Making homemade Spanish Rice is super easy and the taste, texture, and ingredients far exceed anything you'll find in a box. Long grain rice is toasted in a pan to create the most amazing flavor. Sautéed onion, spices, tomatoes, and roasted green chile come together in this simple recipe to create restaurant style Mexican rice.
Why this recipe works:
Spanish rice and Mexican rice are basically used interchangeably here in the states. Both restaurants and home cooks have put their unique twists on this recipe, and you'll find there are a few ingredients and cooking tips I use to make this not only delicious, but unique.
- Easy stovetop recipe: You don't have to be an experienced cook to make this simple side dish recipe.
- Versatile: I almost always make this Spanish rice as a side dish along something like pinto beans, but it makes fantastic leftovers. Add it to burritos, serve with fried eggs for breakfast, or toss leftovers in something like Chicken Tortilla Soup.
- Tailor the recipe to your liking: I obviously prefer the recipe as written, but you can customize based on your preferences. This is why homemade is better than anything from a box!
Ingredients needed to make this recipe:
- Rice: Long grain rice is preferred over short grain sushi rice. This gets toasted in olive oil.
- Green chile: I always have roasted chopped Hatch green chile on hand in both canned and frozen form. I can't get enough.
- Canned tomatoes: I love using the Diced and Fire Roasted tomatoes from Trader Joe's. Tomato paste is also used for thickening.
- Chicken broth: Homemade chicken broth or store bought.
- Onion: I use a yellow onion but white would work as well. Garlic is also used.
- Seasonings include salt, chili powder, cumin, and dried oregano.
How to make Spanish Rice:
Full ingredient list and detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Toast rice: Using the pan you'll make the Mexican rice recipe, toast the uncooked rice in heated olive oil until it starts to turn golden brown. It will smell like popcorn.
- Sauté: Remove the toasted rice from the pan and set it aside. Cook the onion until it starts to brown, then add the garlic and cook for a bit longer.
- Add spices: Once the sautéed onion starts to stick to the pan, add the spices and allow for them to toast in the pan for a couple minutes.
- Mix in tomato paste: This gets stirred in and allowed to cook for a short bit.
- Add remaining ingredients : All remaining ingredients plus the toasted rice get added to the pot and stirred to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Cook: With a loosely fitted lid, cook Spanish rice until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
Cooking tips for best results:
- Flat bottom spoon: One of the best pieces of advice I can offer when cooking anything that sticks to the bottom of a pan is to use a flat bottomed wooden spoon. This will not scratch your pot but will easily allow you to scrape the bottom of the pan and release anything that sticks.
- Leftovers: Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator. They should keep for at least several days.
- Reheating: You can either reheat in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every minute, or you can reheat over low heat, covered, on the stove. A bit of water may need to be added to maintain moisture content.
- Tomatoes: You can use two cups of fresh, diced tomatoes instead of canned.
- Green chile: Your favorite salsa can replace the green chile, however I highly recommend using the chile if available.
- Spices: All of the spices, including the salt, can be replaced with a tablespoon of taco seasoning.
- Chicken broth: You can make this recipe vegan and vegetarian by replacing the chicken broth with either vegetable broth or water.
What to serve alongside Spanish rice:
This side dish recipe is so versatile. It is fantastic when served with any of these recommendations.
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Shredded Beef Enchiladas
- Easy Ground Beef Enchiladas
- Green Chile Enchilada Casserole
- Elote Mexican Street Corn
- New Mexican Posolé
- Instant Pot Barbacoa Quesadillas
- Chicken Fajitas
- Shrimp Tacos
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
- 1 cup yellow onion (finely chopped, from one small onion or half of a large onion)
- 1 garlic clove (minced )
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 14 ounces canned tomatoes (fire roasted chopped tomatoes recommended)
- ½ cup roasted green chile (chopped)
- Using a 4-quart covered sauce pan, add butter and half of the oil. Heat over medium high heat. Once butter and oil are hot, add uncooked rice and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring only a couple of times, until it starts to turn golden brown. It will smell almost like popcorn. Transfer browned rice to a bowl and set aside.
- Add remaining oil to the pan. Still cooking over medium high heat, add chopped onion and allow to slightly brown, cooking about 5 minutes and stirring only to prevent burning. Add garlic, stir, and cook for another minute. Add spices, stir to coat, and allow to toast in the hot pan for a couple minutes. Finally, add the tomato paste, stir, and allow to cook for a minute or so.
- Add the chicken broth, entire can of tomatoes, the green chile, and the rice to the pot. Stir to combine. Increase heat so that it starts to come to a boil and then reduce heat as low as you can to still maintain a very gentle boil (simmer). Cover with a lid but allow a small space for steam to escape. Stir only occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until rice is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed.