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Your Family’s New Favorite: Easy Spanish Rice in the Instant Pot

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Try this Instant Pot Spanish rice recipe as a side for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. This easy Spanish rice is budget friendly and flavorful — the perfect combination!

Wrap it up in a burrito with my family favorite refried beans!

easy spanish rice in a brown pottery bowl with a tomato wedge and sour cream

I grew up in California, where Mexican restaurants were prolific. The food that came out of some of those family style restaurants were some of the best meals I’ve had.

Replicating the Spanish rice that was served alongside the enchiladas was a challenge for me, though. Try as I might, my efforts generally resulted in a sticky mess. While the flavor was good, the rice itself was kind of a clumpy and lumpy mess. It was just not appealing.

But! I’m not one to give up. Rice is inexpensive and easy to keep on hand.

And while some of us like the occasional side dish of sticky rice, most members of my family prefer their rice be more flavorful (like my sausage, spinach, and mushroom risotto).

We eat a lot of Mexican food and it seemed a shame to miss out on homemade Spanish rice.

Related: Pulled Pork Tacos

Instant Pot spanish rice behind, Spanish rice on wooden spoon above

Related: Spicy Black Bean Dip

Instant Pot Spanish Rice

Turns out, my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker is the secret to easy Spanish rice that turns out perfectly.

This version gets a thumbs up from my in-house recipe critic who always lets me know when I haven’t quite nailed it. (He’s an incredibly honest aspiring chef. We’ll cut him some slack.)

And it gets my thumbs up because it is so stinking easy.

Super. Easy.

While I used brown rice, you can alter this Instant Pot Spanish rice recipe by using white rice easily enough.

Using salsa in the recipe provides flavor along with tomatoes and other chopped veggies. If you have a pantry full of home canned salsa, use that. Or use your favorite salsa, mild or spicy — your call.

If you don’t have salsa on hand, you can use diced tomatoes instead. You’ll need to add some spices to flavor it up, though. I like chili powder and cumin.

We serve this Instant Pot Spanish rice with tacos or roll it up in a tortilla with my refried beans for burritos.

easy spanish rice in a brown pottery bowl with a tomato wedge and sour cream

★ Did you make this Instant Pot Spanish rice recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


easy spanish rice in a brown pottery bowl with a tomato wedge and sour cream

Easy Spanish Rice

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Totally hands-off rice is yours in the Instant Pot!


  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 2/3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt


  1. Measure oil, onion, and pepper into the Instant Pot liner. Choose "sauté" and cook until onions are transparent, stirring often for about five minutes. Add remaining ingredients.
  2. Lock lid in place. Using the "manual" setting, set the Instant Pot to cook for 25 minutes. Let rice rest for ten minutes once cooking time expires, then carefully release pressure.


Serve this Instant Pot Spanish rice alongside tacos, wrapped up in burritos, or with homemade enchiladas. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 237mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

22 comments… add one
  • Sonia (foodiesleuth) Feb 2, 2016, 8:15 am

    I love Spanish Rice. My aunt used to add browned ground beef to hers, so the rice and a salad was a whole meal for the family.
    I’m going to have to look for and “instant pot” – (for some reason that term sounds weird to me… 😉

  • Kay Aug 20, 2016, 9:32 am

    Oh my goodness… This is so good… Thanks for sharing… 🙂

  • Jodey Oct 4, 2016, 1:10 pm

    How would I convert this to use Basmati rice?? Would it be the same cook time & amount of liquid??

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 5, 2016, 11:00 am

      Should be no problem to use basmati.

      • Jodey Oct 16, 2016, 2:07 pm

        Thank you!! Going to try it right now!! 🙂

  • Kari Ann Nov 19, 2016, 9:10 am

    Can I just use canned diced tomatoes instead of the salsa?

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 19, 2016, 10:57 am

      Sure! I’d just add some extra spice in that case.

  • Brenda Nov 29, 2016, 8:53 am

    If I use white rice, how will the cooking time change?

  • Karen Laurvick Dec 22, 2016, 3:11 pm

    Did you use long, medium or short-grain brown rice? Would it make a difference in the recipe?

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 5, 2017, 8:35 am

      It depends what I have on hand. 😉 Shouldn’t make a difference.

  • KC Feb 4, 2017, 5:34 pm

    This recipe is fantastic!!! So easy and so delish….I’ve made it twice now, i use arborio rice and made no adjustments to the cook time and it was perfect. I am going to try the refried beans recipe next!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Connie Ellis Apr 7, 2017, 6:23 pm

    How many does this feed? Do I need to double it for about 12 people?

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 9, 2017, 4:40 pm

      Yes, I’d double it!

  • Jen Apr 27, 2017, 4:02 pm

    Delicious and easy! The rice was perfect.

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018, 7:11 pm

    Delicious recipe!

  • Yvonne Dec 9, 2018, 8:49 am

    The easy way is just use a jar of store bought salsa, medium hot…..and cook the rice with the salsa in it…..when the rice is done it is good…..side of pinto beans and buritto bread good eating….or put the salsa rice mixture and the beans inside a buritto, fold and eat….. could add a little hamburger meat that has been scrambled into chunks…..with hot sauce and cheese…..

  • christina Dec 18, 2018, 7:29 am

    do I need to rinse the rice? is it instant rice that I use?

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 19, 2018, 7:49 am

      You can rinse it if you like. (That seems to be a personal preference.) And no, not instant rice.

  • Carol L Mar 10, 2019, 10:24 am

    I came to this article as in another post you mentioned that you used your cauliflower rice to make this. Since cauliflower will become mushy easily, how would you sub it for the rice in this recipe?
    thanks for this! I am on KETO for type 2 diabetes.

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