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Tasty Pairings: 8 BEST Side Dishes for Spanish Rice

Spanish rice is a side dish that is often made to go with Mexican food, and it is traditionally not very spicy.

However, you can find Spanish rice dishes that are quite spicy as well.

The ingredients in Spanish rice depend on the region and who is making it, but typically white long-grain or basmati rice and tomato sauce are required for this dish.

Some people like to add onion, garlic, and diced green chiles as well.

When cooking Spanish rice, people can add lots of different spices, such as cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cilantro.

Spanish rice is a great option if you’re not feeling anything complicated in the kitchen but still want to make a delicious dish.

It’s also an easy way to use up leftovers if you’re cooking enough for two or more people.

If you’re looking to make this dish for breakfast, the best side dishes would be fruit, fresh vegetables, or low-fat yogurt.

As far as appetizers go, try serving them with non-fried vegetables like carrots and celery sticks.

For snacks, opt for crackers, pita chips, or chips and salsa.

In this article, we will list 8 of the best side dishes to serve with Spanish rice as part of a larger meal.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Spanish Rice?

why consider serving side dishes for spanish rice

If you are looking for some new ideas to spice up your Spanish rice, you may want to consider serving some side dishes alongside them.

While this dish is traditionally served as a one-dish meal on its own, many people might also serve it with other types of foods for more variety.

They may increase the nutritional value of their meal or choose to serve other foods that they enjoy eating.

Another benefit of including side dishes with Spanish rice is that you can serve it to picky eaters.

If someone doesn’t like something about the meal, you can let them focus on the accompanying dish rather than the main course.

For instance, if they don’t care for tomatoes or Mexican spices in their food but enjoy a side of rice, you can give them just that.

What to Serve with Spanish Rice? 8 BEST Side Dishes

what to serve with spanish rice best side dishes

So, what types of side dishes should you consider? This article will discuss some popular options and explain why they work well with this dish.

We will also talk about the flavor of these side dishes to give you an idea of what flavors might blend nicely.

1 – Refried Beans

refried beans

Refried beans are another common side dish that goes well with Spanish rice.

They are easy to make in bulk in advance and can be served either hot or cold depending on the meal you want to serve them.

However, it’s important to remember to go easy on the spices when you use this dish as a side because you don’t want it to overpower the dish you’re serving with it.

If you like spicy food but prefer to keep your side dishes mild, this is a great way to get around that problem and still enjoy all of the flavors in your meal.

However, this is also a good option if you’re cooking for kids and don’t want to worry about them disliking the main dish just because it is spicy.

2 – Coleslaw


Coleslaw can be served hot or cold, so you don’t have to worry about preheating your oven for this dish either.

It’s also nice because there are so many different flavors of coleslaw that you can experiment with.

If the coleslaw dish on its own is too spicy, you can always serve it on the side and let people add their spices to their food if they like.

For a lighter flavor that goes well with Mexican dishes but doesn’t overwhelm them, you can make coleslaw dressing out of mayonnaise and lemon juice.

This will give it a sweet flavor, but you’re still using lemon juice to bring the acidic factor down so that it’s not too much for your Mexican food to handle.

3 – Chips and Salsa

chips and salsa

Typically served as an appetizer before the main dish, chips and salsa are another simple side dish idea paired with Spanish rice perfectly.

Salsa can be spicy on its own if it has jalapenos in it, but the rice helps balance that out and prevents your entire meal from being too spicy or overpowering.

This is also a good option for kids because they may not like the spiciness of the main dish but will love munching on chips and salsa while they wait.

It’s also a good appetizer for adults to snack on before dinner if they aren’t sure what their main dish will be yet, or want something to nibble on before the food is served.

4 – Green Beans

green beans

Green beans are another side dish that can either be served hot or cold.

They go well with most Mexican flavors, so they are often served on the side of dishes that have some spicy components.

However, you can also serve these beans with cheese or any other meat if you want a heartier dish without too much spice in it.

Not only do these green beans make an excellent side dish for Spanish rice, but they are also an excellent addition to any salad.

They can be served cold without any heat applied, making them a refreshing side item that goes well with just about anything.

5 – Baked Potatoes

baked potatoes

This is another common side dish option that you can eat, either hot or cold, depending on the meal you are serving it with.

If you have baked potatoes for dinner, you can pair them with Spanish rice because they are both fairly simple side dishes that go well together.

However, if your family prefers something a little more filling, this is also an excellent side dish option that can be purchased at almost any restaurant or neighborhood grocery store.

Making your own baked potatoes isn’t that difficult to do, but if you want something even easier than microwaving them (but still flavorful), consider purchasing pre-made mashed potatoes and heating them in the microwave before serving them with Spanish rice.

6 – Fajitas


Fajitas make both a great appetizer or side dish depending on your family’s preferences, but they work well with Spanish rice because of the way that they are prepared.

The peppers and vegetables inside of fajitas do not need to be cooked ahead of time, which means you won’t have to wait for anything to cool down before adding it to your Spanish rice.

This is also a good side dish option if you are serving fajitas as the main dish.

The two go well together because they are both spicy Mexican foods that can be paired with tortillas or served independently.

7 – Chicken Tacos

chicken tacos

Chicken tacos can be served hot or cold, and there are a wide variety of ways to eat them.

For example, if your family prefers eating their food with tortillas instead of eating it on its own, you can make chicken taco wraps instead of taco salads.

The same goes for serving chicken tacos as a side dish to Spanish rice.

Place the chicken inside of a tortilla, add some spiced-up Spanish rice, and serve it together for an easy fusion meal that is both delicious and fiery.

You can also make your tacos spicy by adding jalapenos but be careful not to add too many because some family members may not like a lot of spicinesses.

8 – Carnitas


Carnitas make a great main dish because they are easy to prepare, but you can also serve this tasty carnitas as an appetizer or side dish.

They come pre-packaged and seasoned, which means all you need to do is heat them in the microwave (or oven) and feed your family.

When served with Spanish rice, carnitas can be either hot or cold, depending on your preference.

They are normally eaten as tacos, but if some family members do not like tortillas, you can serve them as a side dish instead.

To change things up, even more, try making carnitas nachos.


Spanish rice is an excellent side dish option for most meals, but it does not pair well with every single food.

That’s why it’s important to pick the right side dishes that go along with this spicy rice without overpowering its flavor or completely defeating the purpose of eating Spanish rice in the first place.

Whether you’re looking for something light and cold or hearty and hot, there is a side dish out there that will compliment Spanish rice without ruining its flavor.

So with that being said, the next time you’re serving Spanish rice, try out some of these side dishes and let us know how it goes.

what to serve with spanish rice

What to Serve with Spanish Rice? 8 BEST Side Dishes

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Refried Beans
  • Coleslaw
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Green Beans
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Fajitas
  • Chicken Tacos
  • Carnitas


  • Choose your favorite recipe from the list of options.
  • Organize all required ingredients and prepare a delicious meal in 30 minutes or less!
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