30-Minutes Spanish Rice Soup Recipe – A Must Try Recipe

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Spain whispers its secrets through its food. Each bite tells a tale. Vibrant. Rich. Unforgettable. Dive into the heart of Spanish culture with our spanish rice soup recipe. A symphony of flavors dances in every spoonful. 

spanish rice soup recipe

Zesty tomatoes. Hearty rice. Fresh herbs. It’s more than a dish. It’s a journey. Let this recipe transport you straight to the bustling streets of Madrid or the serene beaches of Costa Brava. 

Ready for an adventure? Let’s embark on this culinary voyage together. Discover. Relish. Celebrate. Your Spanish Rice Soup story awaits.

What Is Spanish Rice Soup?

Spanish Rice Soup is a warm, hearty concoction rooted in Spanish culinary traditions. This soup marries the comforting textures of rice with a rich broth, often flavored with tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. 

Aromatic spices like garlic, paprika, and saffron infuse it with depth and character. Often garnished with fresh herbs, this soup serves as a delightful appetizer or a main dish. 

Each spoonful promises a taste of Spain’s vibrant culture and history, making it a favorite in many homes.

History Of Spanish Rice Soup 

Spanish Rice Soup, or “sopa de arroz,” traces its roots to Spain’s diverse culinary tapestry. Its origin merges Moorish influences, evident in spices like saffron with local Spanish ingredients. 

As Spain faced various conquests and migrations, each culture left its mark, enriching the soup’s evolution. From humble village kitchens to grand Spanish fiestas, the soup gained prominence. 

Over centuries, it traveled with Spanish explorers, spreading its allure worldwide and cementing its place as a global comfort food.

Interesting Facts About The Spanish Rice Soup 

  • Moorish Influence: The use of saffron in the soup is a testament to Moorish influence on Spanish cuisine.
  • Not Paella: Many mistake it for a liquid version of paella, but the two dishes have distinct histories.
  • Cultural Variations: Different regions of Spain offer unique twists, incorporating local ingredients.
  • Global Reach: Spanish colonies, particularly in the Americas, have their versions inspired by indigenous ingredients.
  • Cookware Legacy: Traditionally, it’s cooked in a “caldero,” a deep cooking pot that ensures even cooking of rice.
  • Fiesta Favorite: It’s a staple at many Spanish festivals, especially during the colder months.
  • Evolution: Modern versions sometimes incorporate seafood, making it a coastal favorite.
  • Health Boost: Rich in fiber and essential nutrients, it’s tasty and nutritious.
  • Instant Comfort: In Spain, it’s often considered a go-to comfort dish, especially during rainy days.
  • Timeless: Though its exact origin date is unclear, it’s believed to have been enjoyed for several centuries, making it a timeless piece of Spanish culinary heritage.

What Makes The Spanish Rice Soup Special? 

  • Heritage Blend encapsulates Spain’s rich history, merging Moorish influences with indigenous flavors.
  • Saffron’s Touch: Using saffron, a rare and prized spice, adds depth and a golden hue.
  • Versatility: From meaty broths to vegetarian versions, it caters to diverse palates.
  • Regional Twists: Every Spanish region boasts variations, reflecting local tastes and traditions.
  • Texture Play: The contrast between fluffy rice and liquid broth offers a satisfying mouthfeel.
  • Nutritional Balance: Packed with vegetables and grains, it’s a wholesome meal.
  • Culinary Journey: Each spoonful transports you to Spain’s sun-soaked landscapes and vibrant culture.
  • Seasonal Adaptability: It can be adapted for all seasons, from a light summer soup to a hearty winter meal.
  • Community Connection: Often prepared for communal gatherings, it symbolizes unity and celebration.
  • Global Appeal: Its essence resonates worldwide, making it a beloved dish across continents.
spanish rice soup recipe

Ingredients List

Ground turkey1 pound
Onion (chopped)1
Garlic (crushed)1 clove
Spanish-style rice mix6.8 ounces (1 package)
Mexican-style stewed tomatoes14.5 ounces (1 can)
Tomato sauce16 ounces (2 cans of 8 oz each)
Water4 1/2 cups

Ingredient Tips 

  • Turkey Texture: Consider browning the ground turkey until slightly crispy for added texture.
  • Onion Choices: Yellow onions offer a sweeter profile, while white ones bring sharper flavors.
  • Fresh Garlic: Opt for fresh over pre-packaged minced garlic for a more robust taste.
  • Rice Mix: If unavailable, substitute with equal parts rice and a dash of Spanish seasoning.
  • Tomato Upgrade: Consider fire-roasted tomatoes for a smoky undertone.
  • Sauce Secrets: A pinch of sugar can balance the acidity in tomato sauce.
  • Water Wisdom: Replace half the water with chicken or vegetable broth for added depth.
  • Spice Boost: A sprinkle of smoked paprika can amplify the Spanish flair.
  • Herbal Touch: Fresh cilantro or parsley, added just before serving, enhances freshness.
  • Check Salt: Adjust seasoning accordingly if your rice mix and tomato sauce are already salted.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

Spanish Rice Soup can be adapted to fit various dietary preferences. Here are some variations tailored to different diets:


  • Replace traditional rice with cauliflower rice.
  • Use a high-fat meat, like ground beef or pork, instead of turkey.
  • Add avocados or olives for extra healthy fats.


  • Use cauliflower rice in place of Spanish rice mix.
  • Avoid processed tomato sauces; opt for fresh tomatoes or pure tomato puree.
  • Add bone broth for added nutrients.


  • Ensure the Spanish rice mix is gluten-free, or use plain rice with gluten-free seasonings.
  • Double-check tomato sauces and canned products for hidden gluten sources.


  • Use plain rice and avoid mixes containing sugars or non-compliant additives.
  • Opt for fresh tomatoes or compliant tomato puree without added sugars or additives.


  • Replace ground turkey with a meat substitute like tofu or tempeh.
  • Alternatively, increase the amount of veggies, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms.


  • Omit the turkey and use tofu, tempeh, or legumes like lentils or chickpeas.
  • Ensure tomato sauces or other store-bought ingredients do not contain animal-derived products.
spanish rice soup recipe

Recipe Directions

  • Start by browning the turkey in a skillet along with onion and garlic to enhance flavors.
  • Introduce rice, tomatoes, and sauce to the mixture.
  • Add the required amount of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat and let the dish simmer for 20 minutes.
  • This simmering allows the flavors to meld and the rice to cook thoroughly.
  • After the simmering time, the dish is ready to be served.
  • Present the dish hot, allowing the enticing aroma to stimulate appetites.
  • The result is a delectable combination of turkey, rice, tomatoes, and sauce that promises a satisfying meal.
spanish rice soup recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Seafood Touch: Add shrimp or mussels for a coastal flair.
  • Veggie Delight: Incorporate bell peppers, zucchini, or corn for a hearty vegetarian version.
  • Spicy Kick: Introduce chorizo for a smoky, spicy twist.


  • Legume Lift: Stir in lentils or chickpeas for added protein.
  • Greens: Spinach or kale can be mixed in during the last few minutes of cooking for a nutritious boost.


  • Creamy Contrast: A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for a creamy texture.
  • Cheesy Delight: Sprinkle shredded Manchego or cheddar cheese.
  • Crunch: Tortilla strips or croutons for a crispy element.
  • Fresh Herbs: Chopped cilantro, parsley, or chives for a fresh garnish.
  • Zesty Finish: A squeeze of lime or a slice of avocado can elevate the soup’s flavor profile.

Scaling The Recipe

Scaling a recipe, whether up or down, involves adjusting the quantity of each ingredient proportionally based on your desired serving size. Here’s how to do it for the Spanish Rice Soup:

Determine the Scaling Factor

  • First, decide how many servings you want compared to the original recipe. For example, if the original recipe serves 4 and you want it for 8, your scaling factor is 2 (8 divided by 4).

Adjust the Ingredients

Multiply each ingredient quantity by the scaling factor. Using our example where the factor is 2:

  • One pound of ground turkey becomes 2 pounds.
  • One onion becomes 2 onions.
  • The amount of water (4 1/2 cups) becomes 9 cups, and so on.

Cooking Time Adjustments

  • The simmering time might remain the same for soups and stews, even if you make twice the quantity. However, the initial time to bring the soup to a boil might be longer because of the increased volume. Always monitor and test for doneness.

Equipment Considerations

  • Ensure that your pot or cooking vessel can accommodate the scaled-up volume. If you’re scaling down, a smaller pot might be more appropriate to ensure even cooking.

Seasoning Adjustments

  • While most ingredients can be multiplied directly by the scaling factor, be cautious with seasonings. Sometimes, it’s better to add less than the scaled amount and adjust to taste.

Consistency and Thickness

  • If you’re scaling up, the soup might need more thickening; if you’re scaling down, it might become too thick. Adjust with extra liquid or a thickening agent as necessary.

What Is Used For Garnishing?

Garnishing adds a visual appeal, enhances flavor, and provides a textural contrast to dishes. Here are some popular garnishing options:

  • Herbs: Fresh parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, or mint offer color and aroma.
  • Citrus Zest or Wedges: Lemon, lime, or orange add a zesty punch.
  • Seeds and Nuts: Toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, or pine nuts for crunch.
  • Dairy: A dollop of sour cream, yogurt, or crumbled feta.
  • Spices: A sprinkle of paprika, sumac, or freshly cracked pepper.
  • Vegetable Curls or Slices: Cucumber, carrot, or radish for a fresh bite.
  • Edible Flowers: Violets or pansies for a delicate touch.
  • Drizzles: Olive oil, balsamic reduction, or flavored oils for depth.
spanish rice soup recipe

Can I Make Spanish Rice Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

The Slow Cooker and Instant Pot are suitable for making Spanish Rice Soup.

Slow Cooker

  • Brown the turkey, onion, and garlic in a skillet before transferring to the slow cooker.
  • Add the rice, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water.
  • Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until rice is tender.

Instant Pot

  • Using the sauté function, brown the turkey, onion, and garlic directly in the Instant Pot.
  • Add the rice, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water.
  • Seal the lid, set to high pressure, and cook for 12 minutes. Quickly release the pressure. Check the rice for doneness.

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

Store-bought broth and homemade broth have their merits when making Spanish Rice Soup.

Store-Bought Broth

  • Convenience: Quick and easy, incredibly short on time.
  • Consistency: Predictable flavor and salt content.
  • Variety: Different versions like low-sodium, organic, or bone broth are available.

Homemade Broth

  • Flavor Depth: You control the ingredients, allowing for a richer, more nuanced flavor.
  • Freshness: No preservatives or additives.
  • Customization: Adjust seasonings or add herbs and veggies of your choice.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?

Spanish Rice Soup is versatile, and there’s room to experiment.

  • Meat: Swap turkey with beef, chicken, or pork. Ground or in chunks, both work well.
  • Fish: Consider mild fish like tilapia or cod. For richer flavors, try shrimp or mussels.
  • Pasta: Replace rice with small pasta shapes like orzo or macaroni. Note that cooking times may vary.
  • Vegetables: Enhance with bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, or corn. Greens like spinach or kale can be added last to retain freshness.
spanish rice soup recipe

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making Soup

Here are some simple tips to help you prepare the dish.

Prepping Tips

  • Mise en Place: Assemble and measure all ingredients before starting. This ensures a smooth cooking process.
  • Uniformity: Chop vegetables uniformly for even cooking and aesthetics.
  • Fresh Herbs: Add delicate herbs, like parsley or cilantro, towards the end to retain their fresh flavor.
  • Stock Quality: A good soup starts with a quality stock. Whether homemade or store-bought, ensure it’s flavorful.

Cooking Time Tips

  • Low & Slow: Let soups simmer gently rather than boiling vigorously for depth.
  • Tasting: Periodically taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Starchy Additions: Ingredients like rice or pasta absorb liquid. Monitor and add extra broth if needed.
  • Blending: For creamy soups, blend in batches and avoid overfilling the blender to prevent spills.
spanish rice soup recipe

Nutritional Values

The nutritional prowess of Spanish Rice Soup is evident in its composition. Brimming with protein from turkey, fiber from rice, and essential vitamins from vegetables, this soup isn’t just about taste; it’s a wholesome meal that caters to flavor and well-being.

What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?

Determining the exact calorie count for your Spanish Rice Soup requires specifics about quantities and the nutritional information of each ingredient. However, there is an estimated calorie count.

  • Ground turkey: ~500 calories per pound.
  • Onion: ~40-45 calories.
  • Spanish rice mix: Caloric content varies by brand but is estimated at ~600 calories.
  • Stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce: ~200 calories combined.

Without considering minor ingredients like garlic and using these estimates, the total is approximately 1345-1390 calories for the entire soup. So, a Spanish Rice Soup bowl contains about 300 to 400 calories.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Spanish Rice Soup

  • Meat-Based: It’s not suitable for vegetarians or vegans due to the ground turkey. To accommodate, one can use plant-based meat substitutes.
  • Gluten: Some commercial Spanish rice mixes may contain gluten or be processed in facilities with gluten products. Check labels if catering to celiac or gluten-sensitive individuals.
  • Low-Carb: The rice mix contributes carbs, making it unsuitable for keto or other low-carb diets.
  • Preservatives: Store-bought rice mixes or canned tomatoes may contain additives or preservatives.
  • Allergens: Ensure no cross-contamination with common allergens like nuts, soy, or dairy, especially if using pre-packaged ingredients.

Health Benefits Of Spanish Rice Soup

Spanish Rice Soup offers a range of health benefits due to its ingredients:

  • Protein Boost: Ground turkey is a lean source of protein, supporting muscle growth and repair.
  • Whole Grains: Rice, especially if brown or whole grain, provides dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Tomatoes and onions supply essential nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants.
  • Immune Support: Garlic, a known immune booster, has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
  • Hydration: The liquid content aids hydration, especially during cold seasons.
  • Low Fat: Turkey, particularly if you choose leaner cuts, offers a lower-fat alternative to red meats.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table 

How Can I Make Spanish Rice Soup Lower In Sodium? 

  • Homemade Broth: Use homemade broth without salt or choose store-bought, low-sodium versions.
  • Fresh Tomatoes: Substitute canned stewed tomatoes with fresh ones, or choose no-salt-added canned versions.
  • Rice Mix: Avoid packaged Spanish rice mixes, which often contain added salt. Instead, use plain rice and season with your blend of herbs and spices.
  • Limit Added Salt: Taste before adding any extra salt and adjust as needed.
  • Herbs & Spices: Enhance flavor using fresh herbs, citrus zest, or spices like cumin and paprika, reducing reliance on salt.
  • Read Labels: When using packaged ingredients, check for sodium content and select the lowest options.

How Can I Make Spanish Rice Soup Lower In Sugar?

  • Natural Tomatoes: Opt for fresh tomatoes instead of canned. If using canned, choose no-sugar-added versions.
  • Rice Mix: Commercial Spanish rice mixes may contain hidden sugars. Prepare your own using plain rice and fresh spices to control sugar content.
  • Check Tomato Sauce: Purchase tomato sauce with no added sugars or make your own from scratch.
  • Avoid Sweetened Broths: Some broths can have added sugars. Read labels carefully.
  • Spice It Up: Use herbs and spices like cilantro, paprika, or cumin to enhance flavor without adding sugar.
  • Taste Test: Always taste before serving, adjusting flavors without resorting to sugary additives.
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How To Serve The Spanish Rice Soup At Its Best?

Serving the Spanish Rice Soup at its best requires a combination of presentation, garnishing, and temperature. Here’s how:

  • Temperature: Serve the soup piping hot. Using a heated bowl can keep it warm longer.
  • Bowl Selection: Use deep bowls to preserve the soup’s heat. A contrasting color between the bowl and the soup can enhance its visual appeal.
  • Garnishing: A sprinkle of fresh chopped herbs, like cilantro or parsley, adds color and flavor. Consider a sour cream dollop or shredded cheese sprinkle for a richer touch.
  • Accompaniments: Serve with warm crusty bread, tortilla chips, or a side salad to complement the soup. Lime wedges on the side allow guests to add a tangy kick as per their preference.
  • Stir & Serve: Before serving, stir the soup well to ensure that the rice and meat are evenly distributed.
  • Wine Pairing: A light white wine like Albariño or a crisp rosé can complement the soup’s flavors.
  • Ambiance: Set a warm ambiance with soft background music and dimmed lights. Ensure the dining area has a comforting feel, enhancing the soup experience.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Spanish Rice Soup

  • Tortilla Chips: Offer a delightful crunch and can be dipped into the soup.
  • Avocado Salad: A refreshing mix of avocado, tomatoes, onions, and lime juice provides a cool contrast.
  • Grilled Quesadillas: Filled with cheese and perhaps some veggies, they add a cheesy component.
  • Spanish Cornbread: Moist with a hint of sweetness complements the soup’s savory notes.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus drizzled with olive oil and roasted bring out deeper flavors.
  • Churros: A sweet finish, these can be served with chocolate dip or dulce de leche.
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How Long Can We Store The Soup?

  • Refrigeration: Transfer the soup to an airtight container once cooled to room temperature. It can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, consider freezing. Once cooled, pour the soup into freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving some space for expansion. It can last up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
  • Reheating: Thaw frozen soup in the fridge overnight. Warm it over medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. Microwaving is also an option but stir at intervals for even heating.

Can I Make Soup In Advance?

  • Cooking: Prepare the soup as directed, then allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Storage: Transfer to an airtight container to retain freshness.
  • Refrigeration: Store in the fridge if consumed within 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the soup in portioned containers.
  • Reheating: Before serving, reheat only the amount needed. This ensures optimum flavor and reduces the risk of bacteria growth.

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Reinvent Soup: Add new veggies or proteins to refresh the soup’s character.
  • Burrito Filling: Use the meaty, rice-laden soup as a filling for tortillas.
  • Casserole Base: Combine with cheese, top with breadcrumbs, and bake.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Hollow out bell peppers and fill with the thickened soup. Bake until tender.
  • Stir-Fry Mix: Combine with fresh veggies and sauté.
  • Soup Pasta: Reduce leftover soup to a thicker consistency and toss with pasta.
  • Rice Bowl: Layer over plain rice and garnish with fresh veggies and sauce.
  • Omelette Filling: A hearty addition to your breakfast.
  • Pie Filling: Encase in pastry for a savory pie.
  • Freeze: Portion and freeze for a quick future meal.
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Special Tools/Equipment Needed

Making Spanish Rice Soup doesn’t necessarily require special equipment, but having certain tools can enhance the cooking experience and efficiency:

  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven: Ideal for simmering the soup evenly and retaining heat.
  • Wooden Spoon: Useful for stirring to prevent rice from sticking to the pot’s bottom.
  • Sharp Knife: For dicing onions, tomatoes, and any additional veggies.
  • Garlic Press: Streamlines the process of crushing garlic.
  • Ladle: Facilitates serving and ensures a good mix of ingredients in each portion.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Ensure accurate ingredient quantities.
  • Can Opener: If using canned tomatoes or tomato sauce.
  • Cutting Board: Preferably two – one for veggies and another for meat to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Heat-resistant Bowl: Useful for setting aside browned meat.
  • Skimmer or Slotted Spoon: Handy for removing excess fat or foam during cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use A Different Type Of Rice, Such As Basmati Or Jasmine, For This Soup?

While traditional Spanish Rice Soup employs long-grain rice, one might consider using basmati or jasmine. However, these varieties have distinct flavors and cooking times. Ensure the rice is thoroughly cooked and adjust the simmering duration as required.

What Can Be Substituted For Ground Turkey In The Recipe?

Ground turkey imparts a unique flavor, but one may also employ ground beef, chicken, or even tofu as a vegetarian alternative. Adjustments in cooking time might be essential based on the chosen substitute.

Can I Incorporate Other Beans Or Legumes Into The Spanish Rice Soup?

Indeed, black beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas can be a delightful addition. They provide an extra layer of texture and nutritional value. Ensure they are well-cooked or, if using canned, thoroughly rinsed.

Is There A Preferred Time Of Year Or Season To Make Spanish Rice Soup?

While this soup is particularly comforting in colder months due to its hearty nature, its versatile ingredients make it suitable for preparation year-round. Fresh, in-season tomatoes, for instance, can elevate the soup during warmer months.

Might I Utilize Frozen Vegetables In The Recipe?

Absolutely. Frozen vegetables can be a convenient addition, especially peas, carrots, or corn. Ensure they are defrosted and properly drained, and factor them into the soup towards the latter half of the cooking process to retain their texture.

30-Minutes Spanish Rice Soup Recipe - A Must Try Recipe

30-Minutes Spanish Rice Soup Recipe – A Must Try Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipe


Prep time


Cooking time





Spanish Rice Soup is a savory blend of ground turkey, aromatic veggies, and flavorful rice enveloped in a rich tomato base. This hearty, comforting dish captivates with its blend of textures and warm spices, making it a favorite across many tables.


  • 1 pound 1 Ground turkey

  • 1 1 Onion (chopped)

  • 1 clove 1 Garlic (crushed)

  • 6.8 ounce 6.8 Spanish-style rice mix

  • 14.5 ounce 14.5 Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

  • 16 ounce 16 Tomato sauce

  • 4 1/2 cup 4 1/2 Water

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation Steps
    Gather all your ingredients.
    Dice the onion finely.
    Crush the garlic clove.
  • ooking
    In a large pot over medium heat, add the ground turkey. Cook until it starts to brown.
    Add the diced onion and crushed garlic to the pot. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent.
    Stir in the rice, ensuring it’s well-mixed with the turkey.
    Pour in the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce, mixing thoroughly.
  • Blending
    Add water to the pot, stirring to combine all ingredients evenly.
    Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Final Touches
    Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.
    Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Serving
    Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve hot, with optional toppings like fresh herbs or a squeeze of lime for added zest.
  • Additional Options
    Consider adding a pinch of chili flakes or paprika for a spicier kick.
    You can also garnish with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley for an herbal touch.

Recipe Video


  • Use fresh ingredients for optimal flavor.
  • While simmering, occasional stirring prevents the rice from sticking.
  • Add a dash of chili flakes or a sliced jalapeño for a spicier kick.
  • Soup thickness can be adjusted by increasing or reducing water content.
  • It is best enjoyed when served hot; reheating might be necessary if sitting for an extended period.
  • Suitable for freezing – Ensure the soup is cooled before storing.
  • Garnishing with fresh herbs can elevate both the appearance and flavor.

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