There is nothing quite delicious like a plate of Spanish rice. This traditional dish is a staple in many homes, and for good reason. It is hearty, filling, and packed with yummy flavor. But what many people don’t realize is that not everyone knows how to make Spanish rice in their homes.
While the ingredients are simple enough, it takes a bit of practice to get a perfect consistency. The rice must be cooked just right to remain fluffy and moist, but not mushy. The key is to use the correct ratio of water to rice and to simmer the mixture instead of boiling until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can start experimenting with different variations; You can try adding beans to make it Spanish rice and beans or diced vegetables to bulk up the dish and make it even more filling and you can also change up the spices to suit your taste buds.
This rice dish is very forgiving and can be made with whatever you have on hand. This dish has such a unique flavor just like this dirty rice recipe and I think you will love to recreate it at home.
Whether you like your homemade Spanish rice with chicken, ground beef, turkey, sausage, or vegetables; you can always customize it to your taste and make it your own meal. Below is a quick and easy recipe on how to make Spanish rice with tomatoes, vegetables, and spices.
Ingredients for making Spanish rice
- 11/2 cup long-grained white rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups tomato sauce, or a can of store-bought tomato sauce, undrained
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
How to make Spanish rice with pictures
Here are the simple steps for you to learn how to make Spanish rice at home with easy-to-find and affordable ingredients.
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Rinse the rice under running water
Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer under a running tap until the water turns clean. Leave the rice to soak for 20 minutes in a bowl.
Rinsing the rice helps to remove starch and prevents the rice from turning mushy.
Toast the rice until fragrant
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and saute for 3 until fragrant. Add the rinsed and drained rice; stirring frequently to help toast the rice until the grains start to pop and turn slightly golden brown in color about 5 to 8 minutes.
Toasting rice in hot oil to give it an earthy aroma and crispy texture
Combine the vegetables with the rice to toast
Saute minced garlic, and chopped green and red bell peppers, stirring frequently until the veggies are tender. Add the tomato sauce, and tomato paste and stir to mix.
Toasting the rice together with the veggies, add a delicious fragrance to the entire dish.
Season with aromatic spices
Season the rice with oregano, cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine then place the lid on the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.
Adding seasonings to Spanish rice recipe.
Add chicken stock and cook the rice until tender
Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20- 25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Adding chicken stock to the rice to cook; the stock adds a richer taste to the rice.
Garnish and fluff the rice with a fork
Remove the lid garnish the Spanish rice with fresh cilantro, and fluff the rice with a fork to help separate individual grains.
Easy steps on how to make Spanish rice from scratch
Remove the rice from the heat, replace the lid, and let it sit for 5 more minutes before serving. This allows all of the flavors to meld together.
Easy Spanish rice recipe.
See Also: Roasted chicken thighs
Tips on how to make the best Spanish rice
- Make use of long-grain rice. This type of rice will give the dish a fluffy texture that is perfect for absorbing all of the wonderful flavors in the dish.
- Use fresh ingredients– Fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic will give your dish an authentic flavor. I also recommend using a good quality chicken broth for added flavor. If you want your Spanish rice to be extra flavorful use homemade stock.
- Rinse the rice first– Rinse the rice several times in order to remove any excess starch. This step is important in order to prevent your rice from becoming sticky or clumping together.
- Toast the rice until slightly crispy– Another tip is to toast the rice briefly with the onion in hot oil before adding the rest of the ingredients, this allows every grain of rice to absorb all the delicious flavor of the onion s and the rest of the vegetables which helps create an extra delicious flavor in the dish.
- Don’t overcook the rice– Another important tip is to cook the rice properly and not overcook it or else it will turn mushy.
What to serve with Spanish rice
You can serve this easy Spanish rice as a side dish or as the main course, and here are some of my popular recommendations to choose from. For a classic Mexican-inspired meal, serve the rice with refried beans, tortillas, enchiladas, burritos, or fajitas. You can add a little sour cream shredded cheese and salsa on the side for extra flavor.
You could pair it with roasted chicken breast, fried shrimp, or sauteed vegetables like peppers, zucchini, and broccoli. Also, a simple green salad on the side is another perfect complement to this dish.
What is the difference between Spanish rice and Mexican rice?
Spanish rice and Mexican rice are often confused, but they are actually the same dish. They are both made with tomatoes and often include rice, onions, garlic, peppers, and spices.
What is Spanish rice made of?
Spanish rice is a dish that is popular in many Spanish-speaking countries. It is made of long grained white rice, tomato sauce, garlic, chicken stock, and onions. Some recipes also include bell peppers, peas, corn, and carrots. This rice is typically seasoned with cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano.
The rice is first sautéed in olive oil until it is browned. Then, the tomatoes, spices, and stock are added and cooked until the rice is tender and fragrant.
Why is Spanish rice red?
Spanish rice gets its red hue from the addition of tomato sauce or tomato paste. This adds not only color but also a lovely depth of flavor to the dish. Saffron is also added to the rice to give it an even more golden and beautiful yellow color, making it more visually appealing.
Why does Spanish rice get mushy?
Not rinsing the rice thoroughly before cooking can cause it to become mushy. Be sure to rinse the rice several times before cooking to remove any excess starch.
Toasting the rice in the hot oil for a couple of minutes helps give it a nice light crispy texture and a richer flavor. This allows each grain to stay separated and not clumped together when the liquid is added.
Overcooking the rice is a common mistake; the rice is supposed to be tender but still firm to the bite. Make sure to use the correct ratio of water to rice. Too much water will make the rice mushy, while too little will make it dry and crumbly.
For best results, use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice or 1 and 1/2 cups of water for every cup of rice. this will depend on the type of rice used though. Make sure to follow the directions on the package of the rice carefully, this will guide you on the amount of water or stock needed for a specific amount of rice.
Also, make sure you are using the right kind of rice for the best Spanish rice recipe. As for me, long-grained rice (Basmati or jasmine) is ideal because it holds its shape better and doesn’t turn into a mushy mess when cooked.
Finally, simmer the rice rather than boiling it. Boiling the rice can cause it to absorb too much water and become mushy. All you need to do is first bring the water or your stock to a boil, then as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the rice simmer until tender.
How long does Spanish rice last in the fridge?
Cooked Spanish rice will last in the fridge for 3-4 days, so it is perfect for meal prep. If you have a lot of leftovers, you can freeze them for up to 2 months. To reheat, simply microwave or heat in a pan on the stove until warmed through. Be sure to add a little bit of water to keep the rice from drying out when reheating.
Other variations of Spanish rice
- Saffron- You could try adding a few pieces of saffron to Spanish rice for a beautiful yellow color and a slight hint of flavor
- Spiciness- If you’re looking for a bit of spice, try adding some diced jalapeños or red pepper flakes to the mix.
- Meat- If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, you could even add some chopped chicken to get that authentic Spanish rice and chicken recipe. Other variations could include ground beef, sausage, or shrimp in this recipe.
- Another tasty option to try is to use chorizo sausage instead of ground beef or add some chopped ham or bacon for extra flavor; this gives the rice a nice spicy kick. For those who prefer a vegetarian version, there are recipes that call for mushrooms or even cauliflower instead of meat. And you replace the chicken stock with low-sodium vegetable broth.
- Rice- White long-grain rice is the most commonly used type of rice for making Spanish rice, as it is neutral in flavor and has a light and fluffy texture that is perfect for absorbing all the flavors of the seasonings and is easy to cook. However, brown rice, basmati rice, and jasmine rice are also good options for you to choose from.
- Salsa-You can totally make your Spanish rice with salsa instead of tomatoes. It’s actually really easy to prepare this dish and it’s a great way to use up any leftover salsa sauce in the freezer. Simply combine your salsa sauce with the rice along with the required seasonings. Stir everything together until it’s evenly mixed, then place on heat to cook.
- Beans– I like to add black beans and sometimes kidney beans to my Spanish rice other times just to change the whole dish. You can cook your own beans from scratch if you have enough time. However, you can make use of canned beans but be sure to drain and rinse them first before adding them to the rice.
- To add the beans, simply add a can of drained or cooked beans to the pot after adding water to the rice. This is another fantastic way to make a mixture of Spanish rice and beans in one pot as a single meal. This classic combination often results in a flavorful and filling meal.
- Slow cooker- You can absolutely make Spanish rice in a slow cooker. Simply toast the rice in the skillet with the veggies as mentioned in steps 1 and 2 above. Transfer the whole content to your slow cooker, add the remaining ingredients, and mix them together. Set the slow cooker to low heat and let it cook for 4 to 5 hours (or on high heat for 2-3 hours and allow it to do its thing. In the end, you’ll have fluffy, flavorful rice that’s perfect for any meal in just a few hours.