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Experience the flavors of Mexico with our small batch Spanish Rice recipe! This easy, one-pan dish is perfect for intimate dinners. Combining common pantry staples, it creates a colorful and satisfying meal that’s perfectly portioned for one or two. Bursting with flavor, this Spanish Rice recipe is a culinary treasure you won’t want to miss!

If you’re looking for easy and satisfying single serving side dishes to complement your main courses, you’re in the right place. Try our zesty Mexican Street Corn Salad, rich Creamed Spinach, fluffy Potato Gnocchi, and vibrant Cowboy Caviar. Each recipe offers a unique burst of flavor, making them perfect additions to elevate any meal.

Why You’ll Love This Spanish Rice Recipe

  • Simple Ingredients: All you need are pantry staples like rice, canned tomatoes, and common spices.
  • Easy to Make: This recipe is beginner-friendly, making it accessible to all.
  • Perfectly Portioned: Specially created for small servings, there’s no need to worry about leftovers.
  • Pairs Well: Serve it alongside your favorite Mexican dishes or as a satisfying meal on its own.

What Is Spanish Rice?

Spanish Rice, also known as “arroz rojo” (red rice), is a popular dish in Mexican cuisine, featuring rice cooked with tomatoes, garlic, and other spices. It’s a colorful side dish that’s often paired with main courses like tacos or enchiladas.

Ingredients

spanish rice ingredients on a kitchen counter.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this single serve Spanish rice recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Butter/Olive Oil: Adds richness; use extra-virgin olive oil for a healthier option.
  • Rice: Long grain white rice ensures fluffiness. Use leftover rice in Beef and Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Casserole, and Shrimp Creole.
  • Smoked Paprika: Essential for authentic flavor. If smoked paprika isn’t available, regular paprika can be used. You may add a dash of cumin or chipotle powder to mimic the smoky flavor if desired.
  • Oregano: If you don’t have dried oregano, marjoram is often considered oregano’s milder cousin, marjoram can be used in a one-to-one substitution. You may also consider using dried thyme which is more potent than oregano, so use slightly less.
  • Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes for convenience. Use leftover diced tomatoes in Chicken Tacos, Penne alla Vodka, or Turkey Chili.
  • Broth: Chicken broth adds depth; use vegetable broth for a vegetarian option. I prefer to use low sodium chicken broth. If you use regular chicken broth, you may find that you need to reduce the amount of salt you add to the recipe. We use broth in so many of our recipes. Consider using any remaining broth in Chicken Tortellini Soup or Risotto.

Recipe Variations

Here are a few Spanish rice variations to inspire creativity:

  • With Quinoa: Substitute rice with cooked quinoa for a protein-packed, gluten-free option.
  • Seafood Spanish Rice: Add cooked shrimp or mussels to the finished rice for a delightful seafood twist.
  • Vegetarian Rice: Replace chicken broth with vegetable broth and add an assortment of colorful vegetables for a vegetarian-friendly version.
  • Spicy Spanish Rice: Add chopped jalapeños or a dash of cayenne pepper for a spicier version.
  • Vegan Spanish Rice: Use vegan butter and vegetable broth to create a delightful vegan dish.
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How To Make Spanish Rice

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a small batch of Spanish rice. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Place the rice in the pan, and stir it frequently. Continue this process for about 2 minutes or until the rice starts to take on a light brown color.
rice browning in a skillet.
  1. Add the chopped onions and salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  2. Place the minced garlic, smoked paprika, dried oregano, and pepper into the pan. Cook the mixture for 30 seconds, making sure to stir it constantly.
rice and onions in a skillet.
  1. Add the diced tomatoes, along with their juices, chicken broth, and the rest of the salt to the pan. Stir the ingredients together, and then heat the mixture until it reaches a boil.

Pro Tip: To include some of the juices from the canned tomatoes, spoon the tomatoes directly from the can. This method ensures that some of the juices are included with the tomatoes.

rice, broth, and diced tomatoes simmering in a skillet.
  1. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat to low. Then cover the pan and let it simmer for approximately 25 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the rice becomes tender and the majority of the liquid has been absorbed.
spanish rice in a covered pan cooking on the stove.
  1. Take off the lid and taste the rice to check the seasoning. If you feel it needs more salt, add it according to your taste. Keep in mind that the saltiness can differ between various brands of chicken broth.
Spanish rice in a skillet.

Expert Tips

  • Before you start cooking, make sure to read the entire recipe, including the Ingredient Notes section, and examine the process photos. This detailed guide will help you understand how the recipe unfolds, ensuring your Spanish Rice turns out perfect every time. All the information you need is found within the body of this recipe post, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Choose the Right Rice: Using long-grain white rice is essential for this recipe, as it helps in achieving a fluffy texture. Avoid short-grain rice, which may become sticky.
  • Toast the Rice: Before adding liquids, sauté the rice in butter or olive oil until golden. This step unlocks extra flavor and ensures the rice cooks evenly.
  • Adjust Seasoning: Taste the rice before its final stage of cooking and adjust the seasonings like salt, paprika, and oregano as needed. It’s easier to blend in additional flavor at this stage.

Serving Suggestions

Spanish Rice is a versatile dish. Here are a few ways to enjoy it:

  • With Grilled Proteins: Serve alongside chicken, shrimp, or pork chops for a satisfying, balanced meal.
  • In Stuffed Peppers: Use the Spanish rice as a filling for stuffed bell peppers, then bake until tender.
  • As a Burrito Base: Layer with beans, cheese, salsa, and your choice of protein in a large tortilla for a delicious burrito.
  • Alongside Traditional Mexican Fare: Complement the flavors by serving with dishes like beef enchiladas, beef tacos, or chicken fajitas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use brown rice to make Spanish rice?

Yes, you can substitute brown rice, but it will take longer to cook and may require additional liquid. Adjust the cooking time and taste for texture.

What can I use in place of chicken broth when making Spanish rice?

Vegetable broth or water mixed with a bouillon cube are great alternatives to chicken broth. The flavor might vary slightly, but the dish will still be delicious.

Can I freeze leftover Spanish rice?

Absolutely! Place the cooled rice in an airtight container, and it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or microwave.

Is Spanish rice gluten-free?

This Spanish Rice recipe is typically gluten-free, but always check the labels of your chicken broth and other packaged ingredients to ensure they don’t contain gluten.

Can I add meat or other vegetables to this Spanish rice recipe?

Yes, you can personalize this dish by adding cooked chicken, shrimp, bell peppers, or peas. Cook them separately and stir them in at the end.

How do I reheat Spanish rice?

Reheating Spanish Rice is simple. On the stove, melt a touch of butter in a skillet and place the leftover Spanish rice in it. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the rice is warmed through. If you prefer the microwave, place the rice in a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of water, and heat until warm. Either method will revive the flavors and texture of this delicious dish.

a bowl of spanish rice next to four onions.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this small batch Spanish Rice or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Small Batch Spanish Rice

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Enjoy a small batch of Spanish Rice, full of Mexican flavors and easy to cook in one pan. Ideal for cozy, flavorful dinner for one or two.

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup long grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onions
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt -divided
  • 1 clove garlic -minced
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • teaspoon dried oregano
  • teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • ½ cup canned diced tomatoes -with some of the juices from the can.
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
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Instructions 

  • Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Place the rice in the pan and stir it frequently. Continue this process for 1 to 2 minutes or until the rice starts to take on a light brown color.
  • Add the chopped onions and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Place the minced garlic, smoked paprika, dried oregano, and pepper into the pan. Cook the mixture for 30 seconds, making sure to stir it constantly.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, along with their juices, chicken broth, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt to the pan. Stir the ingredients together, and then heat the mixture until it reaches a boil.
    Pro Tip: To include some of the juices from the canned tomatoes, spoon the tomatoes directly from the can. This method ensures that some of the juices are included with the tomatoes.
  • As soon as the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat to low. Then cover the pan and let it simmer for approximately 25 minutes.
    Pro Tip: You'll know it's ready when the rice becomes tender and the majority of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Take off the lid and taste the rice to check the seasoning. If you feel it needs more salt, add it according to your taste. Keep in mind that the saltiness can differ between various brands of chicken broth.
  • Enjoy hot.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Before you start cooking, make sure to read the entire recipe, including the Ingredient Notes section, and examine the process photos. This detailed guide will help you understand how the recipe unfolds, ensuring your Spanish Rice turns out perfect every time. All the information you need is found within the body of this recipe post, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Choose the Right Rice: Using long-grain white rice is essential for this recipe, as it helps in achieving a fluffy texture. Avoid short-grain rice, which may become sticky.
  • Toast the Rice: Before adding liquids, sauté the rice in butter or olive oil until golden. This step unlocks extra flavor and ensures the rice cooks evenly.
  • Adjust Seasoning: Taste the rice before its final stage of cooking and adjust the seasonings like salt, paprika, and oregano as needed. It’s easier to blend in additional flavor at this stage.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 263kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 768mg, Potassium: 341mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 245IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

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3 Comments

  1. Anna says:

    Have made this twice now – Comes out great! Didn’t have canned tomatoes so used 1/2 cup of salsa from Costco. Perfect substitution.

  2. J. Hegyi says:

    Great recipe.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you!