Spanish Beans and Rice is a flavorful side dish that's also hearty enough to enjoy as a vegetarian main. This easy one pot recipe features zesty tomatoes and spices, and makes perfect Mexican rice and beans every time. It's ready in less than an hour and pairs great with any number of delicious dishes!
Why We Love this Spanish Beans and Rice Recipe
Mexican rice and beans is a classic dish that's hearty without being too heavy. These two staple ingredients are simple to turn into a flavorful side dish or main entrée using just one pot - plus, this versatile recipe is perfect for customizing to your tastes.
Prepare it as vegetarian and vegan-friendly if you like, and feel free to make your beans and rice as mild or spicy as you want. Either way they will be delicious alongside all of other your favorite Mexican-inspired dishes!
What You Need to Make Mexican Rice and Beans
- You only need one pot for this easy Spanish rice and beans recipe: A large, deep skillet with a lid.
- Ingredients: Vegetable oil, onion, long grain white rice, low sodium vegetable broth, red salsa, ground cumin and smoked paprika, canned black beans, salt. I recommend using fresh chopped cilantro for garnishing.
How to Make Spanish Rice and Beans
This one pot Mexican rice and beans dish is ready in less than an hour, and is easy to make in just 3 simple steps:
- First, dice the onion and set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and once it is hot and shimmering, add the diced onion. Cook while stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Then stir in the rice, broth, salsa, cumin and paprika, mixing gently to thoroughly combine. Lower the heat to a simmer and put the lid on the skillet. Let the rice cook undisturbed for 15 minutes before removing from the heat and stirring in the rinsed and drained beans. Put the lid back on and allow the beans and rice to sit covered for 10 minutes.
- Serve Spanish rice and beans warm alongside your favorite Mexican-inspired dishes. You can add salt to taste as well as chopped cilantro, or any of your other favorite toppings.
Tips for the Best Spanish Beans and Rice
- Use Your Favorite Salsa. Choose any brand of salsa you prefer. Mild, medium or hot, chunky or not, or with other ingredients you like. Or, try different types at different time to complement the rest of your meal. My favorite red salsa is a Roasted Tomato Salsa, but almost anything works here.
- Cook the Rice Al Dente. The perfect rice for this dish is just cooked until tender. When ready the water should be evaporated from the skillet, and you'll see little steam holes throughout. Remove from the heat promptly to avoid overcooking the rice.
- Serve with Garnishes. Enjoy Mexican beans and rice with fresh chopped cilantro, diced onion, avocado, cotija or shredded cheddar cheese, or any of your favorite southwestern toppings.
- Save Leftovers. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container and keeping in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Do Not Freeze. Spanish beans and rice tend to get mushy if frozen and then reheated.
Variations of this Mexican Rice and Beans Recipe
- Make Homemade Salsa. Of course you can use jarred salsa for the quickest version of our recipe, but I recommend you give this Homemade Salsa recipe from Spend With Pennies a try. It's super easy and simple, and delicious!
- Swap the Beans. While we use black beans to make this dish, feel free to substitute with either red beans (kidney beans) or pinto beans. Just be sure to thoroughly rinse and drain no matter what variety of beans you choose.
- Use Chicken Broth Instead of Vegetable Broth. Spanish rice and beans will no longer be vegetarian-friendly, but using chicken broth is a great way to add flavor and protein.
- Low Sodium vs. Regular Broth. As regular vegetable and chicken broth both contain lots of sodium, I suggest that you use low sodium versions of your preferred broth. If you do include regular full-sodium broth then I would skip adding any additional salt to the recipe.
- Make it as Spicy as You Like. Choose a salsa variety that is mild, medium, or hot depending on how spicy you'd like.
More Easy Side Dish Recipes
- Perfectly Crispy and Tender Roasted Baby Potatoes
- Instant Pot Brown Rice
- Elote (Mexican Street Corn Recipe)
Serving Suggestions for Spanish Rice and Beans
- Birria Tacos with Amazing Adobo Sauce
- Easy Enchiladas Verde (Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas)
- Amazing Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo)
Zesty Spanish Beans and Rice
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until softened.
- Stir in rice, broth, salsa, cumin and paprika. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Remove from the heat and stir in the beans. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve sprinkled with cilantro, if using.
- Spanish beans and rice can be covered tightly and refrigerated up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing the rice and beans. While there is nothing wrong with freezing this recipe, I personally do not like the consistency after it has frozen and defrosted.
- Choose any brand of salsa you prefer. My favorite red salsas are Roasted Tomato Salsa and this Pace Salsa which is actually called picante sauce! Choose mild, medium or hot, chunky or not, or with other ingredients you like.