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Easy Homemade Spanish Rice

Updated on May 15, 2014

Delicious Spanish Rice

Looks simple, tastes amazing!
Looks simple, tastes amazing!

Basic Ingredients, Amazing Dish

Short on time? Limited ingredients in the cupboard? Spanish rice is an easy dish to make that uses basic ingredients - onion, garlic, tomato (fresh or canned), chicken or vegetable broth, rice, and seasonings. Easy, right? Right! So, I'm going to walk you through the process. I have provided the ingredients and amounts that I used, however, feel free to use what you have.

Easy Spanish Rice

Cast your vote for Spanish Rice

Here's the Deal

First, I will give you the basic recipe. It is very straight-forward and easy to follow. If you want more detail, keep reading! I will take you through the creative process of making Spanish rice. Then you will see how easy it can be to change it up according to what you have or what you want it to be!

How long will this take?

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: 6-8 servings
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup onion
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 2 cans (15 oz) tomato (diced, stewed, or whole)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 cups water
  • to taste salt
  • to taste cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, taco seasoning
  • As needed Olive oil or vegetable oil
  1. Dice the onion. Put about 1 tablespoon of oil into a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the onion. Cook until onion starts to become translucent.
  2. Add garlic and onion. Reduce heat. Cook until the rice begins to change color. Some of the rice grains should start to look lightly brown or toasted.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir into the rice.
  4. Add the water and seasonings. Heat to boiling. Once it is boiling, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until rice is cooked. Make sure that the water doesn't completely cook out.
  5. Serve as a side or in a tortilla.

Now, the details

So, I just gave you the basic recipe. I will now give you the step-by-step I took in making this Spanish rice, including the process I used in choosing my ingredients. This is a process you can easily follow and adapt according to the ingredients you have in your cupboard.

Let's Begin!

Cut and cook the onion!
Cut and cook the onion!

Easy Spanish Rice - Step One

First, dice your onion. Just use whatever onion you have in your cupboard. I happened to only have purple onion, so that's what I used. However, I usually use yellow onion. Once your onion is finely chopped, get your pan heated up over medium heat.

Once your pan is warm, add oil to the pan. I prefer to use olive oil, but vegetable oil would work as well. Once the oil is warm, add your onion to the pan. I like to hold my hand over the pan. If I can feel the heat on my hand (warm enough that I know it wouldn't be a good idea to touch it) then I know it's warm enough.

Cook your onion until it is translucent or it starts to become see-through.

Starts to look pretty!

Add garlic and rice
Add garlic and rice

Easy Spanish Rice - Step Two

Now, add your garlic and your rice. You can use the bottled, diced garlic if you want (this is what I used) or you could add fresh garlic. The fresh garlic would add a little more flavor. I didn't have any on hand, though, which is why I used the bottled stuff.

Cook your rice until the rice starts to turn color. You want some of the grains to get that lightly toasted look. You don't want every grain of rice to turn that color, only some of them. This helps the flavor of the rice.

Here comes the fun!

Add tomatoes and broth
Add tomatoes and broth

Easy Spanish Rice - Step Three

Once the rice looks good and toasted, add the tomatoes. This is where you can go a little crazy. I had some leftover pico de gallo from a Cinco de Mayo meal, so I decided to add about 1 cup of that and 1 can diced tomatoes. It was what I had, so it was what I used! And it turned out great! Of course, that added a little more flavor because of the jalapeno that was in the pico and the extra garlic and onion. You could reach the same flavor if you have canned tomatoes with chilis. So, basically, here are your tomato options:

Fresh tomato
Canned diced tomatoes (regular)
Canned diced tomatoes with chilis
Canned stewed tomatoes (mexican style)
Canned whole tomatoes.

It is your choice. Just make sure you use about 2 cans worth of tomatoes, whatever you decide. And don't drain them! The juice provides even more flavor! And a little bit of flavor never hurt anyone.

At the same time, add your broth (chicken or vegetable). At this point you can decide if you want a vegetarian dish or not. It all depends on the broth. I used chicken broth and, because I didn't have canned broth, I used the granules. The granules work just as good as the canned broth.

Now, mix everything together. Isn't it looking good?

Finish it up!

Spice it up, then finish!
Spice it up, then finish!

Easy Spanish Rice - Step Four

Add the water, salt, and other seasoning. This is the step where you can really add your personality to the dish. Do you like things cool and calm? Limit how much spice you use! Prefer a little excitement? Crank up the heat! Here are some of the options you have:

Cayenne Pepper
Regular Pepper
Chili Powder
Taco seasoning

Depending on the seasoning and how much spice you want, I would add 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp of the spice (except for saffron, click here for more information on this delicate spice). For this dish, I used cayenne pepper and a little chili powder.

Mix everything together and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cover with a lid and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for 15-30 minutes. Just keep an eye on it. After the first 15 minutes, give it a stir. Make sure that it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it looks like it is but the rice isn't done, add more water or broth. (Broth is preferred, but if you use water that is okay).

How did you use it?

How did you serve your Spanish rice?

See results

Easy Spanish Rice - Step Five

This is my favorite step - serve and enjoy! It can be a great side dish to a Mexican style meal or as part of the main dish. For example, my husband and I enjoyed it as part of a burrito. We dished the rice into a flour tortilla, topped it with some leftover chicken (from Cinco de Mayo, again), some cheese, lettuce, sour cream...yum! A delicious, satisfying burrito. I would love to hear how you used your rice!

Serve and Enjoy!

Great with tortillas!
Great with tortillas!
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories 163
Calories from Fat45
% Daily Value *
Fat 5 g8%
Carbohydrates 27 g9%
Sugar 8 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 3 g6%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 872 mg36%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


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    • Lea Child profile imageAUTHOR

      Lea Child 

      4 years ago from IOWA CITY

      I've never made it with prawns but I bet it would be delicious! Let me know how it goes!

    • Vvitta profile image

      Kalaichelvi Panchalingam 

      4 years ago from PETALING JAYA

      This is a little like the Malaysian fried rice that I love so much. I am going to try this next week. Hope it turns out right. I wonder how it would taste if I throw in some prawns. I am going to do some experimenting. Thanks.


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