My favorite version of Spanish Rice is ready in under an hour and tastes amazing. Use fresh veggies and tomato paste in this classic rice dish.
I grew up eating only the rice at the Mexican Restaurant where I grew up, La Hacienda. It was only until later that I started eating more than just rice when eating out at Mexican restaurants, but it is still a favorite.
This has now become my method of choosing good Mexican restaurants. Is the rice good? Yes? Then I’m in.
I wanted to figure out how to make this at home, so that I could have it any time. Because sometimes, I get a strong craving for Spanish rice but can’t make it out of the house.
Today, I am sharing my own version which is the result of many different recipe tests, throwing my favorite parts of all of the different recipes into one, and coming up with my version of a perfect combination of flavors and ingredients. I also have to give a special shout out to my best friend, Gaby, and her family for sharing some tips along the way. When we lived together in college and would visit her family, they would send us home with a big batch of rice. They shared some of their tips with me and I am forever grateful for that! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!
Key Ingredient Alert: I use these tomato chicken bouillon cubes. They have made the most difference, in my testing experience, from making this dish go from ‘okay’ to ‘awesome’.
My Favorite Spanish Rice
This is my favorite version of Spanish Rice, and I think you’ll love it too!
- 2 Tablespoons oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped (see notes)
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups short-grain white rice
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tomato bullion cube
- 3-3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add chopped onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the minced garlic and chopped carrots and cook for another two minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil to the pan and pour in the rice. Stir to coat the rice in oil and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the rice does not burn. You want it to soak up some of the oil and just start to get a golden hue.
Add the tomato paste and tomato bullion cube and stir to coat the rice with tomato paste. If you’d like, you can try to crush the bullion cube up a bit or you can just let it dissolve by itself. Next, add 3 cups of chicken broth and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. If the rice appears too dry or under-cooked, add an additional 1/2 cup of chicken broth and continue to cook at a simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked.