Cheat Codes: How to Make Quick Yellow Rice / Spanish Rice

Rice is the ultimate side dish. Cultures all over the world enjoy it in a million different ways, and for good reason. It’s versatile as hell. As a pure starch, it absorbs flavor incredibly well and helps fill you up. Personally, I attribute my slim figure partially to the fact the majority of my diet is made up of various chicken and rice dishes. It has relatively no nutritional content, and as such you can eat it all day without having to worry about putting fats or cholesterol into your body. Most importantly though, it can be served alongside virtually any main course. Chicken, fish, pork, vegetables, you name a food and it works. Sweet, tangy, smoky, earthy, all flavors mix with it. Rice is perfect.

One of the more common ways you see rice prepared is yellow or Spanish rice. The name comes from, well, the fact that it’s yellow. The color can be achieved a number of different ways, some of which are easier and cheaper than others. For those of us who can’t afford ritzy ingredients like turmeric or saffron, there are ways around this if you shop savvy (savvily?) at the grocery store.


Our go-to coloring agent doubles as a seasoning as well. Badia Sazon Tropical is a handy spice blend in that it contains both annato (a spice derived from tropical achiote trees) to color foods yellow, and several generic flavor spices like salt, garlic, coriander, and others to provide flavor. In other words, it’s an all-in-0ne amalgamate that pretty much makes yellow rice happen instantly. One tablespoon is all that’s required to give your rice its color and taste.

Now, I don’t want to simply turn this into an unpaid advertisement for Badia, either, so I’ll also elaborate more on the spices if you either want to make it from scratch, or cannot/won’t use Badia. If you can, I strongly recommend just using a spice blend that includes annato, turmeric, or saffron. Those last two will probably be harder to find/more expensive, however if you can find one that suits your needs then by all means buy it no matter which it contains. There’s not a tremendous difference in flavor between the three. There are also more concentrated ones you can find in stores in the sense that they contain only the dye product.

Obviously the thing to take away from all this is, buy a spice blend if you can.

Easy Yellow Rice

  • 1 Cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil/butter
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp spice blend containing -OR- *1 tbsp anatto/turmeric/saffron + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1 tsp onion powder +1 tsp salt
  1. Add your water into a medium saucepan with olive oil and salt and cover to boil.
  2. When water is boiling, add in spice blend* and stir until well blended.103_1029
  3. Cover rice and reduce heat to low, and cook covered for approximately 15-20 minutes. Do NOT stir until most of the water has been absorbed after 15 minutes.
  4. When water has been mostly absorbed after 15 minutes, stir rice and continue cooking uncovered until all water has been absorbed.

This recipe is no more difficult than preparing a regular serving of rice. The beauty goes back to rice as a versatile-ass food that can be used as a side or a basis for a meal. If you double this recipe, you can warm up individual portions all week for side dishes, use in burritos or wraps, or just to eat on its own. And for anyone who is familiar with cooking rice, you might recognize the most important aspect of how easy this recipe is:

tl;dr version: While cooking one serving of rice, add in 1 tbsp of spice blend which contains annato/turmeric/saffron.



  • If using a rice-cooker, simply add the spice blend in when you add in the dry rice and your results will come out the same.
  • Chicken broth can be substituted in place of the water to give it a hardier taste.
  • You can easily spiff this recipe up to be fancy with a few added ingredients alongside the spice blend to impress people:
  • 2 cloves of chopped/crushed garlic
  • 1/2 Cup of chopped tomato
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp onion flakes

Posted on February 18, 2014, in Cheat Codes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.


Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: