Recipe: Caribbean-Style Orange Juice Rice

In Trinidad and Tobago they say “Don’t pick fruits after 6 p.m., the tree is sleeping.”

I’m not exactly sure what the tree would do to retaliate if you interrupt its sleep … but I do know that when I don’t get my sleep, I’m not only gruffy, but I can’ t focus on anything. I’m so tired that my work suffers. I pout. I play with my hair. I pace rooms. I can’t bear fruit, so to speak.


Let’s avoid picking fruit from the tree after six, both literally and figuratively.

Instead, let’s enjoy fruit in our rice. I first read about orange rice in The World Cookbook for Students. Apparently, this is a popular side dish in parts of Trinidad and Tobago. And for good reason.

When cooked with orange juice, rice becomes sweet, tangy, and makes the perfect complement to spicy food.

Now. There is nothing subtle about replacing all the water with O.J., so if you’d like to start off with something more mild, try using half water (or broth) and half O.J.

A few other ideas: consider adding thyme, green onion, or cilantro for seasoning and/or garnish. It’ll take the rice to the next level.

Serves 6-8


4 cups fresh orange juice with pulp
2 cups rice
2 Tbsp butter
freshly grated orange peel, for garnish


Let’s create a sea of orange…

First step?

Juice a mountain of oranges or… keep it simple and use O.J. from the bottle (with pulp, please).


Next, melt some butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the rice. Cook several minutes over high heat until the rice is very hot.

Meanwhile, season with salt and pepper. Don’t be shy! How much salt you add makes the difference between flat rice and rice

Next, pour on the O.J.  If you warmed the rice long enough, it will sizzle and sputter as the liquid hits the hot grains. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. This will take longer than regular rice because we made it with O.J. instead of water. Mine took 25+ minutes, but cooking times may vary.

NOTE: If you use 50% OJ and 50% water, cooking time will be more like 16-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and let sit another ten minutes.

Meanwhile, daydream your way to a glorious spot in Trinidad and Tobago.

Perhaps an orange one.

View of the Five Islands, Carrera Island and Point Gourde near in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. Photo by Jean-Marc /Jo BeLo/Jhon-John from Caracas, Venezuela.

View of the Five Islands, Carrera Island and Point Gourde near in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. Photo by Jean-Marc /Jo BeLo/Jhon-John from Caracas, Venezuela.

When you return, uncover the rice, fluff and serve with a little grated orange zest or perhaps a sprinkling of green onion, cilantro, or thyme.


What else can be done with orange juice? I have another half gallon to use up. Ideas?

P.S. Orange you glad it’s Friday?! (I know, I know)

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  1. I like to make an Orange Blossom Special drink using 1/2 OJ and 1/2 buttermilk. Stir and drink. To make it an Orange Blossom Sunrise, make it in a clear glass, and to the above add a tiny bit of maraschino cherry juice or grenadine which willl sink to the bottom of the glass. The addition diffuses through the orange combo and is so pretty! Both are delicious if you like buttermilk at all.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Orange Blossom Sunrise is a pretty name – you should try some orange blossom water in there and see how you like it :)

  2. Whoops! What kind of rice did u use for the timing indicated??????

    • Sasha Martin says:

      It was just long-grain rice, but the juice really drags out the cooking time! I think it’s because of the natural sugar in the juice…

      • Rick Scott says:

        Also because the juice is acidic, and cooking veggies and grains in acidic liquid always takes much longer. (Think adding tomatoes to stuff before it’s pretty well cooked)

  3. The Pope receives the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

    Pope Francis on Saturday morning received in audience the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona.
    Afterwards President Carmona also met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and with the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
    The focus of the cordial talks was on the contribution that the Catholic Church offers to the population, especially to the most needy and vulnerable, in the areas of education, health and assistance.
    And the hope was expressed for a fruitful collaboration, both in supporting the needs of young people and in the fight against crime and violence.
    Finally, some issues of great importance were touched upon, such as the integral formation of the person and the protection of the family

  4. …source:

    another global table adventure “coincidence”

  5. Elisa Miriam Waller says:

    hey, this is beautiful….and remember ava loved that frozen Orange juice popsicle…..yay! I love you family!

  6. annab3ar says:

    i was wondering about the option of using a rice cooker…i have kids who like to help with dinner and the filling the rice cooker is easy and relatively safe for them…would it work do you think?

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