This easy Caribbean curried rice pilaf is brightened up with fresh citrus flavor from orange juice. If you're missing the Caribbean islands, cook regional recipes like this and allow the flavors to transport you back to paradise. Serve this delicious Caribbean side dish with your favorite grilled or roasted meats.
(This recipe was originally published in July 2012, but was updated with new photos and content in 2020).
Perhaps the most popular rice preparation on various Caribbean islands is rice and peas (or rice and beans). Although I enjoy this variation very much, I particularly love this Caribbean spin on rice pilaf which includes melted onions, curry powder, and orange juice.
This Caribbean side dish recipe is adapted from The Sugar Mill Caribbean Cookbook, which is the official cookbook from the Sugar Mill Restaurant at its namesake resort on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The restaurant is well-known for its amazing cuisine.
This Caribbean curried rice pilaf is extremely simple to make, but will be the highlight of your dinner menu! Incorporating orange juice into a rice dish, may seem rather unusual, but it's delicious. The citrus flavor isn't strong, but it really just adds a bit of brightness to the dish. The spice isles influence of curry powder rounds out this easy and flavorful recipe.
What type of rice should you use? Use whatever type you normally like to eat! I typically make this Caribbean rice recipe with basmati rice, because that's our go-to rice for most preparations. It should work well with any variety of long-grain rice. I haven't tried it with medium-grain so I cannot comment on the results.
What type of curry powder should you use? Curry powder is actually a blend of spices. The exact recipe for each blend varies depending on many factors. An Indian curry powder will differ from a Jamaican curry powder, and so on and so forth.
For example, Jamaican curry powder is usually a bit more mild than its Indian counterpart, and often contains more turmeric. Ideally, use a Caribbean curry powder for this recipe if you have one. But if you only have one type of curry powder in your pantry, it should work just fine.
How to make it
Begin by melting butter in a pot, and then add thinly sliced onion. Cook on medium heat until the onion is translucent (PHOTO 1).
Next add your rice and curry powder (PHOTO 2). Stir to combine, cooking for about 2 minutes until very fragrant (PHOTO 3).
Add the chicken broth, orange juice, salt, and bay leaf (PHOTO 4). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and cover (PHOTO 5). Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is tender (PHOTO 6). Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe (in a printable recipe card) including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
What to serve with your Caribbean rice
Even though this is a Caribbean curried rice, you can definitely serve this rice with almost anything! It has a nicely balanced flavor with just a hint of spice, and a delicate sweetness.
Other recipes you may like
- Jamaican Rice and Peas
- Arroz Chaufa (Peruvian Fried Rice)
- Jamaican Beef Patties
- Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
- Trinidad Macaroni Pie
- Rasta Pasta with Jerk Chicken
- Curried Tomato Salad
- Guava Bars
- Guava and Cheese Pastries
- Browse all Caribbean Recipes
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also follow me on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!
Caribbean Curried Rice Pilaf with Citrus
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 cup rice such as basmati
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or more as needed
- 1 bay leaf
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, and saute the onion until it is translucent.
- Stir in the curry powder and rice. Cook the mixture 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the saucepan.
- Simmer the rice for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
- To make this rice vegetarian, you may replace the chicken broth with water or vegetable broth/stock.
- Use a Caribbean or Jamaican style curry powder if you can, but any curry powder (such as an Indian one) will work fine.
- This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.
- Adapted from The Sugar Mill Caribbean Cookbook
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*
Since I didn't have OJ on hand, I substituted it with a grapefruit juice blend, freshly squeezed lime juice, and a couple of teaspoons of simple syrup. I also added diced carrots and celery. Delicious! My husband asked if this is how we can always eat rice. We ate it alongside Jamaican beef patties. Thank you for the recipe! I will be making it again and again!
Turned out very well despite me not having onion or bay leaf at the time so I used garlic. They kept asking for more.
Loved it! Served with marinated grilled chicken and flank steak.The curry with light citrus was perfect. This is a keeper and easy to make♥️
Since I sadly can't travel to the Caribbean these days, this is the next best way to transport myself there! Delicious!
I love the flavor of this rice and it was incredibly easy to make. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time), I think I’ll pair it with shrimp.
Shrimp would be delicious with this rice!! Glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂