I've looked all over for this and not found much.

Chipotle resturant adds lime and cilantro to their rice, some folks put Saffron. I thought "gee there must be others".

Any other pre-made seasonings you could buy and add to rice while cooking it (ideally something you could put in a rice cooker or in rice that you'll cook in a pot). I'm happy to order it by mail (especially if it's in the USA)

This is a more specific version of: https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/10677/making-white-rice-more-tasteful.

  • 3
    This isn't a dry seasoning, hence adding it in comments instead of answers: you can use coconut milk for all or part of the water when you're cooking rice. It gives the rice a hint of coconut flavor and makes it soft and creamy. You can add a bit of cinnamon for some extra flavor. It works really well with Thai or Indian food. Rice (made with water) with cinnamon is good too. Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 21:40
  • 2
    @Christine: If we count liquids, you can use any flavored meat broth or vegetable broth for seasoning (or indeed the dry buillion powder or cubes but that turns into broth when you add water for the rice). You can also use tomato juice or V8 as part of your liquid for a savory vegetable rice and you can use carrot juice to make a "sweet" rice.
    – Adisak
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 23:27
  • There's no one answer to this question as you could add a variety of spice or herb blends depending on what you're serving it with. Eg, adobo or a taco or fajita blend for mexican food, and italian or greek herb blend, an indian spice blend for curries, etc.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 12:36
  • @Joe: Since she said "pre-made seasonings you could buy", I'm assuming that she is looking for a mix packet that you can go into a store and purchase as a single item rather than having to buy multiple items and mix them together yourself. That narrows the field of the question considerably.
    – Adisak
    Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 16:46

10 Answers 10


You can combine it with practically everything, so the question is somewhat broad. So my answer is equally broad: rice pairs well with fresh tastes and acidity, or with moderately sweet components. Or you can just underline its own slightly nutty notes. Below is a list of specific examples, but it is impossible to make it exhaustive.

For fresh tastes, use herbs. Summer savoury and spearmint are the classics, I never make stuffed peppers without them. But other light tasting herbs are also a good choice - lemon balm, oregano. Rosmarin is sometimes good, but somewhat overpowering, it is better for a dish where the rice is cooked together with veggies (eggplant, zucchini).

Beside herbs, you can try more exotic seasonings. Lemon zests are good, finelly chopped grape leaves and shoots are great.

Coriander powder should give you a similar taste profile to cilantro, but it is easier to keep at hand for when a quick dinner without much planning is needed.

The sweet option is also interesting; if you don't overdo it, it is OK to serve it as a side dish for a savoury meal. The easiest way to achieve it is to cook the rice together chopped dry fruit. Sulfured raisins are popular, the dish will be somewhat si milar to pilaf. But others work too, I especially like dried apricots because they are slightly tart.

Other methods for sweetening don't really fall into the "dry seasoing" category, but are worth mentioning. You can add fruit juice to the cooking water (apple or other slightly sour juices are best; this will affect the starch in the rice, causing it to cook firmer than usual) or you can add a small amount of sweetener to the cooked rice (prefer aromatic sweeteners lik honey or C grade maple syrup). Or if you prefer it spicier, mix it with a sweet chutney, like mango.

If you want a subtler taste, combine the rice with nuts (cook them together). Always use nuts with the brown skin removed. I have found unroasted, finely chopped nuts to work better this way. Hazelnuts and almonds are a very good choice. Para nuts also pair well with rice, but are seldom availablr blanched+chopped. This works especially well if you use the parfrying method for the rice, frying in the oil of the nut used. However, I don't know if you can parfry rice in a rice cooker, I always make mine on the stove.

  • Excuse me if this is an ignorant question but which are "summer savory" herbs? Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 22:11
  • @sobachatina this is the name of a specific plant, satureja hortensis. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_savory. In my opinion, it is a culinary crime to make white beans soup without it, but it has many other uses too.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 22:51
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    Some good ideas here, but one problem: coriander powder and cilantro may smell similar and come from the same plant, but they taste vastly different when cooked. While cilantro works, I did not get good results when using coriander in rice (unless it is a small part of a complex spice medley).
    – BobMcGee
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 5:14

A pre-made dry seasoning for rice that is popular in Japan is Furikake. This is a seaweed based flavoring that is sprinkled on top or mixed into rice after it finishes cooking. There are many varieties but the simplest ones are made with only seaweed flakes, salt and sugar and occasionally sesame seeds.

  • Yep, that's the only "pre-made dry seasoning for rice" that I found. Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 12:20
  • Is furikake commonly mixed in? I'd only been aware of it being sprinkled on top.
    – Ray
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 21:55
  • Sprinkling on top is better for "presentation" but also has a benefit that the Furikake stays "crunchier" longer. However it can easily be mixed in as a seasoning. Here is a great example of making Furikake flavored rice balls (optionally wrapped in seaweed): vegetablegohan.blogspot.com/2011/02/…
    – Adisak
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 23:24

You can make an Indian-style pilau with turmeric, cumin seeds, ground coriander, cloves, cardamom pods, a bay leaf, half a cinnamon stick, salt, and a little cubed butter for richness. Add raisins 15 minutes before serving for sweetness, and scatter some toasted sliced almonds on top when it's done: delicious.

  • sounds super delicious
    – zanlok
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 5:19
  • 1
    And conveniently, all of the spices you mentioned would be be found in the pre-made seasoning they sell as 'curry powder' in the U.S. (although, not Madras curry powder, which also also contains cayenne or similiar chilies for heat) ... although, I admit I've never added it ... I use whole spices.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 9:22

An easy way to flavor rice is simply to add bouillon. My favorite is Knorr vegetable bouillon, but you could add any flavor of bouillon you like. (You could also, of course, simply replace the water with any broth you have on hand.)


My standby for basmati rice is (per 2-3 cups dry rice): 1-2 whole cloves, a half cinnamon stick, and optionally a tsp or two of paprika and chili flakes.

A cup or two of frozen peas is nice too, and should work fine in a rice cooker, but it's not dry.

Alternately, ground peanuts, garlic powder, brown sugar, and chilis make a nice Thai combo, especially if you season with a little rice wine vinegar and soy sauce when cooked. If you're feeling fancy, throw in some powdered dry coconut milk and mix well with the rice grains.

Bouillon, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, and thyme make a more European combination.

  • or anyone with insight: is there a specific culinary reason to go with powdered coconut milk rather than the regular stuff, or did you just suggest it because the OP's original question specified dry options? Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 19:06
  • @MargeGunderson It's already dry (as per spec), and nonperishable. If you can, use the liquid form because it has a better flavor and mixes more
    – BobMcGee
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 23:14

I generally go for simple tastes for rice - any one of:

  • a couple of bayleaves
  • a couple of tsp ground cumin
  • pinch saffron
  • a few cloves
  • a little ground dried lime

transforms a side helping of rice without overwhelming the flavour of the main dish. Poke through your spice cupboard and experiment! Adding a lump of butter works wonders too.

  • 1
    It's not a dry-seasoning but the lump of butter does work wonders :-)
    – Adisak
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 23:28

I've been using up a dispenser of seasoning that my other half bought from the fish & chip shop, by putting it in the rice.

It is supposed to be for putting on chips (fries), and is described as "American Chip Spice".

There's a lot of salt in there, E621, powdered tomato, and powdered papryka (11%), garlic and onion. It definitely improves boiled rice, although it does work best if you sprinkle it on after you drain the rice.

I'n sure you could find something similar.


For Asian food, adding coconut milk and turmeric powder results in flavorful yellow rice. I love it with indian or Thai food.


I think I understand what you are asking. I personally like to mix my own spices, but sometimes it's really nice to pull out something already done. The problems with pre-mixes is the extra ingredients, i.e. Salt, MSG, and all the others I can't pronounce. It makes it salty, cakey, taste a little weird and sometimes just makes a mess of it.

My Sister has 4 kids and didn't have the patience for cooking. For her, I would go to a Marshall’s. They purchase from designers and other retailers, excess cloths and foods. I find really good deals in the food department that is generally sold in gourmet stores for a fraction of the price. I always keep an eye out for the containers with multiple sections of seasonings meant for bread dipping. If you read the label, generally there are no additives and there are different flavor themes in one container. I usually purchase them for her around Christmas, put in her stocking with directions like, add 2 tbls to sour cream for a quick dip. Add 1-2 tbls to pasta salad. She loved it so much that she now picks her own spices and turns me onto new ones. Cracks me up! This could be an option for you.


Good rice doesn't need any seasoning in my opinion! But sometimes if I want something aromatic I will add some dried jasmine flowers right before I turn on my rice cooker! These can be found for around $5 in a cute glass jar that can be re-used for something great in pretty much every Asian grocery store.

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