How to Make Spanish Rice

You can elevate a plain side of rice by learning how to make Spanish rice at home. Spanish rice is flavorful and can be served with a variety of entrees like steak, grilled shrimp or fajitas, making it a great recipe to have in your repertoire. Use this guide to learn more about Spanish rice and how to make it.

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What Is Spanish Rice?

Spanish rice is long grain rice that has been sauteed with garlic and onions, then boiled with a mixture of tomato sauce, broth and seasonings. It is a popular dish in both South and North America and can be easily made at home with the right technique.

Spanish Rice Recipe

Learn the basics of making Spanish rice as a delicious and authentic side dish that can be enjoyed with friends and family. This recipe inspiration highlights the common ingredients in a basic Spanish rice dish, but you can easily make it your own with the addition or omission of ingredients. substitute vegetable broth for a vegan version, add smoked spices for a robust flavor profile or toss in your favorite chillis to kick up the heat. Use the techniques below combined with your own customized Spanish rice ingredients list.

  • 6 servings
Prep Time
  • 15 minutes
  • 30 minutes
  • 50 minutes
  • Pot or saucepan with a lid

  • Rice strainer

  • Large cooking spoon

  • Kitchen knife

  • Spice grinder, like this grinder from KitchenAid® (optional)
  • Long grain rice

  • Olive oil

  • Onion

  • Bell peppers

  • Chicken broth

  • Tomato sauce

  • Chili powder

  • Garlic powder

  • Dried oregano

  • Cumin

  • Salt and pepper

  • Lemon juice

Woman rinsing ingredients in a sink

Step 1: Rinse rice and prep ingredients

Place your rice in the rice strainer and rinse with cold water until the water that drains from the strainer runs clear. Then, finely chop onions and bell peppers. If you’re grinding spices yourself, grind up your spices and measure out your seasoning mix for your rice.

Person sauteing vegetables in a pan

Step 2: Saute onions, peppers and rice

Heat olive oil in your saucepan by setting your burners to medium heat and saute the onions, peppers and any other vegetable additions until they have softened, then add in your rice and saute until the rice is lightly toasted. Sauteeing your rice adds a deep, nutty flavor that enhances the overall taste of the dish.

Shrimp cooking in a sauce pan on an electric stove

Step 3: Add the rest of ingredients and cook rice

Stir in your broth, tomato sauce, lemon juice and customized seasoning blend, then bring the mixture to a boil by setting your stove to medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid. Continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, then remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

TIP: Don’t remove the lid

Avoid removing the lid from your saucepan while the rice is cooking as this can release steam and disrupt the cooking process, which may lead to undercooked rice.

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What Is the Difference Between Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice?

Spanish rice and Mexican rice are similar dishes with only minor differences. Typically, Spanish rice is more firm and aromatic, while Mexican rice is softer and more delicate. The two dishes are so similar that they are sometimes considered interchangeable.

What Rice Is Best for Spanish Rice?

Long grain white rice is the best type of rice to use for the most authentic flavor and texture. You can make substitutions based on preference or dietary restriction, like swapping in brown rice or cauliflower rice, though this may alter the overall texture of the dish.

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What to Add to Spanish Rice?

Spanish rice is a flavorful and versatile base that can be paired with a variety of proteins and vegetables. You can add beans, shrimp or to make the dish more hearty, or you can incorporate roasted vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes or squash to add more nutrients to your meal.

Can You Freeze Spanish Rice?

Spanish rice is best when served hot alongside an entree. If you want to prepare a large batch of Spanish rice ahead of time, or if you made more Spanish rice than you needed, you can store Spanish rice in the freezer using an air-tight container for up to 4–6 months.

Pot simmering on a KitchenAid® gas range Pot simmering on a KitchenAid® gas range

Can You Reheat Spanish Rice?

Yes, you can reheat Spanish rice either in the microwave or the oven. To reheat Spanish rice in the oven, place rice in a baking dish and splash with a few tablespoons of water, then cover and bake. For a microwave, add one tablespoon of water and cover with a paper towel before reheating on 80% or Level 8 power.

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Whether you’re cooking Spanish rice, baking fajitas or pan-searing steaks, KitchenAid brand has the cooktops and ranges to match the way you make. Explore gas and electric cooktops and ranges that offer versatility, performance and craftsmanship so you can explore more creative possibilities.

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