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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 1/2 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 1/8 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 1/4 cup uncooked rice per person. Once the rice is cooked it will end up being about 3/4 – 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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4.99 from 5738 votes

Spanish Rice Recipe

By: Lil' Luna
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.
Servings: 8
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes


  • 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
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  • 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.



Calories: 90kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 447mg, Potassium: 108mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 173IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
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Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you're creating in the kitchen!

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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4.99 from 5738 votes (4,816 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Rebecca says:

    I used tomato bouillon powder with chicken flavor but not sure how much to use???
    We will see.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You’ll have to let us know how the tomato bouillon powder worked!

  2. Colleen says:

    I want to make this tonight. Do I need to cover the pan while it is simmering? I have never made rice without covering the pan. Thanks

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yes, you will cover the pan as it simmers.

  3. Katie says:

    If I’m multiplying the recipe x3 do I only use 4 cups of broth? It shows using 12 cups of water, so I was thinking I probably needed more than 4 cups of broth?

    1. Kara says:

      The rice/ water ratio needs to be very close to 2:1 for the rice to cook properly. You’d need to multiply every ingredient by 3, including the water/broth. So yes, 12 cups of water to 6 cups of rice. Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. Lil'Luna Team says:

      It doesn’t update/calculate those measurements in the parentheses. So yes, you’ll need more than 4 cups of broth. You’ll want 12 cups if 3x-ing the recipe.

  4. Terri says:

    5 stars
    Can you add frozen vegetables?

    1. Tina says:

      5 stars
      Rice just like my mother-in-law used to make. Delicious! Using the correct amount of water or stock as directed makes a moist tempting side dish. Wonderful to find your recipe.

  5. Debbie says:

    5 stars
    We LOVE this recipe, however, I’ve never been able to make it without burning the whole bottom layer… my mom says my open flame stovetop is much hotter than her electric one.. any tips you have would be appreciated!!

  6. Claudia C. says:

    5 stars
    Tried this recipe and the rice came out spectacular. Thank you!

  7. Mo says:

    I don’t know where I went wrong but I made this and it tasted like tomato and rice

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Sorry to hear it didn’t turn out for you. Thanks for giving the recipe a try!

  8. Gigi says:

    5 stars
    Had this for dinner tonight with pork tacos and corn. it was amazing.
    I used tomato paste instead of sauce but included a little extra liquid to offset the thickness.
    I also used the juices from the pork and this added a layer of flavor.
    The end result was delicious and a perfect side.
    I will add this to my favorite recipes.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Nikki says:

    5 stars
    Making this right now but I did a few adjustments considering we are having a taco like dish to go with it… I used homemade chicken broth in place of the water and I didn’t need the bouillon, I added green chilies, and a couple splashes of hot sauce. Your recipe looked amazing I just wanted to tweak it just a smidge for what we were making tonight but I plan on making it the way you do as well! I’ll let you know we plan on putting it on white tortillas with taco meat on top of it with all the fixings rolled up and then flattened with a hot iron pan.

  10. Lindsay Brewer says:

    3 stars
    I’m giving this a 3…originally it was a two but I thought, “the taste was pretty delish, so I’ll up it to a 3.”

    I literally followed your recipe to the T…. The entire pan if rice was rock solid even after adding more liquid to simmer some more to soften the rice. It was like the rice couldn’t absorb the liquid. I don’t know what I did wrong… Or if there was something missing from the recipe that should have been added but this sucked.

    So I ended up using your recipe in some instant rice and it was 100 times better. So thanks for the ingredient list, I’ll just use instant rice from now on!


    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thanks for the feedback and giving the recipe a try!!