Arroz Amarillo (Yellow Rice Recipe)

5 from 9 votes

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This yellow rice recipe, also known as Arroz Amarillo, is a great side dish for a plethora of recipes! I like to prepare mine with long grain white rice and a mixture of vegetables, saffron, and bold sazón seasoning.

Arroz Amarillo in a white bowl with lime wedges

If you love Latin American-inspired cooking just as much as I do, you’ve got to try my yellow rice recipe! Also referred to as Arroz Amarillo — Spanish for yellow rice — it’s typically made with long grain white rice, a handful of yummy veggies, and plenty of seasonings and spices. If you’re interested in some other rice recipes, I encourage you to try out this Mexican green rice (Arroz Verde) or its counterpart, Mexican red rice (Arroz rojo). I also love dirty rice and cilantro lime rice! So many side dish choices, so little time, am I right?

The star of the show in this dish is truly the sazón seasoning, which is a combination of 9 herbs and spices. You can find it in-store, but I always like to make my own spice blends. 

Arroz Amarillo is most often seen in Cuban cooking as well as in Caribbean and Puerto Rican recipes. Try your hand at it today if you want to switch up your side dish game!

closeup of Arroz Amarillo


  • Rice – I like using long-grain white rice best. It’s a good idea to rinse the grains in cool water first to remove excess starch.
  • Yellow Onion – To begin this flavorful rice recipe, you’ll need to sauté some onions. I opt for yellow, but you can also use red if you have it on hand.
  • Bell Peppers – Use red and green bell peppers to infuse a bit of vegetable goodness into this side dish recipe. They add a bit of sweetness (from the red) and a bit of earthiness (from the green). As a note, you could also replace the peppers and tomatoes in your yellow rice recipe with GOYA Sofrito. It’s a tomato-based sauce that has similar flavors.
  • Peas – You can feel free to use frozen peas.
  • Tomatoes – Last, but not least, in the added veggies are tomatoes. Roma is my favorite, but again, use what you have on hand.
  • Olive Oil – To sauté the onion and other seasonings.
  • Bouillon Cube – This ingredient will add more flavor to the recipe as you’ll sauté it alongside the onions. I use chicken, but if you’re vegetarian, feel free to use a veggie cube.
  • Sazón Seasoning – As mentioned, I love using my homemade version. You can find this seasoning mix premade in the grocery store too, if you’re short on time.
  • Saffron – This spice adds sweet and floral flavors to the mix, as well as its bright yellow color.
  • Pimentos – You can use jarred here!
dish with Arroz Amarillo


  1. Sauté The Seasonings. Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the olive oil. Add the diced onions, bouillon cube, sazón seasoning, and saffron. Sauté the mixture until the onion becomes soft, or about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add The Veggies. Place the bell peppers and the tomatoes into the pan and stir to mix. Cook for another 5 minutes. Again, feel free to sub in GOYA Sofrito instead if desired.
  3. Cook The Rice. Add the rice to the pot and stir well so that it becomes coated in the vegetables and seasonings. Cook for a few minutes, then add 2 cups of hot water and stir to combine. Bring everything to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer (covered) for 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and no water remains.
  4. Add The Other Veggies. Take the lid off of your yellow rice and fluff it with a fork. Add the frozen peas and the pimentos and toss to mix. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for at least 5 minutes. Fluff it again and season to taste (if needed), then serve with your main dish of choice!
side view of Arroz Amarillo

What Is Yellow Rice Made Of?

Yellow rice is made with long grain white rice. Its yellow color comes from the addition of spices like saffron, as seen in my yellow rice recipe! Some other additional ingredients are used in other versions, such as turmeric and annatto. 

Is Yellow Rice Different Than White Rice?

A yellow rice recipe is simply white rice that takes on a yellow color thanks to the addition of spices. It does taste different than plain white rice as there are more ingredients involved, but at its core, this dish is prepared with white rice!

What Can I Add To Rice For Flavor?

You’ve come to the right place! This yellow rice recipe adds so much additional flavor to otherwise plain white rice. The sautéed onions, bouillon cube, sazón seasoning, and saffron take this side dish to a whole other level. If you want to make this rice on the spicy side, feel free to add red pepper flakes or a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce!

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Arroz Amarillo (Yellow Rice Recipe)

5 from 9 votes
This Arroz Amarillo, or yellow rice recipe, is the perfect side dish! It’s made with saffron and sazón seasoning and is very flavorful.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes



  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in diced onions, chicken bouillon, Sazón seasoning and saffron. Saute until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in diced bell peppers, tomatoes (See Note 1). Stir to mix and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Add rice to the pot, stirring to coat. Cook rice a minute or two. Pour in 2 cups hot water, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low and simmer 25 minutes, covered, or until rice is tender and water is absorbed completely.
  • Remove lid, fluff with fork and add frozen peas and pimentos. Toss to mix in and cover. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Fluff again, season to taste if needed and serve.


1. I have also made this substituting the bell peppers and tomato for 1/3 cup GOYA Sofrito (tomato based sauce). Follow recipe instructions the same.


Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.5mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: side dishes
Cuisine: Melting Pot
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
Arroz Amarillo with lime wedges


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    This look’s like another wonderful recipe of yours . I can’t wait to give one a try .Thank you for sharing Kevin !

  2. 5 stars
    When does the saffron go into the recipe? I did not see it listed in the recipe directions, unless I missed it.

  3. HI,
    I will be making a Cuban dinner and wanted to try the yellow rice. I am finding the #2 direction confusing. Add rice to the pot, stirring to coat. Cook rice a minute or two. Pour in hot water, stir to combine.
    Do I add the rice to the pot that has the boiling water? If not, where should I put the rice to coat it? Then I add it to the boiling water? Thank you.

    1. I apologize for the confusion, Karen. The rice goes into the pan with the vegetables you’re sauteing. Stir it in and let it toast it for a minute or so in the hot oil, then pour the boiling water into that pan of vegetables and rice.
      Hope that makes more sense. Please let me know if you need any other help! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    This is so good! I’m making it for a second time this week! Was searching for a Spanish rice recipe and came upon your Keviniscooking website and thought yeah! I’ve made his homemade bbq sauce before and chicken pineapple dish so you were already tops in my mind. Made the first batch with what I had on hand which was brown rice, and made your homemade sazon seasoning mix – little hiccup there in that in my haste I read “achiote” as “ancho” and threw a tablespoon of ancho chili powder in the mix, THEN read that turmeric could be substituted for achiote, so threw that in there too! Anyway, the end result was so delicious! Tonight I made it again with white basmati rice and the seasoning and flavors come through so much better with white rice than brown, since they are not competing with the earthy brown rice flavor. But both versions were delicious! I’m looking forward to this being in my regular rotation of recipes, and is easily adaptable – add some beans or meat, etc. Thanks again Kevin!

  5. 5 stars
    I made it. But I changed it a little. I didn’t have any Sazon packets, so I added some more fresh diced garlic and onion, dried parsley, turmeric, sweet paprika, Amarillo pepper paste, a tablespoon of tomato paste instead of the fresh tomatoes, a hearty pinch of golden saffron and a dash of cayenne for a spice kick. Delicious.

    1. Great way to make it work for what you have! I am glad you enjoyed it! I hope you find more recipes to try!

  6. The ingredients for this recipe sound fantastic! I’m about to attempt this recipe. I have a quick question sir, why the tomato? Doesnt it become mushy or turn the rice mushy like mashed potatoes or even change the color of the rice?
    Thank you 😊