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Garlic Turmeric Rice

This golden, gorgeous rice recipe is as easy as making plain white rice, but it's so full of flavor, color, and antioxidants! Here you'll find the recipe for making fragrant Garlic Turmeric Rice in the Instant Pot, rice cooker, and stove-top. 

This side dish is naturally vegan and gluten-free. It is an absolutely favorite with the whole family, our picky son scarfs it down every time I make it!

Bowl of turmeric rice
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Golden turmeric rice

The gorgeous golden color in this rice comes from ground turmeric powder, which is a super healthy ingredient that is often used in Indian cooking. Just a little bit of turmeric is enough to color the rice thoroughly: about ½ - ¾ teaspoon for 2 cups of rice.

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, so adding turmeric to rice is a great easy way to make plain rice a little bit healthier. 

Bowl of garlic turmeric Basmati rice

Turmeric on its own has a mild flavor. It's certainly not spicy, just a little earthy. I add a little ground black pepper to the rice because it helps with turmeric absorption in the body.

Related recipe: Golden Couscous Salad

Garlic basmati rice

Basmati rice (and Jasmine rice) is very aromatic and fragrant on its own. Adding garlic to basmati rice is a super simple way to flavor the rice even more and make it so so much better than plain rice. I like to use fresh garlic here. I grate it finely on a zester or mince it with a garlic press. I recommend the zester if you have one, just because it makes for super finely zested garlic that mixes well with the rice.

I use 2 large cloves of garlic when cooking garlic rice in the Instant Pot, but I recommend using less garlic when cooking rice in a rice cooker or on the stove top. For some reason the Instant Pot dulls the garlic flavor a bit so I need to use more garlic for that cooking method. 

Related recipe: Instant Pot Vegan Rice Pilaf

Graphic showing ingredients to make garlic turmeric rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white basmati rice or jasmine rice, rinsed (or use any white rice)
  • 2 cups water (for the Instant Pot, see below for stove-top and rice cooker instructions)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or diced (use 1 clove for stove-top and rice cooker)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

More recipes using turmeric: Sweet Potato Leek Soup

Instructions

Below you'll find instructions for 3 cooking methods for garlic turmeric rice. I highly recommend the Instant Pot or the rice cooker methods because they're so hands-off and fool-proof compared to stove-top rice.

Instant Pot turmeric rice

Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Close the lid and set the valve to sealing (this is automatic in some newer models). Cook on the manual setting at high pressure for 4 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 10-15 minutes, then release the rest of the pressure manually. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to fluff the rice and release it from the bottom of the pot.

Use heat-safe gloves or oven mitts to remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot and place on a heat-safe trivet. This will help prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Rice cooker instructions

Add all the ingredients to the rice cooker and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions. For every rice cooker I've owned, I've had to add 1 extra cup of water compared to the cups of rice, so it would be 3 cups water, 2 cups rice for this recipe. Make sure to only use 1 clove garlic for cooking in the rice cooker.

Stove-top instructions

There are several ways to cook rice on the stove-top. One recommended way that gets rid of most of the arsenic in the rice is to cook the rice in extra water until it is fully cooked, then drain off the rest of the water, like for pasta. I do not necessarily recommend this method for cooking flavored rice because you'll be draining off a lot of the flavor.

To make garlic turmeric rice on the stove-top, boil 3.5-4 cups of water (depending on how dry or moist you want your rice). Once the water is boiling, carefully stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked and the water is absorbed. The exact amount of water and cook time will depend on the size and shape of your pot and how much water evaporates during cooking, so it will vary from kitchen to kitchen. Because of this, I really prefer the consistent, controlled environment of the Instant Pot or rice cooker.

More recipes using turmeric: Curried Kale and Chickpeas

Frequently asked questions about garlic turmeric rice

I'll try to answer all the questions about this recipe here.

Can you use fresh turmeric for this rice?

Fresh turmeric doesn't work as well for this rice recipe because it doesn't disperse in the cooking water and doesn't dye the whole rice yellow. You can certainly make this with fresh turmeric, just know that the result won't look the same. For fresh turmeric, just peel it using a vegetable peeler or the edge of a spoon, grate it on a fine grater/zester, and add about 1 tablespoon to your rice water.

I recommend using powdered ground turmeric. It's easier, prettier, and doesn't stain your hands.

More recipes using turmeric: Moroccan Chicken and Pumpkin Stew

Can you use garlic powder?

You can use garlic powder to make garlic rice. Use about ½ teaspoon garlic powder for 2 cups of rice.

Can I make this with brown rice?

You can make garlic turmeric brown rice! You'll just have to increase the time and water. For the Instant Pot, I use 3 cups water for 2 cups rice and cook on manual for 25 minutes. (Tip: do not add veggies to cook with your brown rice. They will overcook, since brown rice takes longer to cook.)

Can I make this with short grain rice instead of basmati or jasmine rice?

Yes, you can make this with any white rice you like and follow the same cooking times. Short grain rice is much more affordable than basmati rice and I use it all the time!

What other seasonings can I add to this rice?

Sometimes I toast a little bit of cumin seeds in a pan in oil and add them to the rice before cooking. You can also add a few green cardamom pods to the rice before cooking. I like to serve this rice with some fresh cilantro as garnish, but you can also add diced fresh cilantro leaves and lime juice for a cilantro lime flavor!

Can you add veggies?

Of course! I sometimes stir in 1-2 cups of frozen veggie mix (peas, corn, carrots, lima beans) to the pot with the rice and cook it all together, kind of like I do in this rice pilaf.

Related recipe: Vegan Moroccan Lentil Veggie Soup

Can you reheat garlic turmeric rice?

There are all kinds of safety guidelines for reheating rice, so do it at your own risk. When I reheat rice, I always do it in a small saucepan or pan with just a small splash of water, stirring a few times. The water helps invigorate rice that gets dry from being stored overnight.

Make it a meal

You can turn this rice dish into a full hearty meal! Try stirring in any of the following:

  • Cooked chickpeas (add to cooked rice)
  • Toasted pine nuts, cashews, or sliced almonds
  • Cooked diced chicken (add to cooked rice)
  • Cubed uncooked chicken (season, brown in a pan until almost fully cooked, then add to the pot with rice to finish cooking)
  • Frozen veggie mix (peas, corn, lima beans, carrots—add frozen and cook with the rice)
  • Fresh herbs (scallions, parsley, basil, cilantro, chives—stir in at the end)

What to serve with turmeric garlic rice

We serve this rice with any dish where we would serve white rice. It makes a great pairing for chicken, fish, and vegetarian meals. It's fantastic with these chicken kofta kabobs, with paneer satay, air fryer tandoori chicken kebabs, and as the base for this shrimp and sweet potato coconut curry.

Overall, it has a pretty versatile neutral-ish garlic flavor so it goes with anything!

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Recipe card

Bowl of garlic turmeric Basmati rice
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5 from 2 votes

Garlic Turmeric Rice

Fragrant, flavorful, and just as easy to make as plain rice! This Golden Garlic Turmeric Rice recipe has instructions for the Instant Pot, rice cooker, and stove-top.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time4 mins
Pressure buildup and release time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Author: Kate
Cost: $2

Ingredients

Special equipment

  • Instant Pot I recommend the Instant Pot, but you can also use a rice cooker or the stove-top

Instructions

Instant Pot instructions
  • Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Close the lid and set the valve to sealing (this is automatic in some newer models).
  • Cook on the manual setting at high pressure for 4 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 10-15 minutes, then release the rest of the pressure manually. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to fluff the rice and release it from the bottom of the pot.
  • Use heat-safe gloves or oven mitts to remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot and place on a heat-safe trivet. This will help prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Rice cooker instructions
  • Add all the ingredients to the rice cooker and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions. For every rice cooker I've owned, I've had to add 1 extra cup of water compared to the cups of rice, so that would be 3 cups water, 2 cups rice for this recipe. Make sure to only use 1 clove garlic for cooking in the rice cooker.
Stove-top instructions
  • Boil 3.5-4 cups of water (depending on how dry or moist you want your rice, I recommend checking the packaging instructions).
  • Once the water is boiling, carefully stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked and the water is absorbed.
    The exact amount of water and cook time will depend on the size and shape of your pot and how much water evaporates during cooking, so it will vary from kitchen to kitchen. Because of this, I really prefer the consistent, controlled environment of the Instant Pot or rice cooker.

Notes

Technically 2 cups of rice is 8 servings, but I find that we always want a little more. The nutrition facts are estimated for 6 servings.
I recommend using the Instant Pot or rice cooker.
You can use any white rice you like in this recipe and follow the same cooking instructions (do not use parboiled rice). If you want to use brown rice, follow the cooking instructions on the packaging and add the seasonings according to this recipe.
Try adding toasted cumin seeds or whole cardamom pods to the rice. Or try stirring in fresh cilantro leaves and lime juice after cooking. 

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcal (12%) | Carbohydrates: 47g (16%) | Protein: 5g (10%) | Fat: 3g (5%) | Saturated Fat: 0.4g (2%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 298mg (12%) | Potassium: 79mg (2%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 0.1IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 22mg (2%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

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