This yellow rice recipe is seasoned with golden Latin seasonings for wonderful flavor, a great side dish, or perfect with fish, shrimp, chicken, or pork.
Easy Yellow Rice - Huge on Flavor
We're cooking up a batch of delicious Yellow Rice in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen tonight, my friends. You're going to want this recipe.
Yellow rice is different from other rice dishes you may be used to, offering a nice change-up to your regular meal rotation.
There are a few different ways to make yellow rice, depending on the spices used, and which part of the world you're channeling.
This particular version is a Cuban style yellow rice, or "Arroz Amarillo", which uses a spice blend called "Bijo" to add both color and flavor to the dish. You'll find similar versions to this all over Latin America and the Caribbean.
It is not traditionally spicy in terms of heat, though you can easily adapt to make a spicy version if you want to.
If you can't find bijo seasoning, I offer a number of alternatives in the Recipe Tips & Notes section toward the end of the post.
Let's talk about how to make yellow rice, shall we?
Yellow Rice Ingredients
- Olive Oil. For cooking. Spanish olive oil is ideal for this recipe.
- Vegetables. Onion, garlic, and bell pepper. I like to use spicier peppers for a bit of a kick, but it is not traditionally spicy.
- Long Grain White Rice. You can use medium grain rice, though long grain rice is ideal. Use your favorite brand of Spanish rice. Jasmine rice is a good option as well.
- Tomato Sauce. You can also use pureed fresh tomatoes, as you prefer.
- Chopped Pimientos. You can find these in your local grocery store.
- Chicken Stock. Chicken broth or bouillon is good here, or bouillon with tomato. Use vegetable stock or broth for a vegetarian version.
- Bay Leaf.
- Salt and Pepper.
- Bijol. Bijol is a traditional Latin American seasoning made with annatto, which offers the yellow color. See the Recipe Notes for substitutions.
How to Make Yellow Rice (Arroz Amarillo)- the Recipe Method
Cook the Vegetables and Brown the Rice. Add the oil to a large pan and heat to medium high heat. Add the rice, onion, and peppers.
Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and the rice is lightly toasted brown.
Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
Add Tomato and Spices. Add the tomato sauce, chopped pimientos, bay leaf, salt, and bijol (or substitute). Season with black pepper to taste. Cook 2-3 minutes.
Add Stock and Simmer. Pour in warmed chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.
The mixture will look very soupy/watery at this point.
Simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, cooking the rice, about 15 minutes.
Do not stir during this time, and keep covered.
Finish Cooking Off Heat. Remove from heat. Let the rice sit another 5-10 minutes, covered.
You can see how all of the rice has absorbed the liquid, and is nice and light. And very yellow.
Fluff the Rice. Fluff with a fork and serve. A fork works best for fluffing rice.
Using a spoon or something similarly blunt can make the rice clumpy.
Boom! Done! Your yellow rice is ready to serve. Easy enough to make, isn't it? This is a perfect side dish, or you can serve it with added proteins to make it a fuller meal.
Recipe Tips & Notes
Bijol Substitutions. Bijol is a traditional Latin American seasoning made with annatto. As a substitute, use any of the following: Sazon Seasoning with Saffron, annatto powder, crushed saffron threads, or turmeric.
Curried Yellow Rice. You can also make a version of yellow rice with the flavors of curry, which is more common in Indian cuisine. See my Curried Rice Recipe to learn more.
Yellow Rice Serving Ideas. Yellow rice is perfect as a simple side dish with just about any meal.
However, I love to add proteins to make it more of a full meal. Consider adding chopped chicken, pork loin or ham, seafood like whitefish or shrimp, or vegetables like potato or sweet potato, or beans (black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans).
This recipe will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. You can easily reheat it gently in a hot pan, or in the microwave.
You can also freeze it for 2-3 months.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this yellow rice recipe, and that your family loves it as much as we do. Let me know if you make it.
I'd love to hear how it turned out for you, and if you decided to spice it up!
If you enjoy Cuban cuisine, I recommend the following cookbook, which I used to adapt this recipe. It has a lot of great recipes.
- Memories of a Cuban Kitchen, by Mary Urrutia Randelman and Joan Schwartz (affiliate link, my friends!)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Yellow Rice Recipe (Arroz Amarillo)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil Spanish olive oil preferred
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 small bell pepper chopped (use spicier peppers to your preference)
- 1.5 cups long grain rice
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped pimientos
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 teaspoons salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon bijol or use Sazon with saffron, turmeric, annatto, or 4-5 crushed saffron threads
- Black pepper to taste
- 3 cups chicken stock warmed - chicken bouillon works well here
- Heat the oil to medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion, peppers, and rice. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and the rice is lightly toasted brown.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add the tomato sauce, chopped pimientos, bay leaf, salt, and bijol (or substitute). Season with black pepper to taste. Cook 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in warmed chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed into the rice, about 15 minutes. Do not stir during this time, and keep covered.
- Remove from heat. Let the rice sit another 5-10 minutes, covered.
- Fluff with a fork and serve.