What Is Yellow Rice? (Type Of Rice, Taste + More)

There are many ways to enjoy rice other than pairing it with a wide array of vegetable and meat dishes. Elevating your meals doesn’t require you to use specialty rice either.

You can simply switch to yellow rice and enjoy more colorful and delectable meals. If you haven’t had yellow rice before, you might be wondering what yellow rice is. Here’s what I found!

What Is Yellow Rice?

Yellow rice is white rice that has been seasoned with turmeric, saffron, or both. Additionally, yellow rice is popular all over the world and is called java rice in China and Arroz Amarillo in Mexico. Regardless of the nuances in the flavors of yellow rice, yellow rice is generally prepared the same way in every country.

In case you’re interested to learn more about the origins of yellow rice and the many varieties that yellow rice comes in, keep reading!

What Is Yellow Rice Called?

Yellow rice is called different names depending on how the yellow rice is made and where the yellow rice comes from.

Generally, yellow rice can be referred to as turmeric rice, saffron rice, or golden rice. In China, yellow fried rice is called java rice.

What Is Yellow Rice Made Of?

Yellow rice is made of white rice and spices like turmeric and saffron. Ideally, long-grain rice like Basmati and Jasmine rice is the best type of rice to use to make yellow rice.

Depending on your preference, you can flavor the rice with turmeric, saffron, or a mix of both.

There are plenty of recipes for making yellow rice, but the most common ingredients used to season yellow rice are butter, cilantro, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and chili powder.

What Kind Of Rice Is Yellow Rice?

Contrary to popular belief, yellow rice is not a naturally-occurring grain.

While there are rice grains that have a yellowish color when raw, they’re different from what’s generally accepted as yellow rice.

Moreover, yellow rice is typically made of white long-grain or medium-grain rice, but not short-grain rice. Additionally, brown rice can also be used to make yellow rice.

Is Yellow Rice The Same As White Rice?

White rice is the preferred rice variant to make yellow rice. As such, it is reasonable to conclude that yellow rice is colored white rice.

However, yellow rice has a richer aroma and flavor than white rice. While white rice can be mostly bland, yellow rice can taste anywhere from nutty and spicy to sweet and floral.

What Is Yellow Rice Served With?

Yellow rice is best paired with meat and vegetables. No matter how you prepare the meat and vegetables, whether steamed, fried, or grilled, they usually taste great with yellow rice.

What Yellow Rice Called In India?

There is no special name for Indian yellow rice. Usually, Indian yellow rice is called by whatever it is made from, whether turmeric, saffron, Basmati, or Jasmine.

What Is Greek Yellow Rice?

Greek yellow rice, which is often referred to as Mediterranean yellow rice, is made similarly to typical yellow rice.

Generally, only some of the preferred seasonings are changed. Greek yellow rice is often made with cumin, pine nuts, cilantro, garlic, and onion but without butter.

What Is Mexican Yellow Rice?

What Is Mexican Yellow Rice?

Mexican yellow rice often referred to as Arroz Amarillo, uses the same recipe as every other yellow rice except with some differences in the seasoning used.

Just like most Mexican food, Arroz Amarillo has a rich, nuanced flavor that is achieved by using chicken bouillon, butter, and even adobo seasoning.

What Is Spanish Yellow Rice?

Spanish yellow rice is similar to Mexican yellow rice. Generally, the main difference between the two is that Spanish yellow rice is traditionally made with saffron.

Additionally, Spanish yellow rice tends to be firmer than Mexican yellow rice.

What Is Saffron Yellow Rice?

Saffron yellow rice is simply yellow rice made solely or mainly with saffron. Some recipes require only saffron and some recipes use more saffron than turmeric.

If yellow rice is made using more saffron than turmeric, it is called saffron rice.

What Is Cuban Yellow Rice?

Just like Spanish and Mexican yellow rice, Cuban yellow rice is simply the Cuban way of preparing yellow rice.

What Is Carolina Yellow Rice?

Caroline yellow rice is a brand of pre-mixed yellow rice that you only need to cook on the stove or microwave to prepare.

What Is Vigo Yellow Rice?

Vigo yellow rice is a brand of pre-mixed yellow rice that aims to recreate the flavors of Spanish yellow rice.

What Is Yellow Curry Fried Rice?

Yellow curry fried rice is similar to the traditional yellow rice, only yellow curry fried rice is mixed with yellow curry powder.

Nonetheless, it is not the curry powder that turns the rice yellow, but the turmeric.

What Does Yellow Rice Taste Like?

Yellow rice made with turmeric usually tastes nutty and earthy, with thick undertones of onion and garlic. When you use saffron, however, the yellow rice tastes more sweet and floral.

Where Does Yellow Rice Come From?

Yellow rice is of South African origins and was brought to Spain by African slaves. More specifically, yellow rice originated in the Cape Malay community.

Is Yellow Rice Natural?

Contrary to popular belief, yellow rice is not a type of naturally-occurring grain. Rather, yellow rice is white or brown rice that has been seasoned with turmeric or saffron.

Do You Rinse Yellow Rice?

Rinsing the white rice to be used in making yellow rice is a must so that the yellow rice doesn’t turn out too sticky.

However, once the yellow rice has been cooked, there’s no need to rinse cooked yellow rice because you’ll risk losing the yellow rice’s flavor.

Read our related articles to discover what Minute Rice is, what milk rice is, and what Calrose rice is.


Yellow rice is a popular rice dish that is made with white long-grain or medium-grain rice and turmeric or saffron.  Additionally, it is possible to make yellow rice using brown rice.

Depending on the recipe you’re following, whether Chinese, Mexican, or Greek, yellow rice can be nutty, earthy, spicy, or sweet.

Regardless, the basic principle of cooking yellow rice remains unchanged across different countries.

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