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Spanish Mackerel in Tomato Sauce with Rice

Spanish Mackerel in Tomato Sauce with Rice

Spanish Mackerel in Tomato Sauce with Rice is a celebration of Mediterranean cuisine. It brings together tender mackerel fillets, a savory tomato sauce, and perfectly cooked rice to create a dish that's both comforting and flavorful. This recipe encapsulates the essence of Spain in every mouthful.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4 servings


  • 4 mackerel fillets
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley leaves for garnish
  • Lemon wedges for serving


Prepare the Rice:

  • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups of water and add the saffron threads. Bring to a boil, then stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork and set it aside.

Sear the Mackerel:

  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the mackerel fillets and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Remove them from the skillet and set them aside.

Sauté the Aromatics:

  • In the same skillet, add the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until it becomes translucent.
  • Stir in minced garlic and smoked paprika. Cook for an additional minute, allowing the flavors to meld.

Create the Tomato Sauce:

  • Pour in the can of diced tomatoes (including the juices) into the skillet.
  • Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes, letting it thicken and develop its flavors.

Combine and Serve:

  • Carefully place the seared mackerel fillets into the tomato sauce.
  • Simmer for another 5 minutes, allowing the fish to cook through and absorb the flavors.
  • Serve the mackerel and tomato sauce over a generous portion of saffron-infused rice.

Garnish and Enjoy:

  • Garnish the dish with fresh parsley leaves for added vibrancy and freshness.
  • Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side for a tangy finish.

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FAQs about the Recipe for Spanish Mackerel in Tomato Sauce with Rice

Can I use brown rice instead of white rice for a healthier option?

Yes, you can substitute brown rice for white rice, but be prepared for a longer cooking time as brown rice takes longer to cook.

What is the significance of smoked paprika in Spanish cuisine?

Smoked paprika, or “pimentón,” is a staple in Spanish cooking, known for its smoky, earthy flavor. It’s often used to add depth and complexity to dishes.

Is there a specific type of mackerel that works best for this recipe?

While various mackerel species can be used, Spanish mackerel is a popular choice for its firm texture and rich flavor.

Can I prepare Spanish mackerel in tomato sauce in advance and reheat it later?

Yes, you can prepare the rice, mackerel, and tomato sauce separately and combine them just before serving. Reheat the Spanish mackerel in tomato sauce gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

What are some traditional Spanish side dishes to complement this meal?

Spanish cuisine offers a variety of side dishes, such as Spanish potato salad, garlic bread, or a classic Spanish gazpacho, that would pair beautifully with this dish.

Read more here for additional info about mackerel recipes. Also, I recommend other interesting articles and recipes related to mackerel in tomato sauce, including baked mackerel in tomato sauce, easy mackerel in tomato sauce, one-pot mackerel in garlic tomato sauce, mackerel in tomato sauce with olives and capers, Italian mackerel in tomato sauce with pasta, and more.

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