Tonight I took our youngest to a movie that went through the dinner hour, so I needed a meal that I could make ahead for the rest of the family to eat while we were gone. Plus I already had some leftover taco meat in the freezer and some beef broth, so this easy homemade Spanish rice came together fast for a main dish.
Another time we had chicken tacos for dinner, and normally that’s all we would have–I don't usually make side dishes with all of our meals like my Mom did, especially if the main dish already has vegetables in it! But since my sister and niece were eating with us, I wanted something to go with it and this easy homemade Spanish rice was the perfect side dish. (I don't add the meat when it's a side dish, obviously.)
I love how versatile this recipe is!
Easy Homemade Spanish Rice
- 4 Tablespoons butter pastured butter is best
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil make sure you're using REAL olive oil, read more about that here
- 1 cup chopped celery optional
- 1 large chopped onion or 1 Tablespoon dried onion
- 1 chopped green pepper optional
- 1-2 chopped jalapeños optional — these are good if you think your family would go for a little heat
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 1/2 cups beef or chicken broth see Bone Broth for Rookies for instructions, OR you can buy some awesome bone broth here if you don't want to make it.
- 1 can organic tomato sauce
- 6-8 ounces organic tomato paste preferably from a glass jar or BPA-free can
- 14-18 ounces or so of organic diced tomatoes undrained (“”)
- About 1 teaspoon each of whatever herbs and spices you think your family would like we like all of these: garlic powder, oregano, parsley, cumin for more Mexican flavor.
- About 3/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper or more to your taste
- Your favorite shredded cheese for the top if desired — I usually use cheddar
- *1 pound browned and seasoned ground beef with taco seasonings if desired, to make it a main dish! Or use chicken if you have some handy. This is also good meatless! (Find safe, healthy meat here if you don't have a good local source.)
- Sour cream for the top if desired.
- Note: for a “pizza rice” dish you could switch pizza sauce for the tomato paste and use mozzarella cheese on top. If you do that, use regularly seasoned ground beef, not taco flavor, obviously, and don't use cumin for the spices. This is always a hit too!
- Melt butter with olive oil in a big frying pan or stock pot. Add vegetables (I was out of celery and the other stuff and only had onion and it was still good!) and sauté until tender. Add rice, stir 1 minute.
- Add the following ingredients: bone broth, tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and spices.
- This will look like there’s a lot of liquid, but it will soak up as it bakes.
- Bake at 375* in a buttered glass bowl or 9 x 13 glass baking dish. This takes a while to bake so the rice gets done, for the rice I linked to above and in my oven this takes 1.5-2 hours for the rice to soften, so plan ahead. (Check it after an hour and a half and if the rice is soft, just keep it in a warm oven until you're ready to eat.) When it's almost done, throw on the cheese to melt if you want it extra dreamy — it's not shown with cheese in the picture, but we almost always add the cheese!
- *Add meat to make into a main dish! Just brown it in a skillet first, breaking it into small pieces, and then stir into the rice mixture before putting it into the baking pan.
- Serve with sour cream on top if desired — it's so good with this dish.
- This comes out very moist and flavorful!
If you have a favorite easy homemade Spanish rice, let us know how yours is different?
- Any of these Mexican recipes!
- Or Kent loves it inside his tacos or fajitas.
More you might like:
- How to Bake a Whole Chicken – Reader Question
- Chipotle Burrito Bowl Copycat Recipe — Gluten-free and Full of Flavor
- How Often Do You Repeat Meals?
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Kel- I know we talk a couple times a week, but I thought I should come on here to tell you how much we love, love, LOVE this rice!! It is so good, and I probably make up a batch every 10 days or so.
You know I am all about easy cooking, and this recipe is beyond easy. When I make it the first night, we typically have it as a side dish to quesadillas. But I have also taken the leftover meat from my roast chicken and thrown it in there to do a one dish meal, too. Right now I’m re-heating some and we will have it with fried eggs. Or sometimes I just reheat some for lunch and eat it on its own. So yummy!
I have found when I cook it in a 9 x 13 casserole dish that I do need to cover it with foil while it’s in the oven, and if it has dried out a bit before the rice has cooked, I’ve thrown a splash or two of water on top of it, put the foil back in place and it turns out fine. I agree with what Lisa says above: a pinch of cumin really amps up the flavor.
I always love hearing your feedback Sus, thanks!
Thanks for the referral! That’s one of my favorite dishes!
I also meant to add that I use a stovetop to oven safe skillet. I like to cook – not wash extra pans!
I use this recipe and everyone LOVES it! With beans and cheese it’s almost a meal in itself:
I double it (except the red pepper) and use 1 can black beans and 1 can white beans. And, of course, homemade chicken stock!
We tried this last night and it was delicious!
Lisa Imerman says
I love Spanish rice and I just cook mine on the stove, but baking it sounds great. One thing I add that wasn’t in your recipe is a bit of cumin powder. Just gives it a bit more of that “Mexican” food flavor.
Having chicken nachos for dinner tonight thanks for the inspiration!!
Cindy Sheedy says
Hi Kel — Thanks for the recipes! I ended up making the chicken tacos and spanish rice yesterday. They were both DELICIOUS. We all really liked the rice. I’m glad to now have a homemade recipe for that! Parents coming in to pick up their kids were asking what smelled so good and asking if they could have the recipes! Thanks again!
Musings of a Housewife says
Ann Marie, that has chicken livers. I’ve been wondering how to break into the arena of organ meats. I may have to try this.
Thanks for the idea . . . I have all the spices already, just have not been able to find the right ratio. Except for the boxed rice mix all other rice I use is brown rice that has been soaked and cooked in homemade chicken stock.
Ann Marie, thanks for the link to the recipe . . . have you ever made this recipe?
Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE says
Emeril’s recipes always come out great for me
I would use brown rice
Try Budget101.com for a copy-cat recipe for Zatarain’s rice. I use them all the time for replacing processed food mixes for rices, etc. They have salad dressings, and a lot of other categories. The replacements I have found on this website are truly great tasting too. But I’ll replace white rice with brown rice and other unhealthy ingredients. My kitchen is well stocked on spices too, thanks to Costco, so I can easily approximate the taste of store bought foods. Hope all of you are warm!
Paula in NE
Thanks for the recipe . . . my family loves Spanish rice and I have had a hard time get it “right” for them. Of course “right” means just like the prepackaged side dishes.
Does anyone have a good “dirty rice” recipe? My family loves Zatarin’s Dirty Rice.
And this is a holdout that I continue to buy once every 5-6 weeks. I do cook the mix in beef or chicken stock and buy the low sodium version — but I would love to nix the mix altogther.