Easy Mexican Rice (“Spanish Rice”)

Mexican Red Rice
Mexican Red Rice served in a traditional painted pottery casserole dish. photo (c) Solina Images / Getty Images
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
Ratings (83)

With this recipe, you will make rice similar to that served at Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants in the United States (what you will often see on a menu as Spanish rice). It's a version of the traditional and ubiquitous red rice with vegetables prepared all over Mexico. It’s easy to make and substitutions are simple if you don’t have all of the exact ingredients listed on hand (see notes at end of recipe).

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked
  • long grain white rice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth (
  • homemade, canned, or made from bouillon cubes/powder)
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped vegetables (carrots, green beans, bell pepper, peas, etc.) (optional)

How to Make It

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the fresh onion and saute for 1 or 2 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the dry rice and continue sauteing, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until rice becomes a golden brown color. (Do not allow the rice to burn.) Add the garlic to the rice and saute for one more minute.

  2. Take pan off the heat; add the chicken broth and tomato sauce, plus the parsley and/or vegetables, if using. Stir, return pan to heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover.

    Let simmer for 20 minutes without taking the lid off. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and carefully insert a spoon into the cooked rice. If the bottom of the pan is dry, your rice is done; if there is still some broth visible, allow it to cook for a few more minutes.

  1. Once rice is done cooking, remove it from the heat and let it sit, covered and undisturbed, for another 10 minutes or so.

  2. Fluff your rice with a fork before serving. Use your delicious homemade rice as a side for almost any savory Mexican dish. Store leftovers in the fridge; reheat in microwave before using.

Substitutions & Variations on Basic Mexican Rice

  • If you don't have fresh garlic or onions on hand, use the equivalent in powdered form.  Add garlic and/or onion powder at the same time as the broth and tomato puree instead of sauteeing them.

  • The tomato puree can be homemade or canned (often called tomato sauce). Other forms of canned tomatoes will also work well: unseasoned whole or stewed tomatoes with their liquid (chop these before using), chopped tomatoes with their liquid, etc. Canned chopped tomatoes with chiles (Rotel brand or similar) or a jarred salsa can also be used.

  • For additional flavor, use a good quality pork lard instead of the vegetable oil.

Edited by Robin Grose