Easy Spanish Rice Recipe – The easiest and most flavorful version of authentic Mexican Rice (Arroz Rojo) with only 4 simple ingredients.

Spanish rice in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon.

Spanish Rice Or Mexican Rice?

“Hey Alexa, play ‘Mi Gente’ by J Balvin.”

These were my words as I prepared to make this cozy rice recipe. Turn on your favorite Spanish music and cook up this delicious authentic Mexican Rice recipe!

You might think that Spanish Rice is native to Mexico, but it is not!

Since rice is not native to Mexico, it is thought that the Spaniards brought it over to Central America during the invasion in the 1500s, after their travels to Asia.

Over time the two cultures married to create a delicious staple in the Mexican food culture. I couldn’t imagine eating tacos stuffed to the brim without a side of Mexican Rice and beans.

Spanish rice in a pot with a wooden spoon full of rice above the pot.

Easy Spanish Rice Recipe

In Northern Mexico, Spanish Rice is most often cooked with tomatoes and onions, whereas in Southern Mexico plain white rice is more traditional.

This authentic Spanish Rice recipe is so easy to make that you only have to purchase 2 ingredients; the other 2 ingredients are kitchen staples!

Next time you head to the grocery store pick up some long-grain white rice and a large jar of chunky salsa so you can prepare this easy Spanish Rice recipe for your next Taco Tuesday dinner.

Whether you’re looking for a side dish to add to a protein, cheesy chicken enchiladas, or a base for a yummy rice bowl, this Mexican Rice recipe is the way to go.

Ingredients for Spanish rice

What Is The Difference Between Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice?

Essentially they are the same recipe with the same (or similar) ingredients.

What Ingredients You Need

  • Long Grain White RiceYou can’t have authentic Mexican Rice without the rice!
  • Chunky Tomato SalsaAdds all the veggie flavor and color in one ingredient.
  • ButterTo add a luxurious nutty flavor.
  • Cumin For a little hint of smoke.
Mexican rice in a serving bowl.

How To Make Spanish Rice with Salsa

  1. First, melt your butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add in the rice, ground cumin, and salt.
  2. Sauté the rice making sure to coat all the grains in the melted butter.
  3. Next, add the salsa. Fill the salsa jar with water and pour the water into the pot. Stir!
  4. Cover the rice with a tight lid and bring to a boil. Stir the rice, lower the heat to simmer, and cover the pot again.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the rice to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom!
  6. Cover the rice again and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Make sure that all the liquid has been absorbed.
  7. Remove from heat and allow the rice to steam for another 5 minutes.
  8. Fluff with a fork and serve warm.

Get the Full (Printable) Authentic Easy Spanish Rice Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Rice?

Rice has various health benefits ranging from a great source of energy containing high nutritional value, to cancer protection and high blood pressure control.

Is This Spanish Rice Spicy?

This authentic Mexican rice is slightly spicy thanks to the addition of salsa. But you can use a mild salsa, or to eliminate the spice completely, use canned tomato sauce instead!

What Is The Ratio Of Water To Rice?

2 to 1… 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.

Why Is My Rice Mushy?

You likely added too much water and overcooked the rice. Wait for the little steam holes in the top of the rice as a marker to turn the heat off.

Why Is My Rice Sticky?

When rice is dropped into water, the starch coating releases and starts to bloom, making it sticky. As the rice cooks, it gets closer and closer to where it sticks together and clumps.

You can lessen the stickiness of the rice by washing and draining it thoroughly before starting the cooking process.

Adding fat, like a little bit of cooking oil or butter, to the rice before boiling also helps protect against stickiness.

Can I Use An Alternative To Salsa In Spanish Rice?

Yes! You can use tomato sauce as an alternative, or Rotel tomato and chile blend.

Just be sure you have a combined 48 ounces of liquid and tomatoes.

Close up shot of rice in a pot with a wooden spoon in the rice.

What Do I Serve With Spanish Rice?

Typically you would pair Spanish Rice with burritos, enchiladas, tacos, beans, or chicken.

Or try it in a rice bowl topped with shredded chicken, cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa, and cilantro!

Pair This Easy Mexican Rice With

Mexican rice in a large serving bowl.

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Easy Spanish Rice Recipe

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
4-Ingredient Spanish Rice Recipe – The easiest and most flavorful version of authentic Mexican Rice (Arroz Rojo) with only 4 simple ingredients.
Servings: 8



  • Set a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the butter to the pot. Once melted, add the rice, ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Sauté the rice for 1-2 minutes, stirring to coat all the grains in melted butter.
  • Add the salsa to the pot. Then fill the salsa jar with water and pour the water into the pot. Stir well.
  • Cover the top with a tight lid. Bring to a boil. Then stir the rice, lower the heat to simmer on low, and cover the pot again.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the rice again to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Then cover and simmer another 5-10 minutes until the liquid has absorbed and there are vent holes in the top of the rice.
  • Remove the pot from heat and allow the rice to sit and steam another 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and serve warm.



Normally rice should cook, covered and completely undisturbed. Yet with the salsa added to this recipe it’s a good idea to stir the rice once in the middle of cooking, to protect the bottom from burning. Then cover and leave it alone until done.
If you want a less sticky version of Mexican Rice, rinse the rice thoroughly before starting. Then drain it well.


Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 233kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 640mg, Potassium: 308mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 550IU, Vitamin C: 1.7mg, Calcium: 47mg, Iron: 1.2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican, Spanish
Author: Sommer Collier
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