Instant Pot Spanish Rice

Instant Pot Spanish Rice

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 2 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Pressure Build/Release: 15 mins
Total: 23 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yields: 4 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
115 Calories
4g Fat
18g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 115
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 981mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 6mg 30%
Calcium 44mg 3%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 269mg 6%
*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.)

Spanish rice, also known as Mexican rice, is a savory side dish popular in Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. This version of the delicious side dish is made easily and effortlessly by using the Instant Pot. The signature flavors come from a blend of chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Smoked paprika, often called pimenton or Spanish paprika, is made from peppers that are smoked and dried over oak fires. The flavor can vary from mild to hot depending on the style and brand. It also lends a beautiful red hue to the cooked rice.

Making Spanish rice in the Instant Pot takes under half an hour from start to finish. In this recipe, the rice combines with broth and fresh salsa in the ideal ratios to avoid Spanish rice that is too crunchy or too mushy.

Spanish rice can be served alongside any of your favorite proteins such as chicken, pork, or beef. It also tastes great when served with black or pinto beans for a wholesome and flavorful vegetarian meal. A simple garnish of fresh cilantro makes for a beautiful presentation, but feel free to add shredded Mexican cheese, slices of avocado, a squeeze of fresh lime, or even a dollop of sour cream as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice (long-grain)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 clove garlic (minced)

  • 1 medium jalapeño (seeded and finely diced)

  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup fresh salsa (chunky-style)

  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Instant Pot Spanish Rice ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  2. Place the rice in a fine mesh colander and rinse and drain well. 

    Rice in a colander

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  3. Turn on the Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Add the oil, garlic, and jalapeno. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

    Garlic and jalapeño in the Instant Pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  4. Turn the sauté setting off. Add the broth, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and salt.

    Broth and spices added to the Instant Pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  5. Add the rice and stir to combine.

    Rice added to the ingredients in the Instant Po

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  6. Add the salsa on top but do not stir. Close and lock the lid.

    Salsa added to the Instant Pot mixture but not mixed in

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  7. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is up and the Instant Pot beeps, allow it to sit for an additional 10 minutes while the pressure begins to release naturally. Then, open the valve and release any remaining pressure manually.

  8. Fluff the rice with a fork.

    Spanish Rice in the Instant Pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  9. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.

Is the Instant Pot Good for Rice?

The Instant Pot is good for cooking rice because the appliance does all the work for you. There's no need to watch the pot or worry about it boiling over while you prepare the rest of the meal. It is also a foolproof method to avoid mushy rice or rice that has burned on the bottom of the pan—as long as you use the right proportion of rice to liquid and follow the recommended cook time. Plain white rice takes about 3 to 5 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot at high pressure. Brown rice, wild rice, and flavored rice take longer to cook.

Why Is My Spanish Rice Mushy?

Spanish rice typically has moist ingredients like tomatoes and peppers added in addition to water or broth, so the amount of each ingredient has to be just right to avoid a mushy side dish. It's smart to follow a recipe—less liquid is used than when making plain rice since the vegetables with add moisture. Following a good recipe for Spanish rice is also important for avoiding crunchy, hard rice. This can happen if there's not enough liquid, if the rice is cooked at too high of a temperature, or if it isn't cooked for long enough.