Instant Pot Spanish Rice

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This Instant Pot Spanish Rice is a fantastic side dish for both Mexican and Spanish main dishes. The rice, beans, tomatoes, and bell peppers mingle with aromatic spices to form a dish that is a treat for your taste buds.

» Also try this Instant Pot Tomato Soup and Instant Pot Kale White Bean Sausage Soup.

plate of instant pot spanish rice

We love to serve this Spanish rice as a side dish for pork shoulder or Mexican shredded beef. The cumin and chili powder give it a distinctly Mexican flavor, but you can substitute saffron and paprika to give it a more Spanish influence.

Why is it Called Spanish Rice?

The terms Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice are used almost interchangeably in the home cook culinary world. The only two answers I can come up with are that Spanish and Mexican cooking shares some similar ingredients used in this dish: rice, tomatoes, onion, and spices. 

Additionally, in the United States where these two terms are used interchangeably, not many home cooks know what the difference is between what would be considered Spanish (saffron and paprika), vs what would be considered Mexican (cumin and chili powder). Thus, you tend to call it whatever you grew up calling it.

Ingredients You’ll Need for Instant Pot Spanish Rice

Here is everything you need for this rice dish:

  • White rice: Use a medium or long-grain white rice. If you don’t prefer white rice, you can also use brown rice. 
  • Red bell pepper: fresh red and green bell pepper adds flavor to the rice and gives it a nice crunchy element, plus vibrant color.
  • Black beans: Black beans have a mild flavor and creamy texture. 
  • Canned tomatoes: I use canned chopped tomatoes for this rice and pour in the whole can, sauce and all. If you don’t have canned tomatoes available, use fresh tomatoes instead, but make sure they are very ripe.
  • Corn: A can of sweet corn is ideal. You can also use fresh corn shaved from the cob.
  • Small onion
  • Garlic
  • Spanish paprika: Spanish paprika is known for its depth of flavor and slight sweetness.
  • Spices: We use chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. For a more Spanish flair, use Spanish paprika and saffron. 
  • Water
  • Garnish: Freshly chopped cilantro and lime wedges are a perfect combination to top the cooked rice.
chopped bell peppers

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot for more information.

How to Make Instant Pot Spanish Rice

I’m a huge fan of recipes that are essentially a dump and cook process. This is one of those recipes. There aren’t any really complicated steps or multiple modes of cooking. You really just put everything in the Instant Pot and let it do its thing.

bowl of spanish rice
  1. In an Instant Pot inner pot, add all the ingredients and spices except for the bell peppers. If you put those in prior to cooking, they will turn to mush.
  2. Lock the lid and set the vent to sealing.
  3. Press the Pressure Cook button and set the timer to 5 minutes.
  4. Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After that, quickly release the remaining pressure.
  5. Take off the lid and stir the rice to incorporate everything and distribute any remaining water. Now you can add the bell peppers.
  6. Make sure the Instant Pot is set to Warm. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Then fluff up the rice using a fork.
  7. Serve the rice by garnishing it with cilantro and lime wedges.

How to Keep Spanish Rice from Getting Mushy

If your rice gets mushy in the Instant Pot, it means you added too much water or cooked it for too long. I’ve found that cooking for 5 minutes with a 10 minute pressure release turns out perfect. If you allow it to naturally release pressure for longer and/or let it sit on warm with the lid locked, it will overcook and become soggy. 

plate of instant pot spanish rice

Also be aware that if you select the “rice” option instead of setting the timer yourself, your rice will end up being mushy.

Storing Left Over Spanish Rice

It’s possible to store left over rice in the refrigerator or in the freezer. That makes this a great dish to make ahead because you can put it in the freezer and just reheat it whenever you want. It just requires about 1 tablespoon of water in the container and you can microwave it for 1-2 minutes to reheat it.

Reheating it in the Instant Pot could lead to burned or mushy rice, but you can reheat it on sauté mode for 5-10 minutes to get it warmed through.


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plate of instant pot spanish rice

Instant Pot Spanish Rice

This Instant Pot Spanish Rice is a fantastic side dish for both Mexican and Spanish main dishes. The rice, beans, tomatoes, and bell peppers mingle with aromatic spices to form a dish that is a treat for your taste buds.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

4.88 from 33 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Pressurize Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Spanish
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 307 kcal


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 1 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes in their juices
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn rinsed
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • lime wedges for garnish


  • Add all ingredients, except bell pepper and cilantro to the Instant Pot
  • Place lid on Instant Pot and make set the valve to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and set the time to 5 minutes (on high pressure).
  • When cooking is done, allow a natural pressure release for 10-15 minutes, then you can release the remaining pressure.
  • Add bell pepper and stir. Keep on warm for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.


Calories: 307kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 10gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 213mgPotassium: 452mgFiber: 7gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1379IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Rice
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spanish rice

8 thoughts on “Instant Pot Spanish Rice

  1. Kristin says:

    I received a burn error in my instant pot from the rice, which I had poured in after the water. Is it recommended to put the rice in last to prevent burn errors?

    • Laura says:

      Hi Kristen. Some IPs are just more sensitive and need more water to prevent the burn error. I would recommend adding 1/4 cup more water to the pot.

  2. Pascha says:

    “Burn” on that instant pot as soon as it pressurizes. I knew it would happen just looking at the recipe but gave benefit of the doubt. Needs a LOT more water than is called for.

    • Laura says:

      I’ve made this recipe dozens of times and it never burns. Are you using a 6 or 8 quart pot? It will require more water for the 8 quart. But the 1 cup of water plus juice from the tomatoes should be enough.

  3. Dan says:


    To my disappointment my 8qt Instapot displayed burn error. Was hoping for a Mexican rice recipe. I’ll try and add a bit more water. Fingers crossed!

    • Laura says:

      I’m sorry to hear that Dan. The burn notice is one of the big frustrations of the Instant Pot. Some models are more sensitive to it. Adding more water should help.

    • Laura says:

      Sorry to hear yours burned. Some Instant Pot models are more sensitive to it. Keep that in mind for any time you cook rice dishes in your post again. You will need additional water. For me, the water amount in this recipe works well. I have three different Instant Pots and it works in all of them.

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