Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

4.51 from 51 votes

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This easy Spanish rice made in the rice cooker comes together with a few simple ingredients, including a can of tomatoes, a diced onion, and some flavor-filled spices, so all you have to do is dump everything in, set it, and forget it!

Spanish rice served with limes in a bowl.
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I don’t think I’ve ever said no to Mexican food. There are so many bright flavors and ways to serve it that I doubt I’ll ever get sick of it! Easy Spanish rice made in the rice cooker is just one of those easy Mexican side dish staples that you must try. All you do is throw all the ingredients into the rice maker, and voila! You have rich, flavorful rice with almost zero effort.

I prefer using a rice cooker over stovetop rice because I am cursed with crunchy rice every single time I cook it in a regular old pot. Seriously. It’s sad how difficult it is for me. A rice cooker simplifies everything since I don’t have to mess with it after throwing in all the ingredients! This rice is so delish and goes great in burritos and enchiladas, or as a side for any of your favorite Mexican or Tex-Mex meals like empanadas!

Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s the perfect side dish to so many main dishes
  • It is “set and forget” because you’re using the rice cooker
  • You make it from pantry staples so it’s easy to throw together anytime


  • Rice – I prefer a medium or long grain white rice, such as jasmine or basmati. You can also use brown rice, see the recipe notes for instructions if doing so.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Broth – this recipe calls for bouillon and water. Feel free to substitute equal parts of chicken broth or vegetable broth or stock.
  • Onion
  • Seasoning – salt, cumin, garlic power, and chili powder.

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities 

how to make easy spanish rice in the rice cooker with tomatoes
  • Brown rice for white rice. Yes! Just make sure to increase the liquid by one cup.
  • Instant Pot for Rice Cooker. Just use the rice function!

How to Make Spanish Rice

Step #1. Place the rice, diced tomatoes, water, onion, bouillon, and spices in the rice cook and stir a little.

Step #2. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, fluff with a fork then serve.

Can you use brown rice for Spanish Rice?

You sure can! I do and prefer it. Just make sure to increase the liquid by one cup, and you’ll be solid.

Can you use an Instant Pot to make Spanish Rice?

You can! Just follow the instructions for the rice cooker function on your Instant Pot.

What is the difference between Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice?

The differences between Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice are very subtle. Spanish Rice is more firm and heartier while Mexican Rice tends to be softer in texture. The color also varies – Spanish rice tends to be more yellow in color because of the saffron, while Mexican Rice is more of a reddish color due to the cumin. This Mexican Rice isn’t the most authentic dish but is sure tastes delicious.

Spanish Rice recipe in a white bowl.

Tips and Tricks for Making Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

  • I have the Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Rice Cooker and love it (it makes 20 cups of cooked rice, perfect for a party or crowd!). I know that the Instant Pot has a rice cooker function that also works great.
  • You can serve this as a side to tacos (like our favorite Best Chicken Tacos Ever, and it’s also great tucked inside Smothered Burritos.
  • This easy Spanish rice recipe makes a fair amount. If you don’t use it all, it freezes really well. Once it’s cooled, place extras in a zipper-topped freezer bag, label, and freeze. It should keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

How to Store Easy Spanish Rice

Store leftover rice in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. This recipe makes a good amount of Spanish rice — if you have more leftovers than you’ll eat in the 6 days, it freezes really well. Place remaining cooled rice in sealable bags and freeze for up to two months. To thaw it out, place the bag in a bowl of warm water before heating through to serve!

More Rice Recipes to Consider

4.51 from 51 votes

Easy Spanish Rice Recipe

Spanish Rice made in the rice cooker with a few simple ingredients – just dump, mix, set it & forget it! An easy recipe cooker recipe your family will love!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 5 cups


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice (14-ounce )
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 bouillon cubes , or 3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon
  • 1-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin , or smoked cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
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  • 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 manufacturer’s 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 often 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.
  • You can use chicken or vegetable stock or broth in place of the bouillon and water. 
  • The amount of chili powder you use is going to depend on how much you like. I’d try it with 2 tablespoons first and then you can go up or down from there depending on your preferences.
  • You can use the rice cooker function on your Instant Pot if you don’t have a rice cooker.


Serving: 1 of 5 cups, Calories: 304kcal, Carbohydrates: 66g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 0.1mg, Sodium: 1199mg, Potassium: 323mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 576IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. FSethman says:

    Only brown rice I have is minute rice, can I use that in my rice cooker? I have basmati rice and Jasmin rice. I’d like to make it soon. Thank you

    1. Beth says:

      Oh boy, I hope you didn’t use minute rice, if you did I’m sure you now know why not to. Minute rice has already been cooked, then the water is dried out. This way it only takes a few minutes to reconstitute it following the packets directions. Quick rice will never absorb all of the tomato juice or the broth. You’ll end up with a very sloppy mess.
      Use regular non-instant rice. I made this and it rocks!

  2. Karen says:

    5 stars
    Recipe looks great. Are the cups of rice using the rice cooker measuring cup (about 3/4 actual cup) or an actual 1 measuring cup?

    1. Melissa says:

      It’s an actual cup of rice, I didn’t want to assume everyone was using a rice cooker measuring cup.

  3. Cecily says:

    5 stars
    I have been making this for 3 years now and figure it’s time to finally leave a review! We love it! It’s so easy and so good! Maybe the people who have a problem with the consistency have the wrong type of rice? Thank for posting this!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks for leaving a review Cecily! I appreciate it.

  4. Kat says:

    5 stars
    Tastes great, and it’s a fantastic and easy way to use up leftover canned tomato. I forgot the onion (oh well, I’ll make it again some time), and we don’t have chili powder as such in Australia, so I winged it with some smoked paprika and extra cumin, garlic powder and cayenne. I also added a bit of MSG.

    I made it in a microwave, and usually use a “to my first knuckle measure” so I also didn’t use the water measurement, but I did have to add a fair bit more water towards the end than I would cooking plain rice as it was still a bit crunchy. But it makes sense that crushed tomato isn’t equal to water.

    The ingredients make for solidly delicious rice, and it’s clearly pretty tolerant of changes, I love it.

  5. Melissa says:

    A 1:2 ratio for stove top rice is normal…

  6. Soni says:

    Tried this tonight and used brown rice, it was very nice.I only used a little chilli to taste.have loads to freeze for another time.thank you for sharing.

  7. Kermit R says:

    What size rice cooker is used here?

  8. Dawn says:

    5 stars
    Super simple and tasty. I made it for a potluck taco bar. Even the kids at the party liked it.

  9. Melanie says:

    5 stars
    Recipes for me are a general idea of how to get the end result. We are trying to reduce sodium in our diet so I subbed no sodium chicken broth for the water and the bullion (?) turned out perfect for us!

  10. Criolla says:

    There are big differences between the ” spanish” rice that is really Mexican and the different recipes to make rice from Spain that uses more saffron and pimento.
    Is sauted first.
    Both from Mexico, Spain South American rice styles are delicious.