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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
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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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4.99 from 5739 votes (4,816 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Brett says:

    I have a few tips for this:
    1) Do not take 4 cups of water per 2 cups rice as ‘Gospel’. Look at the directions for cooking the rice that’s on the package, and use the ratio of rice/liquid you find there. Some rice is a 3/2 ratio rather than 4/2 ratio, for example.
    2) Both Jasmine and Basmati rice work great for this sort of rice dish.
    3) There is no standard size of ‘bouillon cube’. I use powdered Knorr “Tomato” bouillon for mine (it’s actually still chicken bouillon but with a hint of tomato), and I use about 3/4 tablespoon per cup of liquid. But I like mine fairly salty. 1/2 tablespoon per cup of water is probably closer to what many would prefer.
    4) I think it’s much better with bouillon vs chicken broth from a carton. Probably the MSG though 😉
    5) Some frozen corn and/or peas is good in this sort of dish. Just add when you put on the lid to simmer.
    6) After you turn off the heat, let the pot sit for a good 10-15 mins, then fluff with a fork and serve.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    One thing we do with Armenian pilaf is at the end when the rice is cooked, we put a paper towel over the pot of rice and put the lid back on tight. Leave for 20 min or so. As the moisture is absorbed, the rice gets fluffier.

    This step at the end will enhance any kind of rice dish—even Spanish rice.

  3. Patty says:

    I love this rice recipe and I have made it many many times. I stick to the recipe as written except I use vegetable stock instead of chicken. My granddaughter who is a very picky eater loves it too.

  4. Amber says:

    5 stars
    Super easy to make and comes out great every time. My family loves this rice.

  5. Connie says:

    Very bland with little to no flavor.

  6. Ryan says:

    Rice came out very mushy

    1. Dani says:

      I learned that when that happens its because you put too much water. A great tip i use is when i put my rice in a pot use your index finger to point down touching the top of the rice, leave it there as you pour your water in it should come to the 1st line of your index finger maybe a little less but no more. Its a great mesasurer when you do have measuring tools. A nice trick my late grand mother taught me. My rice comes out perfect every time. I haven’t tried it on spanish rice but im sure say rules apply. Cant wait to try this recipe!!!

  7. Barb says:

    5 stars
    I made 16 batches of this for a wedding last year. It was so good. I am making it again for a wedding this year!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Mine turned out way too mushy… Any advice on maybe what I did wrong or cab try to fix?
    I dk if I fried it too long before mine was a bit browner than ur video. Or something else, it says too much water or cooking too long causes mush too but I did the exact 4 cups and 30 mins cook.

    1. Andrew says:

      I kept mixing it around the time it was done and let it cook a little longer

  9. Cindy says:

    5 stars
    I’ve needed a n easy recipe for Mexican rice, and this is it. It goes great with my my creamy chicken This completed the meal. Thank you.

  10. Melinda says:

    Fabulous recipe. I make it in my instapot and my family loves it.

    1. Kelly says:

      Hi Melinda, what is your instant pot process for this recipe? Thank you!