Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

how to make easy spanish rice in the rice cooker with tomatoes

Mexican food is in my favorites category. I love everything from tostadas and steak carnitas to simple bean burritos and salsa. Easy Spanish rice is the perfect side for all that Mexican food and this recipe is so easy because the rice cooker makes it for you. Just dump it all in and go. I like to make this rice when company is coming over and I have enchiladas planned because it makes the main dish stretch and the left overs are great inside bean burritos for lunch.

Why the rice cooker when you can make it on the stove-top? Well, unbeknownst to you is the rice curse that has been placed on my head. I cannot, for the life of me, make non-crunchy rice outside of the rice cooker. Ever. If you don’t have a rice cooker I’m sure this could be done on the stove-top in a similar way, just don’t ask me how.

One more thought for you. There are lots of types of Spanish or Mexican rice and this one is very similar to the Rice-a-Roni type that comes in a box that you make on the stove-top with a can of tomatoes. I grew up with that kind and like it, so expect something close to that in flavor.

Enjoy this easy recipe and thanks for being here!

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Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker
Makes: Makes 5 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 3½ cups water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 bullion cubes or 3 tsp. Better than Bullion
  • 3 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin or smoked cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  1. Place the rice in the bottom of the rice cooker and then add the diced tomatoes and water. Add the onion and spices and stir a little on the top to dissolve the spices in the water. Cook according to manufactures instructions. When the rice is cooked, test for salt and add more if needed. Serve as a side dish or inside your favorite burritos and tacos.
I use brown rice and increase my water by one cup. The Spanish rice in the pictures was made with brown rice and I bet you didn't even notice. Your family won't either.


Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker


Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

48 comments on “Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

  1. I’ve been experimenting w/ trying to make “flavored” rice in the rice cooker and it’s never been really good so THANK YOU! No more testing. I’m doing this! And thanks for the tip about brown rice. I’ve been trying to sneak it in and this sounds perfect!

    1. I’m glad you’ll try it Emily. Let me know how it turns out for you. I was a little nervous about posting it because appliances are different, but most rice cookers were created equally right?

  2. Looks de-lish! I finally gave my rice cooker away. I couldn’t make a good pot of rice in it if my life depended on it! I’m trying this on the stove :)

    1. Best way to do rice in a rice cooker is not to measure the ingredients. Put in the amount of rice you want, add water, wash rice and drain, then add water until the depth of water above the rice is equal to the first joint of your index finger (About 1 inch). Mine turns out perfectly every time this way and I was told by two different Chinese grandmas to do it this way.

  3. What a great recipe! I love my rice cooker! I’m so glad you made this w/ brown rice. I’m glad it tastes like Rice-a-Roni style too because that’s what my DH grew up w/ & still likes that taste. I prefer the healthier brown rice & not the chemically taste. :)

  4. I have the rice curse as well and just got a rice cooker for Mother’s Day. I was wondering if the rice was made the day before how it would be the next day. We are going camping and I thought I could make the rice ahead of time, but not sure how it would taste the next day.

    1. I think it would reheat very well! You might just need to add a bit of water while reheating so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and so that it isn’t dry. The rice absorbs a lot of water while it sit and so just adding a bit while heating will fix that. Let me know how it goes!!!

  5. trying this tomorrow night to go with fajitas! my boyfriend loves spanish rice and i have never made it, so hopefully this does the trick! seems like a lot of liquid… i know when i make sushi rice in the rice cooker, i just barely make the water cover the rice. let you know how it goes and if he likes it! thanks!

  6. I have successfully halved this recipe in my small rice cooker. If you like a more tomatoey Spanish rice, consider adding a can of tomatoe paste (for the full recipe). You won’t be disappointed :)

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  8. Made this tonight and it was delicious! Thank you for the recipe. And you were right on with the extra water for brown rice.

    1. I have a brain injury so preparing anything over the stove top can be dicey/ Using the crock pot or ricer allows me to “set it and forget it” and not worry about setting the stove and kitchen on fire Thank you very much for the recipe

    1. Yep, I have a lot better luck on the stove top with white rice. When I try to cook brown rice like that it always seems to stay just a little hard. Have a great day!

      1. This sounds like a great recipe for Spanish rice, but I’m a little concerned about the amount of chili powder. Are you able to rate the spiciness on a scale of 1 – 10 with three tablespoons of chili powder? That way I am able to adjust accordingly.

  9. Have you tried tomato paste rather than diced tomatoes? My family (husband, children) will eat “red” rice that tastes tomato-like, but the texture of tomatoes throws them off.

    1. My family hates the texture of cooked tomatoes too. So what I do is purée my cans of diced tomatoes in a blender or with my immersion blender. Works great.

  10. I made this delicious recipe but I reduced the liquid by 1 cup. The rice was very gummy. Next time I make it I will use 3 cups of liquid which will include the 14oz of diced tomatoes. I’m sure it will be fluffy instead of gummy

      1. Hi Melissa, Just for your readers’ information, the rice cooker cup measures 3/4 of an American measuring cup. So it’s good to know that you said you just used regular cup measurements for the rice and water. Also, I am Asian and am used to making “short grain rice” in my rice cooker. This gives you the Asian sticky rice. Since yours comes out “fluffy”, I’m assuming that your recipe uses long grain or even medium grain rice as opposed to short grain? Thanks!