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. Chels says:

    5 stars
    We make this at least once a month. Don’t change a thing, it’s a perfect recipe! Our go to all the time, and we get a ton of requests for it too!

  2. Monte says:

    First attempt at Spanish rice. My family loved this! I will print and bookmark this recipe for future! Thanks!

  3. Lisa says:

    Do you drain the tomatoes?

    1. Melissa says:

      Nope, leave the juice in!

  4. Laura says:

    5 stars
    Amazingly simple and delicious. Only thing g is that it’s too spicy after adding the 2Tbs. Is there anything I can do to tone it down other than adding cheese?

    1. Melissa says:

      Yep, just add less next time! You can half the chili powder for sure and adjust it to taste.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I made this last night to go along with some enchiladas and black beans, and it was delicious. I have recently discovered my rice cooker, and love it. It smelled heavenly while it was cooking. Flavors were really good. What setting do you use to cook it at, mine turned out really mushy. I had used the brown rice setting, and I am thinking that was way too long. Still good though.

  6. Ileana says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this version. I am Mexican and all my family cook good rice the traditional way and so did I until about 5 years ago that I became cursed with under or over cooked rice. When I succeeded using your recipe I almost cried. My husband is also indebted to you 🙂

    1. Melissa says:

      Oh! I love hearing that, happy to help break the curse, I’m terrible at stove top rice too for some reason…

  7. john says:


  8. Robert TODD Pickens says:

    Stupid question, my rice cooker has a little “cup”, it is not a standard cup measurement. There are lines in the pot that are numbered, if you fill it to “2” you are supposed to put 2 “cups” of rice also. I’m not sure I have the water correct. Sorry, I’m just a dumb dude trying to be Chef Ramsey??

    1. Melissa says:

      That little cup always threw me off too… I just measured with a measuring cup for this recipe!

    2. Jake says:

      That cup shouldn’t throw you off, its how you properly measure the rice for a rice cooker. It matches up with the notches inside. 2 of those smaller cups of rice get placed in the cooker and then you fill the water to the “2” line and its perfect every time.

      You’ll find that many people who use rice cookers, make errors when someone says 2 cups of rice and use actual cup measures. Their rice has way too much water and ends up soggy. You may want to edit the original 🙂

      Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Melissa says:

    Correct, I edited that for easier understanding

    1. Robert TODD Pickens says:


  10. David Smith says:

    So 4 and 1/2 cups of water to 2 cups brown rice (and the tomatoes also?)

    1. Melissa says: