New Orleans Spanish Rice (with Video)

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A zesty and robust take on a rice pilaf, this New Orleans-style Spanish Rice is the perfect side dish to add some big flavor to your meals with minimal effort.

A super simple recipe for homemade Spanish Rice, the perfect easy side dish recipe - or add some shrimp, chicken or beef for a filling meal! This version is based on the New Orleans method of making Spanish Rice using cajun seasoning and the holy trinity of Cajun cooking.

New Orleans Spanish Rice Recipe

New Orleans is famous for it’s dirty rice, which is so named for it’s “dirty” appearance thanks to browned meats and veggies. New Orleans’ Spanish rice is less commonly known and I found it darn near impossible to find a recipe online to recreate it for myself… so in the interest of full disclosure, this recipe may not pass full “authentic” status, even though I think the flavor is bang on to what I’ve tasted in restaurants.

We use the “holy trinity” of Cajun cooking (celery, bell peppers and onions) as a flavor base, then toast the rice in the dutch oven to give it a nutty, robust flavor. We then hit the dish with diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and cajun seasoning (along with chicken broth) to round out the flavor profile.

The result is a delicious side dish that pairs well with just about everything and is beyond anything you will find in a grocery store packet or box.

I often make a double batch of it and use the leftover rice as easy light lunches for myself – sometimes with leftover meat shredded overtop, scrambled eggs on the side, or even just a few fresh avocado slices.

What kind of rice is best for Spanish rice? Personally, I like using a long grain white rice because it gets nice and fluffy, but this recipe will work with any kind of rice you prefer. If making with brown rice, increase the broth used to at least 4 cups.

Can you freeze Spanish rice? Yes, but note that the rice will be very soft after thawing. To freeze, store in airtight freezer bags or your favorite freezer containers for up to three months. (This set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain.)

 

More New Orleans Inspired Recipes

 

Check out our quick recipe video to see how to make this New Orleans-style Spanish Rice at home – and then don’t forget to scroll down to grab your free printable recipe card:


Spanish Rice Ingredients

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Tip: swap out the diced tomatoes for salsa, or the tomato paste for harissa – or use a bit of hot sauce if you like your Spanish rice spicy.

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

  • Heavy stockpot or Dutch Oven <– highly recommended for even cooking and seamlessly transferring this recipe from the stove to the oven
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Wooden spoon or spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
  • Sharp Kitchen Knife
  • Cutting Board

How to Make New Orleans Style Spanish Rice

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the diced celery, sweet bell pepper and onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the dry rice and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from burning.

Add the chicken broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and seasoning.

Increase the burner heat to high and bring broth to a boil.

After 2 minutes of boiling, reduce the heat to love and cover the dutch oven with its lid.

Cook for 15 minutes, then check to see if the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat once the liquid appears to have been fully absorbed by the rice.

Stir to fluff the rice before serving. Provide lime juice as an optional seasoning.

 

Pin this Easy Spanish Rice recipe for a flavorful side dish the whole family will love:

How to make New Orleans-style Spanish Rice, a flavor-packed side dish recipe the whole family will love. Use to make burrito bowls, enchiladas, or serve as a side with just about anything.

Grab your free printable recipe card for our New Orleans Spanish Rice recipe:

Yield: 6 cups, 6-12 servings

New Orleans Spanish Rice

New Orleans Spanish Rice

A super simple recipe for homemade Spanish Rice, the perfect easy side dish recipe. This version is based on the New Orleans method of making Spanish Rice using cajun seasoning and the holy trinity of Cajun cooking. Add some chicken, shrimp or beef to make it into a filling meal.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2-3 Celery Stalks, diced
  • 2 cups White Rice, uncooked
  • 3-4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup Diced Tomatoes, without juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Lime Juice, optional finish

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Once oil is hot, add the diced celery, sweet bell pepper and onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the dry rice and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from burning.
  4. Add the chicken broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and seasoning.
  5. Increase the burner heat to high and bring broth to a boil.
  6. After 2 minutes of boiling, reduce the heat to love and cover the dutch oven with its lid.
  7. Cook for 15 minutes, then check to see if the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat once the liquid appears to have been fully absorbed by the rice.
  8. Stir to fluff the rice before serving. Provide lime juice as an optional seasoning.

Notes

You can include the tomato juice and reduce the chicken broth called for in this recipe, if desired.

3 cups of chicken broth is recommended but if you want a softer texture, increase up to 4 cups.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 1804mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 4g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

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I hope your family loves this New Orleans Spanish Rice as much as mine does!

For more scrumptious side dishes, check out our full side dish recipe collection here:

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