Food Recipe20-Minute Yellow Rice | The Recipe Critic

20-Minute Yellow Rice | The Recipe Critic

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Ready in 20 minutes, this yellow rice is quick and easy and packed with savory flavor! It’s the perfect side dish for busy weeknight dinners.

Oh, the things you can do with rice! Rice is something we all typically have on hand,and can easily be enhanced with just a few simple ingredients. If you’re looking for more side dishes to accompany all of your favorite dinners, try this cilantro lime rice, Greek lemon rice, and Mexican rice! They are all super easy to make and so tasty!

Top-down view of yellow rice in a stoneware bowl, served on top of a wooden board.

Quick and Easy Yellow Rice Recipe

Yellow rice is a side dish commonly found in Spanish, Indian, South African, Mediterranean, and Mexican cuisine. Turmeric gives it its signature color! My take on this recipe is inspired by the Spanish and Mexican versions of the dish. It’s savory and flavorful with a touch of turmeric for a hint of bright, peppery spice. The whole family is going to love it. With how easy it is to make, you’ll love it too!

Cook the basmati rice in chicken broth with butter, onion and garlic powder for the perfect rich and savory flavor. As the yellow rice cooks, it absorbs all of the delicious flavor! It’s soft and buttery and perfect for serving up with some chicken and shrimp! Yellow rice works alongside any entrée, really. It has a really versatile flavor! The options are endless. Use it in lettuce wraps, burrito bowls, alongside pork chops, roasted chicken, you name it! If you’re not already convinced, yellow rice also makes great leftovers. It’s perfect for heating up and reusing!

What is Yellow Rice Made of?

This recipe will change slightly depending on the region it’s from, but here’s what I used! It’s sooo simple! I found everything needed to make it in my pantry. Check out the recipe card below for exact measurements!

  • Butter: Adds richness and flavor to the yellow rice. You can also use olive oil or ghee!
  • Basmati Rice: I used basmati rice to keep this recipe more on the traditional side, but long-grain white or brown rice also work! Long-grain jasmine rice is another great option.
  • Water: For cooking the rice in. You can also use chicken broth.
  • Chicken Bouillon: Chicken bouillon is a must-add because it packs so much flavor into each bite. You can use either paste or powder here. If you don’t have any chicken bouillon on hand, you can also use chicken broth. Use it in place of the water.
  • Garlic and Onion Powder: Both add the perfect savory flavor to this yellow rice!
  • Kosher Salt: Adjust to taste. I prefer using kosher salt over regular table salt because it doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste.
  • Ground Turmeric: Time to break out that spice rack! A touch of turmeric gives this rice its gorgeous yellow color and also adds flavor.
  • Cilantro: (Optional) For garnish.

How to Make Yellow Rice

It only takes 20 minutes to make yellow rice from start to finish! It’s such an easy side dish. Perfect for serving up with Instant Pot lemon chicken! You’ll have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes. With how good it tastes, no one will know!

  1. Heat Butter: Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add Cooked Rice: Pour the rice into the pan then stir to coat the rice well with the melted butter. Then cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add Seasonings: Next add the water, chicken bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and turmeric. Stir until combined and then bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and Simmer: Reduce the heat to a simmer and then cover the pot with a lid.
  5. Cook: Allow the rice to simmer for about 12-15 minutes until the rice is fully cooked and plump.
  6. Serve: Fluff with a fork, then transfer the rice to a bowl and serve.
4-photo collage of rice being prepared and all ingredients being mixed together.

More Add-Ins

This yellow rice is my go-to side dish for busy weeknights. Because it’s so simple, you can easily customize it with a few extra ingredients! Feel free to tweak the flavor to your liking.

  • Add Vegetables: If you want your yellow rice to have more texture, add peas, chopped onion, scallions, carrots, or bell peppers.
  • Fruit and Nuts: South African yellow rice is traditionally made with golden raisins. This is a great way to add a little texture and a touch of sweetness as well! Another great addition is pine nuts if you like a bit of crunch.
  • More Spices: A pinch of chili powder, cumin or cinnamon is a great addition to the flavor of yellow rice!

Top-down view of yellow rice in a white and blue skillet, garnished with cilantro.

Storing Leftovers

You can reuse yellow rice in so many different dishes! To keep it fresh and ready to use throughout the week, you will want to make sure it’s in an airtight container in the fridge.

  • In the Refrigerator: Store leftover yellow rice in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave with a little water or chicken broth added.

Use leftover yellow rice as a side for your favorite chicken, pork, or seafood dishes!

Can Yellow Rice Be Frozen?

Yes it can! It’s a great option for meal prep. Transfer rice to a Ziploc bag and then store in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before use and then reheat as normal. I always like to reheat my yellow rice in a skillet with a touch of butter and chicken broth to add moisture back in.

Closeup of yellow rice on a metal spoon.


  • Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat.

  • Pour the rice into the pan then stir to coat the rice well with the melted butter. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.

  • Add the water, chicken bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and turmeric. Stir until combined and bring to a boil.

  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.

  • Allow the rice to simmer for about 12-15 minutes until the rice is fully cooked and plump.

  • Fluff with a fork, transfer the rice to a bowl and serve.



Serves: 10

Calories188kcal (9%)Carbohydrates31g (10%)Protein3g (6%)Fat6g (9%)Saturated Fat1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat1gMonounsaturated Fat4gCholesterol0.1mgSodium567mg (24%)Potassium63mg (2%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar0.2gVitamin A0.01IUVitamin C0.2mgCalcium16mg (2%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Side Dish

Cuisine Mediterranean, Mexican, Spanish

Keyword turmeric yellow rice, yellow rice





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