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?

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Spanish Rice Recipe

4.91 from 568 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 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 the Author

Kristyn Merkley

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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  1. This is the second time I have tried to make this recipe and this is the second time I have been totally disappointed. I have followed the instructions to the t and each time the rice does not absorb all of the liquid and in fact the rice comes out under cooked and looks like it is sitting in a pan of soup. The only thing that I did different the second time was I used EVOO instead of vegetable oil. Didn’t matter, came out the same each time. I browned the rice in a large skillet (med. heat # 6 setting). I used the bouillon with the 4 cups of water (microwaved for 3 mins.). I used 8 ounces of tomato sauce with the seasonings. I stirred it all together as instructed. I lowered the heat to simmer and set the timer for 40 minutes (checked it at 30 minutes through a glass lid and still the same results. Uuuuugh. Any suggestions or ideas as to what I am doing wrong? Should I be using a specific type of long grain rice? Please help!!!!!

    1. I’m so sorry the recipe didn’t turn out as you expected. From what you have stated it seems like you have followed all of the steps correctly. I have used many different brands of long grain rice and they all seemed to have worked well. There is a short video you can watch on that post that shows how the recipe is made. Maybe that might help? Are you using a skillet to cook the rice in instead of a pot? The skillet helps to cook the rice more evenly.

    2. I only use Zatarain’s long grain rice for every rice recipe. It always comes out great and I can tell a big difference with other brands. Good luck to you🙌🏼

    3. I just made this recipe tonight
      Honestly, I’ve found with white rice, the best method of cooking is 2 cups of water per cup of white rice, bring to a boil, and simmer at about medium to medium high for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let steam, covered for another 5-10. Afterwards, fluff and enjoy. In the case of Spanish rice, the added sugars from the tomato sauce/paste can and will burn if you aren’t careful. To avoid this, I’d stir every 5 minutes or so until you have a thick, saucy, tomato jelly leftover. Then remove from the heat, and let sit 5-10 minutes.

      This recipe is great, as far as ingredients, but the cook time and temp are off, in my opinion. Honestly, the 40 minute cook time seemed way too long to me. I’m an experienced chef who currently owns a BBQ restaurant, but prior to that I was the executive chef at an Indian restaurant.

      All in all, I’d still give this recipe high marks, especially as a person who typically doesn’t like spanish rice in the first place

      1. Thanks so much for the feedback! Glad to hear that overall you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for giving it a try!

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I added diced red onion when my rice was brown and a roasted garlic spice, some Adobo, chipotle spice, and some Goya hot sauce! Perfectly delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Turned out great the first time. I will likely spice it up a little for my crowd, but a good, go to Spanish Rice that I will save in my recipe file!

  4. 5 stars
    So easy and yummy! I used hot tomato sauce to give it a kick with some blander meat and it paired really well

  5. 5 stars
    First time making this rice and I was impressed with how easy it was and how well it turned out. I was a little nervous since the rice seemed to take a long time to brown, but once the other ingredients went in, things started to move more quickly. I used medium salsa instead of tomato sauce for some extra flavour. I paired this rice with the salsa chicken from this website and we had a delicious dinner.

    1. Yes, once the rice finally does brown, it goes quick! The salsa sounds like a yummy substitution. So happy to hear you enjoyed the rice!

  6. 5 stars
    This rice is absolutely delicious. I added some Sriracha for a kick but other than that the flavor is perfect. I will say, that 40 minutes is way too long. For perfectly fluffy rice I simmered 12 min then took off heat and left for another 10 min. Perfect! Doesn’t stick to the bottom and is perfectly cooked.

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