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Easy Garlic Turmeric Rice

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A simple and delicious stovetop recipe for basmati rice flavored with turmeric and garlic, it also includes Instant Pot instructions. This makes a healthy, flavorful side dish that can accompany almost any savory meal. It goes great with proteins like chicken, steak, for fish, as well as most Indian curries.

This is a garlicky version of a simple yellow rice that is popular across India. In India, it might be called “lasooni haldi chawal” or “lesern hardar bhaat.” These yellow rice dishes are everyday home foods that share the theme of turmeric and rice, along with some kind of herb or spice. It makes for a great side dish, or for a very simple main dish for lunch or dinner. 

Bowl of garlic turmeric rice

It is also a great rice to customize. With one or two additions, it becomes more of a pilaf. Some great options include: cashews, potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, edamam, and carrots.

Everyday lunch or dinner. The yellow makes it a little bit fancier than plain white rice, so it might more often be served when having hosting guests.


Basmati Rice – the beloved rice of India. It’s essential to choose a good brand of aged basmati rice. I always buy my basmati rice from an Indian grocery store. Most basmati rices sold in supermarkets in the US are not aged properly, have too much starch and cook to be sticky or gummy.

Turmeric – turmeric gives the dish its color and character. Turmeric is highly valued for its health benefits.

Black Pepper – black pepper and turmeric are a classic combination. Their flavors are complimentary, and black pepper helps your body absorb turmeric.


Ghee – ghee is a cherished oil in India. It is made from butter, has a high smoke point, and gives a slightly nutty flavor. If you do not want to use ghee, you can use any neutral cooking oil.

Close up of the grains of garlic turmeric rice

Cooking Tips

  • Be sure to saute the rice before adding the water. This is an important trick to make sure the rice grains stay separated for that loose, pilaf-like texture. If you want a stickier texture, there is no need to saute.
  • Make sure you use 2 parts water to 1 part rice on the stovetop. Too much water and you could end up with a soupy rice, too little and it could burn.

Bowl of garlic turmeric rice


  • Add peas or other ingredients to make it a pilaf. Ideas: cashews, potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, edamame, carrots
  • Leave out the garlic for an even simpler dish, turmeric rice
  • Substitute broth for water

Freezing and Refrigeration

This is a dish that freezes well. Because it is basmati rice, it might break up a little when reheating which will affect the look, but the flavors will still be good. Reheat for about 3 minutes in the microwave or stovetop. Add a tablespoon of water so it heats evenly and does not dry out.

You can also store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat 1-2 minutes in the microwave, or on the stovetop, with a tablespoon of water.

Bowl of garlic turmeric rice

Easy Garlic Turmeric Rice

A simple and delicious stovetop recipe for basmati rice flavored with turmeric and garlic. Also includes Instant Pot instructions.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 213 kcal


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 Tbsp ghee or neutral oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cardamom pods optional
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 cups water


  • Rinse the basmati rice 3-5 times until the water runs clear.
  • Heat ghee in a pot with a tightly fitting lid over medium heat.
  • Add turmeric, garlic, and cardamom pods. Cook until the garlic softens, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Add the rice and allow it to toast for 1 minute.
  • Add water, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.



To cook this in an Instant Pot: Follow steps 1-4 in sauté mode. For step 5, use 1 cup water instead of 2. Cook on high power for 6 minutes, followed by quick release.


Calories: 213kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 300mgPotassium: 105mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 2IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg
Keyword basmati rice, garlic, turmeric
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