Southern-Style Spanish Rice With Bacon

spanish rice

Jason Loucas / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
382 Calories
16g Fat
46g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 382
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 277mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 14g
Calcium 284mg 22%
*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 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 to 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. Gather the ingredients.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Add cheese, lower the heat and stir until cheese is melted.

  7. Serve hot and enjoy!