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Arroz Rojo/Spanish rice served in a round white plate with jalapeno slices and cilantro garnished on top. There is a lemon on one side and a bowl of black bean soup on another side.

Spanish rice in Instant pot | Arroz Rojo

  • Author: Yamini
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


A perfectly simple recipe for a delicious Instant pot Spanish rice. Serve it as a side with your favorite vegetarian or non-vegetarian Mexican entree and beans on the side.


  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used Olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 3 medium-size garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup basmati rice (any white rice will do, adjust water accordingly)
  • 1/2 cup  or 1/2 of an 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of tomato bouillon powder ( you can use chicken or vegetable bouillon powder alternatively too)
  • 1.5 cup water ( Use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water if you don't have bouillon powder)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt ( I use pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 1 or 2 jalapenos (slit lengthwise with stem intact)
  • Cilantro for garnish

Ingredients to adjust if you are using tomato paste instead of tomato sauce

  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste INSTEAD of tomato sauce


How to make Arroz Rojo / Spanish Rice in Instant pot


  • Wash the rice multiple times and keep aside for few mins until it gets a little dry.
  • Now dice the onion into small pieces and mince the garlic.
  • Slit the jalapenos lengthwise while still keeping the stem intact.


  • Turn on the Instant pot on manual mode and add oil when it displays 'HOT'.
  • To the oil, add minced garlic and onion and saute for a couple of mins until the onion starts to get slightly translucent.
  • Now add the washed and dried rice to the pot and toast the rice for a few minutes while continuously stirring, until the rice gets golden brown and toasty. You will get a nice aroma at this point. Do not walk away at this stage to avoid burning.
  • Now add the cumin powder, salt, tomato bouillon powder (if using), and saute for a few seconds.
  • Then add water or stock ( use stock/broth if you didn't use bouillon powder) and stir everything really well to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. 
  • Pour the tomato sauce on top of the water but DO NOT STIR (Stirring the tomato sauce might lead to a burn notice while cooking). However, if you are using tomato paste instead of tomato sauce, then make sure to stir it in to mix it evenly with water.
  • Place the slit jalapeno on top of everything.
  • Now close the lid and seal the vent. Cancel the saute mode and turn on the manual mode on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • Once the Instant pot beeps and turns off, let the steam release naturally for 10 minutes, and then do a quick to release the rest of the steam by turning the knob to VENT position.
  • Once all the pressure is released and the pin drops, then open the lid carefully staying away from the steam. Remove the Cooking insert from the Instant pot and leave it on a heat-proof surface for 5 mins without touching the rice.
  • After 5 minutes when the initial heat has escaped, gently fluff the rice using a fork without smashing it. Now leave it again for a couple of minutes, then garnish with cilantro if you prefer to, and serve it with your favorite Mexican entrees.


  • Use either the tomato paste or tomato sauce, not both.
  • Toast the rice until it is golden brown while stirring constantly, to avoid burning.
  • Follow the instructions in the recipe card carefully for handling the rice after done for the perfect texture of rice.
  • Adjust the spice levels to your taste,
    • To increase, add one more diced jalapeno along with the whole ones, and also add red chili powder and pepper if you prefer.
    • To reduce the spice level, reduce the cumin powder and only use one whole jalapeno.
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Instant pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: arroz rojo, Instant pot Spanish rice, Pressure cooker Spanish rice, How to cook red rice, Mexican red rice recipe