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Recreate a classic restaurant side dish with my homemade Spanish Rice. This tomato-infused stovetop version is exactly how they make it in Mexico, and it’s destined to be a new favorite for your weekly menu.

A bowl of Spanish rice.

Spanish rice, red rice, or arroz rojo, is called “Spanish Rice,” but this rice recipe isn’t actually native to Spain. This flavorful starchy side dish is popular in Mexico and throughout America, especially in the Southwestern states.

With that in mind, you might be wondering what makes it different from my Mexican Rice recipe? Glad you asked! Many people use the terms interchangeably. I differentiate the two by the cooking method.

My Mexican Rice is a baked rice recipe, while this Spanish Rice is a stovetop rice recipe. Both are delicious, but this one earns bonus points for being quicker to make as part of your weeknight dinner menu. And, this is the way they make it in Mexico.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Spanish Rice Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Spanish rice.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Oil: Vegetable oil or olive oil both do the job nicely. See “tips and variations” for an oil-free method.
  • Rice: For best results, start with long-grain white rice. Basmati rice works too. If you prefer brown rice, feel free to trade that in. (See “recipe tips and variations” for more specifics.)
  • Consomate: This tomato-chicken bouillon is the secret ingredient in Spanish rice made in Mexico. You’ll find the cubes at Mexican grocery stores or can buy Consomate on Amazon (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link). Or, for a vegetarian alternative, substitute 1 tablespoon tomato paste.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatoes and onions until smooth. Pour into a liquid measuring cup; you should have about 2 cups of puree.
Pink liquid for making Spanish rice in a blender pitcher.
  1. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or a 3-quart saucepan until shimmering. Add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently, until light golden in color, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Rice being browned in a skillet.
  1. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in tomato puree, bouillon, chicken base, water, vegetables, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil.
Spanish rice being cooked in a skillet before liquid is absorbed into the rice.
  1. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 13 to 16 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and season to taste with additional salt if desired.
A skillet with Spanish rice.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: My Spanish Rice recipe makes eight side dish-sized servings that are about 3/4-cup each.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Spanish rice is one of my favorite recipes to freeze! Cool the rice (spread it on a rimmed baking sheet to speed up the process), then pack into freezer-safe containers (I use a measuring cup to do 2 cups or 4 cups depending on the size of the container). Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave.
  • Oil-free Spanish Rice: I adore the richness the oil adds to this rice recipe, but you can easily omit the extra ¼ cup of oil if you like. Follow the recipe as written, making this change for Step 2: Instead of heating oil in a pot, toast the un-rinsed dry rice on high, stirring constantly, until about half the rice is lightly browned. Keep your eye on it; as the rice grains will scorch if you don’t keep them moving. Continue the recipe as written. The rice will steam perfectly and you’ll be treated to fluffy, flavorful rice still.
  • Rice exchange: Feel free to follow this same method using brown rice. Simply increase the cooking time to 50 minutes (or slightly longer) until the rice is tender. If you have partially cooked (converted) brown rice, it will be done in about 17 minutes.
A plate with two enchiladas and Spanish rice.
Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas with Spanish Rice.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a rice cooker to make this Spanish Rice recipe?

You bet. To make the Spanish Rice in a rice cooker, follow the recipe through Step 4. After bringing the rice to a boil, transfer it to your rice cooker (coated with nonstick spray), close, and cook according to manufacturer instructions. Mine takes 33 minutes on the “White Rice” setting. 

Why do you toast the rice before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients?

Toasting the rice prior to adding the liquid ensures a crispy exterior and fluffier texture as your end result (it’s called the Pilaf method). Not only does it add a subtle nutty flavor, but toasting the long-grain white rice yields a cooked, yet firm grain.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas are the peak of Midwestern-Mexican food fusion. With a rich, creamy filling and plenty of red enchilada sauce, this might just be your new favorite enchilada recipe. When I started cooking…

1 hour 5 minutes
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Spanish rice in a brown bowl.

Spanish Rice

Recreate a classic restaurant side dish with my homemade Spanish Rice. This tomato-infused stovetop version is exactly how they make it in Mexico, and it's destined to be a new favorite for your weekly menu.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 8 servings (¾ cup each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 253

Ingredients 

  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium onion peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (see note 1)
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice (see note 2)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cube Consomate tomato-chicken bouillon or 1 tablespoon tomato paste (see note 3)
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base or vegetable base
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen peas, carrots, and corn blend thawed
  • Salt to taste

Instructions 

  • In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatoes and onions until smooth. Pour into a liquid measuring cup; you should have about 2 cups of puree.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or a 3-quart saucepan until shimmering. Add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently, until light golden in color, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in tomato puree, bouillon, chicken base, water, vegetables, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil.
  • Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 13 to 16 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and season to taste with additional salt if desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Oil: Vegetable oil or olive oil both do the job nicely. See “tips and variations” for an oil-free method.
  2. Rice: For best results, start with long-grain white rice. Basmati rice works too. If you prefer brown rice, feel free to trade that in. (See “recipe tips and variations” for more specifics.)
  3. Consomate: This tomato-chicken bouillon is the secret ingredient in Spanish rice made in Mexico. You’ll find the cubes at Mexican grocery stores or can buy Consomate on Amazon (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link). Or, for a vegetarian alternative, substitute 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
  4. Yield: My Spanish Rice recipe makes eight side dish-sized servings that are about 3/4-cup each.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Freezer: Spanish rice is one of my favorite recipes to freeze! Cool the rice (spread it on a rimmed baking sheet to speed up the process), then pack into freezer-safe containers (I use a measuring cup to do 2 cups or 4 cups depending on the size of the container). Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (¾ cup each)Calories: 253kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 0.1mgSodium: 198mgPotassium: 183mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1412IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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