turmeric rice

Turmeric Rice Recipe (Indian Yellow Rice)

By Swasthi on September 18, 2023, Comments, Jump to Recipe

This Turmeric Rice aka Indian Yellow Rice is a flavor bomb, super easy to make, healthy plus delicious. It makes for a great weeknight dinner, ready under 30 minutes. Serve it with grilled veggies, tandoori chicken, grilled kababs, curry, raita or a stew. No matter how you serve, this unique aromatic Turmeric Rice is going to impress your family and guests for sure!!

Turmeric Rice

Turmeric Rice is made in almost all Asian countries but much differently in each country. Various ingredients like rice, spices, stock, broth, onions and herbs are used depending on the region. This post shows you how to make the simplest yet flavorful turmeric rice in a jiffy.

About Turmeric Rice

This Indian Yellow Rice recipe uses basmati rice, turmeric, warming whole spices & herbs. It is a one pot dish where the spices are tempered in fats like butter/ghee/ oil to bring out the aroma. Then rice is simmered with these spices & liquids to perfection.

In no time this will cook up to a super aromatic and delicious dish infused with whole spices and lots of goodness.

In Indian cuisine, we make a lot of rice varieties like pulao, biryani & bhath recipes. Most homes do not make turmeric rice as such but add turmeric to pretty much every rice dish except for the plain steamed rice.

This turmeric rice is the way I make at home when I wish to make the meal more colourful & interesting.

It has a very unique aroma and doesn’t taste or smell like the usual pulao or biryani. I make a lot of variations to this turmeric rice and have listed it down in the recipe notes.

This dish is best prepared in a pot or a dutch oven on a very low flame. But it can also be made in an instant pot or an Indian cooker. I have included the details of the same below.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a warming spice that comes from the rhizomes of turmeric plant. It is widely used in Indian cooking since it imparts a vibrant color & an earthy flavour to the dishes. Apart from that it is also believed to boost immunity & keep the body warm during winters.

So we Indians also consume Turmeric Tea & Turmeric Milk during the harsh winters for better health.

How to Make Turmeric Rice (Stepwise Photos)

1. Rinse rice very well in ample amount of water. Drain and soak for at least 15 to 30 mins. If you are in a hurry, soak them in slightly hot water for 10 mins. Drain and use.

2. Peel and mince ginger and garlic. If using green chilli, chop it and set aside.

3. Heat a pot with butter. When the butter melts, add all the whole spices and saute them on a low heat for 30 to 60 seconds.

frying spices in butter

4. Then add ginger, garlic and chilli (optional). Saute them until fragrant. Do not brown them.

frying ginger garlic for turmeric rice

5. Add pepper, turmeric and salt. Quickly stir.

adding turmeric and pepper to make turmeric rice

6. Drain the water completely and add the rice. On a high flame saute very well for 2 mins stirring occasionally and not frequently.

frying rice to make turmeric rice

7. Pour stock or coconut milk. Stir and taste it. The water must be slightly salty else add a bit more.

pouring stock

8. Reduce the flame to very low and cook covered until the turmeric rice is done. If you want to make this in the Indian pressure cooker, cook for 1 whistle on a medium flame.

cooking turmeric rice on a low flame

9. When done there will be no moisture at the bottom of the pan.

garnish turmeric rice

Serve turmeric rice with a curry. Here are some recipes you may like to pair with turmeric rice
Veg kurma
Kadai paneer
Chicken Vindaloo
Chicken Masala
Raita Recipes

turmeric rice recipe

Pro Tips

  • Rinse rice: Always rinse rice well in lots of water, at least thrice or until the water runs clear. This removes the excess starch that’s on the surface of the rice & won’t make the turmeric rice sticky.
  • Soak rice: Soak rice for at least 15 to 30 mins. During the soak, rice grains absorb some moisture and swell up. They expand well while cooking. So you will get fluffy and perfectly cooked long grainy turmeric rice.
  • Fry rice: Frying rice in butter not only brings out the aroma of the fragrant rice but also prevents the rice grains from becoming mushy.
  • Liquid to rice ratio: To cook turmeric rice in a regular pot use 3 cups liquid. To cook in instant pot use 1¾ cups plus 2 tbsps. If using Indian cooker with whistle use 2.5 cups.
  • For best flavors, cook the turmeric rice on a low heat.
  • Do not substitute butter with oil. You may use ghee (clarified butter)
  • Coconut milk or stock: Do not use water to cook this rice. You won’t get the real flavors. Canned coconut milk is too thick for this recipe. You can use coconut milk from carton.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

turmeric rice

Turmeric Rice Recipe (Indian Yellow Rice)

A simple one pot aromatic dish made with rice, warming spices & herbs. Serve it with any curry, dal or even with just a raita.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Servings2 to 3

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • cups basmati rice (or jasmine rice)
  • 2½ to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or ghee)
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric (prefer organic)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced or paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced or paste
  • 3 cups stock or coconut milk (refer notes)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground pepper or crushed black pepper

Whole Spices

  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (I use caraway seeds – shahi jeera)
  • 6 green cardamoms
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 inches cinnamon (2 pieces)
  • 1 strand mace (optional)
  • 1 star anise

To Garnish

  • ¼ cup coriander leaves chopped
  • ¼ cup nuts & raisins (optional) (refer notes)


How to make Indian Yellow Rice

  • Rinse rice well a few times. Soak it for at least 15 to 30 mins. Drain the rice and set aside.
  • Heat butter in a pot and melt it.
  • Add all the whole spices and saute on a low flame until fragrant.
  • Then add ginger garlic and saute again for 30 to 60 seconds without burning or browning the garlic.
  • Next stir in pepper and turmeric.
  • Then add drained rice and regulate the flame to high.
  • Fry the rice for about 2 mins stirring occasionally. Avoid stirring often as the rice grains will break.
  • Pour the stock or coconut milk & add salt. Check the salt and add more if desired.
  • Simmer and cover the pot. Cook on a low heat until the rice is fully cooked.
  • When done fluff up the turmeric rice with a fork and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with a curry, dal or a raita.

Instant Pot Turmeric Rice

  • Press saute button and add butter to the steel insert of the instant pot.
  • When the butter melts, add all the whole spices and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Saute ginger, garlic, turmeric and pepper for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Then add the drained rice & fry for a minute.
  • Pour 1 ¾ cup + 2 tbsps stock or coconut milk along with salt. Stir and check salt.
  • Press cancel button & secure the instant pot with the lid. Position the steam release handle to sealing.
  • Press pressure cook button (manual in older Ips) & set the timer to 5 minutes.
  • When the instant pot beeps, press cancel and let the pressure release naturally 10 mins.
  • Fluff up the turmeric rice and garnish with coriander leaves.


It is important to cook the entire dish on a low flame for the best flavor.
Butter is the magic ingredient here. Do not substitute it with oil.
Spices – You can use any of your favorite spices. I also add about a tsp of ground fennel seeds or saunf. 
Stock or coconut milk: You can use any stock of your choice or coconut milk. Avoid plain water as it doesn’t add flavor to the rice. Here are the quantities to use if making in a regular pot – 3 cups, instant pot – 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsps, Indian cooker with whistle 2.5 cups.
Herbs: I generally add about half cup of mint leaves along with the garlic and ginger. Since I did not have I skipped it. You may use that if you like the flavor of mint.
Green chilli: I have not added any chilli to the turmeric rice. You may add 1 chopped chilli along with ginger garlic if you wish.
To make this in the Indian pressure cooker with whistle – Cook the rice for 1 whistle on a medium flame. 

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.


Watch Turmeric Rice Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Turmeric Rice Recipe (Indian Yellow Rice)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 499 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 1456mg63%
Potassium 1044mg30%
Carbohydrates 93g31%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 1887IU38%
Vitamin C 113mg137%
Calcium 287mg29%
Iron 10mg56%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

This Turmeric Rice recipe was first published in Dec 2019. Updated and republished in February 2023.

Turmeric Rice Recipe (Indian Yellow Rice)

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Namaste Swasthi. Tried this (pressure cooker version) tonight with a dal panchratan. Terrific! My humble thanks as always for you lovely recipes. Regards, Sandy

5 stars
Thank You. This is the best colorful rice

5 stars
The recipe asks for 6 cloves. Not sure what this means. Is it 6 cloves of garlic or something else?

5 stars
Another amazing instapot rice recipe from Swasthi’s Recipes! I feel like this is the perfect rice dish when you want it to have the taste of a biryani, but don’t want to deal with the extra bits of veg or meat. As such, I enjoyed it with a low-key vegetable dish and it was perfection.

I’m yet to try this (I’m sure it’s awesome). Anyway, I am lucky to have some saffron. Would it go well with this recipe?

Thanks. Now I just have to find a use for it 🙂

5 stars
So delicious! I could not stop eating it. And then after I just started going through all the recipes on the website looking for more tasty things to make lol

5 stars
Absolutely the best recipe I have.
I used coconut milk and caraway seeds. Excellent blend of spices.

5 stars
This recipe was fantastic. So flavorful and easy to make. I have made it twice already this week, once on the stove and once in the instantpot. Will definitely use it for meal preparation. Thank you!

5 stars
The taste is amazing however the rice became overcooked. I know I followed the recipe accurately so not sure why it’s overcooked. Any advise?

I have a question about the amount of water to use with the insta pot- do I add the amount called for in the recipe and do an additional 1 3/4 +2 T or just the 1 3/4+2T ? Thanks!

5 stars
One of the tastiest things I’ve ever cooked. Kids loved it! Thank you! Added the ground fennel seeds and used a veggie broth. Might try next time with coconut milk instead of the veggie broth…

Thanks for sharing. My turmeric rice was not colorful like yours. Am I doing something wrong?

5 stars
This turned out yummy ?. I used plain water to cook. Served with lots of raisins and raita. Will be using this recipe again. Thank you.

This recipe turned out simply amazing with broth & lots of raisins. It was so good with your chicken curry. Thank you.