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

4.9 from 604 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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Absolute keeper. I’m not a huge rice fan but hubby raved about this all evening. Made chicken Fajitas and wanted to use some leftover rice. Found this recipe and had most everything on hand but made a couple of minor modifications. Used one 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce and 1 Tbl of finely chopped cilantro instead of stems and 1 Tbl of Mrs. Wages medium salsa dry mix. Brought all ingredients to a boil before adding the leftover rice and heated through and it was amazing.

  2. 2 stars
    Mine came out poorly…. Dont care for it at all…consistency….taste…. Ill possibly give it another try in a small batch but this was not good…. :(.

  3. No matter what I do my rice is always piled up in the middle and very hard with the sauce on the outside of the skillet… Any tips? The flavor is good but my rice is always crunchy and doesn’t taste cooked

    1. Hmmm… typically if rice is crunchy and tastes undercooked, it is due to not enough liquid. Cooking on too high a heat can evaporate the water before the rice is fully cooked. Also, if the lid gets opened too soon, the steam can escape. So possibly one of these things is what is happening?

  4. 5 stars
    Recipe was delicious! I had extra salsa we were canning so added it to the rice instead of tomato sauce. We used brown rice and although I make it all the time, it came out a little undercooked. I wonder if when using brown rice we should skip the step where you brown the rice? Will use this recipe from now on! <3

  5. 5 stars
    My family loved the Spanish rice!!!!!!
    I happened to have a 14oz can of diced tomatoes and used that along with the chicken broth and it was so very tasty.
    Thank you!!!

  6. 5 stars
    Very simple to make, and tasty. I didn’t cook as long as indicated. I cooked it for 20 minutes, then let it sit (lid unopened) for 10 minutes. I then fluffed up. DELICIOUS!

  7. Cut recipe to 4 servings – it seemed to be a little bland for me, so I sauteed some onion and red pepper 1st – did 12 oz. med. salsa instead of tomato sauce -increased the garlic somewhat (love garlic) – used chicken broth, no bouillon – mixed it all together -simmered for 20 min. – had a little reservation that all the liquid would be absorbed but it turned out to be excellent – fluffy rice with a lot of flavor. My go-to recipe for the future.

    1. I enjoy reading on your recipes and did the rice and it was just perfect. Had made some mole to go with it and it was very good. Thank u.

  8. 1 star
    Ruined our meal. Cumin on Spanish rice? Tried it. Awful. Going on to another recipe. This just some automated website with no authenticity. Beware.

  9. 5 stars
    Such delicious rice! I will definitely be holding onto this recipe for future Mexican Rice needs. And now you’ve made me want to try out Mango. I’ll have to go there on my next date night.

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