Southern-Style Spanish Rice with Bacon

spanish rice
Jason Loucas/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Ratings (7)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
382 Calories
16g Fat
46g Carbs
14g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Spanish rice is a Mexican dish combining white rice with onion and tomatoes, giving it a reddish color. In Spanish, it is called "arroz rojo," meaning "red rice." It is popular in the Southwestern part of the United States but is interesting and tasty enough to be part of any region's cuisine. 

This Spanish rice dish is given a Southern twist with the addition of bacon and cheese. Using the bacon fat to saute the onion and rice imparts a smoky flavor to the final dish, and the diced bacon adds a nice texture. The Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese stirred in at the end creates a smooth, creamy finish. 

Unlike most rice dishes that are cooked in a pot, this flavorful Spanish rice is cooked in a skillet. Once you've mastered the technique you can try other versions of skillet Spanish rice, such as Skillet Spanish Rice With Ground Beef.


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1-4 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 cup onion (minced)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large skillet, fry bacon until cooked, but not crisp, over medium heat. Remove from skillet, drain on paper towels, and dice and set aside. Pour the bacon fat into a measuring cup; if there is less than 1/4 cup add enough butter to make 1/4 cup of fat. (Add a teaspoon of butter at a time, stirring--the hot bacon fat will melt the butter.)

  2. Pour the melted fat back into the skillet, and add the onion and rice. Sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly, until rice is lightly browned and onion is tender.

  3. Remove from heat; stir in diced bacon, tomatoes with juice, water, salt, pepper and chili powder. Return to the heat, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is almost all absorbed, about 20 minutes.

  4. Add cheese, lower the heat and stir until cheese is melted. Serve hot.