Serve Aromatic Thai Yellow Rice as a Unique and Tasty Side Dish

Easy yellow rice recipe

The Spruce 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 to 5 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
225 Calories
8g Fat
30g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 750mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 19mg 93%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 359mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This yellow rice recipe is simple to make and super delicious! It turns out beautifully golden and very fragrant. While yellow rice is often made with saffron, it can easily be made with turmeric instead, a spice which has incredible health benefits. Yellow rice can be found across a number of culinary traditions, including many in Thailand and India, and is a wonderful companion for curries of all kinds, seafood, fish, and chicken dishes. This also makes a nice side dish for any meal—a perfect potluck addition.

White Thai jasmine rice or Indian basmati works well in this dish, or you can use any long-grain white rice. This recipe includes tomato, but if you'd like to omit it, just increase the stock to the full 4 cups since the tomato adds liquid to the rice mixture.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes, or cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

  • 1 small Roma tomato, or 1 small vine tomato, diced

  • 2 cups white Thai jasmine rice, or white basmati rice

  • 4 cups good-quality chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/3 teaspoon crushed saffron threads, optional

  • 1/4 cup frozen peas

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for thai yellow rice
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  2. Set a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl around. Then add the onion, garlic, and chili. Stir-fry to release the fragrance—about 1 minute.

    Onions in a pot
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  3. Next add the red pepper and tomato. Stir-fry 1 more minute.

    Next add red pepper
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  4. Add the rice and stir to coat.

    Add rice
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  5. Then pour in the stock and turn heat to high.

    Pour in stock
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  6. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, turmeric, and saffron (if using). Stir well.

    Add lime juice
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  7. When the stock begins to bubble, cover tightly with a lid and reduce heat to low. Let rice cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until all or most of the liquid has been absorbed.

    Cover with lid
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  8. Remove the lid and fold in the peas, giving the rice a gentle stir as you do so.

    Fold in peas
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  9. Replace the lid and leave the rice to sit over the same hot burner (with the heat off) for at least 10 minutes, or until you're ready to eat. The residual heat inside the pot will help any remaining liquid absorb and finish cooking the rice; it will also nicely cook the frozen peas. Rice will stay warm in this way for 1 hour or more (great for making ahead of time).

    Replace lid
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  10. Remove the lid and fluff rice with fork or chopsticks. Taste, adding a sprinkling of salt if needed.

    Fluff with a fork
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  11. Top with a little fresh basil.

    Add basil
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  12. Serve and enjoy!

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