This Peruvian Green Rice is hands down the best rice side dish ever! The fresh cilantro not only makes the rice green, but it’s also extraordinarily nutritious and delicious. And with the addition of peas, carrots, onion, and garlic, this rice is sure to be a hit at the family dinner table. And if you enjoy Peruvian cuisine in general, try my Peruvian Lamb Stew and Cauliflower Fried Rice!
What Makes Peruvian Green Rice Green?
All of that glorious, green cilantro! Now, don’t just add a teaspoon of ground coriander or even chopped fresh cilantro and expect the rice to become green. You have to blend the fresh cilantro with the water you cook the rice in first.
The cilantro needs to be completely liquified so that the dry rice absorbs it while it cooks. Blend for at least 5 minutes until you basically end up with very, very green water. Then, add that green water to the rice and cook it. The rice absorbs the green coriander water and becomes green.
If you want to incorporate more rice into your diet, but you’re not a big rice fan, I urge you to try this recipe. I promise you, you will love it. Besides, who doesn’t want their kitchen to smell like a 5-star Peruvian restaurant?!
5 Tips for Making Perfect Rice Every Time
I have yet to meet a person I (or my mother) have made this rice for who doesn’t love it. And most people who claim to not like rice were probably served poorly cooked rice.
If you cook rice in too much unsalted water, it ends up being a tasteless mush. But by following these simple steps, I promise you’ll convince a rice hater that there is nothing more delicious than Peruvian Green Rice!
- Don’t be afraid of salt! Rice needs the flavor from a heavy amount on sodium. I’m talking about more than just a pinch! You could even cook rice in chicken or vegetable stock for more flavor.
- Don’t overcook rice! Most types of white rice need a 1 to 1.5 ratio of rice to liquid when cooked on the stove in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. And only a 1:1 ratio if cooking rice in the instant pot.
- Add crushed garlic! This infuses the rice with the beautiful, aromatic flavor from the garlic and cooks it so it’s completely absorbed by the rice.
- Fry some onion first, then add the rice and liquid. Even better, toast the dry rice in the same oil first to add even more flavor!
- Use herbs like cilantro or basil to add to the taste. But remember my trick of blending the fresh, green herbs in the water you plan to cook the rice in first so that they’re all absorbed while the rice boils.
- Fresh Cilantro — You’ll need 50-60 grams, in total. This is green rice, after all!
- Broth — To blend with the green herbs to use when cooking the dry rice. Any broth works: chicken, vegetable, herb.
- Oil — You’ll need a little oil to fry the onions and garlic first.
- Onion and Garlic — This rice needs aromatics like fresh onion and garlic to add flavor that pairs well with the cilantro.
- Jasmine Rice — I’ve found that white jasmine rice has the best texture for this Peruvian Green Rice, but you could also use basmati.
- Ají Paste — This is optional of course because it’s not always easy to find outside of Peru but if you want authentic Peruvian green rice try and get your hands on it. If you live in the US you can find it online (affiliate link).
- Peas and Carrots — These are some components that make this rice so special. You could also add celery and spinach if you want more veggies.
How To Make Peruvian Green Rice
- Prep — Peel and chop onion, peel and crush garlic, and peel and dice the carrots.
- Make the Green Water — Add cilantro and broth to your blender, and blend until the cilantro is completely liquified. If your broth is low-sodium you may want to add extra salt.
- Cook the Veggies — Add a drizzle of oil to a pot on the stove or your instant pot, then add onion and garlic. Fry until translucent.
- Add Ají — add the ají paste and stir it into the onions and fry for a few seconds. This makes the green rice truly Peruvian.
- Boil the Rice — Add jasmine rice, carrots, and cilantro water, and if using a pot on the stove bring to a strong boil. Once it boils, immediately turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. Cook the rice for approximately 15 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. Or, if using a pressure cooker like I am, put on the lid and seal it and then set the cooker to 3 minutes on high pressure and then wait for full natural pressure release.
- Fluff and Serve — Add frozen peas, and fluff the rice with a fork, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Tips
- Store leftover Peruvian Green Rice in an airtight container or plastic bag in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freeze cooled rice in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag for up to 3 months.
- Reheat by letting frozen rice thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stove until steaming hot. Add some water or broth if dry.
More Recipes To Try
If you enjoyed my Peruvian Green Rice, then you’ll love these other easy rice recipes:
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Quinoa Fried Rice
- One-Pot Lentils and Rice
- Warm Wild Rice Salad
- Failproof Instant Pot Rice
Peruvian Green Rice
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 – 1.5 cups broth - * see notes
- 2 tsp avocado oil
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp Ají amarillo paste
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- sea salt and pepper - if necessary
- Chop onion and garlic and peel and dice carrot.
- Add cilantro and broth to your blender and blend until the cilantro is completely liquified.
- Preheat the Instant Pot or a small saucepan over medium heat and once hot add a drizzle of oil, then fry chopped onion and garlic in it until translucent. Then add ají and stir-fry for a few more seconds.
- Add rice, cilantro water, and carrots to the onions and stir to combine.
- Stove-top: bring to a boil and as soon as slightly bubbly, reduce heat to low and immediately cover. Set a timer for 15 minutes.Instant Pot: put on the lid and seal. Set the pot to 3 minutes on high pressure, then wait for full natural pressure release.
- Add frozen peas and use a spoon or fork to mix in and fluff the rice. Then serve immediately.
Kelly Hepper says
10 mins for rice?! It doesn’t say quick rice…am I missing something?
Lorena Grater says
1 cup of jasmine white rice rarely takes longer than 10 minutes for me. My pot has a tight-fitting lid. That’s important for faster cooking of course. I recommend checking at the 10-minute mark by inserting the back of a spoon all the way down to the bottom of the pot to see if there is still water at the bottom. If there is, immediately put the lid back onto the pot. If not the rice should be cooked through.
Just amazing. I served the rice with Peruvian grilled chicken skewers and green rice. ‘Twas a home run with my family (adult children).
Maria Miranda says
It has to be Peruvian food
It’s so tasty, delicious and so easy to make it
I would love to use some spinach and cilantro in the recipe but I am afraid that it would create too much water and not come out right. Can you tell me measurements for the amount of cilantro and spinach for the amount of rice in this recipe? Thank you
Do you have an instant pot? That would be the easiest way to accommodate. In the instant pot you need a 1:1 ratio you could add spinach and cilantro and a little water to your blender to blend, then fill up with water to say 2 cups and add that + 2 cups rice to your instant pot and cook 3 minutes on high pressure + full natural pressure release.
Can’t wait to make this for my upcoming dinner party! Can I make this ahead of time?
Lorena Grater says
Absolutely. A day ahead is perfectly fine.
Can I make this rice using an Instant Pot?
YES!!! You just have to reduce water to 1 cup so you have 1:1 water to rice ratio. There is no water evaporation in the Instant Pot so you don’t have to account for that extra water. Use 1 cups water instead of the 1.5 the recipe calls and keep everything else the same. Use the “sauté” button to fry the garlic and onion in bacon fat, then add all other ingredients, immediately place lid on it and turn off the Instant Pot. Then press “manual” (or “pressure cook”, depending on your IP model) and set it to 3 minutes on high pressure with the knob in the sealing position. Then let the pressure release naturally (meaning, don’t touch the pot at all and don’t manipulate the venting knob, just leave it in the sealing position). Natural pressure release will take approximately 15 minutes. Once the safety pin dropped on it’s own you can safely open the pot and your rice is ready.
How would you convert this for an Instant Pot??
Is there a substitute I can use instead of bacon fat? Thanks!
Yes, absolutely. You can use any frying oil you have on hand. I like using avocado oil when I don’t have bacon fat.
Actually, if you blend cilantro, couple cloves of garlic, with beer, would give it a better flavor instead if water
Sure! Sounds great :)
Thank you for this recipe! This has become one of my go-to rice recipes – we make it all the time! It really elevates basic rice and it goes with almost any main dish. I troll and save so many recipes online and I try to make most of them (love to cook but I get bored with same-ol-stuff), and this one made it into my arsenal instantly! It’s fun to make and everyone loves it. Thank you!!!
Hi Lisa, I am so so happy you liked this recipe!! And thank you for coming back and commenting.
Kat @ TheWeighWeWere.com says
Sooo yummy!!! :)
I’m so happy you liked it :)
This is so delicious! I’ve made it twice now. My husband and 5 year old son love it, too. Thanks for the great recipe!
I’m so glad you like it Jenny! Thank you so much for coming back and letting me know :D
Looks delicious! Is the carrot missing from the ingredients list? I couldn’t find the quantity/amount? Thanks!
Thank you for pointing that out Jennifer. I just corrected the mistake. I just used one carrot. You can use as much as you like though :)
This recipe is hands down the best rice ever! I love it and couldnest the whole pot by myself!!
Thank you so so so so much for coming back and commenting Michelle!!! You made my day 😃
I love this recipe. I am going to try it today. Looks simple and delicious
I’m happy you love it Sharill :)
I’ve never had green rice using coriander. I’ve had it with cilantro
Hi Melanie, coriander and cilantro are the same thing ;) Cilantro is simply the Spanish name for the herb and coriander the English word. Many use both to differentiate between the fresh herb and the dried herb. I’ve seen many write “cilantro” when they mean the fresh herb and “coriander” when they mean the dried but in the end both, dried and fresh are coriander in English and cilantro in Spanish.
You are right. Cilantro or cilantrillo are the words for this herb in spanish, but cilantro is the word for it in english as well. Cilantro is the name for the leaves. Coriander is the name to identify the cilantro seeds or the spice made from them :)
Ohh, very interesting Sharill. Thank you for that extra information :D
It also depends where u live. It is exclusively coriander for leaves and seeds in Australia, cilantro is not a word used here at all.