yellow rice
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Yellow Rice

Yellow rice pairs well with so many Mexican, South American, Caribbean, and Cajun dishes, and I absolutely love it with a seared salmon. Here’s how to make it from scratch at home.

Oh, hey. Hey there, you guys. Hi. It’s been a while.

It’s hard to tell how much of a while, because when I revamped the site recently, it posted just about everything at the beginning of this month, but it’s kinda been since January.

Life happened. I’ll do an update at some point in the near future, because right now there’s too much to talk about, and if you came to this post, it’s probably not because you want to hear the saga that’s been the past seven months, you want to talk yellow rice!

Me too!

Yellow rice is a staple in Mexico, South America, the Caribbean, India, Africa, Southern Asia…actually, it’s hard to think of a continent that doesn’t have some kind of yellow rice. But thanks to those first three, it’s a staple here in the Gulf Coast.

It’s one of my favorite things to pair with anything I make that has any of that flavor – my crispy fish tacos, mini-taco pepper poppers, my cedar plank salmon or really any salmon that has neutral or Gulf-style seasonings, or my spice rubbed beef tenderloin with creole mustard sauce (I need to reshoot that post – I’ve changed up the pairings I offer with it considerably!)!

It’s a simple but extremely flavorful and savory dish. You cook up some aromatics, usually onion and garlic, add long-grain rice, and add in turmeric for the vivid yellow. Once you have that base, you can add a lot of other touches to your preference – broth, seasoning, chopped vegetables and chopped meats, you name it. There’s a lot of versatility in this dish.

I always make a bunch of it whenever I cook it, usually as part of weekend meal-prep. If you need something that’s good in a pinch, chop in a couple of baked or grilled chicken breasts or baked pork tenderloin, bag it up, and you’ve got a solid stash of ready to go meals – just dump in a bowl, heat, and enjoy!

There are lots of ways to make it, but here’s what you need for our version:

  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp chicken base or 2 cubes bouillon
  • turmeric
  • white pepper
  • chili pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish

I add the parsley. Too many people in my house hate cilantro to use it in much of anything that I’m making for the family.

In a medium stock-pot, melt the butter over medium heat, and sauté the garlic and onion until it’s getting flavorful and soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice and make sure it’s nice and coated with butter. Then add the water, chicken base, turmeric, white pepper, and chili pepper. Stir it in and let the mixture come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, stir, cover the pot, and let it cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove the rice from heat and stir, then cover and let sit off the heat for another 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Here’s the recipe card:

yellow rice

Yellow Rice

Yellow rice pairs well with so many Mexican, South American, Caribbean, and Cajun dishes, and I absolutely love it with a seared salmon. Here's how to make it from scratch at home.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Caribbean, Mexican
Servings 6


  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 ea yellow onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp chicken base
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • fresh parsley chopped


  • Place a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add the butter and let melt.
  • Add the onions and garlic and let saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice and stir, ensuring the rice is coated with butter.
  • Add the water, chicken base, turmeric, chili powder, and white pepper and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and let the rice cook for another 15 minutes or so. Check to see doneness by looking for fluffy rice and venting (it will look like someone poked holes in the rice with a pencil).
  • Stir, remove from heat, and cover, letting the rice steam inside the pot for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Serve garnished with fresh parsley (use cilantro if you're a cilantro fan) and enjoy!
Keyword butter, rice, turmeric
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

What’s your favorite way to serve up yellow rice?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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