Homemade Spanish Rice Recipe

How to make Homemade Spanish Rice/Mexican Rice. whatever you call it, we’ve got the best and Easiest Spanish Rice Recipe you can find. It tastes like it came straight from the restaurant!

It’s our go-to side dish when serving Mexican food! Not only is it simple and takes under 10 minutes to prep, but it’s perfect served with our tacos and enchiladas!

Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice (aka Mexican Rice) on plate

Easy Mexican Rice

I LOVE Spanish Rice (aka MexicanRice)! As previously mentioned, I’m ½ Mexican. I love this family heritage so much, and am especially grateful that my family has taught me to make delicious Mexican food.

My mom has been making today’s Spanish Rice recipe for as long as I can remember and first showed me how to make it several years ago (along with empanadas, enchiladas and tacos). Now, we make it on a weekly basis because my kids are obsessed and it’s just so easy.

This recipe is actually the Spanish Rice recipe of a popular Mexican Restaurant in Mesa called Mango’s (down on Main). If you’ve ever been down there and liked their rice, then you’ll love this recipe. It really is simple, delicious and the perfect side to any Mexican dish!

How to Make Spanish Rice - browned rice

How to Make spanish Rice

One of the main reasons we love this recipe (other than the fact that it’s simple), is because we always have the ingredients on hand. Here are the Spanish rice ingredients you’ll need to make this delicious side dish:

  • long grain rice
  • oil
  • tomato sauce
  • minced garlic
  • chicken broth
  • cumin
  • garlic pepper + salt

Begin by browning the rice in the oil (we use about ⅛ but it depends on how much you like). Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute before adding the tomato sauce, chicken broth (or water and bouillon cube) and spices.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Fluff up before serving.


How much rice per person? Plan on ¼ cup uncooked rice per person. Once the rice is cooked it will end up being about ¾ – 1 cup per person. If a recipe calls for 3 cups uncooked rice plan on it feeding about 12 people.

Which rice is best for Spanish Rice? We love to use long-grain white rice. It gets fluffy and does not get sticky like some of the short-grained rices.

Can Spanish rice be made with brown rice? Brown rice can definitely be used in place of white rice. Just add ⅓ c more water per cup of brown rice and let simmer longer- until the brown rice reaches your desired texture.

Can you use salsa instead of tomato sauce? Sure thing! Salsa can add more flavor and even a bit more spice to this mild rice recipe. It’s all about preference.

Which topping ingredients are best for this rice? You can add what you love most, but we often add chopped peppers, chopped cilantro, onions or even green onions.

Making Mexican Rice - rice, broth, tomato sauce and seasonings in a skilletOnce all your spices and tomato sauce are added, stir and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.


How to reheat Spanish Rice/mexican rice? Be sure to store it properly in an air-tight container. It can last in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. To reheat, just microwave or reheat on the stove for a few minutes.

Can spanish rice be frozen? Yes, it can be frozen to be used at a future time. Simply place about 3 cups of cooked rice into ziplock freezer bags, label and place in the freezer for 4-6 months.

When you’re ready to use you can thaw the rice in the fridge or cook straight from the freezer. Using a microwave safe bowl microwave the rice on high stirring every 2 minutes until rice reaches your desired temperature.

Recipes that use Spanish Rice

Yes, we use it as a side for any Mexican dish, but we also like to use it recipes too, including:

Mexican Rice Recipe on plate

And best of all, is that it’s the best side for any Mexican meal!! Below are video and printable instructions to make the Mexican rice. We hope you can enjoy it with any Mexican dish you try.

For more Mexican rice recipes, check out:

what to serve with Spanish Rice?

Spanish Rice Recipe

4.98 from 2627 votes
Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice (aka Mexican Rice), that is easy to make and tastes like it came straight from the restaurant, and is the best side dish to any Mexican entree.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 90 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 6 stems cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups water (or 4 cups chicken lower sodium chicken broth - and no bouillon)
  • 1 cube chicken flavored bouillon
  • dash cumin
  • dash garlic pepper


  • Heat oil in large frying pan on medium heat.
  • Add rice and cook until golden brown.
  • Add 1 chicken flavored bouillon cube to 4 cups water and microwave for 3 minutes.
  • When rice is brown, add water, tomato sauce, salt, garlic, cumin and garlic pepper to pan.
  • Stir and cover pan. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until all is cooked and there is no liquid left. Fluff before serving and ENJOY.


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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi! I have tried this recipe so many times and each time is a total fail. It turns out as total mush. It seems there is way too much liquid (normally its 2:1 but there is another cup) and 30-40 min is way too long! I don’t understand. What on earth is going wrong I wonder?

    1. Hi Chelsea….I’m trying this tomorrow for the 1st time…I hope it’s not mush…
      I’ll check back in on Thursday. It’s a requested item from the hostess…I’m crossing my fingers.

    2. 4 stars
      I followed the recipe and was pleasantly surprised with the consistency. It was not mushy and wet like most Spanish rice recipes that I have tried. Definitely keeping this one. I didn’t score 5 only because the toasting of the rice until browned really stunk the kitchen, but the taste of the rice was fine. Probably won’t toast as long next time. Believe the toasting of the rice help prevent the rice from being mushy. I did cool for 30 minutes to allow all liquid to slowly absorb and I didn’t experience any issues. I thought 30-40 minutes would be too long, but it worked out.

    3. I followed the recipe exactly….came out on the mushy side too. The taste is there but it’s too wet for some reason. Any suggestions?

  2. 5 stars
    This rice was fantastic! I read in some of the comments that some people ended up with mushy rice. I only cooked my rice for 17 minutes and it was done. I knew that 30-40 would be way too much but set a time for 20 minutes. It just happened to be done when I checked it at 17 minutes. The taste was fantastic! Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. I made this recipe for dinner. I reduced the liquid to 3 3/4 cups. And I used instant long grain rice so I only cooked it for about 15 minutes or so. There was no more liquid in the pan and I checked to make sure it didn’t stick or burn. The consistency was just right. My family loved it!

  4. 5 stars
    This Spanish rice is the best! It has so much flavor, but it’s not spicy. Better than restaurant rice!

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is excellent and the only Spanish rice my hubby really likes! I used Jasmine and really toasted it, in avocado oil. I did find that 20 minutes was enough though and it did not turn out mushy at all, as others have commented.
    Thank you so much:)

  6. 3 stars
    Love the flavor but my rice was also mushy and have made this a few times now. My issue is the rice is still not cooked after the time mentioned so in order for the rice to be fully cooked I have to cook longer and add water which in turn makes it mushy. Any advice? Thank you! Using a gas stove, if that makes a difference.

  7. 5 stars
    This a great recipe and starting off point. Was a little mushy but this varies by the kind of rice so I’ll use less liquid next time. The cilantro stems really did add a lot. Next time I may make it a bit spicier and probably add some lime juice. Thanks for posting.

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