If you’re looking for a delicious side dish for your next Mexican feast, yellow rice is the perfect choice. Not only does it look beautiful on the plate, but its flavor and texture are sure to complement any meal.
All about Yellow Rice
Yellow rice is a classic side dish that is often served with Mexican dishes. It is also known as arroz amarillo. It is made by adding turmeric or saffron to white rice. Its yellow hue comes from the spices used and can range from a yellowish-orange to yellowish-gold color.
Yellow rice is prepared by sautéing the ingredients in oil until they are fragrant, adding either chicken stock or water, bringing it to a boil, reducing the heat, and simmering until the liquid has been absorbed.
Yellow rice can be served as a side dish to a main dish like enchiladas or as part of a larger Mexican feast. Its mild flavor allows it to complement spicy dishes without overpowering them.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Yellow Rice
- Long grain white rice
- Italian green peppers or green bell pepper
- Garlic cloves
- Turmeric powder
- Mexican spices blend (chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, cilantro, etc.)
How to Make Classic Yellow Rice
- Finely dice the green peppers and set aside.
- Press the garlic cloves with a garlic press or mince with a knife. Set aside.
- Heat the butter in the pot or pan over medium heat. Saute the minced garlic until golden and fragrant.
- Add the diced peppers and saute on medium heat until soft.
- Add the rice, salt, turmeric powder, and Mexican spices. Mix well, making sure to coat the rice grains well.
- Add the water and cook on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
Tips and Variations for Yellow Rice
Use the following tips and variation ideas to create the perfect yellow rice:
- The correct ratio of rice to water is usually one part rice to two parts water (1:2). But depending on the type of rice you use, you might need a bit more water. This is often true for brown rice. I prefer to start with the 1:2 ratio then test the rice toward the end of the cooking time. Then I add more water if needed.
- Do not stir the rice while it’s cooking. Stirring it will make the rice release its starch, resulting in mushy, creamy rice. That type of rice is perfect for risotto but not good for the fluffy rice needed for this recipe.
- Try adding red bell pepper and onion for another variation. Dice and cook them before adding the rice.
- Add any leftover cooked vegetables you might have during the last 10 minutes of cooking time right before serving.
- Add a protein, such as cooked cubed chicken or sausage, and vegetables to make a complete meal.
- Add fruit, such as pineapple or raisins, or nuts, such as cashew nuts, to enhance flavor and texture.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves for a nice presentation.
Yellow Rice FAQs
What are types of long grain rice?
Basmati rice and jasmine rice are the most common types of long grain rice. Long grain rice has long, slender grains whose length is 3 to 4 times its width. Long grain rice is lighter, fluffier, and more separated than shorter grain rice.
Can I use brown rice for this recipe?
Yes, you can use long-grain brown rice for this recipe. Because it is a whole grain with the bran and germ still intact, brown rice has more fiber and nutrients than white rice. You may have to cook brown rice longer than stated in this recipe.
How do I store leftover yellow rice?
You can store leftovers of the yellow rice in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
Other Rice Recipes
- One-Pot Sausage and Rice Skillet
- Egg Fried Rice
- Spanish Rice in the Instant Pot
- 50 Simple and Delicious Rice Pilaf Recipes
Yellow rice is a classic side dish for Mexican meals. Its mild yellow color, flavor, and fluffy texture make it a perfect complement to main dishes. And with its simple ingredients and straightforward preparation process, yellow rice is easy to make.
- ½ cup long grain white rice per person
- 1 cup water per ½ cup rice
- 2-3 italian green peppers (1 bell pepper)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons Mexican spices blend (chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, cilantro...)
- Start by dicing finely the green peppers. Set aside
- Finely mince/press the garlic cloves. Set aside.
- In the pan or pot add the butter and the minced garlic cloves and sautee on medium heat until golden and fragrant.
- Add the diced peppers and fry on medium heat until soft.
- Add the rice, salt and the spices and mix well making sure to coat well the grains.
- Add the water and let cook on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
Usually the right ratio of rice /water is 1 part rice + 2 parts water, however depending on the type of rice you use (especially if using brown rice) you might find you need a bit more water. I prefer to add the exact 1-2 parts ratio and towards the end try it and add a bit more water if needed.
It is especially important to not stir the rice while it’s cooking. Stirring it will make the rice release its starch, resulting in mushy-creamy rice (perfect for risotto!) but not good to achieve a fluff rice.
You can also make it with onion and red pepper, just dice them finely and cook them before adding the rice.
This rice can be stored in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container.