Have you ever had that yellow rice mix that comes in a little bag? The one where you just boil it in water, add butter, and you have a yummy, salty side dish? I ate that stuff all. the. time. in college–usually with a breaded chicken tender from the freezer.
Guys, you can stop buying those bags! I’ve since learned that yellow rice is super easy to make from scratch. If you can make rice, you can make yellow rice. This homemade yellow rice is buttery, nutty, earthy, and just a teeny bit spicy from the cumin.
It’s also inexpensive. All you need is rice + broth + spices you probably already have. I buy a twenty-pound bag of jasmine rice for $25 at my Asian grocery store about once a year, which saves me a bunch of money AND counts as exercise because lugging that bag home is NO JOKE (I live in the city and walk to the store). And since I usually keep some homemade chicken broth in the freezer, I can make this yellow rice without needing any extra ingredients from the store.
What makes yellow rice yellow?
Yellow rice gets its vibrant color from either saffron or turmeric. I had turmeric on hand, so that’s what I used. If you have saffron, you could use that instead, which will give the rice a slightly floral taste.
How to make yellow rice
Toast your rice in some melted butter in a frying pan until it smells glorious. Then add garlic, spices, salt, and a bay leaf. Simmer in some chicken or vegetable broth until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft. Yep, it’s that easy. I sometimes stir in some black beans at the end for a little extra protein.
I like to serve this as a side to Spicy Sriracha Shrimp Tacos. Yum.
Easy Yellow Rice
- Large frying pan
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup white rice (I prefer jasmine)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp onion powder (or onion flakes)
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup black beans optional
- Mince garlic and set aside.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a frying pan.
- Add rice to the pan, spread out into a single layer, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes to toast it. Stir every 30 seconds or so to prevent the rice from burning. You'll know it's done when most of the rice is an opaque white and starting to turn golden brown.
- Add the minced garlic to the pan with the rice and cook for about 30 seconds more or until it releases its aroma.
- Add in spices and stir until the rice is coated. Toss in a bay leaf. Then add the broth and bring to a boil.
- As soon as the liquid starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft.
- Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, taste the rice, and adjust seasonings if needed. Toss in cooked black beans if desired to give the dish a little more oomph.
- You can substitute the turmeric for saffron if that’s what you have on hand or if you prefer the taste.