Instant Pot Spanish Rice is a delicious and versatile dish that adds a burst of flavor to any meal with its combination of spices and aromatic ingredients.
This recipe mimics the Spanish rice served at my favorite Mexican restaurant. It cooks in less than 30 minutes in a pressure cooker and is very simple to make. This recipe is very versatile in nature and can be served with an abundance of main dishes, such as enchiladas, Mexican shredded beef, fajitas, tacos, taquitos and more.
What Is Spanish Rice?
Spanish rice, also known as Mexican rice, is a flavorful and popular dish in Mexican and Spanish cuisine. Despite its name, it's not a traditional dish from Spain but instead is very popular in Mexican cuisine.
Spanish rice is made by sautéing rice with various ingredients to give it a rich and savory flavor. The main ingredients typically include long grain white rice, tomatoes or tomato sauce, onions, garlic, and chicken or vegetable broth. Additional seasonings such as cumin, chili powder, and paprika are often added to enhance the flavor. The vibrant red color of the rice is derived from the tomatoes used in the preparation.
To prepare Spanish rice, the rice is first cooked in oil until it becomes golden or slightly toasted. Then onions, garlic and other vegetables are added and cooked until they are softened and aromatic. Next, tomatoes, tomato paste, seasonings and broth are added to the rice. The rice mixture is brought to a boil and then simmered until the rice is cooked and has absorbed the liquid, resulting in fluffy and flavorful rice.
To make delicious Mexican rice in an Instant Pot, we slightly modify these steps. In a pressure cooker, rice cooks more quickly than on the stove and results in a non-sticky, perfectly fluffy and tasty rice. It's the same method used for making white rice and basmati rice.
To make this Spanish recipe in your Instant Pot, you need:
- Long grain white rice: parboiled is preferred but traditional long grain rice works great.
- Diced tomatoes: a can of diced tomatoes drained is easiest but you can also use 2 cups of diced tomatoes.
- Tomato paste: tomato sauce is a good substitution.
- Chicken broth or vegetable broth.
- Bell pepper: orange or red are perfect.
- Black beans: a can of black beans drained and rinsed. Adding home cooked Mexican beans will add even more flavor.
- Seasonings: dried oregano, taco seasoning, thyme and salt.
- Onion and garlic
While typically made with long grain white rice, you can use brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, etc. I prefer parboiled rice because it cooks perfectly in the pressure cooker without needing to be rinsed.
Different types of rice have different cook times. You will need to pressure cook for the amount of time recommended for the type of rice you use. Parboiled, basmati and long grain white rice pressure cook for 4 minutes. Brown rice pressure cooks for about 20. You can find a reliable cooking time table here.
How To Make Spanish Rice In A Pressure Cooker
STEP 1: Set the Instant Pot to saute on high for 6 minutes. Add olive oil and the long grain white rice. Saute, stirring frequently until the rice is toasted, about 3-4 minutes.
STEP 2: Add the diced bell pepper, diced onion, minced garlic, dried oregano, taco seasoning, salt and ground thyme. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
STEP 3: Stir in tomato paste, the can of drained diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Mix well and turn off saute. Deglaze the bottom of the pot using a wooden spoon.
STEP 4: Close and seal the pressure cooker lid. Set to pressure cook/manual on high for 4 minutes. When done, naturally release pressure for 10-15 minutes, then quickly release any remaining pressure.
STEP 5: Remove the lid and stir in the black beans. Serve warm, topped with fresh cilantro if desired.
Ideas For Serving Spanish Rice
Spanish rice is commonly served as a side dish alongside various Mexican dishes, such as enchiladas, tacos, burritos, or grilled meats. It can also be used as a filling for stuffed peppers or added to soups and stews. Here are some great ways to use this recipe:
- served with Mexican beans and birria tacos, buffalo tacos, or fried tacos.
- as a side with sheet pan loaded nachos, barbecue chicken thighs, cheese quesadillas and air fried quesadillas.
- added to soups, such as taco soup, stuffed pepper soup, vegetable beef soup and beef barley soup.
- as a stuffing for enchiladas, air fried taquitos and pan fried taquitos.
- mixed with shredded Mexican beef, cheesy crack chicken, slow cooker chili rojo, mini meatball stew or jalapeño cheddar chicken.
- with finger foods like jalapeño poppers and mini stuffed peppers.
How To Store Leftovers
Store leftover rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- If you're worried that the rice will stick to the bottom of the pressure cooker (it shouldn't), you can use the pot in pot method with a sling and cake pan. I use that method explained here to make Instant Pot white rice.
- Always naturally release the pressure for at least 10 minutes when cooking rice. This prevents it from sticking, plus cook time is built into the type of pressure release a recipe calls for.
Instant Pot Spanish Rice
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups long grain white rice parboiled preferred
- 2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoon taco seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 4 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup black beans canned/cooked
- Set the Instant Pot to saute on high for 6 minutes. Add 4 tablespoon olive oil and 2 cups long grain white rice. Saute, stirring frequently until the rice is toasted, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the diced bell pepper, 1 large onion 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 teaspoon oregano, 2 teaspoon taco seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon thyme. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Stir in 4 tablespoon tomato paste, the can of drained diced tomatoes, and 2 ½ cups chicken broth. Mix and turn off saute. Deglaze the bottom of the pot using a wooden spoon.
- Close and seal the pressure cooker lid. Set to pressure cook/manual on high for 4 minutes. When done, naturally release pressure for 10-15 minutes, then quickly release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid and stir in 1 cup black beans. Serve warm, topped with fresh cilantro if desired.