If you’ve ever strolled through the supermarket and wondered why Spanish rice and Mexican rice were side by side on the same shelf, this post is for you! So now that we’ve got our gears going what are the actual differences between the two? In this blog we will take a look at the key differences between these two rice types. 

All About Spanish Rice

Asia was a set destination for the Spaniards as they travelled the world throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. From their travels, they brought back wheat and rice to Mexico. As the Spaniards were the ones to originally introduce rice to the Mexicans, it’s only natural that Mexicans commonly refer to their rice as, ‘Spanish Rice.’

Texture of Spanish Rice

So, what exactly is the texture of Spanish rice? In simple terms, it is firmer compared to Mexican rice and has a bit more bite. The aroma that it leaves in the air will be stronger than that of Mexican rice and it fares better in dishes that need longer cooking time. The starchiness is around a medium level and it can absorb a lot of liquid while cooking. This rice is typically a ‘spoon’ rice, which means that it is not fluffy and has a tendency to clump together. A very big advantage of this rice is that it does not turn to mush easily (obviously a plus for any rice recipe). It’s pretty mild in flavor and suitable for both sweet and savory applications.


Saffron is the holy-grail ingredient that makes Spanish rice all that it is. It gives it a semi-sweet flavor that is delicate and complex. Besides the sweet, it also has earthy and floral tones. Let’s not forget its vibrant yellow color. This spice is also considered bitter by some people but it is enjoyed by the majority. 

Spanish Rice Dishes 

Mahatma® Rice has various Spanish Rice recipe options to choose from. Here are some of our favorites!

This Quick Spanish Rice recipe can be served as a light meal, a side dish, or packed into an enchilada or taco. Made with Mahatma® White Rice and flavorful herbs. In 30 minutes or less you will be enjoying this classic Spanish dish wishing you had enough for seconds. 

Try this Yellow Rice Recipe made with Mahatma® Yellow Seasoned Rice, chicken, peas carrots and parsley, this recipe is a great substitute to a classic Spanish paella.

Saffron Chicken and Rice

If you are craving lentils try the: Madras Inspired Spanish Rice With Lentils. Madras curry paste isn’t just for Indian dishes as it is used in this fusion meal of Spanish rice and Lentils. This dish mixes up the classic curry with fresh herbs and Spanish Paella rice. A delightful aroma will fill your kitchen that will make your kids come running.

All About Mexican Rice

Now that we know all about Spanish rice and the characteristics that make it unique, let’s dive into the secrets of Mexican rice and what distinct properties it has and how it sets itself apart from the others. 

Texture of Mexican Rice

Mexican rice is soft and fluffy and almost melts in your mouth when it hits your tongue. It is not clumpy or sticky and it tends to be a little on the drier side. 


Did you ever wonder why Mexican rice is a red-orange color? Cumin is the answer. It provides that nutty and spicy taste and is the famous culprit for the red-orange color. Cumin is always an ingredient in this rice. It adds an earthy, nutty, and spicy flavor. It has a softer aroma than Spanish rice.

Mexican Rice Dishes

Mahatma® Rice also has multiple recipe options to offer that are considered ‘Mexican Rice’ dishes. Here are a few:

Try the Arroz Rojo– This red rice is cooked in red stock and tomato juice which gives it that beautiful red glow. The best option for this recipe is Mahatma® White Rice

The rice grains are extra long, which means it contains less starch and cooks to a super fluffy & drier texture which is the desired outcome. 

If you are craving a snack try these Mexican Rice and Cheese Balls. These delicious cheese balls are a perfect appetizer for any type of gathering or to make just for a snack. Crunchy and irresistible they will be gone in a flash. 

Looking for a classic dish? The Classic Mexican Rice is the perfect choice- This is a typical Mexican cuisine dish with ingredients like: cilantro, onions, jalapeños, and tomatoes. It is easy to customize and you can make it all your own by adding ingredients that are unique to your family needs.

Now, when you see the two side by side in the supermarket you will no longer have any doubts as to why they are both one-of-a–kind.

For more useful cooking tips, stay up to date with Mahatma® Rice.

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