Delicious Spanish Rice made easily in a rice cooker. The perfect side dish to taco night, this rice is flavorful, super easy, and made with simple ingredients! Gluten free + vegan recipe.
Spanish rice, or Mexican rice, is a delicious tomato based rice pilaf filled with spices like cumin, paprika, garlic, and onion. This version of it takes inspiration from that recipe and makes it even easier to make. Add all the ingredients to your rice cooker, give it a stir, and hit the start button! In 25 minutes you have an amazing side dish for taco night with almost no work.
Free from: Wheat, gluten, dairy, casein, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more
Contains: Tomatoes, Nightshades
Add this Spanish rice to all sorts of recipes! It can be the base of burrito bowls, as a simple side dish for tacos on Taco Tuesday, placed inside black bean enchiladas, or as the base for a taco casserole. Finish off the dish with a side of pico de gallo, dairy free queso dip, or mango pineapple salsa!
Why You’ll Love this Spanish Rice
- Easy to make in just the rice cooker!
- Super flavorful
- Healthy and filling
- Gluten free, Dairy free, Egg free, Nut free, Soy free, and more!
Here is a quick rundown of what you’ll need to make this Spanish Rice. For the recipe amounts, see the recipe card below. Need an allergy substitution? See the allergy swaps below for my tips and recommendations!
- Long-grain white rice: Jasmine rice and basmati rice are my two go-tos for this recipe, but any kind of long-grain rice will work. Jasmine especially is really fragrant and adds this delicious layer of flavor.
- Broth: Replace the water used for cooking rice with broth for the most flavorful rice. You can use vegetable stock, chicken broth, or even beef broth. My favorite is Better than Boullion.
- Tomato Paste: I love the depth of flavor that the paste brings over using plain tomato sauce. The rich umami flavor translates into a more flavorful Spanish rice.
- Spices: This recipe uses a classic combination of cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. If you like it spicier, add more chili powder. If you like it with no spice, feel free to omit the chili powder all together.
- Optional Ingredient: A tablespoon of butter (dairy free if needed) can really transform this rice to something special.
Best Rice Cooker
For me, a simple rice cooker is the best. The Aroma rice cooker is the one that my family has been using for years. I love that it has a stainless steel interior pot. That means there is no coating on it so no chance of sneaky allergens like soy or nut oils baked into it. Plus, it is dishwasher safe! This rice cooker makes my rice perfect every time.
Make sure that the vegetable stock is safe to use. A lot of times ingredients like celery, mustard, wheat, corn, soy, or gums can be found in different brands of stock. If you can't find a good local stock to use, you can make your own by simmering leftover vegetables in a few cups of water with a bay leaf and other herbs on the stove for a few hours. This will reduce down into a delicious base for all your recipes.
You can make this with different kinds of rice like brown rice. This will increase the nutrition slightly thanks to the nutrition variations in the different types of rice.
How to Rinse the Rice
The most important step in this recipe is rinsing the rice. Especially rice made in a rice cooker, you want to make sure that any extra starch is rinsed away. This will give you that perfect rice every time.
My favorite method of rinsing the rice is rinsing the rice in a fine mesh sieve under running cool water. The water will be super cloudy at first, but just keep stirring it with your hand, making sure that every grain is getting rinsed.
After about 1 minute of rinsing, the water should be running a lot more clear. That is letting you know that the excess starch has been washed away and you’re ready to make the rice!
For the full instructions, complete with recipe measurements, please skip to the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
This Spanish rice comes together so quickly! It really is simple.
Start by rinsing the rice. Make sure that the water runs clear so that you’ve removed a lot of the starch. This will make your rice gummy if you skip this step.
Next, add the rinsed rice to the rice cooker. Pour in the vegetable broth, tomato paste, and all the spices.
Give it a good stir and press the “on” button (or the equivalent on your rice cooker). And that’s it! Now it’s time to wait for the rice to cook.
Depending on if you made a single or double batch of this rice, in about 25 minutes, your kitchen should be smelling amazing. Different rice makers will have different cooking time instructions, so make sure to follow the instructions on your model.
Tip! When the rice is done, let it rest for about 5 minutes with the lid on. This helps it to finish steaming.
Finally, fluff the rice with a fork and serve next to tofu tacos, inside of black bean enchiladas, or as the base layer of a taco casserole! Garnish with some fresh cilantro and a little squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Technically, Spanish rice includes the addition of saffron, while Mexican rice is made without saffron. However, for most people in the US, Spanish rice and Mexican rice are interchangeable and refer to the same rice dish.
Rice becomes weighed down when there is either too much starch left in the rice from not rinsing it well, or too much water in the pot. To keep your rice fluffy, make sure to wash the rice well and drain it of any extra water before measuring the correct amount of broth into the rice.
- It can’t be understated how important it is to wash your rice! Washing it removes a lot of the starchiness, which leads to gummy rice. I like to use a strainer and give it a really thorough rinsing. Make sure to shake out any excess water from the rice. You can also wash it right in the rice cooking bowl, to cut down on extra dishes. Just please don’t skip this step!
How to Store
Fridge: Store leftover rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat: place the rice in a microwave safe bowl along with a sprinkle of water. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring and re-covering until heated through.
More Mexican Inspired Recipes to Love
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- Rice cooker
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- mixing spoon
- 1 ½ cups rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock or beef stock
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Rinse the rice. Using a mesh strainer or a large bowl, rinse the rice til the water runs clear. Make sure to shake out any excess water.
- Add the ingredients to the pot. Add the rinsed rice to the rice cooker, along with the vegetable broth, tomato paste, and all spices. Stir this together well.
- Cook the rice. Press the start button and let it go! Or, follow the instructions for your unique rice cooker.
- Serve. When the rice is finished, fluff the rice with a fork and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Allergy Substitutions
- Make sure that the vegetable stock is safe to use. A lot of times ingredients like celery, mustard, wheat, corn, soy, or gums can be found in different brands of stock. If you can't find a good local stock to use, you can make your own by simmering leftover vegetables in a few cups of water with a bay leaf and other herbs on the stove for a few hours. This will reduce down into a delicious base for all your recipes.
- You can make this with different kinds of rice like brown rice. This will increase the nutrition slightly thanks to the nutrition variations in the different types of rice.
- How to Store
- Fridge: Store leftover rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To reheat: place the rice in a microwave safe bowl along with a sprinkle of water. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring and re-covering until heated through.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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