Easy Spanish Rice ~ with Recipe Video!

Cook a pot of rice using chicken broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings to make quick and easy Spanish Rice, a delicious side dish for a variety of entrees!

Easy Spanish Rice ~ cook a pot of rice using chicken broth, tomato sauce, and a few seasonings to make this quick and easy Spanish Rice...it's the perfect base for rice bowls or a delicious side dish to your favorite Mexican entrees! | FiveHeartHome.com

Cinco de Mayo is on the horizon, and a quick search of the blog will reveal that you’re already set when it comes to appetizers, main dishes, beverages, heck, even breakfasts! Alas, the only Tex-Mex side dish that I’ve shared as of yet is the recipe for my simple, flavorful Slow Cooker Charro Beans. But you know what pairs beautifully with those beans? Spanish Rice!

Now I’m not going to get into a debate about what constitutes “authentic” Spanish Rice or why we’re talking about Spanish Rice in the first place when Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrating old Mexico. All I can tell you is that in Texas, pretty much every Mexican food restaurant serves reddish-orange, tomato-sauce tinged rice as a side dish along with charro or refried beans…and for some reason, it’s commonly referred to as Spanish, rather than Mexican, Rice. While some of the restaurants inexplicably adulterate their rice with frozen mixed veggies (???), I think the best versions are plain, with perhaps a few flecks of tomato, and delicately flavored with the same spices you might find in taco seasoning.

Spanish Rice

So that, my friends, is how I’m going to demonstrate cooking Spanish Rice today. But here’s the thing…over the years, I’ve had rather inconsistent results when cooking this dish. But the good news is I FINALLY FIGURED OUT WHY. Drumroll, please…

You see, I was always cooking my Spanish Rice according to a set recipe, but I never took into account that different varieties/brands of white rice may have cooking directions that call for varying amounts of water and a whole range of cooking times. So it finally occurred to me that, instead of cooking my rice with a certain amount of liquid for a set amount of time each go-round, it might make more sense to pay attention to the directions on the back of the bag of rice.

Simple Spanish Rice

That’s right, y’all…this Spanish Rice is basically like cooking a regular ol’ pot of rice according to the package directions. But instead of just cooking the rice in water with a bit of salt and possibly butter, you’re going to make this Mexican-inspired version by cooking the rice in a combo of chicken broth and tomato sauce. And instead of just flavoring with salt, you’re going to add chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, and dried oregano. But the key is you’re going to use the total amount of liquid dictated by the particular brand of white rice that you’re using, and you’re also going to follow its specified cooking time!

I like to keep my chicken broth to tomato sauce ratio at about 50/50, leaning towards slightly more chicken broth/slightly less tomato sauce depending on my measurements. So if my bag of rice called for 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water, I would use 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of chicken broth, and 1 cup of tomato sauce. The brand of rice that I have in my pantry right now calls for 1 cup of rice to 1 3/4 cups of water. So to make today’s Spanish Rice, I used 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of water, and 3/4 cup of tomato sauce. Does that make sense?

Mexican Rice Recipe

The same goes for cooking time…I initially toast my rice in oil for a few minutes, but then I just follow the directions on the bag of rice, which today dictated simmering for 20 minutes or so. The final result? Perfectly cooked rice every time!

Oh, and as one final side note, this rice need not merely serve as a side dish. On the day that I made it for the blog, I happened to have some leftover Slow Cooker Chicken & Black Bean Taco filling in the fridge, which we’d already enjoyed in tacos earlier in the week. So when I found myself with this fluffy pot of Spanish Rice, I decided to serve it rice bowl-style, topped with the leftover shredded chicken, as well as big chunks of creamy avocado, generous dollops of salsa, and a shower of fresh chopped cilantro. It was so darn tasty that my family went crazy over it…and I felt pretty clever at my new dinnertime invention. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Easy Spanish Rice ~ cook a pot of rice using chicken broth, tomato sauce, and a few seasonings for the perfect base for rice bowls or a delicious side dish to your favorite Mexican entrees! | FiveHeartHome.com

So are you a fan of red/Spanish/Mexican/whatever-you-prefer-to-call-it rice? Have you ever made it yourself at home? Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesday, I encourage you to give it a try! It’s simple to make as well as simply tasty, and who’s going to argue with that?

Recipe video below…hope y’all enjoy!

Easy Spanish Rice

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Easy Spanish Rice

Cook a pot of rice using chicken broth, tomato sauce, and a few seasonings to make this quick and easy Spanish Rice. It's the perfect base for rice bowls or a delicious side dish to your favorite Mexican entrees!


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup white rice
  • Approximately 1 cup chicken broth or stock (see Tips & Tricks below)
  • Approximately 1 cup tomato sauce or puree (see Tips & Tricks below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes, seeded & drained (optional)


  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt together olive oil and butter. Add rice and stir to coat with oil/butter. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 to 3 minutes, until rice is toasted.
  2. Stir in chicken broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, oregano, and diced tomatoes (if using). Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir well, reduce heat to low, place lid on pot, and cook at a gentle simmer for 20 minutes (see Tips & Tricks below). If rice is not quite tender or liquid is not absorbed after 20 minutes, replace lid and cook for 2 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat, leave covered, and allow to rest for a few minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.


The amounts of liquid in this recipe should be considered a guideline. Follow the directions on your bag of rice to determine how much liquid to use (per 1 cup of rice) when you make your Spanish Rice. For example, if your bag of rice calls for 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of rice, substitute 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup tomato sauce for that water. I keep the ratio of chicken broth/tomato sauce at about 50/50, leaning towards more chicken broth and less tomato sauce, if necessary. So if my rice called for 1 3/4 cups of water for cooking, I'd use 1 cup chicken broth and 3/4 cup tomato sauce to make this Spanish Rice.

After you have toasted your rice, stirred in the remaining ingredients, brought it to a boil, and then reduced it to a simmer, finish cooking your rice based on the number of minutes listed in the directions on the bag of rice.

If you'd like to add some diced, drained green chiles (mild) or jalapenos (hot), stir those in at the same time as the diced tomatoes.

Garnish this rice with fresh cilantro and/or salsa, if desired. Serve as a side dish or as a base for a rice bowl.

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More Tex-Mex favorites…

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa ~ flavored with smoked chipotles in adobo, fresh garlic, cilantro, and Mexican spices, this tender, juicy meat is an ideal filling for tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, or a tasty topping for rice bowls and salads | FiveHeartHome.com

ย Mexican Martini {Trudy’s Copycat}
Mexican Martini ~ like a margarita on the rocks with a splash of olive juice, this Mexican Martini is a copycat recipe of the famous cocktail from Trudy's in Austin | FiveHeartHome.com

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos {Mexican Pulled Pork}
Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos (or Mexican Pulled Pork) ~ perfect for taco night or Cinco de Mayo | FiveHeartHome.com

Creamy Dreamy Chicken Enchiladas
Creamy Dreamy Chicken Enchiladas ~ you'll never guess the secret ingredient! | {Five Heart Home}

Roasted Texas Salsa
Roasted Texas Salsa | FiveHeartHome.com

See all of our RECIPES <<< here!

And see all of our PRINTABLES <<< here!

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  1. Mmmmm, looks so good! Love your blog!!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Cheryl! I’m glad you enjoy the blog and I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you’re having a great week!

    • Roni Baize says:

      Tried this recipe last night and it was so delicious and easy..thank you for such an amazing dish

  2. DROOL!! This looks so good right now! I’m definitely going to have to make this spanish rice soon!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Jen. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a favorite around here for sure…hope you have a chance to try it sometime!

  3. catherine says:

    I have this on the stove right now and it smells so good! I began with cooking onion and garlic in butter then I added in the rice, both, and tomato sauce, next I added a few tablespoons of olive tapenade and some pesto and I’m making roasted red peppers to add in after the rice cooks. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Moriya Reed says:

    Normally I do a 1:1 ratio rice to water in my rice cooker. Wash the rice three times, drain and put however much water equals what I measured rice.
    Tried this in my rice cooker. Didn’t work. Therefore next time I’ll probably make the rice with the broth instead and add the tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes after. Thoughts?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Moriya! I’m sorry this recipe didn’t convert to your rice cooker according to your usual ratios. I don’t have a rice cooker so I apologize that I can’t give you any suggestions for a successful conversion. All I know is that the recipe works as directed on the stove! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck if you decide to give it another try!

  5. I too had searched for a more authentic Mexican rice recipe and yours is pretty much the same as I found. I do use a can of Rotel, saving the canned liquid to swap for water. Then in the last few minutes of cooking I add fresh chopped cilantro. I came across s website that actually has cooking tutorial videos.

  6. In the Mexican section of the grocery store, you can find a jar of Caldo de Tomat. It is instant tomato broth. It makes the best Spanish rice yet. I found the recipe on Pinterest which is similar to this, except substituting the Caldo de Tomate in place of the broth. I make it ALL the time.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      That sounds yummy, Joan! Unfortunately, I’m afraid that Caldo de Tomate product contains MSG, preservatives, and other processed ingredients (at least the brand available at my store does), which is why I prefer to make my Spanish rice with chicken broth, tomato sauce, and natural seasonings. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Chrissy says:

    Can’t wait to have this tonight!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I hope it was a hit, Chrissy! We enjoyed it just this past weekend… ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. My family loves Spanish rice. It sounds easy. Could I add fish to this dish too?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      This recipe is definitely easy, Selina! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure I understand your question, though…how are you wanting to incorporate fish? I’m thinking you may need to cook the Spanish Rice as directed and then stir in fish at the end (if that’s what you’re asking)…

  9. Great recipe! I came across your site via a pin on Pinterest and am so glad! We try to use non-processed chemical free foods in our home. The Spanish rice was delicious, i stuck to your recipe with the exception of throwing in some black beans and using brown rice. The brown rice caused the cook time to be much longer but was exceptional with the Chicken Tortilla Pie i made as the main! Thanks for a great recipe!! Tanya

  10. Samantha, thanks for sharing your delicious Spanish Rice recipe. I made it earlier tonight and we are very pleased and quite satisfied. I cannot wait to have the leftovers tomorrow.

  11. It is not even done and I’m loving it already!! I licked the sauce of the spoon and yum!! I did however add a Sprinkle of onion powder 1 clove of garlic and I only use 1/2 teaspoon of cumin because I think it’s very overwhelming if you’re used to much

  12. Tammy Adkins says:

    Yes! It turned out great!!!

  13. Genius! My rice always turned out mushy with other recipes but using the same ratio & cooking time as on the bag of rice it came out perfect. I have lil 1s so next time I might go a bit lighter on the chili powder but this was fantastico. Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. Made this with long grain rice, not white. It took an additional four cups of water…taste was great! Just wanted others to know to watch and add water when needed ๐Ÿ™‚ Also added chives from my garden…

  15. My Mom is visiting & was craving some Spanish Rice. We tried your recipe & both really enjoyed it. I did saute some chopped red pepper & onion in the oil before adding the rice. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  16. is the 1 cup of wine a typo?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Wayne! There is no wine mentioned in this Easy Spanish Rice post or recipe. Are you perhaps commenting about a different recipe?

  17. Hi!! I made this last night and it was so easy and tasted great!! Thanks so much!!


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