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Cheesy Spanish Rice

Loaded with flavor and topped with ooey-gooey cheese, this Cheesy Spanish Rice is an easy fix for any family that loves good food. Made in one skillet and then finished in the oven, this dish can bake while you’re putting the finishing touches on the rest of dinner. Hungry? Let’s get started.

cheesy baked spanish rice in two black serving dishes

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Everyone in my house goes nutty for this amazing dish, and the best part is that it makes the most wonderful leftovers, so try not to eat it all at once!

Ingredients to make Cheesy Spanish Rice

  • Rice
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Onion
  • Green pepper
  • Garlic
  • Cheddar cheese – I like orange sharp cheddar for this recipe, but any will work.

How To Make This Cheesy Rice Recipe

  1. Fry the chopped bacon in a skillet until it just starts cooking.
  2. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid.
  4. Add the drained tomatoes, rice, reserved liquid plus enough water to measure 2.5 cups, and green bell pepper to the skillet.
  5. Bring to a boil and stir. Season with salt.
  6. Pop the just boiled rice into a casserole dish and cover.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes covered, then uncover the dish, top with cheese, and cook an additional 5 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  8. Enjoy!
A casserole dish with a closeup of the baked cheesy spanish rice.

Chef Jenn’s Tips to Make This Easy Spanish Rice

  • Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the bacon, onion, and garlic if your bacon isn’t giving off enough fat.
  • Drain the tomatoes using a kitchen strainer or sieve. Press out as much liquid as you can without mushing the tomatoes.
  • Save the tomato juice! Add enough water to the tomato juice to get to 2.5 cups of liquid. You need this for the rice to cook.
  • Bringing the rice mixture to a boil on the stovetop helps cut down on the cooking time, so make sure you use a large enough skillet to hold it all.
  • Season with salt before it goes into the oven. Trying to add salt to cooked rice is very difficult.

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What To Serve With This Baked Rice Dish

This is a hearty baked rice dish with loads of flavor so you don’t want to overcomplicate the meal. I like serving it with lamb tacos or any other Southwestern-inspired dish, but these picks are also tasty with it.

Or, just enjoy it as a main course – it’s just that good!

How To Store Cheesy Spanish Rice

Not only does this rice dish keep really well in the fridge for a few days as leftovers, but it freezes like a dream!

To freeze: Chill it thoroughly in the fridge. Then wrap it tightly in a freezer-safe zipper-top bag or container. Freeze for up to three months.

To reheat: Thaw it and then heat it in the microwave or oven.

Is Spanish rice healthy?

Well, it’s healthy in the sense that it is made from scratch with wholesome ingredients. However, it is not particularly low fat, low calorie, or low carb.

Is Spanish rice spicy?

No! It has a lovely flavor from the bacon, onions, and tomatoes. You could add a bit of smoked hot paprika to add a bit of spice to the dish if you like.

Do kids like this baked Spanish rice?

Mine sure do, and my teenager will gobble up all the leftovers!

Step By Step Process

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baked cheesy spanish rice in a small oval casserole dish
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3.92 from 24 votes

Cheesy Spanish Rice

Loaded with flavor, this hearty baked rice dish is enough to be a meal on its own, or it makes a stellar side dish.
Course Casseroles, Side Dish
Cuisine American, European
Keyword casserole, cheese, rice, rice dish, spanish rice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 414kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1 28 ounce canned tomatoes drained, and liquid reserved
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 5 slices bacon chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded


  • Drain the tomatoes keeping separate the chunks and the juice. Add enough water to the canned tomato liquid to measure 2.5 cups. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, fry the bacon until partially cooked, about 4 minutes. Add the diced onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice, drained tomatoes, and 2.5 cups of reserved liquid to the skillet. Add the diced green peppers and salt. Mix well and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiled, remove from the heat and carefully transfer the mixture to an oven-safe casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350-F oven for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the casserole dish and stir. Top with cheese and put back in the oven, uncovered, for another 5-10 minutes or until the rice is soft and the cheese is bubbly.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 414kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 747mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 478IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 297mg | Iron: 1mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.