Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

5 from 6 reviews

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!

I love a good rice recipe. You are in for a treat with these too: Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice, Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice and One Pot Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole.

Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

I don’t think I’ve ever said no to Mexican food. There are so many rich and bright flavors and eclectic 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. So 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!

Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

Tips and Tricks for Making Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker:

  • I have this 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.

Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

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. In general, a long-grain rice makes the pieces of rice less sticky and more individual, while short-grain tends to be stickier and more like a traditional Spanish rice consistency.

What’s in easy Spanish rice?

My recipe for easy Spanish rice calls for a couple cups of rice, a can of diced tomatoes, water, a small onion, bouillon, chili powder, salt, cumin, and garlic powder. Super simple, and super delicious.

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.

How long does easy Spanish rice keep for?

This recipe makes a good amount of Spanish rice — if you have leftovers, 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!

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! #ricecooker #ricerecipes #spanishrice #mexicanfood #texmex


Easy Spanish Rice in the Rice Cooker

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths-Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 5 cups of cooked rice 1x


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!



  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 bouillon cubes or 3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon
  • 13 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin or smoked cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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.
  2. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. When the rice is cooked, test for salt and add more if needed.
  4. 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 in place of the bouillon and water. T
  • he 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.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Rice Cooker
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Spanish rice recipe, easy rice cooker recipe, how to make Spanish rice, best rice cooker recipes

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Other rice recipes you’ll love:

This recipe was originally published in February 2013. It was retested with reader feedback and rewritten in June 2017, and updated and rephotographed in August 2019.

This easy Spanish rice in the rice cooker is so divine and full of flavor that you’ll be wanting to make it as a side every time you enjoy a Mexican-inspired meal!

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38 Recipes for Busy Moms
73 Responses
  1. claire

    I made this last week along with enchiladas and instant pot refried beans. It served a big crowd! Since we live in San Diego, everyone likes their food authentically spicy. I’m making this again tomorrow but will be using diced tomatoes with chipotles, all 3 spoonfuls of chile powder, maybe a can of green chiles, and vegetable broth for the vegetarians in my life. Great recipe. Thank you!

  2. susan Sussangkarn

    Hi, I tried this recipe last night and the flavor was really good but the rice was way too mushy. Usually, when I cook rice I use 3 cups liquid for 2 cups white rice. Next time I will include the volume of the diced tomatoes and broth together to equal 3 1/2 cups total and see if it makes a dryer rice. Thanks for the recipe. Overall, it tasted great in our burritos.

  3. E l

    I don’t know what I did wrong but my rice is mushy. I used Brown rice and added another cup of water. I’m not sure if that’s why it’s mushy. Please let me know why it is mushy.

  4. Fran (uk)

    Absolutely brilliant I normally oven cook it but decided to try rice cooker, all the family loved it and I will stick to this recipe .

  5. Sheila

    Made this last night. Was my first time using my new rice cooker. Was really good, a definite make again. Used brown rice (short grain), next time will use only 1/2 c extra water and probably less salt. Added a can of drained black beans at the end for a compete, vegan (!!) meal. Easy — and can freeze portions for lunches!

  6. Lindsay

    Delicious! Made this for dinner tonight. I added some diced red pepper as well. Will become a regular side on our dinner rotation!

  7. Stephanie

    This is such a great recipe. I usually cook up some soyrizo from Trader Joe’s when the rice cooker beeps, and this makes for a quick and easy-to-make recipe that everyone enjoys. Thank you so much! 🙂

      1. Karen

        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!

  8. Sally

    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

  9. Tracy

    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. Megan Whitmer

      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.

      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.

    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. Tim Devine

      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. Carolann

        Me too! I have a brain jury and cook almost entirely be appliances so I don’t burn down the kitchen! Tryingbthis tonight.

  10. Mel

    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 🙂

  11. Stephanie Arenholz

    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!

  12. Anne Zatorski

    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. Melissa

      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!!!

  13. Marjorie

    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. 🙂

  14. 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. Amy

      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.

  15. 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. Melissa

      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. Frances Morey

      A half cup of green peas is a nice colorful addition. I’m going to try this recipe, but first fry the rice as per the traditional methodology. The brown rice requires the longer, possibly 45 minute setting. But best of all the rice cooker times itself and then holds it at the serving temperature until dinnertime.

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

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