Many moons ago I taught myself how to make Spanish rice and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share it here. Spanish rice is the savory, perfectly coated little grains of rice side dish that you will find at any Mexican restaurant. And it’s addicting.

In high school, I had a best friend who was Mexican, and she and her mother made the best Spanish rice I’d ever had. I loved it so much that on her 17th birthday they had made some and once everyone was finished eating what they wanted, I took the pot to the table and ate right out of it with a wooden spoon.

I suppose that could’ve been a shameful moment, but they didn’t care, and I was in heaven.

It’s incredibly easy to make. Add it to your taco nights, serve it with cheesy poblanos or even use it for the base of a fajita bowl!

What You’ll Need

I use long-grain white rice, a neutral oil, chicken stock, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic, onion, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro.

To get started, heat about 2tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your rice and stir it so that every grain is coated. Spend about 5-10 minutes frequently stirring your rice around. You want it to toast to a nice golden brown but not burn. If you burn it, unfortunately, you’ll have to start over, so if you notice the heat is a little too high just turn it down a notch.

You’ll know your rice is toasting once you smell the nutty aroma it produces.

Next, you’ll want to add your 4cups of stock. Be careful because it’ll let off a lot of steam once it hits the skillet. Add in your 8oz of tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic and stir. Then, add your cumin, chili powder and cilantro.

Now you’ll bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to low and bring it to a simmer. Place the lid on and set a timer for 45 minutes. It’s a longer process for rice, but it’ll be totally worth it. Be sure to leave it alone, trust the process and don’t lift the lid until the timer is ready!

Like every rice dish, I like to let it rest off the heat with the lid on for an additional 10 minutes. I strongly suggest this step! Resist the urge to peek.

When the 10 minutes are up, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a wooden spoon. It’ll be that perfect orangey-red and ready to eat!

Optional Additions:

You might have seen at some restaurants that they add peas, corn and carrots to their rice. This can absolutely be done with no adjustments to the original recipe except for prep.

If you want to go the easy route, you could always use a bag of frozen veggies. Honestly, this is what I would do since the recipe time is already pretty long. If you buy the frozen veggies in separate bags, I’d use 1/4 cup of each. If you use the mixed veggies go ahead and use the whole 10 oz bags, but keep in mind there will probably be green beans!

Delicious Every-time Spanish Rice

If you're looking for a dupe for the delicious Mexican restaurant rice, this is it!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Resting Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8


  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 2 cup long grain rice
  • 4 cup chicken stock
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 10 oz frozen veggies optional


  • Heat 2tbsp of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add rice and stir to coat. Toast until golden brown, 5-10 minutes.
  • Next, add stock, tomato paste, tomatoes, garlic, onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Stir and bring to a boil. (Add in frozen veggies if using)
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer with lid on for 45 minutes.
  • When 45 minutes is up, remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes with lid on.
  • Fluff with wooden spoon, serve and enjoy!
Keyword mexican rice, rice, spanish rice

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Until next time,

Haley | Creator of Haley’s Kitchen


  1. OMG. I love rice and I LOVE Spanish rice. The only problem is, I’m on keto now, so I can’t eat rice. I’m pre-diabetic, so I have to follow low-carb diet. I’ve been using cauliflower rice as a substitute. But I’ve never cooked it Spanish rice style. Do you think I can take this same recipe and use all the ingredients, but replace the rice with cauliflower rice? Do you think it was taste good?

    1. Author

      Hi Shalisha!

      You can absolutely use cauliflower rice. When doing this, the recipe will not take as long. I would suggest taking out the broth completely since the cauliflower will produce its own moisture. Drizzle oil in a shallow pot or pan and toss the cauliflower in it. Then add all other ingredients sans broth and cook for about 7-10 minutes!

      You can also check out these other low cab rice substitutes. I’ve tried both and they’re not too shabby! Click here for Banza and here for Miracle rice.

  2. I live in Mexico and I can attest that this rice is indeed delicious! But I’ve never made it … I know, shame on me.
    This recipe looks easy enough. Now I have no excuse anymore not to make this 😉 Do you think that I could replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock?

    1. Author

      Christine! You have to try it out. It’s such an easy recipe and is a fantastic side dish. I use it as a base for cheesy poblanos, fajita bowls and chipotle tofu! And yes, absolutely. There have been many times that I’ve used vegetable stock and it’s just as delicious.

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