Amazing Green Rice Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Amazing Green Rice

10 reviews / 4.9 average

This green rice is my FAVORITE! It’s packed with spinach and cilantro, perfectly spicy, nutritious, and goes with just about everything.

Is It Too Much To Make a Batch Of Green Rice Every Week?

Lindsay headshot

Because that’s where my heart is at.

I could eat this green rice at every meal, a hundred different ways. It’s fluffy, flavorful, so pleasantly spicy, and loaded with green goodness.

Traditionally green rice (arroz verde) is made with lots of herbs, plus jalapeños and/or poblanos for the heat, and is typically served as a side with Mexican or Latin American dishes.

But for this green rice, the base is spinach, and the heat comes from a serrano, which creates a spicy, herbal flavor that can go so many directions. It’s great with more traditional Mexican dishes, like these chicken tinga tacos, or enchiladas verdes, but it actually goes really well with Thai or Indian dishes (like a creamy yellow curry, for example). I also love it with more smoky-sweet BBQ flavors, like grilled BBQ chicken! Really, really versatile.

And possibly my favorite usage? It makes for epic bowls! Like:

Green rice, chicken skewers, and creamy corn in a bowl.

A word for kids: this green rice definitely packs some heat, so my daughters (3 and 5) are a “no thank you” on this one (or maybe that’s just because it’s green). But I like it so much that it’s worth it to me to make this just for me and Bjork! So yummy.

One of the ways I make decisions about which recipes I share here on POY is to ask myself: how much do I want to eat the leftovers? And since I spent all morning sitting at toddler gymnastics and dreaming about what kind of bowl I would be building with my leftover green rice for lunch, I think this one makes the cut.

Hope you love it! ♡

Lindsay signature

Welcome To My Kitchen! Let’s Make Green Rice!


Blitz the greens.

You’re going for a finely chopped texture. Doesn’t have to be perfect.

Herbs, shallots, and peppers for Green Rice in food processor

Minced greens for the green rice in a food processor


Toast Your Rice.

Oil + rice in the pan and just let it get roasty toasty for better flavor! Add your mincey greens and let those cook down for a minute, too – it’ll smell reeeeeally good!

Toasting the rice in a skillet


Cook Time!

Add water or broth, add a cover, and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Cooking the rice and minced greens for green rice


You’re Done! Yum!

Fluff that rice with a fork to distribute the greens throughout. So good!

Cooked green rice in a skillet

Watch How To Make This Green Rice

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Green rice in a pan with a wooden spoon.

Amazing Green Rice

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This green rice is my FAVORITE! It’s packed with spinach and cilantro, perfectly spicy, nutritious, and goes with just about everything.


Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup packed)
  • 34 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped (sub a jalapeño pepper)
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (1 teaspoon salt if using water)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, or water (up to 2 1/2 cups for stickier rice)


  1. Rice Prep: Thoroughly rinse the rise in a mesh colander. Shake it a few times to remove excess water, or blot it dry with paper towels. (This prevents it from splattering in the oil when you add it to the pan in Step 3.)
  2. Make Green Herb Mixture: Pulse the cilantro, spinach, shallot, serrano, and garlic in a food processor until very finely chopped.
  3. Saute the Rice: Add olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Add rice and sauté for 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted. Add the herb mixture and salt; sauté for another 3-5 minutes until nice and fragrant. 
  4. Cook the Rice: Add the broth or water, bring to a simmer. Cover and keep over low heat for 15-ish minutes. Check the rice by fluffing with a fork; add more water / cook longer if necessary. When the rice is done to your liking, remove from heat and fluff with a fork to distribute the greens.
  5. You’re Done! Yum! Serve with chicken skewers, air fryer chicken or salmon, tacos, beans and creamy corn, etc. 


The rice in these photos was cooked with 2 cups liquid (it’s a bit drier and more fluffy). If you want it to be more sticky than this, use 2 1/2 cups! I like it both ways! If you’re not sure what you want, start with 2 cups of liquid and then when it’s done you can decide if you want to add a bit more water.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: green rice, arroz verde, rice recipe, rice side

Frequently Asked Questions For This Green Rice

Can I use another herb besides cilantro?

Yes! Parsley or chives would be great, and I think basil could be really delicious, too, if you want to take the flavor in a totally different direction.

How long does the leftover rice last?

I think it keeps really well for 3-5 days! Make sure to get it in the fridge promptly after it cools to keep it on the up-and-up for food safety.

Can you make this less spicy?

I really enjoy the spiciness of this rice but if you’d rather avoid it, I would either use half a serrano pepper or omit the serrano altogether. You could also try a different pepper like a jalapeño (ribs and seeds removed – can still be somewhat spicy), a roasted poblano, or a can of diced green chiles.

How do you make this gluten free, dairy free, vegan?

It’s all of the above! 🙂

What do you serve with this rice?

I love to serve this alongside these chicken skewers (with creamy corn!), air fryer chicken or salmontacos, beans, etc.

If You Like Green Rice, You Need To Try These Three Of My Faves

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks really good! Just wondering if it could be made with brown rice. Any issues for the greens with the longer cook time?

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Could you make this in a rice cooker after step 3? I can’t wait to try this!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe looks wonderful. Our whole family loves rice, and I often make it as a side dish. I’ve never had green rice before. I enjoy trying new things in the kitchen, so I’ll try to make it this week. Maybe even today.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh, Lindsay – you hit the ball right out of the park with this recipe! I’ve tried for years to like spinach, but just haven’t been successful. I LOVE spinach in this recipe, probably because I can’t taste it and would never know it was there if I hadn’t put it in there. The cilantro, onion, and garlic give their flavors in a delightful way. This rice is excellent on its own, but I’m going to add it to enchiladas and burritos, too. IT’S SO GOOD! I would give it 10 stars if I could.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this recipe last night. Very easy with a food processor. Used a pasilla chile rather than serrano to get flavor but no heat. Paired it with a chicken curry. Was DELICIOUS! and very easy. Will definitely make this again.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Do you know if I could make the green herb mixture ahead of time and save it in the fridge for a day or two before I finish the recipe?

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is delicious! I will admit that I did change a few things because I cannot stand cilantro. In its place, I upped the amount of spinach that I used. I also used brown rice instead of white, so it took three times longer to cook but oh man is this good. Thank you for yet another fabulous recipe.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe is a winner! I didn’t have a pepper, so I improvised with some red chili flakes. Just under a tsp added the perfect amount of heat.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Fantastic! Used brown rice and subbed garden kale with no problem 🙂 kids loved it

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    We eat a lot of rice. This makes me feel good about getting more flavor and veggies with my rice. It is so good. I used a poblano pepper and we all ate it. Thanks for another delicious recipe.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was easy (I made the herb mix the day before) and tasty, but the green was dull and drab. It was not a very visually appealing dish. I’d never serve it to company. Any ideas on where I went wrong or how to keep the green more vibrant?

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    YUM! You are my go to food blogger and this recipe is a new favorite. Thanks so much for sharing your skills!! I have most of green sauce ingredients in my garden so I am definitely interested in trying to make and freeze for future. Has anyone tried that? Guessing the green isn’t as vibrant but I can deal with that. Wondering if I need to add olive oil perhaps? Thanks so much for any insight.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was so simple but delicious! I made some modifications based on what I had on hand and the herbs growing in my garden. I used a mix of chives, Thai basil, and dill instead of cilantro. I used red onion instead of shallot, and a jalapeno instead of a serrano. I love the flexibility it allows. I paired it with the chicken skewers and it was fabulous. I cooked it closer to 25 minutes for the water to fully absorb. I will definitely be making this again!