This homemade Spanish rice recipe is an easy and delicious side dish! Soft and flavorful, it pairs perfectly with Mexican mains like tacos and enchiladas.
I’ve eaten Spanish rice at Mexican restaurants countless times, but it wasn’t until this year that I started making a Spanish rice recipe at home. Today’s post is a PSA: if you’ve never made homemade Spanish rice, it’s time to start. I miss you so much!
Spanish rice, also called Mexican rice or arroz rojo, is a type of rice pilaf cooked with onions and garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and spices. It is commonly eaten throughout northern Mexico and the southwestern United States, and is the perfect side dish for simply cooked protein or Mexican fare such as tacos and enchiladas.
The recipe below is my way of making Spanish rice. It’s so easy, and it comes out moist, tender, and flavorful every time. I think you will like it.
Spanish Rice Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy Spanish rice recipe:
- rice, of course! Long grain white rice, like basmati, works best in this recipe. You can also use brown rice, but you need to increase the amount of broth to 2 cups. Boil the rice for 45 minutes instead of 15 minutes.
- Onion and garlic – For a delicious depth of flavor.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds richness to the rice and helps with all the flavors. Feel free to sub in a neutral cooking oil, like avocado or canola oil, if you like.
- Tomato paste, including diced fresh tomatoes or canned tomato sauce – They give the rice its signature red color and add a tangy tomato flavor. Feel free to use either diced fresh tomatoes or canned tomato sauce. Both options work great!
- Jalapeño pepper – For subtle warmth and inviting patches of green. If you don’t like spicy food, replace the jalapeño with 1/4 cup chopped green pepper.
- Dried oregano – I use this dried herb in many of my favorite Mexican dishes. It adds an earthy depth to the rice.
- Vegetable soup – You can sub water, but cooking rice in broth makes it tastier. Use store-bought, or make homemade vegetable soup.
- And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Spanish Rice
This Mexican rice recipe is so simple to make! Here’s how it goes:
First, rinse the rice. This is my first step whenever I cook rice, because it removes the starches that can cause the rice to clump. Place it in a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, and rinse it under cold running water until the water in the bowl runs clear.
Next, sauté the onion and toast the rice. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring often, for another 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Then, add the rest of the ingredients. Stir in tomato paste and garlic, followed by diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, jalapeño, salt, and oregano.
Pour the broth, and bring it to a boil.
Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and the rice boils for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
Finally, let the rice steam. Remove it from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
You are ready to serve! Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and enjoy.
What to Serve with Mexican Rice
My favorite to serve with Mexican rice? Mexican food! This would make a delicious side dish for any of these Mexican-inspired recipes:
Here are some other great ways to use it:
How do you like to serve Mexican rice? Let me know in the comments!
Leftover Spanish rice will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, heat it in the microwave or on the stove with a little water or vegetable broth.
The rice is also frozen. Store it in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the microwave or overnight in the refrigerator.
More Favorite Rice Recipes
If you love this Spanish rice recipe, try one of these simple rice dishes next:
Heat the olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or pot. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant and cooked through.
Stir in the tomato paste and garlic, then add the fresh tomatoes, jalapeños, salt, oregano, and broth. Boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork.