In America, the basic rice used in Mexican cuisine is referred to as “Spanish Rice” – which confuses Spaniards because they have never heard of it.  My guess: the rice got its name when someone translated the recipe from the original in Spanish… and not knowing what to call it, they titled it after the language in which it was written.
Whatever the origins of its nomenclature, this recipe belongs to the “pilaf” family where both Italian Risotto and Spanish Paella reside – and can be equally pressure cooked into quick perfection.

Perfectly Pressure Cooked “Spanish” Rice

Since the rice varies depending on what part of the country, or world, you happen to be I was able to make this recipe work with almost any kind of rice by playing with the liquid ratios. You will be adding chopped tomatoes and their juice so you need to account for this extra liquid. All you need to do is follow the rice:water ratio for the rice variety you  are using, and subtract half a cup of water from the total liquid for each cup of chopped tomatoes you add to the recipe.

Mexican Rice Pressure Cooker Recipe

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
5 L or larger  none    4-5 min.    High(2)  Natural

4.3 from 3 reviews
Arroz Spanish Rice: Mexican Pressure Cooker Recipes
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 2 cups medium or long grain white rice
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes and their juice or canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayanne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 green onion, chopped (optional)
  1. In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium heat without the lid, add the vegetable oil and onion.
  2. Saute' until the onions begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the rice and saute' until the first few grains begin to brown (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add the tomatoes, water, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper, mix well and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan well to un-stick any rice.
  4. Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
  5. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 4 minutes at high pressure.
    Stove top pressure cookers: Lock the lid, and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  6. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the 10-Minute Natural release.
    Electric pressure cookers: When cooking time is up, count 10 minutes of Natural pressure release. Then, release the rest of the pressure slowly using the valve.
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Move the cooker off the hot burner and count 10 minutes of Natural pressure release. Even if all of the pressure is naturally released before the 10 minutes are up keep the lid closed the entire time. Otherwise, release any remaining pressure slowly using the valve.
  7. Mix the rice, and serve with finely chopped green onion garnish.


Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Lid
How to make Mexican Rice in the pressure cooker

"Spanish" Rice -  Mexican Rice recipe for pressure cooker and Instant Pot

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  1. Pressure cooking rice is really such a convenience. I use it now almost exclusively for making risotto on weeknights. Just don’t tell my readers about it… ;=)

    1. Hahaha! Well, it’s safe with me, anyway.

      But… why not tell your readers about pressure cooking? I wonder if your nonna, Angelina, had one!



  2. Just tried this recipe. Our rice came out too mushy, but the bottom of the pan burned slightly. I think the mushy rice is due to too much liquid. As for the burnt pan, I’m not sure as I didn’t have the heat up too high at any given time. Next time I’m going to try adding the tomatoes and their juices after the rice has cooked. I’m also going to try cumin instead of oregano. Next time I give it a try I’ll report back and let you know what happens. Thank you for a great website!

    1. Sandy, what kind of pressure cooker are you using it and on what kind of cook-top?



    2. I am using a Kuhn-Rikon anniversary PC and on an electric induction stovetop. By the way, I made this rice again, but this time I used one Knorr tomato bouillon with chicken flavor(called Caldo de Tomate on the package). That is the only thing I put in with the rice and water and it came close to tasting the way restaurant Spanish rice tastes. It was still a bit mushy so I think I may try short grain rice and see if that makes a difference. Is there a way to give you my email address so when you respond I will receive a link at my email address and can respond to you promptly?

    3. Ciao Sandy, usually mushy rice means too much liquid, try reducing the liquid to rice ratio to see if the result improves!



    4. Sandy, Although I’ve never used a pressure cooker to make Mexican rice, I was taught by my Mexican godmother to always use long grain rice – you want the cooked rice grains to separate and for the rice to be fluffy (as opposed to the short grain rice you use to make sticky Japanese style rice). I hope this helps.

    5. Your rice did not cook all the way through because of the tomatoes. Tomatoes are acidic and inhibit the rice from cooking.

      Authentic Mexican rice does not use tomatoes or any tomato products. The Mexican rice one gets at a Mexican restaurant is meant to be bland to accompany more spicy dishes.

      For color, just add some mild chile powder or saffron as an option for color.
      Oregano, cilantro and cumin in very slight amounts are permitted. Onions are not normally used either.

      Roast your rice dry or in the oil that the onion was cooked in.
      Roast it until it turns opaque or white. Stir often. This takes about five minutes or more.

      Add the broth and cook according to directions.
      If you must use tomatoes, add them after the rice has cooked. : )

      1. Uhm, no. Tomatoes do not slow down rice cooking time (with or without pressure). ; )



      2. I always make my spanish rice with chopped tomatoes and the rice cooks just fine.

  3. I think instead of short grain I will stay with the long grain, but I will soak the starch out of the long grain. That’s probably why it is clumping together – too much starch. I’ve been reading on the internet about the different types of rice and someone suggested soaking the long grain when making Spanish rice. I will give this a try and report back to you. I really love the restaurant’s Spanish Rice and I’m hoping to duplicate it eventually.

  4. This is so pretty. It looks like the perfect Mexican rice recipe for spring.

  5. I am so glad I found your site! I am just learning to pressure cook like my mom and grandma did and you are inspirational!

    One question (maybe answered somewhere else on here) – have you tried electric pressure cookers? I hear they work similar but would love to hear your thoughts.

    Take care .

    1. Hi Michelle, I would love for you to share some of your family pressure cooker recipes here!!

      As for electric pressure cookers, see my discussion of them “Shopping Tips” page (link at the top).

      I’ve had the opportunity to use one several times and noticed a general lack of quality recipes specifically written for electric pressure cookers – that’s why I specifically add special instructions (if needed) in my recipes for them and mention any caveats for cooking times in some of the non-standard electric cookers.

      I have one in the mail, right now, from the U.S. and I’m really looking forward to trying and photographing it. It’s the kind with the stainless steel interior (my biggest concern about electrics). So, stay tuned to see that one.

      Ciao, and welcome!


  6. I’m really struggling to understand what the advantage of pressure cooking is here. It certainly isn’t saving time — between a few minutes to bring the pot up to pressure, 5-7 minutes cooking, and 10 minutes natural release, you’re up to nearly 20 minutes of total cooking time. That’s about how long it takes, if not a little less, to make rice on the stovetop!

    1. Emily, you are right. The benefits of pressure cooking a food that doesn’t take that much time to begin with are not obvious. In fact, the shorter time a food needs for regular cooking the less time advantage you will find with the pressure cooker.

      Thankfully, that’s not the whole story!

      With this recipe, the advantage is the energy savings. Where you would normally simmer rice for 20-25 minutes, you are only using heat for for 5-7 minutes. The rest of the cooking is using residual heat and no energy at all!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!



  7. Just bought a wolfgang presure cooker i am looking for recipes for it,first presure cooker.This one you just set time for the food you are making,then you leave it,donot have high or low chioce.enjoying this cite t/y

  8. I found your site on “” which I might say is an excellent site for those of us who love grill, smoke,roast, and rotisserie, meat of any kind. My wife has a sense of taste that can pick apart any dish served . I am going to try this Spanish rice recipe and will advise how it was received,that is of course if I’m still alive. : > }…

  9. I received the Instant Pot as a Christmas gift and have used it a few times. I just made the Spanish Rice for the first time, and I must say it came out great. I have always had trouble making rice on the stove; most of the time it comes out too mushy, even after rinsing the rice. Thanks for the recipe and I look forward to trying more of them.


  10. I’ve tried to make Spanish Rice several times before and it never comes out right. I followed this recipe with one exception, I used arborio rice instead of long grain. It comes out wonderfully. The first time I added some fresh jalapeno pepper I had on hand and the second time I folded in a bit of cilantro to the finished dish. Both dishes were wonderful. This is now a staple for me.

  11. I need to make enough rice for 30 people. Can I increase this recipe and do it in my 23-quart Presto??

  12. I also tried making this today and it also burnt at the bottom, I also thought the tomatoes would be like more juicy in there

    1. mnora, what kind of pressure cooker do you have and, if it’s a stovetop, what cooktop type are you using it on?



  13. I used to cook my rice on the stove with a regular pot, perfect every time. I just use regular long grain, and short grain for puddings. Tried it in the stove-top pressure cooker, but it burned every time. But now I have an electric cooker and it makes the most perfect rice! But it takes 9-10 min., not 3. I start the rice first, then the rest of the dinner. All gets done at about the same time. I have noticed that different brands of rice cook differently. The previous batch of rice I bought needed rinsing because it had a lot of surface starch, but the latest brand doesn’t. Previous brand cooked up to more volume than the current brand, took more water to rice ratio, and took longer to cook. So if you are having trouble with over-cooked rice, you might try a different brand.

  14. How much does this recipe make?

    1. It serves 4-6 people (6 average, 4 VERY HUNGRY)!



  15. I made this today and everything cooked perfect. I cooked it at high pressure for 4 minutes, my canned tomatoes had very little juice. I only had fire roasted diced tomatoes so I used those and Jasmine white rice. The rice was perfect.
    I did brown lightly my rice first before adding in the onion, just because that’s the way the mexican’s do it here.
    I live in San Diego and I think the most popular spanish rice served and made here by the local mexican’s and restaurants, have more tomato, add diced carrots, corn and peas and the only seasoning used is salt. I was going for that flavor, but was afraid if I added the diced carrot, corn and peas they might get mushy.
    The rice turned out just right not mushy or too hard.
    Next I’ll make this recipe with your suggestion of how to add more tomato and add in the corn,
    carrot and peas. I think all will cook up just right and we will enjoy our favorite mexican rice.
    Dinner was delicious with roasted diced chicken stuffed into a fire roasted poblano peppers, all topped with hot melted cheeses, mexican rice and of coarse your included recipe for quick soaked, pinto beans.
    Didn’t have to get hot cooking in the kitchen today and everything was done with little fuss and time.

    1. Welcome Sylvia and thanks for sharing what you’re seeing in your local Mexican restaurants – in San Francisco/San Mateo I’ve only seen this rice with tomatoes but your local version sounds delicious, too!



    2. Sylvia – In Mexico, what you describe is “Sopa de Arroz” (aka Mexican Rice), a home-cooked staple. The long-grain rice would typically be washed and drained, then heated in oil; garlic, onion, fresh tomato, optional veggies (peas, carrots, green beans) and salt are added, then cooked in chicken stock.
      Together with “Frijoles de Olla” (pinto beans from the pot), this inexpensive source of protein is the backbone of Mexican home cooking.
      Although cooking the rice in a pressure cooker has marginal advantages, pressure-cooked the frijoles is a must-do.

      1. @tofu4brains, Yes, that’s it so delicious. I did forget the garlic. The mexican ladies used to fix this often for my grandchildren, who are all grown up now. Babies love it just as much as the adults. She would put the garlic, some liquid and tomato paste was tossed into a blender for a quick and easy mix and the rest fresh and diced, added after the rice was browned and cooked…still our favorite way. Being an avid artisan sourdough bread baker. The simplicity of making fresh tortilla’s is so enjoyable while everything simmer’s away.

        1. I did mean to say clearer…’the rest of the stock, fresh veggies, diced added after the rice was browned to finish cooking’.

  16. I think because we have the most delicious year round growing and farmer’s market’s with veggies and the very sweetest corn available . ‘Chino’s’ farm is practically around the corner and the sweetest organic corn, growing like crazy. No wonder the local’s toss in so many veggies : ) in. I hope you try some corn in your rice. It gives such a nice added flavor with a very pleasant little bite added.

  17. I tried this recipe and my rice still came out crunchy, why? I did everything the recipes says.

    1. Without knowing exactly what you did, it is a bit hard to guess.
      Make and model of pressure cooker may be relevant. As is type, brand and age of the rice you used. How ripe and juicy were the tomatoes? and so on.

      Was there still liquid in the pot at the end?

      The most likely candidates would be time, pressure and lack of moisture. Were the tomatoes dry? (We get some dreadful ones here at times). Was it an electric pressure cooker? These typically cook at a lower pressure then the Stove Top one Laura shows in her photos, so the time would need to be a little longer. If a stove top, did you measure the time from when the PC came to pressure?

      Usually when this happens to me, I am using brown rice (the recipe calls for white) I find I need a little more water for brown, and I let it soak for a while (an hour or so) before cooking.

  18. HI guys, I have updated this recipe with electric pressure cooker instructions!



  19. I was using an electric pressure cooker(farberware 7-1) with fresh tomatoes and white rice. I am going to try the new instructions that Laura added.

  20. Do you measure the liquid with the tomatoes like you do in week three (cooking rice with vegetables). Am I to add the water with the diced tomatoes to bring it up to the recipe measurement??

    1. In this recipe, I have made the calculations for you. But yes, if you’re going to modify the recipe or develop your own, you can add the chopped tomatoes in the measuring vessel (as I noted in the pressure cooking school ; )



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