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Spanish Rice (Easy Recipe)

Spanish rice (arroz) is one of Spain’s most cherished culinary gems. It’s a quick, easy, flavorful side dish that’s always a hit.

Spanish rice may come from Spain, but it’s a dish that scoffs at boundaries. This tasty side dish is just as beloved in the U.S. and other countries.   

Spanish Rice: A delicious dish of fluffy rice cooked with savory spices and colorful vegetables, served in a traditional bowl
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It captivates tastebuds worldwide with its aromatic spice blend and vibrant colors. It’s a delightful medley of tender, perfectly cooked rice infused with a ton of flavors. 

So, let’s dive right in and talk about everything that makes Spanish rice great. 

Spanish Rice

Most of us are familiar with Spanish rice. It’s a common order with dishes like pollo con arroz at our favorite Mexican place.

But this recipe for Spanish rice takes the side dish to a whole new level. It’s buttery and tender, with chunks of sauteed onions and plenty of garlic in every bite. 

Plus, there’s the delicious blend of seasonings, and I don’t just mean salt and pepper. This recipe includes a ton of great stuff, including cayenne, oregano, cumin, and smoked paprika. 

Finally, there are also tomatoes and chicken broth. They add flavor, moisture, freshness, and heartiness. Everything about this rice is spot-on and perfect. You can serve it with anything! 

And it all comes together in less than an hour. 

Spanish Rice Ingredients: Butter, Onion, Garlic, Long Grain Rice, Diced Tomatoes, Chicken Broth and Seasonings


Here’s what you need to make it:

  • Butter – Unsalted or salted is fine. You use it to saute the onions and garlic.
  • Onion – One small white onion should be enough. You can use red, but it may change the heat factor somewhat. 
  • Garlic – Though I’ve listed the other seasonings below, I wanted to set garlic apart. Use fresh garlic cloves that you mince yourself. Some people will say garlic powder is fine, but it isn’t. Fresh garlic is the only way to go for this recipe. 
  • Long-grain rice – I stick to white rice. Don’t worry. After adding all the seasonings, there’s nothing bland about it. You can use brown if you prefer. Just add a little extra broth, and be mindful that it may take longer to cook. 
  • Diced tomatoes – You can take your pick here. I like to use a can of diced tomatoes. However, you can substitute salsa, fire-roasted tomatoes, or tomato paste. 
  • Chicken broth – You can also use water, though I find chicken broth gives the dish more flavor. You just need some kind of liquid to help cook the rice. 
  • Seasonings – Add a blend of oregano, cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. These seasonings give the rice its savory, spicy, smoky, and unbeatable taste.
A Bowl of Flavorful Spanish Rice with Cilantro and Chopped Onions

How to Make Spanish Rice 

1. Saute. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Then, add the chopped onions and saute until they’re translucent (about 5 minutes). 

Then, add the garlic and saute for another minute or until you clearly smell the garlic cooking.

2. Brown the rice. Add the rice to the skillet and cook it for just a few minutes. You’ll know it’s time for the next step when the rice turns golden brown. 

3. Add the other ingredients. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and seasonings. Salt and pepper the rice to suit your tastes. 

4. Simmer. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, lower the heat and cover the skillet. Let the rice simmer until it absorbs all the liquid and becomes soft and fluffy. (About 20 minutes.)

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5. Cool, serve, and enjoy! Remove the skillet from the heat, but don’t remove the lid. Let the skillet sit for about 5 minutes, still covered. Then, fluff the rice with a fork, serve, and enjoy! 

Tips and Tricks 

Keep these tips in mind for the best Spanish rice: 

  • Add a little green. Scallions, finely cut leeks, and cilantro are all good options. They taste fantastic, too. 
  • Remember to stir. Stir frequently while sauteing the onions and browning the rice. It doesn’t hurt to stir the rice a couple of times during the simmering process, either. It’ll ensure your rice doesn’t stick and burn.
  • Give it a garnish. Cilantro adds a pop of color and tastes terrific. 


If you want to mix things up a bit, try one of these yummy variations: 

  • Keep it vegetarian-friendly. Leave out the chicken broth and use water or vegetable broth instead. 
  • Make it spicy. Add freshly minced jalapeno peppers or double down on the cayenne.
  • Make it the main event! Brown some ground beef or ground turkey and mix it in with the rice. You could also add black beans for a complete meal.
Savory and Flavorful Spanish Rice with Herbs and Onions Top View

What to Serve with Spanish Rice

The beauty of Spanish rice is that it pairs well with practically anything, not just Mexican food! You can just as easily serve it with chicken, steak, or something else. 

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to serve with Spanish rice: 

It also tastes great by itself or with a side of chips and salsa! 

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating 

Here are your options when it comes to leftover Spanish rice:

  • To Store: Transfer the rice to an air-tight container. Place it in the refrigerator, where it should last 5 to 6 days, maybe even a week. 
  • To Freeze: Let the rice cool completely, then transfer it to an air-tight, freezer-safe container. You can also freeze individual portions in freezer bags if you prefer. 

Here’s how to reheat your leftovers: 

  • To Reheat From the Fridge: Transfer the rice to a microwave-safe bowl. Then, warm it on high for 1 to 2 minutes. You can also reheat on the stove for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat. 
  • To Reheat From Frozen: Let the rice thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat it using the microwave or stove-top methods listed above. 

Spanish Rice (Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time



This tasty Spanish rice is the perfect side dish any night of the week! It’s full of delicious tomato flavor and comes together in less than an hour.


  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 cups long grain rice

  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and onions. Cook until golden brown.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender.
  • Remove it from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff it with a fork before serving, and enjoy!
Spanish Rice

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

1 thought on “Spanish Rice (Easy Recipe)”

  1. Just made this rice. I did rinse the rice before putting it in the skillet. I used Muir Glen Chipolte diced tomatoes. For the salt I added a little over a teaspoon and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Came out great! I will need to reheat it for a meal day after tomorrow. Fingers crossed!


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