Spanish Rice (Mexican Rice)

Easy Spanish Rice, also called Mexican Rice, that tastes just like your favorite restaurant side dish with with an easy trick for perfectly fluffy rice!

Spanish Rice is a classic dish sometimes also referred to as red rice (arroz rojo). We love these classic base recipes like Enchilada Sauce and Homemade Taco Seasoning because they make quick dinners a breeze!

Spanish Rice
 Spanish Rice (Mexican Rice)

My favorite thing about going to Mexican restaurants is the rice. I’ve even just ordered a plate of red rice and green rice and enjoyed it with a bunch of salsa and chips. I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to piles of rice.

Rules for Cooking Rice:

  • First, please toast the rice in canola oil until it is translucent. By translucent I just mean it isn’t as white as it started. You won’t be able to see through the rice, but it will look kind of like foggy clear plastic.
  • Second, bring your rice to a rolling boil before lowering it to a simmer. If you add the liquids and immediately lower the heat you will not have rice that is done in 20 minutes. It will be almost raw.
  • Third, make sure you don’t open the lid during cooking. When you open the lid of the rice all the steam that is so important to the cooking escapes. This means you will have to cook longer, won’t have enough liquid in it and will have unevenly cooked rice.
  • Let your Rice REST. Once you turn off the heat after 20 minutes, leave the cover on for an additional five minutes. Then open the lid and rake the rice with a fork to fluff it up before serving.

Follow those rules of rice and I promise you’re going to be happy.

This recipe is an easy classic, basic Mexican rice recipe. There are TONS of ways you can add flair and different flavors to this recipe to make it a bit more substantial too.

Spanish RiceSpanish Rice/Mexican Rice add-ins:

  • Tomato: Fresh diced tomatoes or even canned diced tomatoes are a great addition to the recipe and add lots of flavor.
  • Salsa: Salsa adds a ton of flavor. Add a cup of salsa and pull back on the chicken broth to just a cup.
  • Taco Seasoning: Skip the seasonings here and add a tablespoon and a half of taco seasoning.
  • Onion: 1 finely diced onion cooked for 5-6 minutes in a bit of canola oil before adding the rice to toast is a great flavor enhancer.
  • Lime Juice/Lime Zest: I add this at the end for a splash of fresh flavors.
  • Cilantro: Great as a garnish but I also sometimes cook with the cilantro as well.

Spanish Rice
Frequently asked Questions:

Why is my Spanish Rice Sticky? If you don’t take the time to cook the rice in oil until translucent you’ll have the starch that is coating the rice create a sticky texture instead of a fluffy one.

Why is my Spanish Rice Mushy? Well aside from not cooking in oil to prevent the starch from creating a sticky texture, if your rice is mushy you likely overcooked the rice.

Why is the bottom of the rice burnt? If you cooked on a temperature that is too high (you should always bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer) then the rice will be burnt on the bottom and raw on top.

What kind of rice is best for Spanish Rice: I use long grain rice but you can also use basmati rice. Basmati rice won’t be quite as fluffy as the grain isn’t as wide. You can also swap brown rice as the flavors will help mask the traditional brown rice flavors kids don’t like, but remember brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice.

What to serve with Spanish Rice? Classic recipes like tamales, burritos, quesadillas, taquitos, chimichangas, fajitas and more are obvious options that would pair well with this rice.

Mexican Rice

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Spanish Rice
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Spanish Rice

Easy Spanish Rice, sometimes called Mexican Rice that takes no time at all and tastes just like your favorite Mexican restaurant with an easy trick for perfectly fluffy rice!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Spanish
Keyword mexican rice, rice, spanish rice
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 166 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • cilantro optional


  1. Add the canola oil and rice in a dutch oven on medium high heat, stirring until translucent (less white, more see-through-ish), about 3-4 minutes.

  2. Add in the broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. 

  3. Cover, cooking 20 minutes then letting rest an additional five minutes before fluffing.

Nutrition Facts
Spanish Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 166 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 639mg28%
Potassium 261mg7%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 305IU6%
Vitamin C 3.7mg4%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Hi Sabrina – this is basically a good and simple Mexican rice but I need to make suggestions:

    * For Mexican rice I like to fry it in a mixture of healthy Ghee Butter and Olive Oil. This will also add depth of flavor.

    * More Flavor-Tips: add the seasonings to the sauce and stock, then simmer for about 5 minutes before adding to the rice. Also, replace the bland tomato sauce with enchilada sauce.

  2. This looks amazing. I do not have the means to get a Dutch oven at the moment. I have basic skillets, as well as high side pans (similar to a wok). Would that work for this recipe? Thanks in advance!

  3. I always sauté & add a small diced onion & green bell pepper to mine. Also, garlic powder instead of garlic salt. SO yummy!

    1. I wouldn’t use a regular one but a cast iron skillet would add some delicious flavor and will heat evenly to cook the rice properly.

  4. Made this tonight to go with tacos for my husband & I. Followed recipe as is & it was a big hit with both of us! I mixed in the cilantro just before serving. I appreciated the tips on cooking the rice. It turned out perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

      1. Yes. If you go to the top of the recipe card and hover over servings amount, use the slider to double the amount and it will adjust the quantities on the ingredients. Hope this helps!

  5. Looks great. Can’t wait to try this w/e. Can I use veg oil oil instead of Canola oil? It is only 2 Tbsp.
    Also found your recipe for taco seasoning. Plan to also make up.
    Thank you.

  6. What is the serving size for the rice? I see how many carbs and there are 8, but no size. Half cup? Whole cup? Quarter cup? Thanks in advance! 🙂

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