Instant Pot Spanish Rice

Rice is boring. I’ve thought that for a long time, and I didn’t understand why so many people loved it. When we got married, my husband told me he liked rice, but he didn’t like my rice. He’s very honest. Apparently the problem wasn’t rice, it was how I made it. I needed to fancy it up. (Any other Plain Janes here?)

Nate loves the $1.50 Spanish rice in a box. Frugal, yes. Scary and overly processed, yes. We decided to compromise by coming up with our own Spanish rice recipe. I thought it would cost more than rice-in-a-box, but it didn’t at all. And since I used my Instant Pot, it was even quicker!

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Instant Pot Spanish Rice

Use the saute function on your IP, and add oil. When it heats up, add onion and garlic. Saute them for about three minutes, or until the onion is transparent. With the middle that kind of sticks up a little, so all the oil runs to the edges, it took me awhile to figure out how to saute without scorching everything! The key is that I can’t try to do a billion things at once, and just have to stick close and stir those onions.

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Then, transfer the onions and garlic to a bowl. Add rice, broth, water, and seasonings to the Instant Pot and stir it up. We use Cajun seasoning, which is kind of cheating. It adds a little spice without being too spicy for the kids. Also, I love these little West Elm bowls to put my seasonings in so I don’t forget anything.

Close the lid, and cook on the “Rice” setting for 12 minutes, or a little more if you’re in high altitude, like me. Now’s the time to multi-task. You have 12 whole minutes to get something else done. 

Let the IP depressurize naturally. This takes me about 8 minutes. When the pressure button comes down, open the lid and stir in the tomatoes. You can use fresh chopped tomatoes, fresh stewed tomatoes, or just pop open a can like I did.


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Instant Pot Spanish Rice

Spices and tomatoes make rice less boring. 

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 6
Author leahbmartin


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 C finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 C rice
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1.5 C water
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes


  1. 1. Turn your Instant Pot to the Saute function. Add 1 Tbsp oil. When the oil is hot, add onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is transparent, about three minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot, and using a hot pad, empty the garlic and onions into a bowl. 

  2. 2. Return the inner pot back to the Instant Pot. Add rice, water, broth, and seasonings. Stir before closing the lid. Cook on "Rice" setting for 12 minutes (add 2 minutes if you are in high altitude.) Let rice depressurize naturally. 

  3. 3. When the pressure valve has lowered, open the pot and stir in tomatoes. Serve with tacos, enchiladas, or your favorite dish. 

Cost break down:

$1.93 for entire recipe, or about $0.32/serving.

Spanish rice in a box- $1.48, or about $0.42/serving

Homemade Spanish rice is real food that costs less!


This easy #sidedish can be made in about 30 minutes, and it costs about the same as processed mixes. #frugalrecipe #realfood #instantpot

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