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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 5739 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
Making this recipe? Tag us!
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 5739 votes (4,816 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Kat says:

    Can this be done in a rice cooker?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:


      1. Sara Lumley says:

        3 stars
        I’d love to rate higher but the flavor just wasn’t there. The color was spot on but it was just bland cooked exactly according to the recipe. I will add everyone said mixed with the beans it was amazing . Just needed something to be stand alone delicious!

  2. Lindsay says:

    5 stars
    Easy & delicious! My 13 year old rarely eats what I make and he scarfed this down!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yay! That makes me so happy to hear!

  3. Bushra Hage says:

    5 stars
    Besides the recipe being so yummy, I have to say that the family photo you placed at the top of the webpage is soooooooo cute and amazing. A family that cooks together stays together! : D

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Awe, thank you so much!! And, I totally believe that…we love cooking together, thank goodness!

  4. Damecia Alonzo says:

    5 stars
    I love this rice it is so good.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      So glad you love it as much as we do! Thank you!

  5. Sarah says:

    Can I use jasmine rice instead of long grain in this recipe? Thank you!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      I have not tried, so I personally can’t say if it will work or not. I would like to know, so I will have to try that.

      1. Melinda says:

        Yes, you can! We use jasmine rice for this recipe every time.

  6. Kandace says:

    5 stars
    I don’t ever leave comments. I mean NEVER, but I have made this so many times that it has become a family staple. I am spoiled with great Spanish rice being from CA. I loved to NJ and unfortunately you can’t find good Spanish or Mexican rice here.

    Who knew that I could find a restaurant worthy recipe that would be so easy to make, yet incredibly delicious. Thank YOU so much! I need to dive into your other recipes to see what else you have based off of this amazing one.

    Big thanks for sharing. ❤️

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      This makes me so happy!! Thank you so much!! It’s our favorite! I hope you find some other ones to try!

  7. Anita says:

    5 stars
    My husband said it’s the best Spanish rice he’s ever had! Here’s what I did:

    – I patiently browned the rice super well – it’s hard to do but making it super brown enhances the flavor.
    – we use “better than bouillon” it’s a concentrated past that allows you to put a bit more in – which concentrates the flavor. So for the 4 cups of water I used about 4-6 tsp of chicken better than bouillon.

    – and this was an accident but I only had 0.5 cups of tomato sauce so I had to use tomato paste with 1/2 cup of water and added a tsp of veg better than bouillon.

    Soooo good. Obviously have to worry about salt with all of that but ours was perfection.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thanks for sharing what you did! I’m so glad the rice was a hit!

  8. Baylee says:

    If I want to use Cilantro, when does that come in to play? Thank you in advance!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You can add it either before simmering (when you add the other ingredients). Or you can just top with fresh cilantro. That’s typically what we do, but either option is tasty!

  9. Paul says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely the best Spanish rice recipe. The flavors are phenomenal. Well written and tested recipe. Thank you!!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thank YOU! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  10. Gloria A Avila says:

    I made this and my family loved the taste now I’m in charge of always making the rice thank you so much your rice has so much flavor