Latin Yellow Rice

4 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Latin Yellow Rice is a tasty Spanish rice recipe with turmeric for its bright yellow color. A perfect side dish for Latin American dishes!

This new Rice Recipe is another classic Latin rice dish that is full of flavor and so easy! It is similar to my Saffron Rice, but uses turmeric instead of saffron for its vibrant flavor and bright yellow color. If you don’t have turmeric on hand, my classic Spanish Rice Recipe is also an easy, go-to side dish whenever you are serving Mexican Food.

This Yellow Rice recipe is foolproof and there are modifications to make it in the Instant Pot and a rice cooker. You’ll always have perfect rice no matter what method you choose.

Sabrina’s Latin Yellow Rice

Latin Yellow Rice, also known as Arroz Amarillo, is one of the best side dishes to make on a weeknight. It is easy and quick to make and just a few extra ingredients turn plain white rice into something delicious and flavorful. If you’ve struggled to make rice in the past, this is the rice recipe for you!

My Latin Yellow Rice recipe has simple ingredients, like onion and garlic, to build the flavor. The secret to the bright yellow color in this recipe is turmeric, a common ingredient found in dishes all over the world. It’s less expensive than saffron or pre-made sazón, and it keeps this recipe easy for everyday meals.

Portioned ingredients for Latin Yellow Rice
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  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil: This is used to sauté the onions and garlic. You can substitute with your preferred vegetable oil or butter.
  • ½ cup Yellow Onion: The cooked onions add a wonderful savory flavor to the rice. If you don’t have yellow onion, you can use white or even red onion or shallots.
  • 2 cloves Garlic: Minced garlic cloves pair with the onion and give the rice a lot of flavor. Use less if you’re not a garlic fan. Use more if needed! If you’re using powdered garlic, use only 1 teaspoon which equals about 2 garlic cloves.
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth: Vegetable broth adds more flavor than just using water. You can use prepared chicken bouillon, beef broth, or even just 2 cups water if preferred.
  • 1 cup White Rice: White rice is the world over for this dish because it is cheap and filling. You can use long-grain rice (White Basmati rice or Jasmine rice) for this dish, but you can also use medium-grain rice or short-grain rice too. Whatever you have on hand will work great!
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Turmeric: Turmeric adds the yellow color to the rice. It also adds a subtle earthy flavor. It’s worth having turmeric on hand and a little bit goes a long way. Some people like to substitute with equal parts annatto powder instead. If it’s not strong enough in color, you can use 1 ½ teaspoons of annatto powder instead of just 1.
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt: Salt is a flavor enhancer. Adjust the quantity per your preference.
  • ¼ teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper: Black pepper gives an earthy spiciness and pairs well with turmeric.
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How to Make Yellow Rice

Time needed: 45 minutes.

  1. Chop Veggies

    Dice up the onions and mince up the garlic.

  2. Fry Veggies

    In your medium saucepan or Dutch oven, cook the onions on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes and then add in the garlic and cook about 1 minute so the flavor doesn’t get cooked out. sauteeing onions and garlic in Dutch oven

  3. Cook

    Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and stir it all together as it comes to a boil. Once up to boiling, drop the heat let it simmer on low heat. Set the timer for 20 minutes. adding rice and spices to the sauteed onions and garlic

  4. Steam

    Once the 20 minutes is up, turn the heat completely off, keep the lid on, and let it steam cook for 5 minutes. cooked Latin Yellow Rice in Dutch oven

  5. Serve

    Once ready, fluff with a fork to release the steam, garnish with cilantro if desired, and serve hot. Enjoy! Cooked Latin Yellow Rice in dutch oven with wood spoon and cilantro garnish

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Can This Be Made Ahead?

Yes, this recipe can be made in advance. If you’re doing meal prep it freezes and reheats easily. If you’re preparing it for guests, it’s better to make it and serve it fresh. But you can also make it the day before and just microwave it if need be.

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Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Latin Yellow Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 249 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Sodium 1055mg46%
Potassium 103mg3%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 251IU5%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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What to Serve with Yellow Rice

This is the best rice dish to serve with your favorite Mexican Food Recipes like Chicken Enchiladas and Beef Barbacoa. But Yellow Rice isn’t just a Latin American side dish, serve it with your favorite chicken main dishes like Baked Chicken ThighsGrilled Chicken Breasts, or Roast Chicken.

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Tips for Making Perfect Rice

Rest and Fluff Before Serving

Yellow Rice smells so savory and tasty while it cooks, you’ll be tempted to serve it right away. Make sure to keep the lid on for 5 minutes after you off the heat so your rice can steam. Fluff your Arroz Amarillo with a fork before serving to separate the rice grains and to keep it from getting sticky.

Prevent Rice from Sticking to the Bottom of the Pot

There are two main things to keep rice from sticking to the pot. First, make sure to keep it on low heat once it gets to boiling. High heat and medium heat will burn the bottom of the rice. Secondly, make sure the lid stays on while it cooks and steams. Moisture is what will keep the rice from sticking. If it browns a little bit that’s okay, it will add a bit more flavor.

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How to Store

  • Store: Yellow Rice can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be refrigerated or frozen. Cool rice completely and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate Yellow Rice for up to 6 days.
  • Freeze: Store cooled rice in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and add a tablespoon of veggie or chicken broth before reheating.
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Alternative Cooking Methods

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Instant Pot Latin Yellow Rice

  • Turn the Instant Pot to the Sauté Function and add oil. Once oil is hot, add onions and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer.
  • Stir in the white rice and turmeric until well coated.
  • Add vegetable broth and salt and pepper, stir to combine.
  • Cover Instant Pot with lid, seal valve, and set on Low Pressure for 12 minutes.
  • Allow to naturally release pressure, about 10 minutes, when finished cooking.
  • Fluff with fork and serve.
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Rice Cooker Latin Yellow Rice

  • Heat oil in rice cooker and add finely diced onions, cooking about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add rice to rice cooker and sauté until it glistens.
  • Stir in vegetable broth, turmeric, salt and pepper, mixing until well combined.
  • Close rice cooker lid and set to cook per the rice cooker settings.
  • Fluff with a fork before serving.
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Frequent Questions

Can I use brown rice?

Yes, you can easily use brown rice. Add an additional ¼ cup of broth or water and let it simmer on low for about 40 minutes. Let it steam for 10 minutes as well. Brown rice is known for being a little more chewy than white rice, so don’t worry if it comes out this way.

Should I rinse the rice before cooking?

You can, but you don’t have to. Rinsing the starch from the rice will help it become fluffier, but it’s not a requirement. If you do rinse, use cold water in a strainer or a bowl until the water is no longer murky from the starch.

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Latin Yellow Rice

Latin Yellow Rice is a tasty Spanish rice recipe with turmeric for its bright yellow color. A perfect side dish for Latin American dishes!
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion , diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  • In a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat add the olive oil.
  • Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in garlic, stir well and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add vegetable broth, rice, turmeric, kosher salt and black pepper and stir well.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
  • Turn the heat off, let sit for 5 minutes covered (do not open yet).
  • Fluff with a fork before serving.


  • Click on the yield amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update! 
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the Metric option next to Ingredients in the recipe card.


Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1055mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 251IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

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Variations on Yellow Rice

  • Spices: You can add ground cumin, fresh cilantro, or ground oregano for extra flavor. Substitute garlic powder or onion powder for fresh ingredients.
  • Sazon: Sazon is a pre-made seasoning full of Spanish flavors you can use instead of the turmeric.
  • Turmeric: Saffron or ground annatto seeds can be used in place of turmeric to get the bright yellow color in this rice dish and bring a different flavor.
  • Rice: Any long-grain white rice will work in this Yellow Rice recipe. The most common are basmati rice and jasmine rice. To use brown rice, cook for an additional 10 minutes and allow to steam for 10 minutes.
  • Cuban Yellow Rice: Season the rice with anatto powder and paprika before cooking. About 10 minutes into cooking, stir in a cup of frozen peas and then cook an additional 15-20 minutes. Garnish with diced pimentos.
  • Veggies: You can stir in a cup of frozen veggies like corn, peas, or diced carrots to your rice about halfway through cooking. You may need to adjust the cooking time by 5-10 minutes.
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More Rice Recipes from Around the World

Latin Yellow Rice collage with close up of rice in bowl in top frame, recipe name in blue banner across middle, further out view of rice in bowl bottom frame

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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