Spanish Rice

A few months back we celebrated a friend’s birthday with a Mexican-themed dinner. My contribution was Spanish rice. It turned out so well that I decided to test it, refine it, and write down the recipe down for you!

Spanish rice is sometimes called Mexican rice or Arroz a la Mexicana. This is a side dish made with white rice, onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Spanish rice is eaten with other dishes like tacos, fried fish, chicken, carne asada, and/or refried beans.

Spanish rice is simple to make and has a taste that varies with who makes it. It could be pretty bland but my version has loads of flavor from the aromatics I use, including onion, garlic, tomato paste, and canned Rotel tomato and chilies.

This is one of my husband’s favorite rice dishes. He can put down a few bowls just by himself! Nowadays I make this often as it takes very little time to make. I top it with fried egg and drizzle some sour cream.

If you are looking for a new version of Spanish rice and don’t want to sacrifice flavor, I hope you try this one. Please do let me know if you try it and how this turns out for you!


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. chicken base
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 10 oz can rotel tomato and chili
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (8 stem)


Heat oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pan over medium-heat. Once the oil is hot add the onions and garlic. Sauté onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Turn the heat down to low. Then add the rice cook for 2-3 minutes stirring often, make sure not to burn the rice.


Next add bay leaves, tomato paste, chicken base, salt, and pepper.

Stir the mixture well, then add canned tomato and chili.


Give the mixture a good stir. Then add the water and cilantro. Stir well, turn the heat to medium again, bring the mixture to a boil. Then cover, turn down the heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.


Then take a fork to fluff up the rice and taste for seasoning. Discard the bay leaves before serving. Serve this as a side for any Mexican meal.

Serves 6-8

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram. If you would to be notified of upcoming posts, please consider subscribing to my blog!

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