Authentic Spanish Rice – An Old Fashioned Spanish Rice Recipe

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Authentic Spanish Rice may be traditional but it’s also simple with just a handful of ingredients including long-grain white rice, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce and Rotel canned tomatoes. With a lot of stirring and a little patience, you too will master this easy side dish.

Authentic Spanish Rice Recipe:

Have you ever wondered what gives traditional Spanish rice that beautiful orangish-pink color?  The secret is out; it’s the combination of lightly toasting long grain white rice in lard and a small can of tomato sauce stirred in right at the end.

How do I know this? It’s a secret straight from a Spanish momma, passed down to her son and then on to me.  This same Spanish mom is the woman behind this amazing Beef Barbacoa (made in the Instant Pot).  I make these two together for the perfect meal.

Ingredients for Easy Spanish Rice

Lard or Butter

Water

Long-grain rice (not instant)

Chicken Broth

Tomato Sauce

Diced Tomatoes and Chilies

Mexican Rice with Rotel

To be quite honest, I didn’t realize how easy Mexican rice is to make.  All you really need is a large skillet (with a lid) and a wooden spoon.  This recipe requires a bit of stirring, but I know you can handle that.

There isn’t a bunch of seasonings that you’ll need to buy to make this traditional Spanish rice, instead the spice comes from a can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies. If you like it hot, try the Hot Rotel, or if your family is more like mine with milder taste buds, go for the mild version.

This is a dish is very economical. At Aldi, I buy large bags of long-grain white rice for nearly nothing, and a can of chicken broth, a small can of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and chilies are also very cheap.

How to Make Old Fashioned Spanish Rice Recipe:

  1.  Heat lard (or butter) in a large skillet until melted; add rice and heat over medium heat stirring often until lightly browned (not burned).
  2. Add water and bring to boil, continually stirring.
  3. Once the water has almost boiled off, add broth and cover.
  4. Simmer over low heat for approximately 20 minutes or until fluffy and cooked, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom.
  5. Add drained Rotel and tomato sauce and stir.
  6. If the rice still isn’t perfectly fluffy, add some of the drained Rotel juice and cover with the heat turned off until the rice is perfectly tender.

For the full instructions and ingredient amounts for simple Spanish rice, scroll to the bottom of this post. 

Notes About Authentic Spanish Rice:

  • Substitute butter or shortening for lard if desired.
  • Do not leave your rice alone while browning.  Stir it constantly until it becomes lightly golden brown.  The last thing you want to do is burn your authentic Mexican rice recipe.
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir.
  • This is a Spanish rice with Rotel recipe. Rotel is diced canned tomatoes with green chilies.
  • Drain the liquid from the Rotel, but save it for the end of the recipe. If the rice isn’t quite perfectly fluffy after 20 minutes of simmering covered, then add the Rotel liquid, cover and turn the heat off until it finishes cooking.
  • Once the rice is covered and simmering, be sure to stir often to prevent a crust from forming at the bottom of the pan.  If a crust does form, do not fret AND don’t scrape the bottom of the pan because it will get dark hard pieces in the rice.
  • If you like spicy Spanish rice with Rotel, buy the Hot version instead of original. You could also add some red chili flakes for some extra heat.
  • Make Mexican Chicken and Chorizo to serve over this rice.
  • Check out our Amazon store for our pantry essentials.

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French Onion Rice Casserole combines easy pantry staples such as instant dry rice, beef broth, French onion soup and butter to make a flavorful side dish.

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Easy Rice Pilaf with Peas is an easy side dish to complement your regular dinner menu.  The recipe consists of five simple ingredients--white rice, broth, butter, onions and peas.  This is an easy way to add some vegetable to your kids diet without complaints.

Hamburger Rice Hot Dish

Got picky kids? I've got a new meal just for you. Hamburger Hot Dish with Rice is an easy casserole that my kids love, and yours will too.  Featuring ground beef, rice, and kidney beans in a base of tomato sauce, you may already have all the ingredients on hand. 

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4 from 1 vote

Authentic Spanish Rice - An Old Fashioned Spanish Rice Recipe

Authentic Spanish Rice may be traditional but it's also simple with just a handful of ingredients including long-grain white rice, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce and Rotel canned tomatoes. With a lot of stirring and a little patience, you too will master this easy side dish. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: authentic mexican rice recipe, authentic spanish rice, old fashioned spanish rice, simple spanish rice recipe, spanish rice, spanish rice with rotel, traditional spanish rice
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 167kcal
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons lard or butter
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken (or vegetable broth)
  • 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 10 ounces Rotel (canned tomatoes with chiles), drained

Instructions

  • Melt lard in a large skillet; add rice and cook, stirring constantly until lightly browned. Do not burn.
    Authentic Spanish Rice may be traditional but it's also simple with just a handful of ingredients including long-grain white rice, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce and Rotel canned tomatoes. With a lot of stirring and a little patience, you too will master this easy side dish. 
  • Once browned, add water and bring to a boil.
    Authentic Spanish Rice may be traditional but it's also simple with just a handful of ingredients including long-grain white rice, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce and Rotel canned tomatoes. With a lot of stirring and a little patience, you too will master this easy side dish. 
  • Once the water has mostly absorbed, add broth and cover over low heat.
    Authentic Spanish Rice may be traditional but it's also simple with just a handful of ingredients including long-grain white rice, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce and Rotel canned tomatoes. With a lot of stirring and a little patience, you too will master this easy side dish. 
  • Let simmer and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Stir often so that a crust doesn't form. If it does, do not scrape it.
  • Once the rice is fluffy, add drained Rotel (keep the juice) and tomato sauce. Stir.
    Authentic Spanish Rice may be traditional but it's also simple with just a handful of ingredients including long-grain white rice, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce and Rotel canned tomatoes. With a lot of stirring and a little patience, you too will master this easy side dish. 
  • If the rice isn't perfectly fluffy, add the reserved Rotel liquids, turn off heat and cover until the rice steams to perfection.
    Authentic Spanish Rice may be traditional but it's also simple with just a handful of ingredients including long-grain white rice, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce and Rotel canned tomatoes. With a lot of stirring and a little patience, you too will master this easy side dish. 

Notes

  • Substitute butter or shortening for lard if desired.
  • Do not leave your rice alone while browning.  Stir it constantly until it becomes lightly golden brown.  The last thing you want to do is burn your authentic Mexican rice recipe.
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir your simple Spanish rice.
  • This is a Spanish rice with Rotel recipe. Rotel is diced canned tomatoes with green chilies.
  • Drain the liquid from the Rotel, but save it for the end of the recipe. If the rice isn't quite perfectly fluffy after 20 minutes of simmering covered, then add the Rotel liquid, cover and turn the heat off until it finishes cooking.
  • Once the rice is covered and simmering, be sure to stir often to prevent a crust from forming at the bottom of the pan.  If a crust does form, do not fret---don't scrape the bottom of the pan because it will get dark hard pieces in the rice.
  • If you like spicy Spanish rice with Rotel, buy the Hot version instead of original. You could also add some red chili flakes for some extra heat.
  • This is perfect served along side Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa. 

Nutrition

Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 190mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 201IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Authentic Spanish Rice may be traditional but it's also simple with just a handful of ingredients including long-grain white rice, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce and Rotel canned tomatoes. With a lot of stirring and a little patience, you too will master this easy side dish. 

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3 Comments

  1. This was good. We are not fans of super spicy (regular Rotel qualifies) so we used Bush’s tomatoes for chili. Good flavor added with toasting the rice.

  2. I tried this recipe with tomatoes and chillie from Trader Joe’s. My family absolutely loved it. The only thing I would suggest is to add salt and cook it an additional 3-5 minutes to make sure rice is done.

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