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Spanish Rice - A Family Feast

Spanish Rice – not to be confused with Mexican rice (see here) – is a wonderfully aromatic dish that gets its bright yellow color from saffron.

Sure – you can use turmeric to give it a similar yellow color if you can’t get saffron – but saffron, with its distinctive and delicious flavor really makes this dish! A little bit of saffron goes a long way so you only need a little. And while saffron has a reputation for being very expensive, we were able to find a bottle of saffron in our local supermarket with 4 vials of saffron threads for just $9.99. (Each vial shown here contains about a quarter teaspoon and we used one vial for this recipe.)

Spanish Rice - A Family Feast

Traditionally, Spanish Rice also includes onions , garlic and some sort of chili pepper (we used jalapeño pepper in this version). Spanish rice is typically cooked with chicken stock however vegetable stock would work just fine if you prefer a vegetarian version.  Our recipe also includes a few non-traditional ingredients (such as diced fresh tomatoes and orange bell pepper, plus a light sprinkle of cilantro for garnish) in addition to the more traditional Spanish rice ingredients – but we think you’ll really enjoy the results!

Spanish Rice - A Family Feast

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Spanish Rice - A Family Feast

Spanish Rice

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup Basmati or long grain white rice
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1½ cups diced fresh tomato
  • 1 large orange bell pepper seeded stemmed and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, stemmed and minced
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Two tablespoons minced cilantro for garnish (optional)


  1. Place a few tablespoons of warm tap water into a small bowl and add the saffron threads to steep.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a small Dutch oven or other oven proof pan with a lid, heat oil over medium high heat.
  4. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Lower heat to medium and add rice. Stir often for 5 minutes or until rice has just started to brown.
  6. Add stock and all other ingredients including the small bowl with saffron threads and water and stir to combine.
  7. Cover and place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and keep covered for five more minutes.
  9. Fluff with a fork, garnish with optional chopped cilantro and serve.

You may also like:

Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf - A Family Feast

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice - A Family Feast

Nourishing Rice (Arroz con Sustancia)

Nourishing Rice (Arroz de Sustancia) - A Family Feast

Greek Rice (Spanakorizo)

Greek Rice (Spanakorizo) - A Family Feast




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  • Elisabeth Sedman wrote:

    Tasty recipe. I didn’t use a Dutch oven because I needed to make a big batch for a party. Everyone loved it. I left out the tomatoes because I don’t like it in my rice. Will be making it again. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Elisabeth! Glad you all enjoyed the recipe!

  • Dinah wrote:

    Do you have to make sure the rice is soft before placing it in the oven or the oven makes it soft

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Dinah – The rice will cook in the oven so it doesn’t need to be soft beforehand. Enjoy!

  • Ronnie wrote:

    Less expensive way to get saffron is go to either a Persian or Indian grocery store. Typically it is much cheaper if purchased there. My son’s mother-in-law is Persian and she uses it in most of her delicious dishes and always has a generous supply. This recipe is a must try as I also love anything with saffron.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the tip Ronnie! Great idea!

  • Amy@theidearoom wrote:

    This looks so beautiful and tasty! I want to make some right now! Pinned!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Amy!

  • Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom wrote:

    I saw this rice on Pinterest and had to come over! I love saffron and this rice looks absolutely perfect and flavorful! yumm!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Alice!

  • Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats wrote:

    Yes please! Love spanish rice, this sounds awesome Martha!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Krista!

  • Christie – Food Done Light wrote:

    I love the color and flavors of this rice. Saffron can be so expensive but locally a little goes a long way. Costco use to carry it at a great price but I haven’t seen it lately. This is the perfect dish to use it.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Christie! I’ll have to see if my local Costco carries it – love the flavor and I’d definitely cook with it more often if I could find it at a cheaper price!

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