Copy-Cat Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice

Copy-Cat Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice
Jump to Recipe

This has been a fun and delicious week! Cinco de Mayo is a great way to celebrate the Mexican heritage, especially with food. This week we enjoyed Queso Chicken, homemade burritos made with the leftovers plus refried beans, and tonight we will have fish tacos. Tuesday night we had the queso chicken with my copy-cat Rice-a-Roni Spanish rice. It is simple to make and oh my gravy good!

A Rice for All Occasions

Rice-a-Roni. Just the name alone brings back memories of commercials for the San Francisco treat. I must admit I was addicted to the beef flavor. Mom bought it for my lunches since I loved it so much and she made the chicken variety pretty often. When I grew up, I wasn’t the best cook so box mixes were my thing. Now that I am the chief cook and bottle washer in my home (I know, showing my age with that one), I would prefer homemade.

A few years ago, my hubby kinda made a face when I said I wanted him to pick me up some of the trusty box mixes. I finally got it out of him that he didnt really care for them. They were missing something he couldnt put his finger on. Well, we can’t have that can we? I stewed on it a while and started hunting in the pantry for things I knew were in the mix. I knew what my family did enjoy and the spices that made them so I felt I had a head start. It took two tries to get it ready for that night’s supper (burned the first one, sorry hubby) but he loved it so I knew I had something.

That time around was a chicken flavor. Since then I have made a beef and a Spanish rice. The latter is the most requested side-dish here in the Hancock-Crans household. It went perfectly with the queso chicken, but would highlight any of your main courses. Let’s get started.

This is for the Spanish rice but keep an eye out for future posts where I will show you how to make other varieties.

Super Easy, Super Good

The prep for this is simple. Measure out 1 cup of instant rice and 1/2 a cup of fideo pasta. This pasta is very small and thin. If you don’t have fideo, you can break vermicelli or angel hair spaghetti into small pieces and it will do just fine.

rice and vermicelli on a white plate

This takes 2 cups of chicken broth. Usually I mix a tablespoon of chicken bouillon to each cup of water.

chicken broth in a measuring cup

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the rice and fideo mixture and sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Sauté until the rice and pasta is nice and toasted.

You can find my recipe for homemade taco seasoning here.

rice and vermicelli in a white skillet

Pour the chicken broth into the pan and stir occasionally on a simmer. The pasta will get tender fairly quickly but the instant rice will take a few minutes.

rice and vermicelli in a white skillet

Add your diced tomatoes with green chilis. It can be any brand. Remember not to drain the tomatoes. The rice needs the liquid and the flavors from the diced tomatoes will enhance the grains. The aromas are really going to come alive now!

diced tomatoes and rice

The rice dish will thicken while the rice soaks up the juices of the chicken stock and the tomatoes.

spanish rice cooking in a frying pan with a wooden spatula

Now doesn’t that look absolutely amazing?! It really brought the queso chicken to life, as well. I hope you enjoy this recipe and let me know what you would like me to bring to your table next.

Queso Chicken with Spanish Rice on a white plate sitting on a marble table
spanish rice cooking in a frying pan with a wooden spatula

Copy-Cat Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice

Don't you just love Spanish rice? This recipe is my version of the much loved classic Rice-a-Roni. Lets make this a family favorite for your home as it is for mine.
4.20 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • ½ cup fideo or vermicelli
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 package taco seasoning

Optional ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro


  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.
  • Add rice and fideo mixture and sprinkle with one package of taco seasoning.
    rice and vermicelli in a white skillet
  • Sauté until the rice and pasta are slightly toasted.
  • Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth and stir occasionally on a simmer until the rice is tender.
    diced tomatoes and rice
  • Add 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilis and any optional ingredients now. Do not drain the tomatoes.
  • Cook steadily on simmer until the rice absorbs the liquid.
    spanish rice cooking in a frying pan with a wooden spatula
Keyword copy-cat, copycat, Rice-a-Roni, side dish, Spanish rice

7 thoughts on “Copy-Cat Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice”

  • 5 stars
    I never thought of making my own Rice-A-Roni before. I always buy the boxed ones, so I’m happy to know that I can make my own. The recipe is so easy and simple; I love that. Thank you so much for the recipe; I will definitely try it.

  • 4 stars
    im trying to get more veggies into our diet so i added a fair amount of diced celery and green onion. but glad to hasve found your advice for a starting point.

  • 5 stars
    Was very happy with this recipe. I used Orzo and regular white rice. I added a green pepper and a fresh tomato from my garden and cook time was right at 15 minutes. Taste was great and I will use this recipe again. Would add an onion next time.

  • 2 stars
    Simply want to say your article is ass astonishing.
    The clearness for your put up is simply nie and i cann assume you are knowledgeable in this
    subject. Well withh your permission let me to
    clutch your RSS feed to stay upp to date with forthcoming post.

    Thwnk you one million and please carry on thhe enjoyable work.

    Feell free too visit my website; Cathern

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating