Instant Pot Turmeric Rice

Exciting and vibrant Turmeric Rice! Made quickly and easily in the Instant Pot, this beautiful yellow rice recipe pairs beautifully with grilled meat and vegetables!

I am self-confessed rice girl. And this flavored Turmeric Rice is especially beautiful and special! Made conveniently in the Instant Pot, it’s become one of my favorite easy sides.

Originally, this recipe comes from New York Times Cooking. With a few tweaks, I decided to make an Instant Pot version, to make it even easier to make at home.

So easy and fast for weeknight meals. But fancy enough for when friends come over for dinner.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is rhizome or root vegetable covered with a thin, papery skin similar to ginger. When you cut inside, it’s brilliantly orange and stains food so they appear yellow or orange.

Turmeric is often used in curries. That dusky, earthy flavor is a main component to Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian cooking. Although fresh Turmeric is hard to find, dried Turmeric is often a staple in the modern pantry.

For this Turmeric Rice recipe, dried Turmeric stains the rice a gorgeous yellow hue! And imparts a deliciously complex and earthy flavor.

Why use an Instant Pot?

Although I use my rice cooker and/or clay pot to cook short grain rice — the Instant Pot is superior for medium or long grain rice. Fluffy, perfectly separated, al dente rice is SO fast and easy in the pressure cooker!

Flavored rice recipes cook especially well. The saute function on the Instant Pot allows you to cook aromatics and herbs easily. Then the rice and liquid are added later. A perfect one pot meal!


  • Long or medium grain rice. Basmati, Jasmine or parboiled long grain white rice all work well.
  • Turmeric. Gives that vibrant yellow color!
  • Saffron. Optional but adds extra depth and complexity.
  • Coconut Milk. Full fat canned coconut milk works best.
  • Onion + Garlic. The aromatic base of any flavored rice!
  • Coconut Oil. Subtly aromatic. You can sub with butter or olive oil if you don’t have it.
  • Kale. Roughly chopped kale adds texture, nutrition, and color. For a hearty yellow rice!
  • Coconut Gremolata. A sprinkle on the top, right before serving, makes this dish truly special!
close up of small bowl of turmeric coconut rice

How to make Instant Pot Turmeric Rice:

  1. Make Gremolata. Using the saute function, toast the coconut flakes + sesame seeds. Adds crunch, flavor, and color to the final dish!
  2. Rinse rice. Wash away the extra starch in a sieve for fluffy, perfectly separate rice grains.
  3. Saute aromatics. Again, use the saute function.
  4. Add rice + liquid. Cook for 4 minutes.
  5. Add kale and cover to steam. Cover with a clean dish towel and let the residual heat “steam” the kale until wilted but still vibrantly green.
  6. Fluff with a fork. Make sure to serve the Coconut Gremolata on the side or sprinkled on top.

How do you eat Turmeric Coconut Rice? What can I serve with it?

Turmeric Rice is a flavored rice. The vibrant colors and exciting flavors will make it a favorite for any meal you serve.

As a side dish, this Turmeric Rice recipe tastes great with simply grilled meat or fish, kebabs, or grilled vegetables.

Another option is to serve with a variety of salads. Greek Salad, Arugula Quinoa Salad, or Fattoush would all complement the yellow rice beautifully.

FYI this yellow rice recipe makes a ton and tastes great at room temperature. A great dish to bring for potlucks, barbecues, and any party or extended family gathering!


bowl of turmeric ric

Other Instant Pot recipes you may enjoy:

bowl of turmeric rice with lime wedges and coconut gremolata

Instant Pot Turmeric (Yellow) Rice

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Exciting and vibrant Turmeric Rice! Made quickly and easily in the Instant Pot, this beautiful yellow rice recipe pairs beautifully with grilled meat and vegetables!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Steaming Rice 10 mins
Course Casual Party, Rice, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Fusion Food
Servings 8 (as side)


  • Instant Pot
  • Large fine mesh sieve


Coconut Gremolata:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (black or white both work)
  • lime zest (from 1 lime)

Turmeric Rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice (jasmine rice or any other long grain rice also work)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (can be subbed with butter or olive oil)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 400 ml/13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk (do not use boxed or fresh coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp saffron (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (freshly cracked tastes best)
  • 4 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 large bunch)


Coconut Gremolata:

  • Set the Instant Pot to saute function. Toast coconut flakes and sesame seeds until fragrant and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add lime zest. Mix to combine and set aside.
    instant pot filled with lime coconut sesame gremolata

Turmeric Rice:

  • Rinse the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. Set aside.
    sieve filled with basmati rice
  • Wipe down the Instant Pot (there will be residual bits from the Coconut Gremolata) and set to saute function. Add coconut oil. When it melts, add onion, garlic, and turmeric. Add a pinch of salt to help the cooking process along. Cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
    instant pot filled with sauteed onion and turmeric
  • Add drained rice, coconut milk, water, saffron, salt, and pepper. Mix around with a spoon. It's okay if the coconut solids are chunky.
    instant pot filled coconut milk and turmeric
  • Lock in the lid. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook, high heat, for 4 minutes.
  • When the timer beeps, manually release the steam immediately. Remove the lid and loosely add kale directly on top of the undisturbed rice. Drape a clean kitchen towel over the pot and place the lid (loosely) on top. Set a timer for 10 minutes and let the rice and kale steam for 10 minutes.
    instant pot filled with kale
  • Remove the lid and kitchen towel. Fluff rice and kale with a fork. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
    instant pot filled with turmeric coconut rice
  • Transfer to a large shallow bowl and serve with lime coconut sesame gremolata and lime wedges. Enjoy!
    large shallow white bowl filled with turmeric rice


*The coconut milk from 1 400ml/13.5 oz can of coconut milk contains 1 3/4 cup of liquid. You need 2 cups of liquid for 2 cups of rice. Instead of opening another can of coconut milk only to use 1/4 cup, I simply add water to make 2 full cups. Use this method when doubling or tripling the recipe.
**The Coconut Gremolata can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 1 week.
Keyword Coconut, Instant Pot, Rice, Turmeric
30 minutes, All Recipes, Dinner with Friends, Holiday, Instant Pot, Potluck, Side, Weeknight Meals

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