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Easy Mexican Rice (Spanish Rice)

This easy Mexican rice doesn’t take much more work than a standard mix from the store, but tastes SO much better! It’s the perfect side dish that can be left cooking while you put together the rest of your meal.

It also pairs perfectly with these Quick and Easy Black Beans!

Tips for the Perfect Mexican Rice

  1. When cooking rice, you typically cook it with a specific amount of liquid to make sure that it doesn’t turn out dry or soggy. Because you’ll be using multiple ingredients with moisture, it’s important to collect all of those ingredients in one liquid measuring cup. This will make sure your liquid-to-rice ratio is spot-on. For that reason, make sure to thoroughly drain the canned tomatoes, getting as much excess liquid into the measuring cup as possible.
  2. Also, you’ll notice that this recipe doesn’t follow the typical 2-1 liquid-rice ratio. You’d think this recipe would call for 4 total cups of liquid for the 2 cups of rice. Rather, this Mexican rice recipe only calls for 3 3/4 cups of liquid. That said, you’ll notice that other ingredients (such as the drained tomatoes) will contribute more moisture while the rice is cooking–so don’t worry too much about that missing 1/4 cup of liquid. That won’t be a problem while cooking.

Mexican Rice (Spanish Rice)

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Recipe by Maddie Saxey


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 2 cup 2 long grain white rice

  • 1 cup 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 can (8 oz) 1 tomato sauce

  • 1 can (14.5 oz) 1 petite diced tomatoes

  • 3 Tbsp 3 salted butter

  • 2 tsp 2 minced garlic

  • 1 tsp 1 chili powder

  • 1 tsp 1 cumin

  • 1 tsp 1 paprika

  • 2 tsp 2 white sugar

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 salt

  • 1 cup 1 chicken broth

  • water

  • cilantro to garnish (optional)


  • Using a strainer, drain excess liquid from can of diced tomatoes into a liquid measuring cup* and set tomatoes aside. KEEP the excess liquid. Add tomato sauce and chicken broth to the liquid measuring cup, and then add water until you have 3 3/4 cups of liquid with all together. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan, melt butter on medium heat. Add diced onion to the pan and cook until translucent, stirring often (3-4 minutes). Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, and salt to pan, mix together with onions and cook until aromatic (1-2 minutes). Add rice, fully coating in spices.
  • Add tomatoes and liquid that was set aside (step 1), and mix well. Turn heat up to high and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Once boiling, cover with lid and turn heat to simmer. After 20-25 minutes (once rice is cooked through and there isn’t any remaining liquid), remove from heat and fluff with a fork, add some cilantro. Enjoy!


  • *Use a liquid measuring cup that holds at least 4 cups.

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