We’re big-time rice lovers in my Cuban family and arroz amarillo is no exception.
What is Arroz Amarillo?
Arroz amarillo [pronounced a·rros ah·mah·ree·yoh] simply translates to yellow rice. It’s made of long-grain white rice and it gets its yellow color from Bijol.
Bijol is a traditional Latin seasoning, also known as “achiote” or “annotto” powder, that’s an inexpensive substitute for saffron.
This Spanish yellow rice recipe is a popular side dish not only amongst Cubans but also throughout Spain, the Caribbean, and Latin America. It’s not spicy but it is flavorful.
Sometimes my mom would buy diced ham (instead of peas) and fold it into the rice. SO GOOD.
Let me show you how to make it.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Onion, green bell pepper, garlic. The sofrito! This diced trifecta is the base of most Cuban recipes.
- Jarred sliced pimentos. Pimientos are sweet, roasted red peppers and we, often, use them in rice recipes.
- Long-grain white rice. I prefer long-grain white rice because it doesn’t get clumpy.
- Chicken bouillon cube + water. Instead of chicken stock, we’re using a chicken bouillion cube which elevates flavor without the need to add too many spices.
- Bijol. I recommend using Bijol instead of saffron, which can be very expensive, to color the rice. You can also use annatto or turmeric powder. All you need is an 1/8 teaspoon. A little bit goes a long way! If you add more, you run the risk of the rice looking more orange than yellow.
- Tomato sauce. This also adds color and flavor to our rice.
- Bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
How To Make Arroz Amarillo
- Heat the oil. In a Dutch oven or saucepan with a lid, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Cook the sofrito. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Add sliced pimentos and tomato sauce. Sauté for 1 minute. Add rice, water, bouillon cube, Bijol, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon and adjust later). Bring to a boil.
- Cook the rice. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Fluff the yellow rice! Remove from heat. Keep the lid on for another 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. The rice should be moist and delicious.
How do I get fluffy yellow rice?
- Keep the lid on! While the rice is cooking, don’t peek! For those 15 minutes, make sure the lid is on tight on the pot. The steam is what cooks the rice and keeps it fluffy.
- Use a fork to fluff the rice. When you use a spoon, you run the risk of the rice getting mushy. Using a fork releases the rest of the moisture and steam which is how yellow rice retains its fluffiness.
What can I serve with arroz amarillo?
You can serve this yellow rice dish with just about anything!
How To Store Leftover Yellow Rice
Store any leftovers in an airtight container and chill in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can also transfer it to a freezer-safe plastic bag and freeze it for up to 2 months.
I would recommend you thaw it to room temperature before reheating it on the stove.
Of course, you could always make Spanish yellow rice from a bag but nothing beats homemade.
Hope you make it and LOVE it!
You may also like:
- Arroz Con Camarones (Yellow Rice with Shrimp)
- Cuban Arroz Con Pollo
- Arroz Blanco (Easy White Rice Recipe)
- Easy Cuban Arroz Imperial (Imperial Rice)
Easy Arroz Amarillo (Spanish Yellow Rice)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 small green bell pepper diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 ounces pimentos drained and sliced
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain rice washed and rinsed
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1/8 teaspoon Bijol (annatto) or turmeric powder to color the rice
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt + pepper to taste
- In a Dutch oven or saucepan with a lid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add sliced pimentos and tomato sauce. Sauté for 1 minute. Add rice, water, bouillon cube, Bijol, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon and adjust later). Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE LID. The steam is what cooks the rice.
- Remove from heat. Keep the lid on for another 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, never a spoon. The rice should be moist and delicious. Enjoy!