A Spicy Perspective

Easy Spanish Rice Recipe (4 Ingredients!)

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

(Mexican Rice - Arroz Rojo)

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 in fact, 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.

I love that the two cultures married to create such 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 recipe

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.
how to make Spanish rice

How To Make 4-Ingredient Spanish Rice

  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.

homemade 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

Looking for More Fabulous Rice Recipes?

Easy Spanish Rice Recipe (Mexican Rice - Arroz Rojo) #ASpicyPerspective #rice #mexican #spanish
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5 from 29 votes
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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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35 comments on “Easy Spanish Rice Recipe (4 Ingredients!)”

  1. This is the Spanish rice recipe I have been waiting for! I’ve tried so many and they all seemed to be missing something. This is my new go-to recipe! The best flavors! Thank you!!!

  2. This is so good! Is there any way to freeze leftovers? 

  3. pretty darn excited to make this. i’m gonna have to take your recommendation to add an extra cup of water because all my family has is brown rice LOL

    thanks for sharing this, super glad i was able to find a recipe without chicken broth, my dad’s already got a bit of a headache so dinner was up to me to figure out today, and making him get chicken broth woulda made things worse heh

  4. Excellent recipe. My family really enjoyed it. :-) it went wonderful with the Black Bean enchiladas.

  5. Pingback: Can You Cook Flavored Rice In A Rice Cooker? – Learned Cook

  6. wow this was unbelievably EASY and authentic and FAST!

  7. THANK YOU, SOMMER! Followed the recipe and was thrilled with the result! YUMMY It was enjoyed as our said dish to baked chicken!!

  8. This isn’t Spanish rice.  It is a Tex-Mex style rice.  My mom is from Spain.  We braise chicken thighs in a pan on both sides in butter and olive oil; set them aside.  In same pan, sauté onions and garlic.  Add the saffron and Bomba rice and sauté a couple of minutes.  Add some white wine, chicken stock, one roasted chopped sweet red pepper, some diced tomatoes, a couple of bay leaves, salt and cracked black pepper.  Then place in an oven uncovered on 400ºF until rice is tender and liquid absorbed.  The Spanish don’t eat hot (spicy food).  It is the Mexicans who do.  Americans use “Spanish” and “Mexican” to mean the same.  There is a definite difference in the cuisines. 

    • Hi Cathleen,

      Yes, you are correct, we use the word “Spanish” loosely here in the states. Here on our site, we often name recipes based on how people search for them online, rather than how authentic the title is to the recipe. (It helps people find us.) Sorry for the confusion. :)

  9. Great spanish rice recipe.

  10. Great recipe but I made a couple of changes. I used beef broth in place of water and used chili powder in place of cumin.

  11. This recipe was so easy and very tasty. I used instant long grain rice, salsa called for the recipe, and half of the water as required in the recipe. Simmer for 10 minutes. Came out awesome!

  12. I tried your Spanish rice and loved it. Didn’t change anything. Thanks!

  13. I followed the recipe exactly as written using medium spicy salsa and Jasmine rice.

    The results were excellent. Kind of sticky, but not bland and not too spicy. Everyone loved the rice.

    Will definitely make this again.

    • Yeah, Jasmine comes out sticky. Use long grain Basmati instead. Personally, I don’t like Pace Salsa. For a salsa that will make your taste buds do the Frappy dance try Green Mountain Gringo or Frontera Salsa…

  14. What changes should I make to the water if I’m using brown rice instead of white? 

    • Hi Kris!

      I have not tried this recipe with brown rice. However, due to the longer cooking time, I would start by adding an additional cup of water. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out. :)

  15. Oh my word, absolutely delicious!!

  16. Hi Sommer, hope you & your family is safe. Do you have any recipe for homemade Salsa? It is difficult to find this item in my region.

  17. I misread the first part thinking you meant for COOKING the rice, not sauteing it.🤦‍♀️So I added butter to the rice water and I’m hoping it doesn’t screw it up.

  18. I have never made Mexican Rice without chicken broth.

  19. This is real quick and I love the traditional food.

  20. This is one of the best traditional dishes I have tasted! 

  21. This was so easy and tasted so good thanks for sharing this! I added a little more spice but followed it to the letter. I am going to try the cheesy enchilada one next. :-) It was way to much for just two so maybe down size on the rice next time.

  22. This was such a delicious side dish! Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe lol!

  23. I can’t wait to make it again! So easy and delicious!

  24. This made a great filling for our tacos!

  25. I couldn’t believe how easy this was to make! Perfect with our enchiladas!

  26. Love how quick and easy this is to make!

  27. My kids really loved it! So flavorful!

  28. This rice is delicious and there are so many ways to use it!

  29. This was super easy and tasty! Perfect with our fajitas last night!

  30. This is going to be served right next to my favorite tacos!

  31. This will be a great addition to my Cinco de Mayo party! Can’t wait to make it.