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Mom’s Spanish Rice

My mom is famous for her Spanish rice recipe, the ultimate comfort food. When I want a taste of home, I whip up this dish. Punch up the flavor with a little lime and extra chili powder. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 20 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-2/3 cups cooked brown rice
  • Chopped green onions, optional


  • In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and pepper over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes and seasonings; bring to a boil. Add rice; heat through, stirring occasionally. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Mom’s Spanish Rice Tips

What goes well with Spanish rice?

Lots of dishes go well with a Spanish rice recipe, including fajitas, enchiladas and burritos. Spanish rice can also be served as a main dish by itself and topped with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Is there a difference between Mexican rice and Spanish rice?

Although they share a lot of similar ingredients, authentic Mexican and Spanish rice use different spices. Spanish rice commonly uses saffron, which is where its yellow hue comes from. Saffron can be very expensive, but a few threads go a long way and will last you a long time! Mexican rice typically is tomato-based and uses cumin to get its distinct flavor and color. Try this easy Mexican Rice with Poached Eggs recipe for your next meal.

Research contributed by Sarah Fischer, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant
Nutrition Facts
1-1/2 cups: 408 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated fat), 71mg cholesterol, 727mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 6g fiber), 28g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 2 vegetable.


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  • g-ma t
    Feb 23, 2021

    Just wanted to add didn’t use ketchup no chili powder ! I used canned tomatoes or tomato juice and I use raw rice or minute rice and bake in the oven with tenderized round steak or cube steaks some low and slow cut of meat !

  • John
    Feb 23, 2021

    You seem to contradict yourself, you say spanish rice has saffron and mexican rice has cumin. Your recipe has cumin and no saffron. Surely it is mexican, not spanish rice?

  • MarineMom_texas
    Oct 20, 2020

    Ann in Australia, answering your review. I would not use ketchup. I would puree a can of tomatoes or purchase tomato puree, if available. The ketchup would give it a different flavor. Sorry to be late in answering this - just saw it today.

  • joycerm53
    Oct 20, 2020

    Great recipe!! I usually make it as written for a meal but also make it without the meat for a side dish to fajitas. Joyce Moynihan, Volunteer Field Editor.

  • Ann
    Sep 13, 2020

    Enjoying your recipes, we haven’t made this one. We are in Australia. Is the tomato sauce a tomato purée or passata? (I believe we call tomato sauce, what you call ketchup) So confused as to what this translates for Aussies.

  • Kamie
    Jun 4, 2020

    No comment left

  • AvidcookGAtoCA
    Apr 26, 2020

    This is my second time making this recipe. The first time I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious. I would have done the same again but was out of regular diced tomatoes. I had a 10 ounce can of Rotel diced tomatoes, so I used that. To make up for the other 5 ounces of diced tomatoes, I used a half cup of mild salsa. Oh my, it was delicious! I highly recommend this recipe as written and as revised. We like spicy, so these substitutions were perfect for us. Thanks, Joan. This is another winning recipe. Lynne

  • Donna
    Feb 23, 2020

    Good, but made some changes next time. We skipped most of the green pepper, added smoked paprika, more chili powder, Instead of diced tomatoes, added tomato juice to the burger mix, bring to boil, added the rice to cook in that. At the end, stirred in some crumbled bacon and fresh salsa

  • blodgde
    May 25, 2019

    In all fairness...depending on the device you use to view...some ingredients are off the screen when selecting Read Recipe button...the ingredients after an ad....

  • John
    Apr 7, 2019

    This is a good recipe but there isn't a lot of pizzazz in it either. I used ground turkey rather than ground beef. It turned out pretty good but it wasn't great. The next time I make it, I will substitute a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies for the standard diced tomatoes. I think this would be good with some diced up chicken instead of the ground beef too..