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Easy 30-minute Mediterranean Yellow Rice Recipe

Indulge in the flavor of Greece with our mouthwatering and easy 30-minute Mediterranean yellow rice recipe. Picture aromatic spices infusing every grain of rice with vibrant golden colors and irresistible aroma. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a newbie in the kitchen, this easy-to-follow guide will have you creating a delicious side dish in a short time. This flavorful rice pairs perfectly with my Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin Souvlaki with Tzatziki sauce, homemade Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Chicken Shawarma Platter with Lebanese Toum sauce, Pita bread, and other entrées.  

A bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice with Tzatziki sauce and Greek Salad.

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As a child in a Chinese household, our rice choices were limited to plain white jasmine, Japanese, and fried rice.  However, my world changed after I had a taste of authentic Indian and Mediterranean cuisine after I moved to the US. That’s when my love affair with Basmati rice began.

The discovery of Mediterranean-style rice opened up a new world of exotic flavors. This dish is incredibly appetizing and delicious.  I can devour two generous bowls in one sitting (Seriously!). 

I can’t wait to share this recipe with you – it’s a versatile dish that pairs beautifully with any cuisine, not just Greek cuisine. So grab your apron, let’s delve into another culinary adventure, and create this irresistible homemade side dish together.  I can assure you that this tantalizing recipe will transport your senses to the exotic shores of Greece. 

Recipe Snapshot

EASE: The recipe is easy to follow, with step-by-step guidance. And is done in under 30 minutes.
PROS: The dish offers a burst of Mediterranean flavors, quick preparation, and versatility as a side or standalone dish.
CONS: I honestly can’t think of any reasons you will not want to make this recipe.
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? Yes, the enticing flavors and straightforward process make it likely to become a regular in the kitchen.

What is Mediterranean yellow rice?

A bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice with a Sous Vide Pork tenderloin Souvlaki skewer.

This yellow Mediterranean rice is a flavorful and aromatic rice dish that has been a part of Mediterranean cuisine for centuries; from Morocco to Greece and Spain to Lebanon, variations of yellow rice can be found across the Mediterranean.  It is known for its vibrant, golden-hued yellow color, achieved by incorporating spices like turmeric into the cooking process.  Beyond its delicious taste, it represents the Mediterranean’s vibrant and diverse culinary heritage.

What is the difference between Basmati and Jasmine rice?

Basmati and Jasmine rice are highly regarded for their quality, fragrance, and ability to absorb flavors, yet they bring their distinct characteristics to different culinary traditions.  Here’s the breakdown into both verities:

A bowl of uncooked Basmati Rice.

Basmati Rice:

  • Primarily grown in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Long grain rice with a distinct aroma of popcorn or nuts.
  • It has a drier texture and produces fluffy, separate grains when cooked.
  • It is ideal for pilafs, biryanis, and dishes where separate grains are desired.
  • It offers a subtle, nutty flavor that enhances the dish’s overall taste.

A bowl of uncooked Jasmine Rice.

Jasmine Rice:

  • This white rice is commonly found in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand.
  • Shorter and rounder grain with a delicate floral fragrance.
  • The slightly sticky texture, when cooked, is perfect for dishes requiring stickiness.
  • It is well-suited for fried rice and dishes with cohesive consistency.
  • It has a fragrant, floral taste that enhances the overall aroma of the dish.

Which variety of rice is best suited for this yellow rice recipe?

To help my readers (Yes, you, my foodie friend) determine the ideal rice for this recipe, I conducted a flavorful experiment using the Basmati and Jasmine varieties. The conclusion was crystal clear: Basmati rice outshined its counterparts. The dry texture and distinct grains brought the dish to a new level of deliciousness. Trust me, Jasmine and Japanese rice, while excellent accompaniments for Asian cuisine, possess a stickiness that doesn’t quite suit this particular dish. Regarding Mediterranean cuisine, Basmati rice reigns supreme, delivering the perfect texture and authentic taste. So, the final verdict is that Basmati rice is the winner, and you should stick to it with this recipe.  

What is the difference between Saffron rice and Yellow rice?

Although they both colored rice, these 2 different recipes offer different flavor profiles; let me show you the difference: 

A bowl of saffron rice with Kebab and other vegetables.

Saffron Rice:

  • Saffron rice is a dish infusing rice with expensive saffron threads, a prized spice derived from the saffron crocus flower.
  • It has a distinct golden-yellow color and a delicate floral aroma.
  • Saffron rice is known for its subtle, nuanced flavor and is often considered a luxurious meal addition, offering a delicate and luxurious flavor.
  • The saffron threads are typically steeped in warm liquid (such as water or broth) before being added to the rice during cooking.
  • Saffron rice is commonly found in various cuisines, including Mediterranean, Persian, and Indian.

A bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice with a plate of Sous Vide Pork tenderloin Souvlaki skewer.

Yellow Rice:

  • Yellow rice is a vibrant dish that gets yellow from using turmeric, a spice with a bright golden hue.
  • It has a more pronounced yellow color compared to saffron rice.
  • Yellow rice is often seasoned with turmeric, cumin, and paprika, giving it a robust flavor profile.
  • The spices used in yellow rice add color and contribute to its distinct taste and aroma.
  • Yellow rice is famous in Latin American, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and South African cuisines.

Why you’ll love this recipe?

  • Yellow rice is a beloved staple in Mediterranean cooking due to its versatility, ease of preparation, and ability to complement a wide range of dishes. 
  • It is a flavorful and filling accompaniment to various Mediterranean-inspired main courses, such as Air Fryer Shish Tawook and Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma rice platter with Pita bread and Lebanese Toum sauce or Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin Souvlaki with Tazitiki sauce
  • This side dish incorporates a medley of aromatic spices, such as onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, and sweet paprika, all infused into the rice grains during the cooking process to create a symphony of distinct aromas and flavors. 
  • This delicious side dish brings warmth, color, and flavor to our meals.  Making it a favorite choice for family gatherings or weeknight dinners. 

Ingredients that you’ll need: 

Mediterranean Yellow Rice ingredient list.
  • Basmati Rice: Its long, slender grains with fluffy texture adds authenticity to this recipe. 
  • Low Sodium Chicken Broth: This ingredient infuses the rice with savory flavors and enhances its overall taste, providing a rich and delicious base for the rice.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: It adds a touch of Mediterranean essence, enriching the flavors and contributing to the overall richness and moisture of the yellow rice.
  • Dried Parsley: It enhances its aroma and adds a fresh and herbaceous note to the rice. 
  • Sweet Paprika: It brings a mild, earthy sweetness to the dish, enhancing the flavor profile and adding depth to the overall taste.
  • Turmeric Powder: It not only lends a vibrant yellow color to the rice but also provides a warm and distinctive flavor.  It is the star of this recipe. 
  • Garlic Powder: It imparts a savory and slightly pungent flavor to the yellow rice, adding depth and richness to the overall taste.
  • Onion Powder: It contributes a subtle onion flavor to the dish, enhancing the overall savory profile of the yellow rice.
  • Sea Salt: It provides the necessary seasoning to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients, ensuring a well-balanced and delicious final dish.

Recipe Substitutions and Variations

1. Experience with different spices:  

You can create your custom spice blend to give your yellow rice a unique twist.  Add some cumin, cinnamon, or Za’atar to enhance flavor profiles.

2. Vegetarian twist:

Substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth or water. This variation retains the delightful Mediterranean flavors, making it suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

3. Get creative with your garnishes: 

If you plan to serve the yellow rice as a side dish, you can elevate its presentation by adding a pop of color with freshly chopped parsley sprinkled on top. For an added nutty crunch, consider incorporating toasted pine nuts or chopped almonds as toppings, enhancing the dish’s overall texture and flavor profile.

How to make Mediterranean yellow rice?

Step 1: Wash your rice

Start by thoroughly rinsing the rice with tap water, repeating the process three times until the water becomes less cloudy. This helps remove excess starch and ensures cleaner grains for cooking.

Washing rice in rice cooker.
Added chicken broth into rice cooker.

Step 2: Incorporate liquid and spices

Pour chicken broth, seasonings, and spices into the rice cooker pot. Stir the mixture well, ensuring that the seasonings and spices are evenly distributed throughout the rice. This step guarantees the flavors infuse every grain of rice and enhance the dish’s overall taste.

Adding seasonings and spices into rice cooker.
Using a whisk to stir the ingredients to ensure they are mix well.

Step 3: Cook and fluff the rice

Cover the rice cooker and cook for approximately 15 minutes (cook time may vary). Once done, use a utensil to fluff the rice, cover it, and let it rest for 5 more minutes before serving. This step ensures a light and fluffy texture while allowing the flavors to meld together.

All the ingredients are in the rice cooker.
Using a rice scooper to fluff the rice.

A bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice with greek salad and pita bread.

Tips and tricks for this recipe:

1. Measure the correct proportion: 

Use the recommended ratio of rice to liquid (typically 1:1), ensuring you have the right balance for perfectly cooked rice. Proper measurement is critical to achieving the desired texture and consistency.

2. Always check the liquid level: 

Keep an eye on the water or liquid level while cooking. If the rice appears too dry or is not fully cooked, add a small amount of liquid, such as water or broth, and continue cooking until the rice is tender.

3. Fluff your rice before serving: 

Use a fork to fluff the grains gently after the rice is fully cooked. This helps to separate the rice and prevent it from clumping together. Fluffing the rice also helps release excess steam, resulting in a lighter and more appealing texture.

4. Rest the rice before serving: 

Cover the cooked rice for a few minutes, covered, after cooking. This resting time allows the flavors to meld together and the rice to settle, resulting in a more cohesive and enjoyable dish.

What to serve with yellow rice?

2 plates of Sous Vide pork Souvlaki with Mediterranean rice, greek salad, and drizzle with Tzatziki sauce.
A plate of air fryer chicken shawarma with hummus, baba ganoush, and veggies.

1. Pair it with skewers : 

Place a bed of yellow rice under delicious Shish Tawook, Kofta Kebabs, chicken shawarma, or pork Souvlaki. The rice’s aromatic flavors complement the grill’s smoky char, creating a mouthwatering combination.

2. Serve it alongside different Mediterranean-style dips: 

Accompany the yellow rice with an assortment of Mediterranean dips like Hummus, Lebanese garlic sauce (Toum), Tzatziki, or Baba ganoush. The flavors and textures complement each other beautifully, creating a fantastic appetizer or party platter.

3. Stuff it in pita bread:

Fill warm pita pockets with the yellow rice and your choice of grilled protein. Add a dollop of tangy Tzatziki sauce, Greek salad, and fresh herbs for a satisfying and portable Mediterranean-inspired meal.

Storing and reheating tips for leftovers:

1. Refrigerating the rice: 

Allow the cooked yellow rice to cool completely before storing it. Transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate within two hours of cooking. Properly stored, it can be refrigerated for up to four days.

2. Reheating in the microwave: 

My trick for preserving moisture: Place a damp paper towel over the plate of rice, ensuring it’s not overly wet. Heat the rice in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, adjusting the time based on the reheated quantity. This method helps prevent the rice from drying out while heating it evenly.

3. Freezing the rice: 

I prefer to prepare the perfect portion and avoid freezing rice. Growing up, I was accustomed to freshly made rice, and freezing wasn’t common in my cultural background. With this recipe, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any leftovers as it tends to be devoured in one sitting due to its deliciousness. Given my experience, I don’t want to provide inaccurate freezing instructions for this particular dish. It’s always best to enjoy freshly made yellow rice in the ideal portion.

FAQs about Mediterranean Yellow Rice:

In my upbringing, a valuable lesson from my grandma and mom was the importance of portioning the right amount of rice to avoid wastefulness. The trick they shared was to count the number of people joining the meal. As a rule, measure approximately half a cup of uncooked rice per person. For instance, if four individuals join you for a meal,  you measure two cups of uncooked rice. This simple yet effective method ensures a well-proportioned serving for everyone at the table.

If you find your rice turning out too wet or dry, it’s possible that you’re using excessive liquid. The general guideline for cooking rice is equal parts liquid and rice. When using a rice cooker, you’ll notice markings inside the pot. For instance, if you’re cooking 2 cups of rice, ensure the liquid reaches the number 2 marking (or slightly under the marker). This will help guarantee that your rice is perfectly cooked, neither too moist nor too dry.

Absolutely! Rinsing rice is a crucial preparatory step for rice varieties like Basmati or Jasmine. This process eliminates excess starch from the grains, leading to a fluffier and less sticky final result. Additionally, rinsing aids in the removal of impurities and debris. I prefer rinsing my rice three times until the water appears less cloudy, ensuring a cleaner and more refined outcome.

In Conclusion:

After reading this post, are you ready to make this Easy 30-minute Mediterranean yellow rice today?  This recipe is a delicious gateway to the flavors of the Mediterranean.  With its vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and delightful blend of spices, this recipe offers a satisfying and flavorful experience that will transport you to the sun-soaked shores of the Mediterranean with every forkful. So, gather your ingredients, follow the simple steps, and Indulge in this savory aromatic side dish.

I hope you will enjoy this dish, Opa! 
A close up photo of Mediterranean yellow rice with a Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin Souvlaki skewer.

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A bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice with greek salad and pita bread.

Easy 30-minute Mediterranean Yellow Rice Recipe

  • Author: Janice Lalonde
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings



Indulge in the delightful flavors of the Mediterranean with this easy 30-minute yellow rice recipe. Made with aromatic Basmati rice, warm spices like turmeric and paprika, and extra virgin olive oil.  This Mediterranean yellow rice is the perfect side dish that pairs well with various main courses or can stand alone as a satisfying meal.  This dish brings vibrant colors and enticing aromas to your table.


2 Cups of Basmati Rice

15 oz of Low Sodium Chicken Broth

2 Tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon of Dried parsley

1 Teaspoons of Sweet paprika

1 Teaspoons of Turmeric powder

1/2 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder

1/2 Teaspoon of Onion Powder

1 Teaspoon of Sea Salt


Step 1: Wash your rice

Start by thoroughly rinsing the rice with tap water, repeating the process three times until the water becomes less cloudy. This helps remove excess starch and ensures cleaner grains for cooking.

Step 2: Incorporate liquid and spices

Pour chicken broth, seasonings, and spices into the rice cooker pot. Stir the mixture well, ensuring that the seasonings and spices are evenly distributed throughout the rice. This step guarantees the flavors infuse every grain of rice and enhance the dish’s overall taste.

Step 3: Cook and fluff the rice

Cover the rice cooker and cook for approximately 15 minutes (cook time may vary). Once done, use a utensil to fluff the rice, cover it, and let it rest for 5 more minutes before serving. This step ensures a light and fluffy texture while allowing the flavors to meld together.



Ensure perfect rice by measuring the correct proportion of rice to liquid, keeping an eye on the liquid level while cooking, fluffing the rice before serving to prevent clumping, and allowing it to rest briefly for the flavors to meld and the texture to settle.

Portion the right amount of rice by counting the number of people joining the meal and measuring approximately half a cup of uncooked rice per person. Follow the equal parts rule for cooking rice, adjusting the liquid quantity based on the rice cooker’s markings. Rinse rice before cooking to remove starch and impurities.

Customize your yellow rice by experimenting with spices like cumin, cinnamon, or Za’atar. Make it vegetarian-friendly by using vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth. Elevate the dish with colorful garnishes like fresh parsley or toasted nuts for added texture and flavor.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Greek cuisine, side dish, Pork Souvlaki, Tzatziki, Mediterranean dish, yellow rice, Turmeric, Mediterranean flavor.

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