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.
catherine Orellana says
Can I use the same recipe with rice cooker (I do not have a instant pot)
Julia Warner says
This dish was amazing! We’ve made it twice in one week bc we liked it so well. However, I got a bunt error message on my insta pot. So the second time we made it I just did it on the stove. Yum!
Lorena Grater says
Some Instant Pots are super “moody”. It seems I’ve been lucky with the two I have because I’ve never once gotten the burn warning but I have friends who get the warning aaall the time on theirs. Sigh.
The first time I went to Bali, I had green rice, and it was hands down the best rice I’ve ever had in my life. The chef didn’t want to share the recipe with me unfortunately, but if your rice has similar flavors than the one I had in Bali, I’ll be both fuming and happy 😂
I’m living in China and can’t/don’t want to get the Aji Amarillo paste. Could some red chili be fine you think or I just leave it out completely, and make it a non-spicy dish?
Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ll try it soon-ish, and leave a second review (unless it would be considered spamming).
Lorena Grater says
The rice tastes amazing without ají as well. I recommend you leave out the spice if you can’t get that specific one. If you use a strong chili the chili will overpower the cilantro.
Thank you for the reply Lorena.
I tried your recipe earlier today, and it was quick, easy, and delicious. It certainly didn’t have the same taste as in Bali so they probably had other ingredients in their rice, but it was still very good. With that said, I feel like the flavor wasn’t strong enough, should I add more coriander next time or is there something else you would recommend?
It’s definitely going to become a weekly dish! Thanks again.
Lorena Grater says
I highly highly highly recommend you try get your hands on “Ají Amarillo”. It makes a big difference :)
OMG Lorena, thank you so much for this easy but so yummy recipe. When my uncle was the ambassador to Peru my aunt came back to America for a visit and made us this rice and Lomo Saltado so I made them together tonight thinking of her. Thank you. Your recipes are awesome as usual.
Lorena Grater says
I’m so happy to read you enjoyed it and with Lomo Saltado…YUM!
Hello. thanks for lovely recipe. Wouldn’t Basmati rice, brown, be healthier? It has a lower glycemic level than Jasmine (59 to 89) and isn’t brown rice always better because it has more fiber? What are your thoughts on it? Trying to get our diet healthier and healthier, and much as we love rice, I am trying to do brown rice more. And organic, as it is a crop that tends to be oversprayed.
Lorena Grater says
You can make this recipe with brown rice without a problem. In the post, I link to my Instant Pot Rice post where you can look up the pressure cooking time of 8 different kinds of rice. I believe rice is a great grain no matter what color and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Brown rice has more nutrients but takes 3-4 times as long to cook and is harder to digest than white rice. I am a strong believer in not demonizing any food and rather eat balanced. 45-65% of your overall calories should come from carbohydrates. The more complex the better. I eat brown rice and white rice and wild rice and red rice. I eat them all. For this Green Rice recipe, I prefer white rice because it has less flavor of its own and absorbs the cilantro better :) Organic or not will depends entirely on your budget. If you can afford it and want it, that’s great, but please never believe that you cannot eat healthy if you cannot afford organic.
Is the Aji paste the Amarillo or the Limo?
Lorena Grater says
Aji Amarillo. Sorry. Should have specified.