This Cheesy Spanish Rice recipe is an easy side dish made in one pot and feeds a crowd! It's made with corn, peppers, and cheddar cheese.
This post was sponsored by Crystal Farms but the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
This One Pot Spanish Rice is the perfect side dish for any family gathering. It has that comfort food factor that we all love around the holidays but works as a great side dish all year round!
My family doesn't have any hard and fast holiday food traditions. What we eat from year to year tends to vary. Sometimes we eat turkey for Thanksgiving and sometimes we eat burritos. For Christmas we might eat ham or we might eat lasagna.
Pizza makes a frequent appearance at holiday gatherings. I'm personally a big fan of the food roulette. It keeps things interesting and it's always delicious.
One dish that I could eat every day of the year - holiday or not - is tacos. My love for tacos is well documented. Chicken, beef, fish, vegetarian - I love em' all.
Tacos are a great meal to make for family gatherings. It's always nice to have an assortment of toppings and side dishes like Spanish Rice to go with the tacos when feeding a crowd.
I love to use Crystal Farms® shredded sharp cheddar for the 'cheesy' party of this Cheesy Spanish Rice.
This cheese melts perfectly and the sharpness of the cheddar kind of 'ties' the whole dish together. It adds just the right amount of flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
The shredded cheese is great over the holidays because it cuts out the step of having to do it yourself. We all have enough on our plates around the holidays and I know we're all about saving some time in the kitchen. Crystal Farms is made by cheese lovers, for cheese lovers.
And it comes from Wisconsin. There's no Minnesota/Wisconsin rivalry for this gal - I'm all about the cheese love.
What Vegetables Can I Add To Spanish Rice?
This comforting side dish is super easy to make.
This recipe calls for garlic, onions, bell peppers, and corn.
The peppers add a vegetal flavor and the corn adds great sweetness. Both add nice texture to the dish.
- The first step is to mince 6 cloves of garlic and 1 onion (any color).
- The next step is to dice 2 bell peppers. You can use any color combination you like but I like to use 2 different colors to make the dish more visually appealing. This is always a plus when serving guests. Really, though, you can use any pepper combination you like.
How To Make Spanish Rice From Scratch
Next up is to fry those aromatics and make your house smell amazing. I love to use my cast iron Dutch oven skillet for this recipe. It's hearty and heavy-bottomed.
The cast iron cooks the rice evenly and helps prevent it from burning. Any kind of sturdy pan like this or a soup pot would work great.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in the pan and add the garlic and onions.
- Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add all of the diced peppers and saute for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- At this point add 1 ½ cups of white rice, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. ground cumin, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
- Saute the rice and spices along with the aromatics for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often. This will toast the rice along with the spices and help to release their flavors.
How Long Does Cheesy Rice Take To Cook?
The next step is to add the liquids to the pan.
- Add 3 cups of vegetable broth and 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce.
- Stir everything together and add 2 cups of frozen corn.
- Bring the whole mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer/low boil.
- Place the cover on the pan and cook the rice on low heat for 15 minutes.
Stir the rice every 5 minutes or so to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. The rice should be fully cooked but retain it's 'bite' at this point. You don't want to cook the rice until it's mushy.
If 15 minutes is not long enough, simply cook for a few more minutes.
How Much Cheese Should I Add?
The last step is to add the cheese. Once the rice is cooked add 1 cup of the sharp cheddar to the pot. Stir the cheese into the rice until it's incorporated.
The shredded cheese melts perfectly and distributes nicely throughout the dish.
I love the sharpness of the cheddar alongside the sweetness of the peppers and corn and the smokiness of the paprika.
What To Serve With Spanish Rice
The last step is to garnish and serve. I love to garnish this dish with some avocado (my stepdad makes fun of me for garnishing all my dishes with avocado) and some lime.
The acid from the lime freshens the whole thing up and avocado is just awesome.
Spanish Rice is a great side dish to serve with any type of Mexican dish - Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, fajitas.
I also like it with grilled chicken breasts.
It's perfect paired with pinto, re-fried, or black beans.
Love Tex Mex flavors? Check out these recipes!
- Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos
- Air Fried Shrimp Tacos
- Sweet Potato Avocado Tacos
- Cheesy Ground Beef Enchiladas
- Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
- Roasted Vegetable Tacos
- Breaded Air Fryer Fish Tacos
- Southwest Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- Skillet Chicken Chipotle Tacos
- Shredded Barbacoa Tacos
How Long Does This Rice Last In The Fridge?
Any leftover Cheesy Spanish Rice may be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the fridge.
Be sure to allow the rice to cool completely before transferring to the fridge for storage.
Your guests will love this Cheesy Spanish Rice. It's the perfect accompaniment to your taco-themed holiday (or anytime) dinner!
Looking for more Southwest flavors? Check out these recipes!
- Southwest Chipotle Coleslaw
- Cilantro Lime Kohlrabi Slaw
- Southwest Black Bean Corn Salad
- Southwest Ground Beef Chili
- Quinoa Enchilada Casserole
- Southwest Baked Egg Rolls
- Grilled Southwest Burgers
- Crockpot Tortilla Soup
Love Rice? Don't Miss These Recipes!
Cheesy Spanish Rice (One Pot)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion
- 2 bell peppers any two colors
- 1 Tbsp. oil
- 1 ½ cups rice
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 2 cups frozen corn
- kosher salt adjust to taste
- pepper adjust to taste
- 1 heaping cup Crystal Farms® shredded sharp cheddar cheese or cheese of choice
- avocado, limes, and cilantro for garnish optional
- Mince 6 cloves garlic and 1 small onion (can use white, yellow, or red onion).
- Dice 2 bell peppers (can use any bell pepper color combination of choice).
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in cast iron Dutch oven skillet or any heavy-bottomed soup pan. Add the minced garlic and onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the diced bell peppers to the garlic and onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 3 cups of vegetable broth and 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce to the pan and stir together. Add 2 cups of frozen corn and stir once again to combine.
- Bring to boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer/low boil. Place the cover on the pan and cook for 15 minutes on a simmer/low boil. Stir the rice every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
- After 15 minutes, the rice should be cooked. If the rice is still too hard, simply cook for an additional couple of minutes.
- Add a heaping cup of Crystal Farms® shredded sharp cheddar and stir to incorporate. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
- Garnish with avocado, limes, and cilantro (optional).