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Instant Pot Spanish Rice

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Instant Pot Spanish Rice, also known as Mexican rice, is a flavorful side dish found in many Mexican restaurants. This version is simple and quick to make at home with the help of an Instant Pot, and makes a delicious side dish to your Taco Tuesdays.

white bowl with spanish rice on cutting board

Rice is such a staple food all around the world. But occasionally we need to be reminded to branch out beyond plain white rice. This Spanish rice recipe is a great way to add more color and flavor to your dinner table.

Spanish rice in white bowl with serving spoon and cloth napkin

Ingredients you need:

To make this recipe at home, you just need a few ingredients.

  • Rice – Long grain white rice works best for this recipe. You can also use a long grain brown rice, but you will need to adjust the cooking time. 
  • Onion and Garlic – build flavor for this recipe. Use a white onion and minced garlic, not the dried version.
  • Seasonings – For all the great flavor, we are using smoked paprika, salt, ground cumin, dried oregano, and a touch of mild chili powder.
  • Stock – You want a good chicken or vegetable stock to cook the rice in. Do not use water, the rice won’t be as flavorful. 
  • Tomato Sauce – This helps give the rice its signature color and flavor. Make sure to use a plain canned tomato sauce and not a jarred pasta sauce. We don’t want extra flavorings and accidentally make this an Italian rice dish (although that would be delicious, too!).
  • Finishings – We finish this recipe with a pad of unsalted butter for richness and a generous sprinkle of cilantro. These are both optional, but highly recommended. 

*A note on salt. I like to use unsalted stock and unsalted tomato sauce so I can better control the saltiness of my recipe. If you use the salted versions of these, just add in half the amount of salt to start with, and then taste your rice after cooking to decide if you want more salt.

closeup of rice with seasoning and tomato sauce sprinkled with cilantro

How to make this instant pot rice recipe

This rice is quick and easy to make, without you needing to do a lot of work. For the full set of directions, make sure to scroll down to the recipe card below!

Rinse the rice.

  1. Place the rice in a bowl and cover with cold, clean water.
  2. Use your hand to switch the rice around in the water. See how cloudy the water becomes?
  3. Carefully drain the water from the rice.
  4. Add more clean water to the bowl to cover the rice and swish the water around the rice with your hands. Drain the water from the bowl, noticing how clean the water is.
  5. Repeat the process a few times until the water you drain away is fairly clear.
three images of rinsing rice wtih water getting clearer in each photo

Prepare the rice.

  1. Turn the instant pot onto saute and allow to heat.
  2. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Turn the instant pot off.
  4. Add the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan, releasing any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom. 
  5. Add the seasoning and the rice and stir well, making sure the rice is covered by the stock and there is nothing stuck to the sides of the pan.
  6. Pour the tomato sauce on top. Do not stir.

Cook the rice.

  1. Place the lid on the instant pot and lock into position. Make sure the vent is set to “sealing”.
  2. Turn the instant pot on and set it to high pressure for 3 minutes.
  3. When the timer has finished, allow the instant pot to naturally release its pressure. You don’t want to do a quick release because you need the rice to finish absorbing the liquids and finish cooking.
  4. When the pot has naturally released all the pressure, remove the lid.
  5. Add the butter to the instant pot and use a fork to fluff the rice and stir in the tomato sauce and the butter.
  6. Serve with chopped cilantro on top.
cooking spanish rice steps

Prepping ahead of time

This rice reheats really well. Go ahead and make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to serve, then just reheat in the microwave. 

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To reheat, add a splash of water to the container, recover (but don’t seal), and microwave for 1 minute. Then stir the rice and continue heating in 1 minute intervals until hot.

How to serve this to your family

This Spanish rice goes great with a variety of meals. Serve it with ground pork tacos, beside chicken enchiladas, with sheet pan quesadillas, or with beef empanadas.

What kind of rice can I use for this recipe?

This recipe is best with long grain white rice. You don’t want to use a short grain white rice 

Do you have to rinse the rice?

Yes, you should rinse your rice! Washing rice helps to remove excess starch, which helps the rice grains separate from each other but also have a nice fluffy texture. Basically, it helps your rice not turn into a gummy and overly sticky mess.

mexican red rice in white bowl sprinkled with cilantro

Other easy instant pot recipes:

Food tastes better when its shared! If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate below!

Yield: 8 servings

Spanish Rice Recipe (Instant Pot Version)

Spanish rice with cilantro in white bowl

Instant Pot Spanish Rice, also known as Mexican rice, is a flavorful side dish found in many Mexican restaurants. This version is simple and quick to make at home with the help of an Instant Pot, and makes a delicious side dish to your Taco Tuesdays.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Instant Pot Time 25 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long grain white rice, washed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced small
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 2/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

    1. Rinse the rice until the water is clear.
    2. Turn the instant pot onto saute and allow to heat.
    3. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
    4. Turn the instant pot off.
    5. Add the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan, releasing any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom.
    6. Add the seasoning and the rice and stir well, making sure the rice is covered by the stock and there is nothing stuck to the sides of the pan.
    7. Pour the tomato sauce on top. Do not stir.
    8. Place the lid on the instant pot and lock into position. Make sure the vent is set to “sealing”.
    9. Turn the instant pot on and set it to high pressure for 3 minutes.
    10. When the timer has finished, allow the instant pot to naturally release its pressure. You don’t want to do a quick release because you need the rice to finish absorbing the liquids and finish cooking.
    11. When the pot has naturally released all the pressure, remove the lid.
    12. Add the butter to the instant pot and use a fork to fluff the rice and stir in the tomato sauce and the butter.
    13. Serve with chopped cilantro on top.

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 389mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

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