A Spicy Perspective

Fluffy Yellow Rice Recipe (Arroz Amarillo)

How to Make Yellow Rice – A classic Arroz Amarillo recipe for fluffy and flavorful Spanish rice every time. Pair this vibrant side with your favorite Mexican, South American, and Caribbean dishes!

fluffy yellow rice recipe aka arroz amarillo

Yellow rice (arroz amarillo) is a popular side dish served in countries all over the world. It’s enjoyed throughout Spain, Central and South America, the Caribbean, India, Africa, and Southwest Asia… In fact, you’ll find a signature version of yellow rice on nearly every continent!

While there are subtle differences in recipes from various regions, the concept is similar and pretty simple: Long grain rice is steamed with vibrant aromatics, including onion and either turmeric, annatto, or saffron for that signature yellow color.

overhead view of bowl of yellow rice with black beans

Easy Yellow Rice Recipe

This is our simple Latin-inspired Arroz Amarillo recipe that makes the most flavorful and fluffy yellow rice every time. It’s perfect to serve with your favorite Mexican, South American, and Caribbean dishes – or simply eat by the bowlful on its own. It’s just that satisfying!

Mexican yellow rice is made in just 4 basic steps, and is ready to enjoy in 30 minutes.

It’s quick and easy to prepare as a nearly effortless side, and can even be made ahead to include as part of your weekly meal prep!

spoonful of arroz amarillo up close

Ingredients You Need

As mentioned above, there are a few different ways you can add the amarillo to the arroz. We use turmeric for a lovely hue and subtle earthy flavor. However, feel free to use a pinch of annatto or saffron to create your version of yellow rice!

For this Mexican yellow rice recipe you need:

  • Dried long-grain ricewhite is classic but you can use brown
  • Butteror oil
  • Oniondiced
  • Garlicminced
  • Chicken baseor bouillon
  • Turmericfor that perfect yellow color
  • Adobo seasoningstore bought or homemade for a rich, smoky flavor
  • Water
  • Cilantrochopped
pot with minced garlic and seasonings

How to Make Arroz Amarillo (Spanish Yellow Rice)

First, set a 4-quart saucepot over medium heat. Add the butter, onions, and garlic, and sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.

Then stir in the dry rice.

adding dry white rice to the pot

Note: Make sure the grains of rice are well coated in butter. 

Add the chicken base, turmeric, adobo seasoning, and water. Stir well.

Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Once boiling, lower the heat a little and stir. Cover the pot again and cook for 15-18 minutes.

You’ll know that it is done when the rice looks fluffy on top and there are vent holes in the top of the rice.

cooked arroz amarillo with steam holes

Remove from heat and toss the rice. Then cover one more time and let the rice steam for another 5 minutes.

Lastly, stir in the fresh chopped cilantro.

Get the Complete (Printable) Spanish Yellow Rice Recipe Below. Enjoy!

cooking pot with finished yellow rice, arroz amarillo being stirred with a spoon

Serve Mexican yellow rice warm with your favorite main dishes.

overhead view of spanish yellow rice in a bowl and bowl of cooked black beans

Frequently Asked Questions

What other ingredients can I include in this yellow rice recipe?

Try making your yellow rice with steamed sweet peas, shredded coconut, saffron, or golden raisins. Stir in the add-ins along with the chopped cilantro (if using) after the rice has cooked and before the final 5-minute steam.

How do I make vegetarian and vegan Arroz Amarillo?

Instead of butter use your favorite high-heat neutral-tasting oil. Then swap the chicken base with veggie bouillon.

What main dishes go well with Latin-inspired yellow rice?

Mexican, South American, and Caribbean dishes pair perfectly with this recipe. Serve as a side with classic Tacos Al Pastor, Black Bean Sweet Potato Skillet Enchiladas, and Carne Guisada. It’s great to enjoy with Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken and Grilled Lamb Chops. Or simply serve in a bowl and dig in!

How long does homemade rice keep?

This is an excellent recipe to make ahead. Store cooled leftovers in a sealed container and keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop; you might want to add a splash of water if the rice seems a bit dry.

side view of yellow spanish rice in a bowl with cilantro

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Mexican Yellow Rice Recipe
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Fluffy Yellow Rice Recipe (Arroz Amarillo)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
A classic Arroz Amarillo (yellow rice) recipe for fluffy and flavorful Spanish rice every time. Pair this vibrant side with your favorite Mexican, South American, and Caribbean dishes!
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Set a 4 quart saucepot over medium heat. Add the butter, onions, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften. Then stir in the rice. Make sure the rice is well coated in butter.
  • Add the chicken base, turmeric, adobo seasoning, and water. Stir well.
  • Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat a little and stir. Then cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, until the rice looks fluffy and there are vent holes in the top of the rice.
  • Remove from heat and toss the rice. Then cover and let the rice steam another 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve warm.

Notes

Want to mix things up? Try making yellow rice with sweet peas, shredded coconut, saffron, or golden raisins.
This is an excellent recipe to make ahead. Store cooled leftovers in a sealed container and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop; you might want to add a splash of water if the rice seems a bit dry.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup, Calories: 146kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 106mg, Potassium: 81mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 32IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Caribbean, Central American, Cuban, Latin, Mexican, Spanish
Author: Sommer Collier

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4 comments on “Fluffy Yellow Rice Recipe (Arroz Amarillo)”

  1. Followed this recipe and it turned out awesome! Paired it with Grilled Lamb Chops and our dinner turned out to be really amazing. We enjoyed this recipe for sure.

  2. I love a good yellow rice recipe and this hits the spot. It is indeed fluffy and super flavorful. It goes so well with black beans and grilled chicken. Yum!

  3. This is perfect to go with our enchiladas tonight and I just know our family will love this! So excited to give this a try. Easy and delicious rice!

  4. I love a good arroz Amarillo! This is perfect for most dinners in my household! So great!