Slow Cooker Spanish Rice

This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that’s perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!

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This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that's perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!

We’re smack in the middle of the dog days of summer.  Have you ever wondered why they’re called the dog days of summer?  As a kid, I thought it was because our dogs just laid around in the sun during the summer.  These late summer days are usually insanely hot, and all you want to do is lay around.  I get it. 

Turns out the dog days get their name from astrology, though.  The Greeks and Romans called this period the dog days because this is when Sirius (the dog star) appeared to rise before the sun each morning.

This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that's perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!

Thanks to science, we now know that the dog days are completely unrelated to the spike in temperatures during the same time.  It’s purely a coincidence.  In fact, Sirius’ position related to the sun slowly changes each year.  That means in, oh, about 10,000 years, Sirius will appear to rise before the sun in December instead of August.  So will that be the dog days of winter?

Now you can impress your friends at the next summer picnic or pool party!  (Either you’ll impress them with your dog days knowledge, or you’ll suddenly realize that you’re standing all by yourself…)

This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that's perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!

Slow Cooker Spanish Rice

No matter whether it’s summer or winter, there are just some recipes that are household staples.  For us, this Slow Cooker Spanish Rice recipe is one of them.  We’ve made it the middle of the summer and served it alongside grilled sausages or chicken.  We’ve made it in the middle of winter and served it with a piece of baked salmon.  Heck, we’ve even added some cooked ground beef to this recipe and turned it into a main dish all by itself.

This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is versatile.  Versatile and easy.  You more or less just toss everything into a crock pot and let it cook for several hours.  That’s several hours you can be outside mowing the lawn, cleaning the deck or contemplating the meaning of dog days of summer.

This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that's perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!

I do highly recommend squeezing a fresh lime into this Slow Cooker Spanish Rice once it’s cooked.  The brightness and acidity from the lime juice pairs so well with the taste of the other flavors in here.  I also love adding a handful of chopped cilantro, but I know some folks have different opinions about cilantro.  I get it.  Just pass me your cilantro, and I’ll toss it into my Slow Cooker Spanish Rice instead!  Seriously, though, this slow cooker rice recipe is helpful to keep in mind for busy summer days or lazy winter days.  Enjoy!

How to Reheat Leftovers

Leftover slow cooker rice should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can be microwaved to reheat, but we typically put the rice in a dry skillet with a splash of water. Cover the skillet and let cook on stove top over low heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any clumps.

This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that's perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!

Did you make this Slow Cooker Spanish Rice at home?  Leave a comment below.  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!

Looking for more tasty side dishes?  Check out these other favorites:

New England Potato Salad with Horseradish Cheddar
Parmesan Truffle Fries
Tuscan White Beans
Prosciutto and Pea Pasta Salad
Bacon Wrapped Corn with Honey BBQ Sauce

This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that's perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!

Slow Cooker Spanish Rice

This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that’s perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 162kcal



  • Using a large skillet, add olive oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add rice and diced onions; stir. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often, or until rice has turned light brown in color.
  • Spray a standard slow cooker with non-stick baking spray.
  • Transfer the rice into the slow cooker and add broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, chili powder, cumin and salt; stir until well combined.
  • Cover and cook on high for 2½-3 hours, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Stir fresh cilantro into rice.
  • Garnish with fresh lime wedges before serving.
This Slow Cooker Spanish Rice is an easy and delicious side dish that's perfect for both the dog days of summer and the cold nights of winter!

Looking for another easy crockpot recipe? Check out these other favorites, too:

These Slow Cooker Green Beans are an easy and tasty way side dish. They're perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas...or just a cold winter day!
Slow Cooker Green Beans
Looking for a good taco recipe? These Slow Cooker Green Chili Tacos are packed with flavor - and they're a real crowd pleaser!
Slow Cooker Green Chili Tacos

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    1. Haha! I know exactly which song you’re talking about, Matt. It’s a good one…but it’s also the kind of song that just gets stuck in your head all day. My apologies there! As a parent, I have truly begun to appreciate the value of a good slow cooker recipe. This rice is a tasty one! Thanks, my friend!

    1. I learned something about the dog days, too, Alexandra! That was just a term I’d always heard growing up, but I never know the meaning of it. And know we both know! 🙂

      In other news, go pull out your slow cooker! I have really begun to appreciate the value of tasty slow cooker recipes. This rice is a good one for sure!

  1. this really looks yum david. i do love a bit of rice! yes coriander (your cilantro) is very polarising, isn’t it? i learned to love it over time, and now it’s a fave herb. a bit like basil… cheers sherry

    1. I’m with ya on the coriander (cilantro), Sherry. I’ve always loved it myself, but I know some folks say it tastes like dish soap. Actually, I read somewhere that it’s coded in your DNA as to whether you like cilantro or not. Isn’t that crazy!?

  2. When I was a kid, my aunt used to make Spanish Rice for every family gathering … and I secretly hated it. It had to be a secret hatred, because everyone always raved about her rice, and I felt like maybe I was just missing something, but whatever I was missing, I guess it wasn’t manners.

  3. This is great. My grand daughter is an avid beans and rice kid, so she’d love this recipe. But, why the slow cooker? You can tell I’m not an expert on slow cookers probably. But I don’t see why you can’t do the sautéing and then finish with the cooking. Does the slow cooker automatically turn off?

    1. You nailed it, Mimi! Most slow cookers have an auto shut off, so that way you can “set it and forget it.” It makes life easier for busy weeknights, or if you’re trying to serve this for a party. However, with that said, you can absolutely make this on the stovetop, too!

      1. Hello David…I expanded your recipe for 20 servings. Do you think I can make that in a large crockpot? By large I mean 6 qt (I believe). Will it all still cook the same? I want to take it to an event and really need it in a crockpot to stay hot. Thanks so much!

        1. Hey Beverly! Thanks so much for stopping by. So I’ll be honest that I’ve never expanded this recipe to feed 20. However, with that said, if you have a crockpot large enough, then it should work just fine. The only thing I might suggest is stirring the rice about halfway through – I worry with a large amount that the exterior of the crockpot might be warmer than the interior. That’s just a guess, though. I do think it will work, though! Let me know how it turns out??

      2. Can you tell me how to change it too. Stovetop version? I love the flavor but my rice was still crunchy at 4 hours.

        1. Hey Paula! I’m sorry to hear the rice was still crunchy at 4 hours. I’ve learned that different brands of slow cookers don’t have a standard temperature for low and high…and I’d guess that’s the problem here.

          The flavor of this recipe is great so I’m glad you want to make at as a stovetop version! To make a stovetop version, go through Step 3 in the recipe. However, at that point, bring the liquid to a boil in the skillet. Once boiling, stir and cover the pan. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff before serving. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

    1. Easy peasy for sure! I love all of the seasonings that go into Spanish rice. It really is such a versatile side dish. Thanks, Kathy! 🙂

    1. Hey Dawn! The slow cooker sure does make this one nice and easy…and it’s packed with flavor, too. I hope you’ve been doing well, my friend!

  4. 5 stars
    I love Spanish rice — any time of year. Goes so well with so many different things. I had no idea where “dog days” came from. So interesting. I was with you with the lazy dog theory. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. I still say the ‘lazy dog’ theory holds some merit! But I’m with ya on the Spanish rice, Valentina. It’s such a flavorful recipe, and it goes with all sorts of meals. Nice to have easy recipes like this one stashed away in your back pocket!

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks to you, learnt something completely new todays. I had absolutely no clue of the actual meaning of “dog days”! The Spanish rice looks quite stunning and the flavor is bang on.

    1. Yup, that’s an interesting story about ‘dog days,’ right? I thought it always had to do with lazy dogs in the hot summer. Haha! Thanks so much, Kankana!

  6. 5 stars
    Well here’s a delicious new recipe for me to try in my slow cooker. Nice one David. Thanks! And also thanks for putting The Florence and the Machines song in my head. Actually, it’s a favourite song of mine and it was on one of my playlists at the gym this morning anyway. Hope you are well!

    1. Haha…that Florence and the Machines song is a good one! (Perhaps a little overplayed if you ask me, but still good.) And this recipe is quite tasty. I love slow cooker recipes where I can just set it and walk away. 🙂 Thanks, Neil!

  7. This is the first time I heard of dog days and before I read the rest of the post I was thinking that you must be talking about hot dogs. 😂 Thank you for the info, David. I love one-pot rice recipes and this looks legit!

    1. Haha! I can see the confusion there, Ruwani. So ‘dog days of summer’ are often used to describe this time of the year. Turns out it has nothing to do with summer at all! In other news, this recipe for baked beans is delicious…and it smells so good while it’s simmering away in the kitchen. Thanks so much, my friend!

  8. I have a question, if I double the recipe, do I need to increase the time? I plan to cook this for my church gathering tomorrow. Going to let it crockpot while I am at church for carry in after. Thanks so much,Elaine

    1. Hey Elaine! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog…I hope you really enjoy this recipe. 🙂 As far as cooking time, I can’t say with 100% certainty as I’ve never doubled this recipe myself. However, with that said, my gut feeling here is the cook time should stay the same since you are doubling both the dry and wet ingredients. Thanks, and enjoy!

    1. Hey Kayla! First of all, congrats on your upcoming wedding. That’s awesome! I hope it’s a wonderful night with all of your friends and family. 🙂 Second, thank you so much for choosing this recipe. It’s really tasty, and it’s a family favorite around here. I hope you have a bunch of slow cookers going, though. I can’t imagine what a slow cooker for 62 people might look like. Haha! Cheers, and enjoy!

    1. Hey Dawn! You absolutely don’t need to cook the rice first. I just like browning the rice a bit as it adds an extra layer of flavor for very little effort. However, you can indeed throw everything into the crock pot and let it go. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

  9. This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try this out with the pork tamales we’re having for Christmas Eve dinner! I can crockpot it while at Mass. Looking forward to enjoying it during the dog days of winter! 😉

    1. Hey Gina! Thank you so much for the kind words. 🙂 This really is an easy recipe (almost silly how easy it is), but it’s so comforting, too. And I do think it would go quite well with those pork tamales…yum!! Happy Holidays my friend!

    1. Hey Krisha! I recommend using regular white rice here…not the instant version. I hope this helps! And I hope you enjoy this recipe, too. Cheers!

  10. 5 stars
    Well it’s way past August ( what I wouldn’t give to go back in time I’m freezing my butt off here in Wyoming 🤣🤣) I’ll let you know in about three hours how my price turned out I hope I didn’t screw it up thank you for the recipe

    1. Oh, I hear ya about freezing your butt off! It’s freezing here in upstate New York, and I’m getting really over this winter weather. I hope you enjoyed this slow cooker rice! It’s a fun recipe for sure. 🙂 Stay warm, my friend!

  11. As a late convert to a vegetarian diet, and realising that the usual fare of chick peas, sweet potato, mushroom and butternut squash are not to my palate, I am always on the lookout for flavoursome recipes that I can adapt. This looks really good, colourful and packed with flavour. I will add some sliced veggie sausage before serving and have this for supper. Thank you.

    1. Hey Elly! This would be a great recipe for a vegetarian diet – just use vegetable stock instead of chicken broth. And it’s a versatile one, too! As you noted, you could add sausage, or you could use this for burritos/tacos or just as a side dish by itself. I hope you enjoy!!

  12. 5 stars
    Okay so I didn’t have called tomatoes so I used some salsa in place. All 7 of us ate it loved it and it’s now a new family favorite! Thank you for the recipe. With 7 kids and always extra friends this was quick and easy with no complaints from the toddlers to the teenagers. Next time I’m adding shredded chicken and making it a one bowl dinner. Thanks again!

    1. Hey Lisa! So glad you and the family enjoyed this recipe – and I think salsa is a great idea for a substitute here. 7 in the family + visitors!? You almost need two slow cookers going to feed that crowd! 🙂 I really appreciate you stopping back by to leave a comment, too. Hope you have a great week ahead!

  13. I am needing a recipe and picking yours!
    This Friday, I signed up as a bringer of Spanish Rice to our Taco Work meet. A question I have is…to keep it moist for the lunch hour, do I add tomato juice, more diced tomatoes or more broth? Just so it doesn’t dry out?

    1. Hey Elisabeth! Well this recipe certainly is perfect for bringing Spanish Rice to a work potluck. In order to keep this one moist for longer, I would recommend adding more chicken stock. However, you might want to add a small amount (~1/4 cup) every hour or two to prevent it from overcooking – you just want to add enough to keep it moist rather than allow the rice to cook more. And make sure to switch it to warm when the timer is up on the slow cooker – that’ll help prevent it from overcooking, too! I hope you have a great taco lunch on Friday!

    1. Hey Michael! Since you’re serving a group of 12, I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe – that might mean 2 slow cookers though. Either way, it’s better to have too much food than not enough when you’re serving a crowd, so I’d double it if I were hosting. Enjoy the taco party!

  14. I made this receipe and cooked it on low for 5 hours. The taste was great but the rice was gummy and wet. Any tips?

    1. Hey Laura! So glad you enjoyed the flavor of this rice – it’s quite tasty. As far as it being gummy and wet, that sounds like it might be a little too much on the liquid side. I’ve always cooked this recipe on high heat for a shorter amount of time, so I’m thinking the lower heat doesn’t help absorb as much water? That’s purely a guess though! Next time, try high heat – and then just watch it starting at about 2.5 hours to see if it needs more time.

      Oh, another tip is to take the top off of the slow cooker to let more liquid evaporate. You’d obviously need to keep an eye on it so that the rice doesn’t burn and stick to the sides of the slow cooker, though. I hope this helps!!

  15. 5 stars
    really enjoyed this recipe. Made some changes using brown rice instead and vegetable broth. Also added boneless and skinless chicken to it. Came out excellent

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Jack – I really appreciate it! It’s also good to hear that brown rice works for this recipe.

  16. This looks delicious, I’m definitely going to give it a try. Would you recommend cooking on low or high in slow cooker?? Thank you.

    1. Hey Bella! I would recommend cooking on high for 2½-3 hours. You’ll have to keep an eye on it as you want all of the liquid to evaporate, but you don’t want to overcook the rice and have it end up mushy. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!!

    1. Hey Jay! You know, that’s a good question, and I don’t have answer for you. I always assumed the frying of the rice at the beginning was for added flavor, but it could also affect the way the rice absorbs water. I’m not sure. With that said, you can absolutely still overcook the rice (and it turns mushy) if you don’t keep an eye on it. We make this recipe fairly regularly, and I do remember a time when I got distracted and the rice stayed in the slow cooker too long. It did get mushy that time. Either way, I hope you enjoy this recipe!

  17. I tried this yesterday for a large family dinner. The flavor was very good. However, the rice was not done completely, a little crunchy. I even cooked it for 4 and a half hours on high. Did I not saite ot long enough? Was there not enough fluid (It wasnt dry)? I would appreciate any tips. Hoping to try this one again!

    1. Hey Holly! So glad you made this recipe, and I’m glad the flavor was good. I’m a little confused by your note. I’ve had other readers comment with a similar experience, but I’ve also had other readers say it worked perfectly. I’m kinda wondering if maybe it’s type of rice (I used long-grain white rice)? Or even brand of slow cooker? (I wonder if different slow cookers have slightly different cooking temperatures??) If you make this one again, I’m thinking it might be worth trying to stir the rice in the slow cooker every hour or so. That might help it cook more evenly. I’ve never had this happen here, and we’ve made this rice several times. I’m trying to troubleshoot it without being there to see it! Either way, I hope these tips help!

  18. I am not having much luck with this recipe. It is now over 4 hours and rice is still crunchy. I have been adding increments of water which I also hoped would dilute the heavy tomato sauce taste. Have I stirred and opened slow cooker lid too often and lost moisture? What went wrong? Should I have added large amount of liquid all at once? HELP! I really want to get this right and add it to my rotation as am a big fan of Spanish rice.

    1. Hey Maggie! Yikes – I’m surprised that the rice is still crunchy after 4 hours. If anything, I usually have to watch this recipe so that the rice doesn’t get overcooked in 2.5-3 hours. Did you use long-grain white rice? Have you been cooking it on high? My gut feeling is that the rice will eventually absorb the liquid and soften up. It does feel like the liquid is disappearing somehow rather than absorbing into the rice, but I don’t think that much liquid would have evaporated from opening the lid of the slow cooker. It’s hard to say without seeing it, but I’d say double check the ingredients and temperature and then just give it more time. The rice has to eventually cook!

  19. Can this recipe be made ahead and frozen to be rewarmed? Or is it better to cook and serve the same day? I’m trying to meal prep for a family reunion.

    1. Hey Teresa! That’s a good question. I’ve never tried freezing and reheating rice. I know it can be done as I’ve heard of it before, but I honestly can’t offer any advice there. Ideally you could give it a trial run before the actual family reunion to see how it works, but I know that might be a lot of work. Cooking/serving on the same day is almost always better, but I do understand meal prepping for large events. Let me know how it turns out!!

  20. Has anyone tried halving the recipe please? I only have a small slow cooker. Or could you tell me what size you used for the 2 cups of rice. Thank you

    1. Hey Carol! I haven’t tried halving this recipe myself, but it should work quite well – the only thing is you might want to watch that time closely the first time you make it. I feel like the timing should be the same, but it’s better to be safe and check it more often!

      As far as slow cookers, I have a “standard” 6-7 quart version. Hope this helps!!

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