Quick Christmas Rice Recipe

This Christmas rice is a wonderful side dish for your holiday plate. It has all the basic ingredients of a simple fried rice plus cranberries to add some pops of sweetness.

To make this recipe, simply boil the rice until soft (takes about 12 minutes) before setting aside to cool. Sauté prepped veggies, herbs, and cranberries for about 5 minutes before mixing in the rice and simple seasonings. Easy!

plated christmas rice

As an Amazon associate, I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Ingredients for Christmas rice

For this recipe, you will need:

  • rice: I used white jasmine rice here but feel free to use parboiled, brown, basmati or any of your favorite types of rice that won’t break apart or become mushy when mixed with the vegetables.
  • onion: you can use any type of onions you prefer. Here I used purple onions, but they lost their color a bit.
  • garlic
  • ginger: this adds great, subtle flavor to the Christmas rice.
  • pimento pepper: these peppers are common here in the Caribbean, but feel free to use scotch bonnet, chilis, cayenne or any other fresh peppers. If these aren’t available then by all means use black pepper or paprika.
  • carrot
  • sweet peppers: yellow, red and green bell peppers add festive pops of color to this holiday rice. Unfortunately, I only had green peppers on hand when making the recipe.
  • cilantro: or parsley, we call this celery in T&T. It adds a great, fresh flavor to the rice.
  • chadon beni: or culantro is a classic Trini herb that is used in virtually everything from rice to meats and everything savory.
  • cranberries: you can use raisins and sultanas in place of cranberries in this recipe but I just enjoy the sweet, slightly tart bursts of flavor that the cranberries add to the rice. Not to mention, the color also goes well with the Christmas theme.
  • clove
  • salt
  • sugar: I don’t usually add sugar to this recipe, but if you want the rice to have a slightly sweet taste, you can sprinkle a little sugar at the end while the rice is still hot. This is optional.
  • vegetable oil
  • butter
  • water

How to make Christmas rice

Prepare the rice

Step 1: Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot on the stove on medium heat. Add water, salt and cloves and bring to a boil.

Step 2: Wash the rice a couple times until the water is no longer cloudy and runs clear.

Step 3: Add the washed rice to the boiling water.

boil rice with cloves

Step 4: Cook the rice until it has completely softened. This white jasmine rice takes about 12 minutes. But the time may differ depending on the rice you use.

Step 5: Strain the rice and set aside to cool completely. This can take about 15 minutes. You can fluff the rice with a fork when it is cool and remove the cloves.

cooled rice

Prepare the other ingredients

Step 6: Wash, peel and chop the onion and garlic. Wash, peel and grate the ginger.

Step 7: Rinse, scrape and dice the carrots. Wash, remove the seeds, and dice the pimentos and sweet peppers.

Step 8: Rinse and finely chop the herbs like cilantro (celery), and chadon beni. Wash the cranberries. You can cut them in half if you like.

trini christmas rice ingredients

Sauté the veggies

Step 9: Place a large skillet on the stove on medium heat. Allow to heat up for 1 minute. Add butter and oil to the pot.

Step 10: Toss in the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, and pimento. Stir and sauté for 30 seconds.

sauteed aromatics for rice

Step 11: Mix in the chopped carrots and salt. Cook for 1 minute.

add diced carrots to aromatics

Step 12: Add the diced sweet peppers, cilantro (celery) and chadon beni (culantro). Sauté for 1 minute.

add sweet peppers and seasoning to skillet

Make Trini Christmas rice

Step 13: Add the cranberries to the vegetables. Cook for another 30 seconds.

cranberries and sauteed veggies

Step 14: Add the rice and mix thoroughly with the vegetables and cranberries. Turn off the heat.

add rice to cranberries and veggies

Step 15: Taste test and adjust the salt, pepper and seasoning to your preferred taste. If you want the rice a little sweeter, you can sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the rice. Serve hot alongside stewed lentils or stewed red beans, macaroni pie, baked chicken and more.

christmas rice on a plate and skillet

Christmas rice recipe

Christmas Rice Recipe (Without Coloring)

This Christmas rice is a wonderful side dish for the holidays. It has all the basic ingredients of a simple fried rice plus cranberries to add wonderful pops of sweetness.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time16 minutes
Cooling Time15 minutes
Total Time46 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: Christmas rice
Servings: 6
Calories: 209kcal
Author: We Trini Food


  • 1 cup rice (like white jasmine rice)
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • tbsp ginger
  • 1 pimento pepper (or pepper of choice)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • ¼ cup cilantro or celery
  • cup culantro or chadon beni
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • pinch of sugar (optional)


  • Place a large pot on medium heat.
  • Add water, 1 tsp salt and cloves. Bring to a boil.
  • Rinse rice at least 3 times until the water runs clear.
  • Add the washed rice to the boiling water.
  • Boil until the rice is completely cooked (about 12 minutes).
  • Strain any excess water. Set aside to cool (about 15 minutes).
  • Wash, peel and chop the onion and garlic.
  • Scrape the ginger peel. Grate.
  • Rinse, scrape and dice the carrots.
  • Wash, de-seed and dice the bell peppers and pimento pepper.
  • Wash and chop the cranberries (optional).
  • Wash and finely chop the fresh herbs like celery and chadon beni.
  • Place a large skillet on medium heat. Leave to heat up.
  • Add oil and butter.
  • Mix in the prepped onion, garlic, ginger and pimento.
  • Stir. Cook for 30 seconds.
  • Toss in the carrots and 1 tsp of salt. Cool for 1 minute.
  • Mix in the sweet peppers, celery and chadon beni.
  • Sauté for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the cranberries.
  • Fluff rice with a fork. Remove cloves (optional).
  • Add rice to the sauteed vegetables. Mix thoroughly.
  • Taste test and adjust salt and pepper. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar (optional) for a sweeter dish.
  • Turn off the heat. Serve hot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating