being in there!) Thanks for the recipe, I’m glad it looks pretty straightforward, and I’m glad I looked it up because I probably never would’ve thought to brown the rice first! I’m probably also going to sub some hot salsa for some of the tomato…

  • captbbq

    I just made this recipe, adding cubes of chicken and serving it as an entree. I have to say my wife and I enjoyed it immensely and will definitely make it a regular in our household.

    The only issue was that we both though that the salt was a little much. It is probably fine for American tastes, otherwise one might want to use half to 2/3 the salt called for.

  • Corey

    Yum, this is much the same way I learned from a friend who owns a Mexican restaurant. He said the key is to sauté the rice, which I never knew before.

    Barbara’s “Hoosier Spanish Rice” recipe is close to how I make Jambalaya, just add some cayenne and spices, whatever meat is on hand, and homemade chicken or beef broth instead of water (this is essential to getting the best flavor).

  • Leilani

    So yummy! I tried this recipe and your refried beans tonight. I subbed brown rice for the white because I like it better (and black beans for the pinto because it’s what I had in the freezer). Your recipes are always wonderful and never disappoint. Thank you so much.

  • Jen M.

    Great recipe! Got rave reviews all around and will be sharing your website with friends. Thank you!

  • Eileen

    This so reminds me of my mom’s Spanish rice. We absolutely loved it growing up. This makes quite a lot and is delish!!

  • Adam E

    I lived in San Antonio for a long time and have since moved out of state – the thing that I miss most is the food. Until this recipe, I’d never had any success trying to replicate the tasty rice (that you get at the restaurants) at home. Thank you SO much for allowing me to recreate a little of the southern Texas goodness in my home.

    Adam E.
    Salt Lake City, UT

  • Debbie

    Very tasty, but needed some more liquid. I followed the directions precisely.

    It all depends on your rice. Depending on your brand and type of rice, there will be varying amounts of liquid needed. ~Elise

  • Karen C

    I am planning on making this Spanish rice recipe tonight and taking to a potluck. I will make it and it will sit for an hour before we eat. What is the best way to keep the rice warm and consistency good? Crockpot?

    Crockpot would probably work fine. Or you can zap it in the microwave. ~Elise

  • Joyce B.

    Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. It was easy and quick. I didn’t have any garlic, so that was omitted, and my canned tomatoes had green chili’s in it, so that added a little kick to the spanish rice. Of course, my husband likes thing with a kick, but it was’nt too hot (I don’t do hot)
    Good recipe ;)
    Joyce B.
    Cordes Lakes, Az.

  • LourdesB

    Hi all!

    I’ll be making this recipe as my base for some Enchiladas Suizas…but I have to comment on Ricco’s message. Heating plastic with steam, then letting the steam seep back into the food is releasing Phtalates, which act pretty much like hormones. This is not a good idea. The idea in cooking rice is indeed to have a lid that is not tight-fitting because you do want to have a release mechanism for the steam…or else it would be a pressure cooker. Not happy saying something that can be unpopular, but it’s important, especially if you are feeding children, their bodies are smaller and more susceptible to contaminants. These compounds are being phased out of plastics because they are known to cause health problems. No one would expect people to use plastic bags in their rice making, so I will think that these are not manufactured to be safely used while cooking. Happy cooking and keep up the great work Elise!

  • Zugora

    Can this recipe be made, refrigerated, and then heated back up quickly in the microwave? If so, how long does it take to reheat it and will it still taste the same?

    Yes it can be made, refrigerated, and then reheated in the microwave. How long depends on your specific microwave and how much you are reheating. And yes, it will taste pretty much the same. ~Elise

  • Starsha

    Hello! Just had to come back and leave a comment. I’ve made many versions of Spanish Rice, being in a Mexican family, and something is always ‘note quite right’ but this came out *perfect* The only variation I made was to add a half teaspoon of crushed red peppers, since both my husband and I like our food spicy. I’m sure it was the chicken broth that made the difference. I usually use water, or the juice from the tomatoes. This was delicious. Thank you!

  • Kathy barreiro

    You don’t wash the rice and let dry first, before you brown rice? And if you do rinse rice and let it dry before browning rice does this make a difference in texture etc…? Just want to know. Thanks kathy

    We do not rinse and dry the rice first, if we are planning to brown the rice for this dish or for a pilaf dish. Sometimes when I’m making white rice on its own, I’ll rinse it first. But rinsing and drying would likely make it much more difficult to brown. ~Elise

  • Chris

    I made this tonight as a side for the taco party my girlfriend and I just put on. It was a hit! Thanks.

  • Holly

    Made this tonight on a whim while looking for recipes, and it came out superbly. I used a tablespoon of Goya Spanish Tomato Sauce and some chopped up tomato along with a bit of finely chopped green pepper. Que Rico.

  • Ricco

    Ok, at the risk of sounding crazy, I’m going to let you all in on a family secret. For those of you following exact instructions for cooking rice and it still comes out dry and al-dente, next time use a plastic shopping bag under the lid.

    A plastic shopping bag?!! I told you it’d sound crazy, but stick with me here…

    Some pot lids, like mine (I use aluminum pots for all my rices) warp with time and so the lid no longer becomes tight fitting (or for whatever reason, never made a tight seal from the beginning). A non-tight fitting lid will cause steam to escape rapidly without steaming the rice but not if you use a shopping bag. That’s right, a shopping bag right from the grocery store! What I do is once the water begins to boil, I reduce the heat and drape the bag over the opening, place the lid on top, and so the handles of the bag aren’t dangling, I hook each of them over the nob of the lid – nice ‘n secure.

    My family has been using a shopping bag to cover rice for years and I have personally done it a thousand times, and no, the bag does not melt! Instead, what you get is perfect cooked, fluffy rice each time.

    Oh, here’s another secret – shhhh, don’t tell my mom I told ya: to keep rice from being sticky and making it nice ‘n fluffy (according to the correct rice/liquid ratio for the type of grain you’re cooking), add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar to the liquid at the beginning. The flavor cooks out, so you don’t taste it. Same trick applies to poaching an egg (with the vinegar, that is.) Enjoy!

    Great tips, thanks Ricco! ~Elise

  • Sheryl M

    I made this last night for dinner and it was awesome! Every bit as good, if not even better, than our local Mexican family-owned restaurant. I’ve tried making this kind of rice many times and failed; I was making it much too complicated. Your mom’s is simple and delicious. The only thing I changed is I added some slices of carrot with the sauteed rice and onions. Perfect! It’s now in my permanent repertoire! Thanks!

  • Brian Broad

    Your mom is the best. We love her/your recipe. I’ve made this recipe 4 times in the past 2 weeks. It is the absolute best! Thank you so much!

  • Taja Kirkaldie

    I made this last night, it was sooo good. The only change I mad was replaced the chopped tomatoe with a 15 oz. can of chopped tomatoes. I counted the juice as 3/4 c. of the water the recipe called for. Excellent! I served it with chicken soft tacos, some of us used the rice in the taco.

  • michael bash

    One of the most flexible recipes in the world. What can’t you put with onions, garlic and tomatoes? Try some cumin, hot red pepper, peas, pine nuts, bits of chicken. If you like it and got some, put it! Wait! Got it. No strawberry ice cream!

  • Patricia

    I love this reciepe. I used fresh tomatoes, and fat free chicken broth. It was delicious, healthy, and easy to make. Went great with my chicken enchildas. Since then I have made it with fish and chile rellenos. Thanks again for such a YUMMY rice.

  • McMuffin

    Great recipe! Easy to do and just delicious! Thank You!..

  • Luvi

    I’m from Bolivia, and for me this isn’t spanish rice, is “everyday rice”. That’s the only way I make rice and I love it. I like to add chopped green peppers or thinly sliced scallions, it’s always a hit with my family.
    Love your blog!!!!!!

  • kaison

    I love this recipe. I use rice oil to brown my rice–that makes sense right. You can get the oil very Hot. My kids like this alot.

  • fran

    Hey, this recipe looks great! Does anyone know the conversion amounts for the cups in the recipe? Thanks a lot

  • SmartMonkey

    I love this recipe! My partner loves Mexican food and I am Chinese and know nothing about Mexican food. I wanted to make rice to go with a pack of Carnitas I purcharsed at Costco. I made this rice for her and later made it for my Mexican friend who only eats her sister’s Spanish rice and she had SECONDS, THIRDS, FOURTHS of my rice. She couldn’t get enough of it! I’ve been using this recipe whenever I make Mexican food like tonight I made it to go with Pork and Green Chilies stew. I used long grain Jasimine rice from the Asian supermarket, brown it as long as I can before burning it and I used double the garlic.
    Thank you very much for this wonderful recipe!

  • Dona Dunsmore

    I grew up in West Texas–El Paso. My friend made wonderful rice or sopa as she called it. She started with cooked rice. She cooked it in Caldo de Pollo. She then sauteed it in lard with onion, garlic, coriander and cumin. I have lately been using Sofrito instead of Caldo de Pollo and it is delicious.

  • Natanya

    I’ve been making this recipe for about a month now and it’s fantastic. I grew up in El Paso, Texas eating Mexican food, New Mexican food, and Tex-Mex, and spanish rice is a comfort food for me. I like my rice with deep tomato flavor and with the smoky hint of cumin, so in addition to chopped tomatoes I add a little bit of tomato paste and about 2 tsp. of cumin. I’m going to serve this to friends from home next time I visit and I know they will love it.

  • Laura

    I’m so happy I found your recipe as I love to eat Spanish rice with my burritos. Even my picky husband said “WOW, this is great.” My son also was very happy after he ate a bowl of the rice and said it was really good. I guess this recipe is a keeper!


  • Daisy

    I just got my mom’s rice recipe today (we had it practically once every week when I was growing up- I don’t know how it is possible that I can’t do it by memory!). It took her ten years to learn how to make it so that it tasted like her Mexican mother-in-law’s! We put LOTS of garlic salt and cumino in it. Before my mom and I went vegetarian, we also put this Mexican spice in it. I forget the name, but it was something “con pollo.”

  • Sharon

    To this recipe I added about 1/4 c. of diced green peppers. It added a little flavor and color…

  • James

    Great recipe! Thanks!

    Celeste, I used to not be able to make rice either. Until I stumbled on my own little secret. As long as you use regular rice (not instant or similar), use 1 cup of water per 1/2 cup of rice. Do NOT follow the instructions on the bag. Once the water and rice are in a pot, turn your stove top on very low. My stove top’s highest setting is 7, so I set it at 1.5 – 2. Cover and let cook. It will reach a boil and stay at that point after a while. Do not stir the rice at all. Once you cannot see any water in the pot the rice is done. It is fluffy and does not stick. Perfect rice every time without using a non-stick agent such as oil.

  • Jenni

    This recipe was perfect. I had guests and needed something to go with fajitas. They were so impressed. Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Celeste

    Really need some advice about cooking rice. I can’t seem to get the rice to cook through and through. I never take the top off……..4 cups of broth or water (steaming) to 2 cups of rice, stir, restart boiling process, lower and cover. What am I doing wrong. My family loves rice so I use the pre-cooked bags of rice, but would prefer using the regular kind. I follow the recipes in my cookbooks to the letter with no success.


  • Molly

    I learned how to make this down in Acuna Mexico from a friend and the recipe was very similair to this, only difference (and I consider it very important) is to add Tomato Bullion (Knorr makes it, and it usually comes in the jar only, not cubed), it’s not available in American stores up North (where I am now) but you can get it at Mexican markets as well as H-E-B, if you’re in Tx.

    The tomato bullion adds alot of flavor, color and some saltiness (so I don’t use salt).

  • Amber

    I just tried your recipe and OH my god. It’s so delicious. And I even used it with Ready Rice, which is all I had on hand. I used two bags, but took them out of the bags to saute them as instructed, and just added the amount of broth per bag as recommended on the Ready Rice package. THANK YOU! I have been looking for a good Spanish rice recipe for ages. This’ll go great with the beans I’ve been cooking all day. Mmmmm!

  • Celeste

    I constantly have a problem when cooking rice. I just made a pot of spanish rice with pigeon peas….the taste was great, but not all of the rice cooked completely and the rice kind of stuck together. Help…any ideas?


  • Aweman

    The key to cooking ANY rice and keeping it from becoming MUSH is, once you add the liquid DO NOT stir it for any reason. Cover it and let it cook until it is done.
    P.S. I loved the recipe! For those of you whom like a little “KICK” instead of the tomato sauce, paste, or cooked tomato try adding a can of Rotel {Brand Name} tomato with green chilis. you can get Rotel with cilantro too if you like. When purchasing the Rotel make sure you look at the label, it comes medium regular hot and extra hot.

  • sheila

    I’ve been looking for the perfect Spanish rice recipe for a long time. Well, I found it, and my family loves it!! Thanks a bunch!!

  • Jacky

    When my mom makes Spanish Rice, I think browns the rice in oil and then blends the tomato (which she peels after letting it cook on foil on the stove), onion, garlic, chicken broth and other ingredients in a blender. Then she just mixes the new liquid into the rice and lets it cook.

    It’s delicious.

  • Andrea

    This is great! I made it to go along with burritos and quesadillas and some fresh guacamole. The only thing I did different was to add a couple chopped anaheim peppers from our garden. It was a hit. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Starr

    Simply simple! It couldn’t sound easier to make thanks for not complicating such a simple dish this was a big help for someone like me so white washed! thanks!

  • John

    To Corey – don’t mean to stray off topic, but to get the facts straight: what the Spanish call “Russian salad” is, in fact, a Russian salad. It’s called “Salat Olivie” in Russian. However, sometimes Spanish will replace the bits of salmon with tuna.

  • rebecca

    Hi Elise! I LOVE your blog.

    My auntie has been trying to make spanish rice, and it just never comes out the same way twice. Normally she will make a small batch first and test it on her family (lucky them! hehehe) but when she doubles the recipe the rice comes out mushy. Hopefully that will not be the case with your recipe, but do you have any insight on what she might have been doing wrong in the past?

  • lawchick

    I recently obtained a recipe for a very traditional version of this dish from a friend who got it from her mother, grandmother, and so on. It calls for sofrito, which is a heady mixture of red and green peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, etc.; adobo, which is a seasoning containing pepper, garlic and onion powders, and other spices; pigeon peas; and olives. I made it for a recent get-together at which the main dish was fajitas, and it was a big hit with all age groups. My kids took the cold rice to school for their lunches the next day.

  • Rob

    Re: “…genuine Spanish rice…”

    “French dressing” is not French, any more than what the Spaniards call “Russian salad” is Russian.

    “Spanish rice” is a traditional dish, and just because it isn’t actually Spanish doesn’t mean it is somehow illegitimate.

    BTW, Spanish rice bears no resemblance to paella, valenciana or otherwise. It’s closer to what the Spaniards call “Cuban rice” (minus the egg, plus some veggies.)

  • corey

    My grandma swears that the key to her Spanish Rice is to make sure the liquid you add to the sauteed rice is “hot, hot.”

  • Roberta

    Loved it, loved it, loved it. I added cilantro as well the 2nd time and it was great.

  • Jose Luis

    Genuine spanish rice is “paella valenciana”.

  • Anonymous

    In my family we refer to the original recipe as Mexican rice and Barbara’s version as Midwestern Spanish rice – though we use bacon instead of Kolbase. The latter is a very flexible dish – you can add browned hamburger to make it a more filling dish, for example, or coarse grate veggies like carrots or zuccini (i.e. not strong tasting) and you barely know they are there while adding nutrition. Any form of tomatoes can be used – even tomato juice or half tomato soup+ half another form. Got a couple of stalks of celery you need to use up? Saute them good and throw them in. I’ve made both recipes with brown rice – they’re good but distictly different in taste than with white rice. Of course, nutritionally brown rice is vastly better. I rarely make it exactly the same way twice – I’m trying Kolbase next! And I’m planning to try it with V8 juice or jalapenos soon.

  • Tracy

    Gigi – I used my rice cooker (after browning the rice, onions and garlic in a skillet per the recipe), and it turned out great.

  • Gigi

    wonder if we can use rice cooker to make spanish rice?

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi T – the ingredient list lists paste OR diced tomatoes OR cooked tomatoes. We use what we have on hand. Consider any of those as fulfilling the requirements for the directions calling for tomato sauce.

  • T

    This sounds yummy. Just one question. The ingredient list calls for tomato paste but the directions say add tomato sauce. Which should it be? Thank you.

  • K

    For color and flavor grind a pinch of saffron into the recipe while cooking

  • Barbara Driggers

    This is what we call, “Hoosier” Spanish Rice. Been making this for my family for over 50 years. In a Large Cast Iron skillet. I brown, Kalbaska Sausage, cut in small pieces, with chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, red and green, a bit of Garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onions and peppers are tender and saugsage partially done. Then I add fresh, small cubed, tomatoes, lightly saute’ed. Then I add my uncooked rice, about two cups, browning ever so slightly. After all cooked together, I then add water, about three cups and simmer until rice gets fluffy. Stirring occassionally. When water boils down and rice is tender, I continue cooking a little, in order to dry up most of liquid ( needs to be fairly dry ).Make sure all ingredients are throughly mixed. It is oh! so good. Served with toasted bread or even heated Taco shells. Maybe a salad and glass of cold sweet tea. It is very filling. Make sure and make a lot, as it is better the next day. To warm up, just pop in Microwave for a minute or two. They will all come back for more. Enjoy this very inexpensive dish. Just judge for yourself as to the amount of each ingredient, in order to feed your family.

  • Kristi

    Now, I realize this is a stupid question, but I’ve seen Spanish rice recipes that use cooked rice and I’ve seen Spanish rice recipes that use uncooked rice. In reading this recipe (and your response about the brown rice) I’m thinking that you’re using uncooked rice? Sorry to be so dense, but this could make a huge difference! If I were just messing around and making a Spanish rice recipe, I’d probably start with cooked rice, but . . . ??? Please ease my pitiful little mind! I’m anxious to try this recipe!

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Sean, you can use brown rice (adjust the cooking time accordingly) in place of long grain white rice. It will have a different flavor as brown rice has its own distinctive flavor.

  • sean

    Could this be converted to use *brown rice*?

    • Lori

      We made it with brown rice, it needed to cook for about 45 min but it was amazing!

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Sheeijan – I’m so glad you like the recipes! Okay, of the three options listed, I prefer the cooked tomato. Usually it comes down to what do I have available and ready to use up.

  • Sheeijan

    This looks absolutely delicious. I’ve tried several of your recipes, with great success – I really love your website! Which of the three do you recommend, the tomato paste, fresh tomato, or cooked tomato?