Simple Spanish Rice

A simple Spanish rice recipe that’s quick to make and great serving with Mexican dinners, such as tacos, enchiladas, and more.

Spanish Rice or Mexican Rice?

I’m not sure, but we’ve always called it Spanish rice. And always served it with our Mexican food.

Spanish rice was one of the first things that my mom taught me how to make after I got married. I thought it would be hard and much more simple to grab a box of Spanish rice. But she showed me just how easy it was — and how frugal it can be. The frugal part is mainly what I was sold on.

Now, I’m older, and a teeny bit wiser, and I realize it’s also healthier. BONUS!

Our Spanish rice recipe is very simple, but we really like it. I usually eat it without additional toppings, but it’s not uncommon for someone in my family to top it with a bit of salsa, sour cream or cheese (or a combination of those things).

Before I give you the recipe, let me give you a tip (something I wish I had paid more attention to in my early days of making homemade Spanish rice): cook it on LOW. I learned the hard way that you can’t rush cooking rice, so I always allow for plenty of time for it to cook.

Simple Spanish Rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (can use other oils)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I use a 32 oz carton)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  1. In a medium sized pot, heat the olive oil. When hot, add the onion and rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until rice is light golden brown.
  2. Add chicken broth and tomato sauce to the rice; stir to combine (this is the only time you'll stir it). Bring just to the boiling point and immediately reduce heat to low. Cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
  3. Remove from heat. Fluff with a fork before serving.

COOKING NOTE: Do read the directions on your package of rice. My recipe assumes that you should have twice a much liquid to rice (for example: 1 cup of rice = 2 cups of liquid). The instructions on your package will help you to determine how much liquid you will need and about how long it should cook.

LIQUID TIP: Don’t have chicken broth? You can replace it with water (won’t be quite as flavorful). Or you can use water flavored with chicken bouillon. Or if you don’t have enough chicken broth, you can use what you have and sub water for the rest of your liquid. And, if you are vegetarian, you can use vegetable stock. We’re flexible here. :)

OPTIONAL ADD-IN’S: When you add the liquid to your rice, you can also add other ingredients if you wish to fancy this up. Some ideas: black beans (canned – drained and rinsed), peas, chopped tomatoes. You could also add some finely chopped carrots, however those are usually best if added with the onion before cooking with the rice so they can become more tender before the liquid is added.

I do wonder what the difference is between Mexican Rice and Spanish Rice. Is there a difference? Anyone know?


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  1. Leah says

    I think the difference might be in the seasonings. If I am recalling correctly, Spanish rice usually has a bit of saffron in it and mexican rice has more chili or cumin? Its been a while since I made it and I admit, it didn't turn out very well. Not very experienced when it comes to rice. This looks easy enough for me to pull off though, will be sticking it on my recipes to try list :)


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