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 2125 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. 5 stars
    This was an easy recipe to follow. Normally my spanish rice somes out too mushy or crunch. I followed it exactly except for the following and it came out just right! It was very tasty too!
    – Love Garlic so I added much more
    – Added 1/2 chopped onion
    – used chicken broth – no bouillon
    – not a fan of Cumin so I did not add
    – used Garlic granules instead of garlic pepper
    – added white pepper
    – added Goya Sazo’n seasoning

  2. 5 stars
    We took a ski trip last weekend with a big group of friends and it was my job to feed everyone. On Saturday night i made enchiladas, homemade beans, and your rice recipe. I got rave reviews! Everyone in our group is big fans of our authentic mexican restaurant in town and they said it was just as good if not, better! Thank you so much. I followed the recipe and the rice came out cooked perfectly which never happens with me!

  3. 5 stars
    Side dishes are my kryptonite….they get me every time. I love flavorful dishes that reheat well and this fits the bill. I !ope around your site quite frequently in search of delicious goodness and you never fail me. Thanks

  4. 5 stars
    Spanish Rice

    This Spanish Rice was a good addition to the Chili Verde I made..

    My only problem with the recipe is I did not know when to add the “3 stems of Cilantro” mentioned in the ingredients. It’s not mentioned in the instructions.
    Is it an ingredient that should be cooked with the rice mixture or added at the end as a garnish?
    So I divided the Cilantro and put half in the rice when cooking and used the last half as a garnish. Wanted to be at least 50% right. lol

  5. I grew up on Spanish rice and learned to recreate it after being married for many years. If you want a rice with more bulk you can use bacon. Cook the bacon and then use the fat from it to brown your rice in. It is very good.

  6. 5 stars
    I grew up in San Antonio TX and now I’m in TN with very few good Tex mex places. This is the BEST rice recipe. I used salsa instead of tomato sauce in a pinch and it tasted just like home ❤️ 5/5 ⭐️

  7. 5 stars
    My go to rice recipe, more like the only rice recipe I use anymore because of how great it is! Turns out perfect every time despite the fact that I’m a terrible cook!! I sub vegetable broth for the chicken bullion due to dietary restrictions and it doesn’t make a noticeable change in my opinion. I like to add a little onion powder and use hot tomato sauce instead of normal tomato sauce which gives it a nice little kick.

  8. 5 stars
    Awesome recipe! Added in a bit of onions and a little extra garlic and ended up needing to add a bit more chicken broth (used all chicken broth instead of water and 1 cube) at the end and boil it out as the rice wasn’t quite done

  9. Hi! I want to make this for a crowd. Can you just double everything and how does that affect time? Would like to double it in the crockpot if possible. Thanks!

      1. Usually I bring my rice to a boil, cover, then turn to low. This recipe doesn’t say to do that. Only temp it mentions is in the beginning to put on medium. So I’m leaving it on medium for the 30min. Fingers crossed. If you could clarify for next time that would be great. Thank you. I have an electric stove in my new apt and my rice never cooks correctly. Either to mushy or still hard in the middle. Hope this recipe and cooking on medium works for me.

  10. 5 stars
    This is so good and so easy, I love it!! I did add a can of drained washed back beans, used salsa instead of Tomatoe sauce, and I love heat so I added a habanero, and red & Green pepper to the mix.. Next day scoop some into a wrap with fresh salsa and there’s lunch!!

    1. Such a fun idea for lunch! Thanks for sharing what you did. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the rice!

  11. 5 stars
    Excellent rice. Perfect consistency. I made it for a birthday dinner to go with carne and pollo asada, everyone loved it.
    I followed the recipe exactly as written, wouldn’t change a thing, will definitely make again. Thank you!

    1. Yes! You could put it in the rice before cooking as well, but I typically use it just for a garnish.

  12. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Just what I needed tonight for serving with chicken fajitas and avocado! Thanks so much for posting it and sharing your ideas and techniques.

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