Vibrant golden yellow turmeric rice is a fragrant, tempting one pot dish that’s perfect with curries and casseroles. Add some colour to your table with this delicious golden rice recipe. It’s so easy to make and ready in less than 30 minutes with about 30 seconds hands on time!
Also known as yellow rice, or golden rice, turmeric rice is an easy side dish that’s perfect for brightening a weeknight meal. It feels fancy but is so simple to prepare on the stove top (or scroll down for Instant Pot instructions).
Fluffy basmati rice coloured and flavoured with earthy turmeric adds a glorious colour to your plate. Popular across India, Indonesia and beyond, turmeric rice goes well with all sorts of curries and stews, and is a great alternative to pilau rice.
I usually cook for two, but always make a double batch of this turmeric rice recipe, so there’s a portion for the freezer for another meal!
Why Make Turmeric Rice
- It is easy and effortless – make big bowl of beautiful fluffy golden rice with barely any effort.
- It uses everyday ingredients that you will have in your pantry.
- It’s fast – perfect rice in less than 30 minutes with barely any hands on time.
- Adaptable – ring the changes by adding vegetables or spices.
- Can be frozen – this recipe makes a generous double batch for two. Cook once and eat twice!
The absorption method for perfect rice
For me, the absorption method is by far the best way to cook long grain rice. There’s no draining or drying in the oven. Instead, all you have to do is get the quantities right, make sure the lid fits on the pan and leave it alone. Then fluff the rice at the end.
It can take a little practice to perfect this method, but once you have mastered it, there is no looking back. Always choose a heavy pan with a lid that fits properly, and you’ll get great rice every time.
This turmeric rice recipe is slightly different from my other rice dishes because you don’t toast the rice and spice first. You start instead with a cold pan, which means you need less liquid than when you add hot stock to a hot pan. This is not unusual for Asian cooks and this is an Asian-style recipe.
You can measure your rice and liquid in anything, so there’s no need for scales. I’ve got a little espresso cup that holds the perfect amount of rice for two!
What is turmeric?
We’re so used to seeing turmeric as a yellow powder that we can forget about how it grows.
Curcuma longa is part of the same family as ginger, and the spice comes from the rhizome or root. It grows widely across Asia and the Caribbean, though most of the turmeric we buy comes from India.
If you want to use the fresh root, you can treat it just like ginger and grate it.
There has been a lot of excitement about the potential health benefits of turmeric in recent years. There is ongoing research into whether curcumin, the active compound, can help fight all sorts of health problems, especially those linked to ageing.
One thing that does seem clear is that if turmeric does help to fight arthritis and even dementia, it works better cooked in food as a regular part of your diet rather than taken as a supplement.
Turmeric Rice Ingredients
- Rice – You need a long grain rice, and I always choose Basmati. Brown Basmati is fine, but you will need to double the cooking time. Avoid ‘easy cook’ rice, because it’s much easier for it to go wrong!
Helen’s Fuss Free Tip
Buy a decent rice. It does not have to be the most expensive branded one, but the cheaper discount or economy ones will often contain many broken grains. This can make the cooked rice sticky.
Don’t get easy cook or minute rice. This is pre-cooked and dried, and will need an different amount of water to cook. I find it also has a gummy texture. Rice is easy to cook and you really don’t need to buy easy cook, which is often quite the opposite.
- Spices – Turmeric, garlic powder (optional), freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. As ever, buy little and replace spices often. Big bags of spice may seem a bargain but if you don’t use them and they go stale, they are a false economy.
- Coconut Oil – This coats the rice and helps it stop sticking, adds some flavour and some texture. You can use a little butter, ghee or olive oil instead if you prefer.
- Stock/Broth – Vegetable or chicken, depending on dietary preferences and taste. You may need to adjust the amount of salt you add depending on the saltiness of your stock.
- Parsley – to garnish to serve. Use coriander if you prefer.
How to make golden rice – step by step
Before you start, read my step-by-step instructions, with photos, hints and tips so you can make this turmeric rice recipe perfectly every time.
Scroll down for the recipe card with quantities and more tips at the bottom of the page.
Step One – Put the rice, spices and coconut oil in a medium (8″/ 20 cm) saucepan that has a well fitting lid.
Step Two – Pour over the stock. Then put the lid on, turn on the heat and bring to a simmer.
Turn the heat right down and leave for 18 minutes. Use a diffuser ring if you need to, to keep the heat low and even. If your pan has a glass lid you will see that the water is barely moving. You want the rice to absorb the water not boil in it.
After 18 minutes, turn the heat off, remove from the hot plate and leave for 5 minutes.
Leave the lid on and don’t peek!
Step Three – Fluff the rice and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with a generous amount of chopped fresh parsley.
This golden rice is delicious with Indian and South East Asian dishes, especially curries, or with stews and casseroles. It’s also good with Mediterranean dishes like ratatouille.
Serve with any of our easy curry recipes.
- Defrost and cook some peas and corn and stir these through before serving to make a vegetable golden rice.
- Add some extra spices. Include a little ginger and lemongrass for an Indonesian style rice.
- Brown Rice – cook exactly as the instructions but for 40 minutes. It does not need extra water but it does need more time.
Instant Pot Turmeric Rice
Throw all the dry ingredients except for the garnish into the Instant Pot. Add the same volume of stock as rice. Make sure you scale this turmeric rice recipe so you have at least the minimum amount of liquid that your model of Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker needs to come to pressure.
Set the Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 3 minutes. Once the time is up, leave it on the warming setting for a natural pressure release (NPR) for fifteen minutes.
Pack any leftover turmeric rice into airtight containers, put the lid on and allow to cool. As soon as your rice is cool, put in the fridge or freezer.
Fridge – You can store turmeric rice in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Reheat thoroughly and do not return to the fridge a second time.
Freezer – Freeze your turmeric rice and keep it for up to 3 months. You can defrost it in the fridge overnight before reheating, or microwave from frozen. Either way, it should be piping hot before you serve it.
Hints and Tips
- Use a pan with a well fitting lid and turn the heat down low, using a diffuser if necessary. You want the rice to gently absorb the stock, not vigorously boil in it
- Don’t lift the lid and peek while the rice is cooking. This will allow some of the liquid to escape as steam and you will end up with dry rice.
- Rinsing the rice – I have never found the need to rinse rice before cooking. This may, however, be because of the brands that I buy and the fact that I add a little oil or fat to the dish.
- Check whether your rice needs rinsing by rubbing some of the rice between your fingers. If it is dusty then give it a good rinse until the water runs clear. If you do this, reduce the amount of liquid by a tablespoon.
- For best results measure the rice and liquid. Don’t guess. Some cooks suggest that half an inch of water above the level of the rice will always work. I’m sure it works for some if they always cook the same amount of rice in the same pan. It makes no sense as a general rule, however, as the proportions will differ with the footprint of the pan.
It is a bright golden spice from the root of the turmeric plant. Dried ground turmeric is one of the main spices used in Indian curries, that gives a earthy flavour and that characteristic colour.
In all honesty it is debatable. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, but you need lots of it for the benefit. To efficiently absorb it you also need fat (or oil) and piperine from black pepper.
More Easy Rice Dishes
- Nandos Rice – restaurant style rice at home!
- Greek Rice – with lemon and Mediterranean herbs.
- Easy Spicy Rice – one pot rice with lots of chilli
- Mushroom Rice – An easy side packed with mushrooms
- More easy rice recipes – we love rice and cook it several times a week!
Easy Turmeric Rice
- 1 cup Basmati rice (175 g)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp coconut oil (or butter, ghee, other oil)
- 1½ cup chicken or vegetable stock (360 ml)
- parsley to garnish (or coriander if you prefer)
- Put the rice, spices and coconut oil in a medium (8"/ 20 cm) saucepan that has a well-fitting lid.1 cup Basmati rice, 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp sea salt, 2 tsp coconut oil
- Pour over the stock. Then put the lid on, turn on the heat and bring to a simmer.1½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- Turn the heat right down and leave for 18 minutes. Use a diffuser ring if you need to. Do not be tempted to lift the lid and let the steam escape.
- Turn the heat off and leave the lid on for a further five minutes. Then fluff the rice and serve garnished with plenty of parsley.parsley to garnish
- This recipe is 15 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion