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Baked Rice

Origin: Alicante, Valencia

Arroz al horno

Arroz al horno is a typical baked rice dish from the community of Valencia, and in particular of the southern province of Alicante. The rice dish is baked in the oven, which as those of you who study Spanish in Spain will know, is 'horno' in Spanish, hence the name.

Arroz al horno is a typical home-style cooking recipe that was developed in the Marina Alta section of the city of Alicante. It is traditionally cooked in the brown clay or earthenware pots that tend to be used in Spanish cooking. It is also for this reason that in some parts of Valencia that the dish has become known as 'cassola' or 'cazuela' in Spanish, which means casserole dish. However, if you don't have any, then a standard casserole dish will work fine.

This dish is also known by the name 'arroz passejat', which means that the rice has gone for a stroll. This odd name comes from the traditional method of cooking the dish by having to take the rice to the local baker's oven in order to cook it as many homes did not have their own ovens. This tradition has mostly died out now but can still be seen in Agres today.

Traditional Baked Rice is made using Bomba rice, which is grown behind Denia, which is firmer and has a stronger texture. While this is a great rice to use for cooking this Spanish dish, you can still just use normal rice.

In fact, there are a number of varieties and methods of making this dish which include the dishes from Agres, Muro, Torrente and Onteniente among many others. Some of the dishes also include pieces of potato, ham and parsley into the recipe which changes the flavour slightly. There is also a split between those who think that the dish should be made with stock and those who think that it should be made with water. The number of dishes is so numerous that they hold an international Arroz al horno competition in Játiva to find out which is best - definitely something to see if you decide to visit Alicante. However no matter which way you decided to make your Spanish baked rice, it is guaranteed to be delicious!

Arroz al Horno | Baked Rice


Arroz al horno
  • 1 lb 2oz. of rice (Bomba rice is best)
  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • 1 lb 6oz. meat - a mix of chicken and rabbit joints, pork, cut into small chunks and small pieces on the bone
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, 1 grated, 2 cut in half
  • 7 oz. garbanzo beans, soak in water for 12 hours
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Salt
  • Pimetón
  • Saffron
  • 4 cups of water
  • Serves 4


Arroz horno
  • Heat up the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the pieces of meat until they are cooked through and golden.
  • Add the red pepper (cut into 3 or 4 pieces) and the grated tomato.
  • Pre-heat the oven to a high heat.
  • Put the water into a large pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, take a large capacity casserole dish and make a layer of the rice with the saffron.
  • On top of the rice, put the chunks of fried meat with the tomato but not the pepper. Fill in the gaps between the pieces of meat with the garbanzo beans.
  • Once the water has boiled, pour the water over the contents of the casserole dish. Note that if you are not using an earthenware dish, you may want to use a little less water.
  • On the top of everything, place the entire head of garlic in the middle. Around this, arrange the red peppers and the halves of the remaining tomatoes.
  • Season with salt to taste and then put the casserole dish into the over on the centre shelf and bake for 25 minutes. The contents of the dish should simmer a little and will appear dry and uncooked until the very end of the cooking time - so don't worry!
  • Once cooked, leave to stand for a further 15 minutes before serving.