Simple Turmeric Rice Recipe

Looking for a simple rice recipe bursting with flavor? You should try this easy turmeric rice recipe. It uses lots of Indian spices to turn a simple rice dish into the star.

There are more rice recipes on the blog: Christmas rice, and fried rice using red rice.

turmeric rice plated with a cinnamon stick in the center

Turmeric rice ingredients

For this recipe, I used:

  • jasmine rice (you can use basmati rice as well)
  • onion
  • garlic
  • ginger (fresh ginger is always more flavorful)
  • turmeric (fresh turmeric is also wonderful but turmeric powder works great too)
  • whole geera or cumin seeds
  • cinnamon stick
  • green cardamom pods
  • clove
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh cilantro (we call it celery in T&T)
  • fresh chives
  • butter (use coconut oil to make this recipe dairy-free)
  • water for cooking the rice

For a crunchy element to the rice, I like mixing in some toasted cashews at the end. You can also mix in toasted peanuts or even raisins. Make this recipe your own with your favorite flavors.

By the way, I grow my own turmeric that’s why I had turmeric root on hand. If it is available at your grocery store, consider making your own homemade turmeric powder like I did here. It packs much more flavor than the store-bought powder.

How to make this turmeric rice

To make this turmeric rice recipe, fry the spices and aromatics before adding the rice and water for boiling. Cover and cook until tender before adding fresh herbs and crunchy elements like cashews.

Simple right? Let’s get into more detail.

Prep the rice

Step 1: Check the jasmine rice and remove any bad grains, tiny stones and other impurities. Place the rice in a bowl and fill with water. Rub the rice to remove any dust and starchiness. Drain the water.

Step 2: Repeat washing the rice a few more times until the water becomes clearer.

Step 3: Add the washed rice to a small bowl and fill with enough water to cover it. Leave to soak for about 15 minutes. The rice will plump up slightly and will cook faster.

Step 4: After the 15 minutes, drain and set aside.

soaked jasmine rice

Prep the other ingredients

While the rice is soaking, be sure to prep the other ingredients you will need for this recipe.

Step 5: Wash peel and chop the onion and pepper. Remove the white center and seeds of the pepper if you want the rice to be less spicy. Wash, peel and grate the garlic, fresh ginger and fresh turmeric. Wash and chop the fresh herbs too like chive and cilantro.

Of course, if you have powdered versions of these ingredients like turmeric, you can certainly use them as a substitute.

Step 5a*: If you are planning to add toasted cashews at the end, add the nuts to a tray and pop them in your oven or toaster oven for about two minutes. That should be sufficient to get them toasty. Or you can add them to a skillet over medium heat and leave to toast for about five minutes.

Fry the spices

Step 6: Add a large pot to the stove over medium heat. Once it gets nice and hot, drop in the butter and give it a swirl.

Step 7: Toss in the cumin or geera seeds and leave them to toast for thirty seconds or so to release their flavor.

toast cumin seeds for turmeric rice

Step 8: Add in the chopped onions. Stir and allow the onions to cook and become translucent. This can take about two minutes or so.

Step 9: Add in all the other wonderful spices and aromatics like the cinnamon, cardamom, clove, garlic, ginger, turmeric and pepper. Give everything a good stir and allow them to cook in the hot butter for a minute or so.

aromatics for turmeric rice

Cook the rice

Step 10: With the aromatics already added, it is time to toss in the drained rice after it has been soaked. Mix the rice with the other ingredients gently and stir often to prevent sticking. You’ll want to fry the rice for about 30 seconds so it doesn’t get mushy later on.

fry turmeric rice

Step 11: But, if the rice begins to stick, you can add the water straight away and the salt. For every one part of rice, you will need two parts water. Since I’m using one cup here, I often add two cups of water (sometimes a quarter cup more).

Step 12: Stir to make sure there isn’t any rice stuck to the bottom of the pot that could potentially burn. Cover the pot completely and reduce the heat to low.

add water to turmeric rice

Step 13: Cook the rice for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the grains are fully cooked all the way through. This rice took exactly 12 minutes to be completely cooked.

Step 14: Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.

cooked turmeric rice

Step 15: Gently mix in the chopped cilantro, chives and toasted cashews (if you’ve decided to use the nuts). Taste test and adjust your salt and pepper levels.

turmeric rice with chives and cilantro

Serve hot as a delicious rice side dish.

finished turmeric rice

Turmeric rice recipe

Easy Turmeric Rice

This easy turmeric rice recipe is bursting with flavor from cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. Clearly, this isn’t a boring ole turmeric rice recipe. It’s so good and flavorful.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: turmeric rice
Servings: 4
Calories: 312kcal
Author: Ros Singh


  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 1 inch ginger root (grated)
  • 1 inch turmeric root (grated) or 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp whole geera (cumin)
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole green cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • ½ tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 pimento pepper (chopped)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • ¼ cup fresh chives (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups water for cooking (plus more for soaking)
  • 1/4 cup toasted cashews (optional)


  • Check the rice, removing any bad grains. Add water and rub the rice well before draining. Repeat at least three times so the water becomes clearer. Drain.
  • Place the washed rice in a small bowl. Fill the bowl with water to cover the rice. Allow to soak for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Wash, peel and prep the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and pepper.
  • Place a heavy bottomed pot on the stove on medium heat. Allow to heat up.
  • Add butter.
  • Mix in whole cumin seeds. Toast for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped onion. Stir occasionally and cook until translucent (about two minutes).
  • Mix in the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves, garlic, ginger, turmeric and pepper. Stir often for a minute or so.
  • Toss in drained rice. Fry for 30 seconds, stirring often to prevent sticking.
  • Add water (about 2 cups) and salt.
  • Reduce heat to low and cover completely.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the rice is cooked all the way through.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Mix in the chopped cilantro, chives and toasted cashews.
  • Adjust salt and pepper.
  • Serve hot.

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turmeric rice pinterest image

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