No Mexican meal could be complete with a side of Spanish Rice and Charro Beans. Now, you can make a full-course Mexican dinner at home with this authentic and, most importantly, easy Spanish Rice Recipe consisting of the perfect blend of vegetables and spices.
WHAT IS SPANISH RICE MADE OF?
Spanish Rice is made with white long-grain rice. Using the right variety is important as different kinds of rice (brown rice, Arborio, Bomba, etc…) require different amounts of liquid and cook times.
- White Rice
- Tomato Paste
- Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper
As mysterious as the orange hue of Spanish Rice might be, it’s really quite simple. It comes from tomato paste. Tomato paste is a much better option than canned tomatoes. Diced canned tomatoes will leave a metallic flavor running throughout your rice, whereas the tomato paste will not.
SPANISH RICE VEGETABLES
Spanish Rice is most often flavored with sautéed carrots and onions. Sometimes Mexican restaurants include peas in their Spanish Rice. And, while not as common as the aforementioned veggies, green bell pepper is another hidden gem you might find in your rice.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR RICE
If desired you can add a 1/4 cup of peas (fresh or frozen) when you add the water to this recipe. To add bell pepper, simply seed and dice one pepper. Then, sauté the pepper along with the carrots and onions and proceed with the recipe as directed.
SPANISH RICE SEASONING
Spanish Rice Seasoning consists of garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sometimes saffron is used for an Authentic Spanish Rice, but if you’re aiming for the kind that borders refried beans on your Mexican food platter, leave it out altogether.
HOW TO MAKE EASY SPANISH RICE
- Sauté carrots and onions.
- Add tomato paste and seasoning, followed by water, and bring to a boil.
- Add rice, reduce to a simmer, and cover for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and keep covered 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
The vegetables are sautéed in the saucepan and coated with tomato paste. Once the water is added, a touch of cumin and garlic powder go in, along with salt and pepper for an extra boost in flavor.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, in goes the rice and it’s time for the simmer. Place your lid on the rice, reduce the heat, and be sure to set a timer. Once the timer goes off, you’ll remove the rice from the heat (leaving the lid on) and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
After the resting time is up, fluff your rice with a fork and it’s time to serve!
THE 4 TENANTS OF PERFECT RICE
There are four important things to keep in mind when making the perfect pot of Spanish Rice: 1) maintain a proper simmer, 2) keep the lid on, 3) cook time and 4) resting time.
1. THE SIMMER
In order to maintain a proper simmer, you need to know what a simmer is, and really, it’s pretty simple. A simmer is sort of like a boil, but rather than those big popping bubbles that come to the water’s surface, we are looking for lots of little tiny streaming bubbles, constantly making their way to the top.
You typically need high heat for a boil, you’ll probably only need low/medium-low heat (depending on your stove range settings) to maintain a simmer.
2. KEEP THE LID ON
Next, keep the lid on. We do want the rice to steam, after all. Every time you pop off the lid, you are releasing the steam. Your rice needs that steam to cook.
If you just can’t stand it, and you need to see where the water level is within the pan, grab your heat pads, secure the lid and carefully tilt the pot to the side. If you see water, put the pot down and allow it to continue simmering. If you don’t see any water, it’s a good indication that it’s time to set the pot aside for resting.
3. SET A TIMER
The third thing you need to do to get a perfect pot of rice is set a timer. Don’t forget this step. A timer will help to keep dinner on track and the rice from scorching the bottom of the pan.
4. LET IT REST
Lastly, let it rest. This allows the heat and steam to redistribute throughout the pot and makes for a fluffier, lighter batch of rice — perfectly cooked rice to be exact.
Once you’ve got the rice cooking process down, transforming it into Easy Spanish Rice is simple as could be. Savory and full-flavored, this rice is the perfect side to any Tex-Mex or Mexican food dinner, one that could easily be made at home, and most definitely rivals the best Mexican restaurants in town. Please, enjoy.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH SPANISH RICE
You can serve just about any Mexican or Tex-Mex main dish you’d like with Spanish Rice. Charro Beans is a classic side dish accompaniment, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Browse our collection of Mexican Food Recipes consisting of salsas, sides, main dishes and more. Below are just a few of our featured favorites:
- Homemade Beef Chimichangas are loaded with a savory ground beef filling and topped with quick and easy stovetop queso! Plus, tips for frying to perfection and more.
- Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas feature corn tortillas rolled up with juicy, shredded chicken and melty cheese; they’re topped with a tangy, irresistibly creamy white sauce speckled with sauteéd jalapeños, and baked until bubbly in casserole form!
- Chicken Tacos come together easily with less than 10 minutes of prep and feature Mexican shredded chicken enhanced by fresh ingredients and a simple blend of spices. Cooked low and slow, the chicken picks up on every ounce of yummy the slow cooker has to offer, and always turns out succulent, moist, and bounding with flavor!
- Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas are topped with a flavorful enchilada gravy, filled with taco-seasoned ground beef, and melty cheese!
- Chicken Enchiladas Verde are made of corn tortillas rolled with shredded chicken and Monterrey Jack cheese, topped with a generous serving of Verde Sauce, and baked until bubbly!
An Easy Spanish Rice Recipe with made with tomato paste, carrots, and onions.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 carrots peeled and finely diced
- 1 white onion finely diced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup white long-grain rice
- Add butter and olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots and onion to the saucepan, stir and cover for 6-8 minutes until softened.
Remove the lid and stir in the tomato paste, followed by the water, salt, garlic powder, cumin and pepper and raise heat to medium-high.
- Allow mixture to come to a boil, stir in the rice and reduce heat to medium-low or low, just so that a simmer is maintained.
Cover the saucepan and allow to simmer for 18-20 minutes. Do not remove lid and do not stir.
Once all of the liquid has been absorbed, remove from the heat and set aside, still covered, for 10 more minutes. Do not skip this step.
- Remove the lid and using a fork, fluff the rice. Allow to cool slightly, serve and enjoy.