Turmeric lemon jasmine rice is the perfect side dish and is so easy to make in your instant pot or pressure cooker.
This bright yellow rice is packed with flavor with just a few ingredients and could not be more simple to make! This rice will quickly become one of your families favorite side dishes!
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy to make: This recipe is ready from start to finish in your instant pot. I almost exclusively use the instant pot for making rice, as it is reliable and I can set it and forget it. No more worrying about the rice burning or boiling over.
- So much flavor: This instant pot yellow rice has so much flavor! The lemon really shines (without being overpowering) thanks to the lemon zest and the turmeric helps to mellow out the strong kick from the lemon. All the ingredients work well to create and mouthwatering side dish that no one in my family can stop eating!
- The perfect side dish: Lemon turmeric rice goes with just about any main dish! I love it mixed with black beans, served with seafood (salmon and shrimp) or as a side dish for chicken drumsticks or juicy chicken breast. This would also be a great side dish for cookouts with burgers, grilled chicken or grilled seafood!
- White or brown onion – the onion helped to build the umami base of this dish. You could also use green onions (no need to cook them ahead of time), red onion or shallots if you don’t have onion on hand.
- Lemon zest and juice – the lemon zest has lemon oil, which is extremely potent and gives this instant pot lemon rice so much flavor. You can make the recipe with just lemon juice (if you only have it bottled) but it won’t be quite the same. You can also use lime juice and zest if you don’t have lemons on hand.
- Turmeric – this recipe calls for ground turmeric. Turmeric has it’s own unique flavors and is known to be an anti-inflammatory ingredient (although you would need so much more than what is in this recipe to notice any impact in your body).
Note: Turmeric is used to dye clothing and will stain clothing and wooden utensils. I recommend you use a stainless-steel spoon when stirring this and have an old towel in case you have to wipe down your hands.
- Spices: Garlic powder and salt – these help add umami and elevate the flavors in the dish. You could use fresh garlic instead but I always seem to burn it, especially in the instant pot with the temperature getting so high when sautéing.
- Water – you will need fresh clean water for the recipe and additional water to rinse the rice before cooking.
- Brown jasmine rice – you could also use white jasmine or basmati (white or brown). I love cooking with jasmine rice, it fluffs beautifully and reheats so well. Also jasmine and basmati rice grown in Thailand have the lowest arsenic levels, which is really important to us since we eat so much rice each week.
Step by step instructions
Step 1: Turn the instant pot on sauté mode and let it heat up 2-3 minutes as you chop the onion. chopping the onion into a small dice. You want the onions to be slightly larger than the cooked rice grains, not huge chunks. Watch me sauté onions in the instant pot.
Step 2: Add about ½ tablespoon of olive oil or spray the instant pot insert with olive oil or avocado oil spray. Add the onions and stir well.
Step 3: Let cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Cancel the saute function and allow the onions to still cook with the heat of the pot.
Step 4: Add about 1/4 -½ cup of the water to the instant pot and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pot. This is a mandatory step or you will likely get a burn notice as you are cooking your rice.
Step 5: Once all the brown bits are off the bottom, add the lemon zest and juice, turmeric, salt and garlic powder and stir well (I would use a stainless steel spoon). Learn how to zest a lemon here.
Step 6: Add the rest of the water and rinsed rice to the instant pot and stir well.
Step 7: Put the lid on, make sure it’s set to the sealing position and turn the instant pot on low pressure for 15 minutes or high pressure for 7 minutes.
Step 8: Allow the instant pot to naturally release pressure. Carefully take the lid off.
Step 9: When you open the pressure cooker, you will notice that the rice looks wet. This is normal. Simply stir it and it will fluff right up.
- Sautéing the onions in the instant pot is important for flavor development. The bottom of the insert does get really hot and a bit uneven to cook on though. Because of this I usually only allow the onions to cook for 2-3 minutes before turning off the heat. The metal insert retains heat and will continue to cook the onions for a few more minutes, so be sure to stir them around. When you want the onions to stop cooking, add the water to ensure they don’t burn.
- Scrape the brown bits from the bottom: I mentioned this tip in the instructions but it’s worth sharing again. You will likely get a burn notice if you don’t scrape the brown bits from the onion off the bottom before adding the rest of the ingredients. I like to do this when the pan is still hot (but not on). Use a wooden spoon for this if possible.
- Be sure to zest the lemon before cutting it in half to juice it! Lemons are much easier to zest when they are whole. Use a microplane to zest your lemon, being sure to only zest the top layer, don’t go down into the white pith (which is bitter).
- Rinse the rice: Be sure to thoroughly rinse your rice before adding it to the instant pot. This helps to ensure that the rice doesn’t bubble up and spit out of the sealing vent when coming up to pressure or when releasing pressure. I do this by running it through a mesh strainer until the water runs clear.
- Turmeric will stain: Have an old towel or a few paper towels out for this recipe, as turmeric can stain countertops, your clothes, and pretty much anything that isn’t stainless steel or glazed ceramic. Some people have had good luck with setting wooden spoons/plastic outside in the sunshine after washing to help the turmeric staining disappear but I just try to avoid this happening at all by using stainless spoons and a spoon rest and washing my hands with an old (clean) towel.
- Make extra! Jasmine rice (white and brown) reheats beautifully and this turmeric lemon rice goes with so many dishes. You can make up to 3 cups of dry rice in a 6qt instant pot (which would be 1 ½ of this recipe). Store extra in the fridge for up a week or in the freezer up to 3 months!
- Fluff with a fork! When you first open the instant pot you will notice that the rice looks a bit wet. As soon as you stir the rice and fluff it with a fork it will be perfectly cooked.
- Use white or brown jasmine rice, just know the cooking time and amount of water you will use will change based on if you use white or brown rice. See recipe card for tips!
What to serve this with
This turmeric jasmine rice is so versatile and would go with so many different types of food! Personally I love it with:
- As a vegan meal with seasoned black beans and sauteed veggies (added bonus to drizzle some chipotle mayo on top)
- As a side dish for black bean burgers, walnut mushroom tacos or air fryer shrimp tacos.
- Serve with air fryer salmon , air fryer Greek chicken, or drumsticks from the oven or air fryer
- With curry salmon cakes and cilantro lime sauce
Other ways to make this dish
- Add some heat: You can add a healthy pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to make it spicier
- Add some smokiness: Add about 1 tsp. smoked paprika or ground cumin (or both) to give it a smoky flavor – the smoked paprika will change the color a bit.
- Mix it up: Use lime juice and lime zest instead of lemon and add cilantro (about 2 tablespoons chopped)
- Use quinoa, buckwheat or even cauliflower rice in place of rice. You will need to change the cooking time and water based on what is required for that grain. Omit all but ¼ cup of water for cauliflower rice -and simply saute the cauliflower for 7-10 minutes after cooking the onions.
What if you don’t have a pressure cooker
You can also make this on the stove, it will just require you to stay nearby to make sure it doesn’t burn or boil over.
- Start by preheating a pot over medium heat.
- Chop the onion, add olive oil or olive oil spray to the pot. Sautee the onion for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add ¼ cup of water to scrape down the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add the lemon juice, zest, turmeric and spices. Stir well.
- Add the rinsed rice and water and stir well to combine.
- Add a lid to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Once boiling, turn the rice down to low and cook on low for 15 minutes (white jasmine rice) or 20-25 minutes (brown jasmine rice).
- Fluff with a fork when done cooking.
- Fridge: You can store leftover turmeric lemon rice in the fridge (in a glass container to avoid staining plastic) for up to a week.
- Freezer: Store leftover rice in the freezer for up to 3 months. You may want to store this rice in 1 or 2 cup portions so you can easily get a serving or two at a time. I love my Souper Cubes for this! Once frozen, transfer from a Souper Cube into a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.
- Onion: You can use a red, white or brown onion or even chopped shallots in this recipe and follow the directions as posted. If you decide to use chopped green onions instead, there is no need to saute them first, simply add all the ingredients to the instant pot and turn it on.
- Turmeric: Turmeric has a very distinct flavor and creates the color you are looking for in this recipe. There really is not a good substitute for turmeric. You can omit but the flavor will not be the same.
- Lemon juice and zest: You can also use lime juice and lime zest in a pinch. The recipe will still be tasty if you omit the zest but the lemon flavor will not be as prominent.
- Spices: Garlic powder and salt help to elevate the flavors and bring umami to the dish. If you cannot have garlic or salt, you can omit them. If you would rather use fresh garlic, saute it in with the onions when you turn off the saute function (it may burn easily otherwise).
- Brown jasmine rice: You can also use white jasmine rice or white or brown basmati rice. Other alternatives include quinoa, buckwheat or cauliflower rice.
- Water: you could also use vegetable broth (or stock) or chicken broth (or stock) in place of the water.
Instant Pot Yellow Rice$2.82 Recipe/$0.35 Serving
Guided Recipe Video
- 1 medium onion, chopped - $0.33
- 3 cup water - $0.00
- 2 medium lemons, zested and juiced - $0.84
- 2 tsp ground turmeric - $0.20
- 2 tsp garlic powder - $0.20
- 1.5 tsp salt - $0.08
- 2 cups brown jasmine rice (rinsed) - $0.93
- olive oil spray - $0.24
- Turn on the saute function of your instant pot and allow it to preheat.
- Finely chop the onion (you want the pieces to be slightly bigger than the rice, not huge chunks).
- Use olive oil spray to spray the insert of the instant pot (or use 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil). Add the onion immediately and stir.
- Let the onion cook 2-3 minutes stirring regularly.
- Turn off the saute function after 2-3 minutes of cooking the onion so it doesn't burn, continue to stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
- Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of the water to the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. This is important so you don't get a burn notice when you cook the rice. I use a wooden spoon for this.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, turmeric, garlic powder, salt and stir well (use a stainless steel spoon to ensure it doesn't stain).
- Add the rest of the water and the rice (after rinsing with water). Stir well. Place lid on the instant pot and make sure it's set to sealing.
- Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. You can allow he instant pot to naturally release pressure or do a quick release.
- After all pressure has been released, carefully remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork (it will look wet when you first take the lid off).
- Serve hot!
- Pressure cooker
- 2 cups white jasmine rice
- 2.5 cups of water
- Use the rest of the ingredients as written.
- Fridge: Store leftovers in the fridge (in a glass container to avoid staining plastic) for up to a week.
- Freezer: Store leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months. You may want to store this rice in 1 or 2 cup portions so you can easily get a serving or two at a time. I love my Souper Cubes for this! Once frozen, transfer from a Souper Cube into a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.