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Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice

Learn how easy it is to make this Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice at home. We like this side dish much better than the rice at the restaurant now. A few tweaks here and there is all it took, and this recipe is super easy.

Mexican Rice Easy Side Dish Recipe

This has become my family’s favorite Mexican rice recipe. We have a family member that is usually the rice maker in the family. However, we found this recipe and put our own twist on it, and we fell in love with this easy side dish.

Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice

Testing Rice Recipes to Find the Right One

Whenever I go to Mexican restaurants, often I am mixing things with the rice or adding the salsa over the top to flavor the dish.

Delicious and Easy Spanish Rice Recipe
Delicious and Easy Spanish Rice Recipe

What Makes This Spanish Rice Recipe Delicious?

To me, the best rice side dish that I have tastes was immersed with plenty of tomato, garlic, and seasoned flavor.

I was watching a cooking show when I saw the host sauté the rice in hot oil until it was well toasted and golden brown. She said it would add to the flavor and keep some of the rice texture after cooking. Therefore, after trying this, I must agree.

Heirloom Tomatoes White Onion and Garlic
Heirloom Tomatoes White Onion and Garlic

As the rice is cooking in the oil, I puree tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Add that to the toasted rice.

Along with the tomato mixture, add a well-seasoned chicken stock. If your chicken stock is bland, your rice will be too. Therefore, either use a well-seasoned stock or use chicken or vegetable soup base mixed with water.  Another option is to use the bland chicken stock and add a teaspoon of Italian Seasoning Mix.

Simmering the Ingredients
Simmering the Ingredients

Let the rice simmer in the mixture of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chicken stock so all of the delicious flavors are soaked up. Fluff with a fork and let rest 10 more minutes covered.

Finish it off with lime juice and cilantro.

Which rice is best for Spanish Rice? 

We have tried short-grained rice and that tends to be a bit stickier. Therefore, we opt for long-grain white rice. However, long-grain brown rice can be used. Just adjust the water by 1/3 more and cooking time, at least 15 minutes more.

Browning the Rice in the Skillet
Browning the Rice in the Skillet

For this recipe, we brown the rice in the skillet before adding any other ingredients.

How Much Rice to Plan Per Person?

When planning portion sizes, in general plan ½ cup of uncooked rice per person. When the rice is cooked, it will measure approximately one cup per person since rice will double in size when cooked.

Flavorful Mexican Restaurant-Style Side Dish
Flavorful Mexican Restaurant-Style Side Dish

Topping Ideas for Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice

This rice can be enjoyed as is as a flavorful side dish. It can be used in burritos, salads, and other delicious recipes. You can also top this rice with sour cream, jalapeno, fresh cilantro, onions, fresh parsley, or a bit of salsa.

Storing and Reheating This Rice Side Dish

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to six days.

To reheat, add a drizzle of olive oil or a dab of butter and microwave or reheat on the stove for a few minutes. I find that the added oil helps add back moistness to the dish when reheating.

Mexican Rice Recipe
Mexican Rice Recipe

Can Mexican Rice Be Frozen?

Yes. This is a great way to make this recipe ahead of time and serve it on your busiest days. Place 2-3 cups in an airtight freezer-safe container. Label and freeze up to 6 months.

To reheat in the microwave, there is no need to thaw, just make sure that you are using a microwave safe container and heat for 2 minutes at a time until the rice reaches the desired temperature, stirring between. 

Alternatively, you can thaw and reheat on the stovetop if you prefer.

Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice
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Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice

Learn how easy it is to make this Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice at home. We like this side dish much better than the rice at the restaurant now. A few tweaks here and there is all it took, and this recipe is super easy.
Mexican Rice Easy Side Dish Recipe
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner, lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: easy recipe, holiday side dish, restaurant recipe, rice recipe
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 234kcal

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Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cups Long-Grain Rice
  • 1 pound Tomatoes quartered or a large can of diced tomatoes approximately 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup white onion quartered
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt or to taste
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cumin
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth That is well-seasoned or use chicken or vegetable soup base mixed with water.
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Cilantro or Parsley
  • Juice of 2 Limes

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or large skillet heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and sauté until the kernels are lightly toasted and golden in color. Approximately 5 minutes.
    Browning the Rice in the Skillet
  • In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes along with the onion, garlic, and salt until smooth. Measure out 2 cups of the tomato puree and add this to the rice.
    Adding the tomatoes onions and garlic to the food processor
  • Next add the well-seasoned chicken broth. Add the salt and cumin and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and gently fluff the rice with the fork. Cover again and set aside to steam for 10 minutes.
    Simmering the Ingredients
  • Add the cilantro and lime juice and fluff again to combine. Taste and season with more salt as needed.
    Mexican Rice Recipe

Video

Notes

Which rice is best for Spanish Rice?

We have tried short-grained rice and that tends to be a bit stickier. Therefore, we opt for long-grain white rice. However, long-grain brown rice can be used. Just adjust the water by 1/3 more and cooking time, at least 15 minutes more.

How Much Rice to Plan Per Person?

When planning portion sizes, in general plan ½ cup of uncooked rice per person. When the rice is cooked, it will measure approximately one cup per person since rice will double in size when cooked.

Topping Ideas for Spanish Rice

This rice can be enjoyed as is as a flavorful side dish. It can be used in burritos, salads, and other delicious recipes. You can also top this rice with sour cream, jalapeno, fresh cilantro, onions, fresh parsley, or a bit of salsa.

Nutrition

Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 512mg | Potassium: 259mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 512IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

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