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How to Make Spanish Rice: Simple Mexican Rice Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jul 8, 2020 • 1 min read

Learn how to make easy Spanish rice, also known as Mexican rice or arroz rojo.



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What Is Spanish Rice?

Spanish rice, or Mexican rice, is a type of pilaf made from long-grain white rice cooked with tomato sauce, bell peppers, chicken broth, and other seasonings. The name “Spanish rice” is a bit of a misnomer since the dish exists primarily in northern Mexico (where it’s known as arroz rojo) and the American Southwest (where it’s served alongside black beans as a side dish at Tex-Mex restaurants).

How to Serve Spanish Rice

Spanish rice is an easy side dish for all your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex main dishes, including, enchiladas, tacos, chicken with mole sauce, and chiles rellenos. You can also use Spanish rice as a filling for burritos and stuffed roasted bell peppers. Got leftover Spanish rice? Make fried rice and top with a sunny-side-up egg and chopped green onions.

Simple Spanish Rice Recipe

Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min


  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice, such as white jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ¼ cup chicken broth or chicken stock (or water)
  • Cilantro, to garnish (optional)
  1. Rinse rice, then cook it in a rice cooker or on the stovetop until al dente. Soaking your rice ahead of time will keep the grains from becoming mushy.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add onion, and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano and stir to combine.
  3. Reduce to medium heat and add cooked rice and chicken broth to the sautéed vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken broth has evaporated and the rice has taken on a red-orange color, about 5 minutes. Fluff rice before serving.

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