Homemade Spanish Rice Recipe


Rice is one of the most popular side dishes in the world. Anytime you go to a Mexican or Spanish restaurant, rice is one of the most common sides. The rice comes out fluffy, delicious, savory, and red! That’s because it’s Spanish rice, and with a couple of additional ingredients, you can make rice this way at home.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Spanish rice. By the end of this article, you will know how to make Spanish rice and can make all your friends jealous.

What Is Spanish Rice?

spanish rice

Spanish rice, also known as Mexican rice or arroz rojo, is a dish made with white long-grain rice and tomato sauce. It’s often cooked with diced onions, garlic, and bell peppers for added flavor and texture. Origin of Spanish Rice.

Food historians debate the origins of Spanish rice. Some believe it was created during the Spanish colonization of Mexico, while others believe Mexican immigrants in the Southwestern and Southern United States developed it.

Spanish rice differs from traditional white or brown rice because it is cooked with tomato sauce and diced vegetables, giving it a unique flavor and red color. It’s also typically cooked with a blend of spices, such as cumin and chili powder.

spanish rice

Homemade Spanish Rice Recipe

Spanish rice, also known as Mexican rice or arroz rojo, is a dish made with white long-grain rice and tomato sauce. It's often cooked with diced onions, garlic, and bell peppers for added flavor and texture. Origin of Spanish Rice.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8
Calories 200 kcal


  • 1 cup White long-grain rice
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cups Diced onion
  • ½ cups Chopped bell pepper
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz Tomato sauce
  • 2 cups Water
  • ½ cups Frozen corn (optional)
  • 1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)


  • Begin by prepping all of your vegetables. You want them to cook evenly, so cut them all about the same size.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the rice. Cook the rice until it starts to brown.
  • Once the rice is light brown, add the diced onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until they begin to soften and the rice is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the cumin, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce and water, stirring well to combine everything.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for about 20-40 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. All the liquid should get absorbed.
  • Optional: stir in frozen corn/black beans for added nutrition and texture.
  • Fluff the rice before serving and serve it hot with your favorite Mexican dish or as a standalone meal.
Keyword arroz rojo, spanish rice, tostitos salsa

Tips & Tricks for Spanish Rice

It is easy to scale the recipe. The primary thing you should consider is how much rice you need. Estimate about 1/4 cup of rice per person. For each cup of rice, you should add two cups of liquid.

The best rice to use for Spanish rice recipes is long-grain white rice. As far as white rice calories, it has 200 per cup. This type of rice will get fluffy and won’t stick to the pan. However, you can also use short-grain white rice or brown rice. However, if you use other kinds of rice, you will need to adjust the amount of liquid.

You can substitute the tomato sauce for salsa, tomato paste mixed with water, or canned tomatoes. You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth or water if you don’t have any broth on hand.

Feel free to customize the recipe to fit your taste and what you have on hand. Canned green chilis, carrots, jalapenos, and peas are all delicious additions.

Don’t be afraid to play with the spice mixture. This recipe has the basis of great Spanish rice, but if you like your food spicy, feel free to add in cayenne or chili powder.

spanish rice


This Spanish rice recipe is best treated as a side dish. However, if you want to make it the main dish, add more vegetables and protein like chicken or beans for a simple one-pot meal.

For added flavor, try cooking the rice in chicken broth instead of water or adding a tablespoon of tomato paste to the veggies before cooking. You can also add chicken bullion to the water if you don’t have chicken broth.

You can eat this dish with tacos. Toppings like diced avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and red onions add a delicious freshness. Try Tostitos salsa for an added kick.

Spanish rice stores well in the refrigerator. If you put it in an airtight container, it will last in the fridge for up to a week. You can reheat it in the microwave or the stove. When reheating it, sprinkle a little water to help the rice rehydrate.

If your family loves this recipe, you can freeze this for an easy weeknight meal. Follow the instructions and let the rice cool completely before putting it in a freezer bag. It will last up to six months in the freezer if stored properly. To thaw, put the rice in a bowl and microwave it for two minutes at a time until it defrosts. Mix the rice occasionally to warm it evenly.

Spanish rice is a great thing to add to other dishes. It is the perfect way to round out burritos, rice bowls, chimichangas, or taco salads. The options are limitless!

Nutrition Information of Spanish Rice

One serving of this Spanish rice recipe has approximately 200 calories, 5 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of protein. It also provides 2 grams of fiber and 8% of your daily iron needs.


There you have it. Now you know how to make Spanish rice. Spanish rice is a flavorful and easy side dish to make at home. It comes together quickly and adds a delicious twist to traditional rice. Add it to your weekly meal prep rotation, or serve it as a tasty accompaniment to any Mexican dish.

Once you get comfortable with this recipe, start experimenting and making it your own. You can create the perfect Spanish rice using your favorite ingredients.

What’s your favorite thing to serve with Spanish rice for la cena (dinner in Spanish)? Let us know in the comments below.

¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy your meal!)

Join the Conversation

  1. I prepared this today and it was a hit.

  2. aryamansharda says:

    We tried this tonight.

  3. nicolecastrovinci says:

    This was very good, definitely worth preparing again.

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