This recipe for Instant Pot Spanish Rice is ridiculously easy, and it’s a new family favorite. Some links are affiliate links that earn me a commission from any purchase.
We have a tradition in our house that each time one of the wee ones promotes in Tae Kwon Do, we go to their choice of restaurant for dinner afterwards. Two weeks ago, my daughter promoted again (she’s rocking this TKD thing!), and she chose a local Mexican restaurant near the studio.
My son? Well, he threw a fit because he doesn’t like that restaurant.
We ate there once years and years ago, and he recalls that it took forever and never forgave them. I don’t remember this at all, but his sister promoted, so she chooses. He reluctantly joined us, and the restaurant blew his mind.
Ironically, he has his promotion test tonight, and he insists that we go to the same restaurant. The service issue was a fluke, but more importantly, he discovered he loves Spanish rice.
I don’t know why this was such a discovery for him, but it’s all he can talk about. He remained convinced only this restaurant has Spanish rice like that until I proved him wrong.
I made this Instant Pot Spanish rice to accompany my semi-homemade chicken enchiladas. They earn the name cheater because I feel like there’s no real cooking involved, just throwing them together and baking, which is unusual for me!
Granted, my Instant Pot Spanish rice has more ingredients than what you find in a typical quick serve Mexican restaurant, but they got a major thumbs up regardless. I’ve made Spanish rice in the past on the stove, but I don’t do it often because I knew my son wouldn’t eat it.
No babysitting the stove. No stirring, just delicious, easy homemade Spanish rice.
My original recipe for stovetop Spanish rice includes turkey bacon in it, but I omitted bacon in this version, partly because I had none on hand and partly because I didn’t want to take the extra time to cook bacon.
My concept of Instant Pot Spanish rice includes one pot only and quick prep time, and who doesn’t love easy?
This nails it. If you want the smokiness of bacon in your Spanish Rice recipe, feel free to add chopped bacon stirred into your rice before cooking.
Is it Spanish Rice or Mexican Rice?
Spanish rice and Mexican rice are very similar, and Mexican restaurants in my area call this Spanish Rice and not Mexican Rice, so I stick with what they call it.
Technically, this dish is more of a Mexican Rice than a Spanish rice, as it has no saffron typical of Spanish Rice. Spanish Rice also tends to be a little firmer, while Mexican Rice is more of a melt in your mouth.
That said, call this what you prefer.
What rice should I use to make Instant Pot Spanish Rice?
This recipe works best with a long grain white rice. I often use a basmati rice, and it turns out perfectly each time.
While a short grain rice will work for the stovetop version, the Instant Pot does not cook short grain rice well at all. Ever. No matter what you do.
You can try with a medium grain rice, but you will want to reduce the stock by a quarter cup. (If you have to use short grain rice, reduce it by a half cup.)
This also doesn’t work well with specialty rices like arborio rice, sushi rice, brown rice, etc. Stick with a classic white long grain rice (or basmati) for the best results.
One other note: this recipe is designed for what I call traditional rice and not minute rice or other rice that has been partially cooked or changed. Those rice varieties will not work at all for this.
What else can I add to my Spanish Rice?
There are so many delicious add ins you can have to make your Spanish Rice taste exactly how you want to enjoy it. Add or subtract these items based on what you have on hand and what tastes best to you.
I love this with bacon. You can either cook a couple slices before you start the onion, and use the bacon grease in place of oil, or add chopped bacon just before you cook the rice.
If you add the uncooked chopped bacon before you cook the rice, you end up with a smooth texture and the smoky flavor that runs throughout the rice.
If you cook the bacon first, chop it and reserve it until the end. In this case, I stir it in just before I serve the rice, which gives me a crunch and tastes delicious, too.
Besides bacon, you can also add peas, black beans, corn, chiptotle or other peppers, and the like. The more you add to this recipe, the more it becomes a major part of the meal rather than a simple yet delicious complement to your main dish.
One note that black beans either need to be soaked and cooked in advance or thoroughly rinsed if you use canned black beans. You don’t want to try to cook them with your rice, but instead add them at the end.
If you use peas or corn, I would suggest frozen varieties, as they essentially just need to be warmed in the rice after you finish cooking it. If you add them – or the black beans – to your rice before you pressure cook it, they will come out mushy.
How to Make Instant Pot Spanish Rice
Dice onion, tomatoes, and red pepper. Add to your Instant Pot liner with tomato paste, 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, chili powder, and pepper.
Stir to dissolve the tomato paste. Add rice and the remaining chicken stock, and stir again. You are making your own stock in your Instant Pot, right?
Turn Instant Pot to rice setting for 10 minutes. Be sure the vent is closed and sealed.
Once the time elapsed, let the rice do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR) for five minutes, then release the remaining pressure. This can remain under pressure and do a full NPR if you have another dish still cooking.
Stir the rice to fluff it, and serve immediately. This keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can easily make it vegan by swapping the chicken stock in this Instant Pot Spanish rice for vegetable stock.
What else to make in your Instant Pot?
I’ve had my Instant Pot for several months now, and I love using it. I purchased “just” the Duo, and recipes I share work in either.
While I’d love the yogurt function and the ability to cook under low pressure, I have too many delicious options to regret my choice. Some of my favorites?
- Corn chowder
- Mashed Potatoes
- Creamy chickpea tomato soup (with adaptation to make on stovetop)
- Easy peasy tomato soup
- Homemade chicken stock
- Updated (healthier) honey bourbon chicken
- Chicken curry
- Pulled pork
- Broccoli cheddar soup
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Lentil Soup
- French onion soup
What would you serve with your Instant Pot Spanish Rice?
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock, divided
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Dice onion, tomatoes, and red pepper.
- Add them to Instant Pot liner with tomato paste, 1/2 cup chicken broth, chili powder, and pepper. Stir to dissolve tomato paste.
- Add rice and remaining chicken stock. Stir again.
- Turn Instant Pot to rice setting for 10 minutes. Be sure vent is closed and sealed. Let NPR for 5 minutes, then release the remaining pressure.
- Gently stir rice to fluff, and serve immediately. Store in fridge 2-3 days in a sealed container.
- To amp up the flavor even more, slice 3 pieces of bacon into matchsticks. Before you start cooking, turn the Instant Pot to saute. Add the bacon and cook until mostly cooked. Add diced onion and turn off the Instant Pot. Stir and let cook with residual heat for 2-3 minutes. Then start with step 1, omitting the onions you already sauteed.
- To make this vegetarian, swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 1.5gSaturated Fat: .3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 24.4gFiber: 2.1gSugar: 3.8gProtein: 4g
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