The Secret to No-Fail Spanish Rice [Recipe]

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on March 13, 2014

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I have attempted many times to make Spanish rice for my family, only to be left dissatisfied.  It wasn’t until I was testing recipes for Fearless Feeding (where the recipe is adapted from) that I learned the secret.  Actually, four secrets.

The first is to sauté the rice in oil until it is lightly browned.  This really increases flavor.


The second is to add broth instead of water to give it some oomph. You can also add tomato sauce and/or tomatoes. To give it that tomato-y flavor I add tomato paste.


The third is to NEVER EVER touch the rice once the heat is lowered and the lid is on.  Before I knew this, I used to go back, take the top off, and stir frequently during cooking.  Then I wondered why the rice never turned out.  I’m sure this is common cooking knowledge, but nobody told me!


And lastly, even though I’m a whole grain girl at heart, white rice seems to work best in producing fluffy rice.


But the key is to experiment until you find the right combination of ingredients that works for you. We never eat this in one sitting so I freeze half of it for the next meal.  What goes in your Spanish rice?

Spanish Rice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (check package on rice to adjust liquid as needed)
  • 1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Over medium heat, saute rice in oil until lightly browned; add onion and saute 5 more minutes; add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add broth, tomato paste and salt and bring to a boil mixing in all the ingredients. Turn down heat to low and cover for 25 minutes or until the rice absorbs the liquid.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Annmarie March 14, 2014 at 9:18 am

We use the same exact recipe and methods- EXCEPT, instead of tomato paste, I add some salsa (maybe a quarter cup? I rarely measure and ususally just toss in a few big spoonfuls!)


Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD March 19, 2014 at 11:47 am

That’s a great idea! Will have to try it next time.


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