How to Make Perfect Yellow Rice (Arroz Amarillo)

by Sarah Gluten Free, RecipesComments: 15

yellow rice topped with peas

Authentic and very delicious yellow rice cooked in gelatin and mineral rich chicken broth instead of water is a great way to get more of this digestion enhancing (and wrinkle reducing) superfood into your family’s diet.

Just to give you some idea, folks on the GAPS Diet who are healing their gut to reverse autoimmune problems incorporate a small cup of homemade broth with every single meal. This is how important this traditional food is to health and healing.

The aromatic spices added to the yellow rice blend very well with the broth. If you are (oops) short on chicken broth for whatever reason, you can use this recipe for easy to make herbal bouillon instead in a pinch.

In my experience, the flavor of the yellow rice is more acceptable to children than plain rice cooked in chicken broth.

Avoid Yellow Rice at the Store

When I was growing up, yellow rice was one of my favorite foods. Unfortunately, those nasty yellow rice boxes or packages from the store were the choice for preparation. These are without exception loaded with additives, chemicals, and worst of all, lots and lots of MSG!  No surprise that I am extremely sensitive to MSG as an adult having eaten so much of it as a kid. I avoid it like the plague (yes, it’s in just about everything processed) else I would be living on headache medicine.

By the way, the same goes for yellow rice served in restaurants unless they are completely authentic and do everything from scratch.  Most at the very least use canned chicken broth and probably a powdered flavor packet too, both loaded with neurotoxic MSG.

Look at the long list of ingredients of Goya, one of the most popular yellow rice brands on the market. Artificial additives, synthetic vitamins and inorganic minerals (think gnawing on a bone to get your calcium – not effective!) are in bold and genetically modified (GMO) ingredients are in bold and underlined.

Wow, this stuff is so loaded with MSG that it is a definite recipe for a migraine if you ask me! Not only that, Goya is so cheap with its products that artificial yellow dye is used to color the rice instead of turmeric or saffron. Shareholder profits obviously more important than people’s health to this company!

Goya Yellow Rice Mix: Long Grain Parboiled Rice Enriched with Iron (Ferric Orthophosphate), Niacin, Thiamine (Thiamine Mononitrate) and Folic Acid, Chicken Bouillon (Salt, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sugar, Maltodextrin, Chicken Flavor [Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Salt, Chicken Fat, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Silicon Dioxide, Chicken Powder, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate], Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Granulated Onion, Yeast Extract, Chicken Fat [Rendered Chicken Fat, Nonfat Dry Milk Solids, BHA, Propyl Gallate, Citric Acid], Granulated Garlic, Silica, Chicken [Cooked Chicken, BHA, Propyl Gallate, Citric Acid], Ground Celery, Parsley Flakes), Dehydrated Minced Onion, Salt, Dehydrated Red Bell Pepper, Dehydrated Green Bell Peppers, Garlic Granulated, Ground Coriander, FD&C Yellow No. 5, Silicon Dioxide (To Prevent Caking), Annatto Powder.

Obviously, I never use these yellow rice packages from the store when I make this traditional dish for my own family!

It is very easy to prepare yellow rice with no additives or MSG – only truly authentic flavor and the benefit of homemade broth to aid digestion.

Benefits of Using Turmeric in Yellow Rice

In addition, this recipe uses turmeric, one of the most beneficial herbs on the planet. Turmeric is a spice widely used in traditional Indian cooking that has been used holistically for centuries.

Dr. Kelly Brogan MD uses turmeric widely in her holistic practice.  She writes,

This wonder-spice is a mainstay of my anti-inflammatory work with patients in my practice where I use liposomal preparations of curcumin, the natural phenols responsible for turmeric’s yellow color, when I suspect their symptoms stem from a challenged immune system.

In research, the curcumin in turmeric was shown to be effective against Helicobacter pylori common in gastroduodenal ulcers regardless of the genetic makeup of the strain.  The administration of curcumin also resolved any gastric damage caused by the infection.

If you love yellow rice like my family does, you can derive maximum flavor and benefit by using homemade chicken broth as the base (water works too, the yellow rice just isn’t as flavorful) and traditional herbs and spices like turmeric to add the flavor.

Healthy Yellow Rice Recipe (Arroz Amarillo)


3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (I use this one)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (source)
Pinch freshly ground cinnamon (source)
Pinch coriander (source)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (homemade or purchased from small vendors (like these) who make it authentically. If you don’t have any on hand, use all filtered water)
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon grassfed butter (where to find)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups white basmati rice (brand I use)
Frozen organic baby peas

Note: if you want to use brown rice (white rice is recommended especially if you have digestive issues) or eat white rice frequently, you really should soak it first. Here’s a video on how to do this. We do not eat white basmati rice very frequently in our home (we never eat brown rice), so I sometimes do not soak it first.


In a medium pot, heat the turmeric, cumin, coriander and cinnamon over low heat for about one minute to release the fragrance.

Add the broth and/or water, sea salt, and butter and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir well. Cover and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook with the cover on without stirring until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit with the cover on for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add thawed peas and serve.

Tip: If your rice starts burning because the heat is too high, don’t throw it out! Quickly take the pot to the sink and run cold water over the bottom which stops the cooking process. Transfer the rice mixture to a new pan leaving out any burned rice stuck to the bottom of the first pan. Place a slice of bread on top of the rice before you cover the pot again and finish cooking. The bread will absorb any burnt smell that remains.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


More Information

Rice Cakes (Frittelle di riso)

Homemade Rice Krispies Cereal

Chicken Broth No MSG Labels are a Lie

Lots of Headaches? A Most Likely Cause

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