Easy Mexican and Spanish-Style Rice

Mexican Rice (Spanish Rice)
The Spruce
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
117 Calories
5g Fat
16g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 397mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 5mg 25%
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 228mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

With this recipe, you will make rice similar to that served at Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants in the United States. You'll often see it called Spanish rice, although there is a key difference between the two—Spanish rice uses saffron to achieve its red color.

This recipe is 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).


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  • 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 or powder

  • 1 cup tomato puree

  • 4 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, optional

  • 1/2 cup chopped vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, bell pepper, peas, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the fresh onion and sauté for 1 or 2 minutes until softened and translucent.

  3. Add the dry rice and continue sautéeing, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until rice becomes a golden brown color. Do not allow the rice to burn.

  4. Add the garlic to the rice and sauté for one more minute.

  5. Take the 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.

  6. 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.)

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

  8. Fluff your rice with a fork before serving. Use your delicious homemade rice as a side for almost any savory Mexican dish.

  9. Serve and enjoy!


  • The tomato puree can be homemade or canned tomato sauce. Other forms of canned tomatoes will also work well. Canned chopped tomatoes with chiles or a jarred salsa can also be used.
  • For additional flavor, use a good quality pork lard instead of the vegetable oil.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge; reheat in microwave before using.