Skip to Content

Why Fried Rice is Yellow – The Answer!

Fried rice flavors are as varied as those who cook this healthy, tasty dish. So, why is some fried rice yellow?

Turmeric is often an ingredient in fried rice recipes and makes the rice yellow.

You can make fried rice from white or brown, short or long rice. Adding turmeric, make your fried rice yellow when added to the recipe.

However, cooking techniques and various ingredients can add a golden hue to fried rice.

Turmeric is related to the ginger family and is golden yellow when ground for use.

However, it has a different flavor than its family members and adds the bright coloring for which it is known.

Continue reading to learn why fried rice is yellow and how it can become that color.

Why is fried rice yellow?

The fried rice is yellow because it has added ground turmeric to enhance its flavor. Yellow rice, also known as Java rice when made with turmeric, is an excellent dish with vegetables, pork, chicken, or seafood. In addition, turmeric is known to have health benefits. Therefore, many cultures believe that adding it to their food will benefit them.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric comes from the root of Curcuma longa and contains a chemical, curcumin, that is believed to have anti-inflammatory qualities that reduce swelling.

Turmeric was discovered in India over 4000 years ago and made its way to China somewhere around 700 AD. Marco Polo described turmeric as saffron from a vegetable.

A bit peppery with a musky aroma, turmeric has a slightly bitter and earthy flavor.

So along with the beautiful golden color, turmeric can add a bit of spice to your fried rice.

Yellow fried rice is a premium product because turmeric is a premium spice. It is one of the 13th most expensive spices worldwide.

Ground from the root of the plant-like ginger takes a lot of turmeric root to make a little ground product.

Why is turmeric added to fried rice?

Chefs add it to fried rice for its color and peppery flavor. Its rarity adds to the specialty of any dish, and it complements the flavor of fried rice.

Coloring fried rice with turmeric makes it unique because adding even a little bit of it to a recipe adds to its cost.

Somewhere in the four millennia since it was first used, it has been discovered it added flavor to food. However, it was also found that it aids in digestion, just as its cousin ginger does.

Used in small amounts, you can add turmeric to fried rice to make it yellow or other dishes to enhance its flavor.

Can soy sauce and sesame make fried rice yellow?

With a hot wok, sesame oil, soy sauce, and the addition of yellow and orange vegetables, fried rice can take on a golden hue.

Sesame oil has a golden hue, and the color of carrots and red peppers will infuse into the rice when cooked in a hot wok.

The addition of a bit of soy sauce also adds to the yellowish color, as does the act of frying the rice until it begins to brown lightly.

However, for bright yellow fried rice, you need turmeric. It offers a hearty, nutritious meal when added to your fried rice and a few vegetables and bits of pork, chicken, or seafood.

Can you use saffron to make fried rice, yellow?

Saffron comes from the Middle East, and you can use it to season Mediterranean, European, and even American cuisine.

For example, saffron is often added to Spanish, Greek, and Italian food to enhance their flavors. However, it is not used to make fried rice yellow.

Turmeric holds that place and can be found in many Asian and Indian dishes.

It is also an ingredient in curry powder. Curry powder is found in most Indian dishes, Asian dishes, and many American dishes.

The strong, pungent aroma of curry is very distinct.

Saffron is the most expensive of all spices and can cost over $1000 a pound.

So, with this in mind, adding it to fried rice to make it yellow would be very costly.

If you use saffron instead of turmeric to make fried rice yellow, use half the amount called for in the recipe, or it can cause the dish to be sweet.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why Is Fried Rice Yellow?

Is turmeric the only spice that makes rice yellow?

Turmeric is the only spice used in fried rice that makes it yellow. However, the Spanish add saffron to some of their rice dishes, which turns your rice a lovely golden yellow but has a different flavor than turmeric.

Does turmeric add flavor to fried rice?

If you use enough turmeric, it will. However, it does not take much to make fried rice yellow.

Can saffron be used in the place of turmeric to make fried rice yellow?

You can use it to make food yellow in the absence of turmeric. However, a couple of drops of yellow food coloring might be a better option.


Why is fried rice yellow is up to you

You can give your fried rice a golden color by cooking it in a very hot wok, with sesame oil, a little soy sauce, and yellow, red, and orange vegetables.

With the heat of your wok or skillet, the colors of the vegetables will leach into the rice.

However, the bright yellow fried rice you see in some Asian restaurants is colored with a pinch or two of turmeric.

A little goes a long way, and you may not be able to detect its flavor in all of the goodness of yellow fried rice. However, the color is quite distinct.