Red Rice

Red Rice is a must-have for any Chamorro Fiesta menu.  Without red rice, it just won’t seem much like a fiesta.

You don’t need to go to a party or fiesta to enjoy this Chamorro staple.  My family loves red rice served with fried chicken, or pan-fried Spam. 🙂

Some people add peas to their red rice, but I like mine without it.

Serve some Chamorro Red Rice at your next gathering for that extra special touch.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Red Rice



  • 3 cups rice (medium or long grain)
  • 1 tablespoon Dashida seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat (or substitute with olive or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 4 stalks green onions, sliced
  • 1 packet achote powder (see note below)
  • 3 1/2 cups hot water (see note below)

To make 10 cups of red rice (enough for a small BBQ), use the following measurements:

  • 10 cups rice
  • 3 tablespoons Dashida
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 8 stalks green onions, sliced
  • 3 packets achote powder
  • 11 1/2 cups hot water


You can use achote water made with achote seeds instead of using powdered achote.  Scrub about 1/4 cup of achote seeds in 3 1/2 cups warm water.  Add the achote water (make sure to strain out the seeds and add just the achote water) to the pot where the directions call for adding water and achote powder.


1.  Place the rice into your rice cooker pot.  Rinse the rice as required, draining out any excess water.

IMG_31472.  Into the pot, add the Dashida, bacon fat, black pepper, garlic, and achote powder.  If you don’t have any saved bacon fat, substitute with olive or vegetable oil. IMG_31493.  Add the green onions to the pot.   IMG_31504.  Carefully pour the hot water into the pot.  Stir to combine all the ingredients and to dissolve the achote powder and Dashida.  The bacon fat will start to melt; don’t worry if it doesn’t completely melt at this time.

Turn the rice cooker to the “cook” setting.  The only thing left to do is to stir the rice a couple more times.  Wait a couple of minutes then stir to ensure even mixing after the bacon fat melted.  Wait another 5 minutes or so and stir once more to ensure the rice at the bottom of the pot is evenly coated with achote coloring.

After stirring the rice for a second time, leave the rice to cook/steam until done.

IMG_0667 IMG_1995

5.  Serve with your favorite meat dish (Chamorro BBQ, fried chicken, or pan-fried Spam goes fantastic with red rice!) and ENJOY! 😀

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  1. Renee Taisipic says:

    What’s another substitute for the Dashida seasoning? I looked everywhere and can’t find it? Went on Amazon but there’s different types. Since I didn’t have a picture, I just ended up making my own seasoning. It turned out great. Pretty sure it would’ve been perfect with the original seasoning recommended.

    • You can just omit the Dashida and use table salt, but use less than half the amount called for Dashida. You can add salt a little at a time and taste the cooking liquid to make sure it’s seasoned to your liking. As for what type of Dashida I use in this recipe (and many of my other recipes), I use the beef flavored kind. It usually has a photo of a piece of steak or beef on the package.

  2. Eddie Blas says:

    Annie’s has been my go-to for as long as I’ve been in Arizona, 10 years! Great recipes and it brings back memories of fiesta in Talofofo as a kid! I’m making bbq chicken and red rice tonight! TGIF!



  3. Joanie Omahen says:

    I’m married to a Chamorro man. Sadly his Mom passed when he was young. He loved her Chamorro cooking. Your recipes have helped me bring his heritage back to him. I have made many of your recipes and can’t wait to try more. His brothers love it also. Thank you Annie.

  4. faguon says:

    I made this twice (used Jasmin rice) and each time the rice came out hard, like it wasn’t finished cooking or not enough water. I followed the directions exactly as stated. What do you think could be wrong?

  5. Bee says:

    How many cups of rice to make for 30 people?

  6. JBorja says:

    Have you tried making red rice in the oven?

  7. Carey Joy Wilson says:

    Hello from California! I am craving chamorro food like crazy but have been having a hard time finding achote seeds. Is it the same as achiote or annetto seeds? I miss red rice, keleguen and finedeni and am finally working up the guts to attempt making a chamorro meal. I will be using your recipes for this meal and am so excited. Any tips?

  8. Donna Harlan says:

    Cousin, thank you so much for posting your recipes.
    They have helped to refresh my memory on how to make our Chamorro recipes. I just adjust to how I remember my Mom and Nana making them. Love your website.

  9. An Cris says:

    Hi! Will definitely make this tonight! Brings back memories. I just wanted to know how much was in the achote powder packet? Is it 1/3 oz?

  10. Darren says:

    Definitely gotta try this recipe, lived in guam for 8 years and one of my greatest memories was eating 6 cups of red rice with green peppers after the 8.2 earthquake, lol(think i was in shock), tried many recipes before and none came out to what i remember, i know my friends mom actually cooked bacon and put that with the rice so i am sure this will be close to what i remember, thanks

    • I hope you give my recipe a try. Let me know how it turns out. As for the bacon, you could cook actual bacon along with the onions (use the resulting bacon fat as well), then continue with the rest of the recipe.

  11. David Wright says:

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I was a Navy brat in the ’70s and some of my fondest memories of Guam include the absolutely delicious food! School (Pedro C. Lujan Elementary) meals were a slice of paradise to me. They had egg fried rice for breakfast (super yummy) and the red rice at lunchtime was definitely near the top of my list of favorites. And, you could eat as much as you wanted! By the time my dad was halfway through his tour, I had to start playing little league football to lose some weight. Shout out to Mrs. Layo and Mr. and Mrs. Hoover! Now that I’ve related my life story, one question: The red rice we had at school seemed much darker in color. That’s probably from using more Achiote, right?

    • Hafa Adai! I’m glad you still have fond memories of your time living on Guam. As for the color of the rice, yes and no—you could make the color darker by adding more achote powder, but keep in mind that older packets of the powdered form get lighter the older it is. Always look for the packages that are darkest in color. Now, on Guam, we most often use the fresh achote seeds that are scrubbed in water to extract the red color. Using fresh always gives you the best flavor and darkest color. You can buy dried seeds at some Asian or Hispanic stores, but like the powdered version, the older the seeds, the less likely you are to get a really dark color from it.

    • Ramona Wolford says:

      Where did you buy the dashida seasoning?

  12. V says:

    Annie, what if I needed to cook 5 cups of red rice…what would your recipe look like for 5 cups?

  13. Bee says:

    So if cook on stovetop do I still boil water first and then pour it into the pot with rice?

  14. pamela says:

    No rice cooker. How do I cook this on stove?

    • Place the pot over medium high heat. Cook until it comes to a boil (stir at least once) then reduce the heat to low until all the liquid has dried up. Turn the heat off and let the steam finish cooking the rice.

      • Bee says:

        When I bring it to boil is the rice covered or once it boils put a cover and put it on low heat?

        • Keep the rice covered the entire time. When it comes to a boil, reduce your heat to low. When all of the liquid has absorbed into the rice, turn the heat off, and keep the lid on. The rice will finish cooking for several more minutes after the liquid is all gone and the heat is off. Don’t forget to stir it at least once while it is boiling.

  15. Beverly says:

    Sorry I’m not an avid cook- what do you mean “scrub seeds”?

    • The achote seeds are naturally coated in a red substance that’s used to color and flavor the rice. To get the coloring off, place the seeds in water and used your fingers to rub them together to get the color off the seeds. You’ll use the colored achote water for your rice.

  16. Toni says:

    Can you clarify how many teaspoons are in a packet of achote?

  17. Shanta Fuller says:

    Aloha Annie! I lived in Guam for 4 years before I moved to Hawaii. Now I’m back on the mainland. Do me a favor beautiful, when you say a packet of achote powder, how much is that in teaspoons or tablespoons? Mahalo! Shanta from Atlanta GA

  18. Chelsea says:

    I just moved away from my island a couple weeks ago, and making red rice with fina’denne for dinner felt great! The time zone difference to Guam makes it hard to call people back home for the correct recipe, so I was thrilled to find it posted here. Do you have experience with mailing the achote seeds from guam? Is the flavor difference worth sending for the real stuff?

    • Hafa Adai! I’m glad you were able to feel like you were back home eating the food you love. If you can get achote seeds from home, I’d use that over the powdered achote any day! The flavor is so much better using fresh achote seeds.

  19. Emmy says:

    I’m so happy to have come across your website. I’ve been missing home and your recipes and instructions are so easy to follow and the outcome is delicious every time! Thank you!

  20. Shirley - Tacoma WA says:

    I have been searching for a comprehensive Chamorro Recipes online. So far – I am so hyped up with what your site has to offer. I would like to try your grilled-eggplant recipe out first since my children misses the good island-food eats back home. So, this will be one of their many real treats this month 🙂

    • Hafa Adai, Shirley! Thanks for stopping by. Stop by again soon and let me know how your family likes my recipes. Happy New Year!

      • Shirley - Tacoma WA says:

        I tried the Spam kelaguen to the letter and it was a grand-slam hit among friends and my family! Si Yu’us Ma’ase, Ms. Annie, for creating this beautiful Soulful-Chamorro food-blog. I am revisiting my Chamorro roots with my palate again sa esta ‘gof mahalang adai yo’ of our food items back home. Next on my list is the Red rice. Need to ask you about the empanada tools you used in making what looks like will be another future staple menu added to our house-hold especially when we are going to endure this cold freezing climate out here in the Northwest! So, question for the empanada recipe. What other alternative can we do to limit the use of cooking oil? Can this still be done while maintaining it’s original flavor and texture?

        • Spam kelaguen is definitely a staple in my book.

          As for an alternative to frying empanadas, there really isn’t one that will crisp up the crust the way frying will. One thing you could do is make an “empanada Dip” — make the filling and place in a serving bowl, then make the dough for the crust, only roll them thin and cut into small pieces. Deep fry the dough only to make chips for your filling “dip.” This way, you don’t have to worry about any empanadas (and filling if the crust opens up) soaking up too much oil.

          Let me know how it turns out.

          • Shirley - Tacoma WA says:

            I will try this then! Thank you so much for your insightful suggestions – when I am trying recipes I have to consider the friends health issues and my heart swells when they enjoy the meals I prepare I will let you know this suggestion turns out.

  21. Philip says:

    Is there a way I can find out how to make this with 2 cups of rice? Also, do I use the whole packet of achote powder? I’m using mama sita achote powder. Do I need to use Dashida seasoning? Thank you for posting this awesome recipe! I just need to bbq and kelaguen and it’s all good!

  22. Anthony says:

    I tried out your recipe and it tastes just how I remember it from my childhood!

    I even wrote about it on my own blog and gave you a shoutout! Thank you so much!

  23. Lulu says:

    Do you close the lid when you cook it on the cooker? or you leave it open?

  24. Lulu says:

    Should I measure the rice with the rice cooker cup or a regular kitchen measuring cup?

  25. Rae says:

    What do you mean when you say scrub the achote seeds?

  26. Kat Aflague says:

    Never heard of Dashida? What is that ingredient and where can I find it? Thank you!

  27. Margaret says:

    Sorry, achote

  28. Georzena Lynn says:

    Where would you buy this dashida seasoning?

  29. Rayna says:

    I’ve always had a problem with cooking red rice in the rice cooker…it never cooked! I followed your recipe and steps and it came out perfect and it was a hit! Thank you for making my life easier, now I don’t have to cook red rice on the stovetop haha

  30. Tony says:

    Thank you for this recipe . Is the dashida beef stock seasoning ?

  31. virginia untalan says:

    thank you so much for the red rice recipe with the rice cooker its a wizz as soon as I saw your recipe I sent it off to my girls in colo. they made it for EASTER AT THERE HOUSE since they could,nt come to home to calif my husband was from GUAM THANKS VIRGINIA UNTALAN

  32. Maya says:

    I think this is awesome! I have finally mastered making red rice. Im from southern cali but my fiancé is from GUam. His mom has taught me a lot and I love the food!!!!

  33. khanh says:

    where did the green onions go?

  34. J Pound says:

    i thought you had to use a gummy rice to make red rice?

  35. Ricky Crask says:

    Hafa Adai Annie.
    Could you please tell me where I could possibly find the dashida? As far as the achota powder, it’s the Goya brand which I think is a little sweet, but that should be ok to use? Appreciate you publishing these recipes for us!!

  36. Shirley says:

    Hey Annie ! I’ve accomplished my goal. It wasn’t that chamorro red rice “achote” taste but it was close enough 🙂 thanks for the help !!!! It was my Sunday dinner :)) I wanted to share pictures but I don’t know how could you let me know

    Shirley 🙂

  37. Shirley says:

    Thanks Annie! Yes but I think I found what I was looking for it’s not quite achote but I’ve seen it in one of your recipe GOYA? it’s in a small yellow box. I found it in the Spanish isle.. I hope it’s like achote? I’m going to try making the red rice so wish me luck :))

  38. Shirley says:

    Hello Annie! I love me some red rice I’ve made some actually with bacon. My aunt taught me. But now I live on my own and the only thing I don’t have is achote.. Where do you think I can find some the powder achote ? And I love to eat mine like fried rice mhmmm! But it’s so good with chicken kelaguen, and finadene !!! Thanks

  39. Cecilia says:

    How do you make red rice if you don’t have a rice cooker? I need to make a large batch for 15+ people. Can it be made in a crock pot or in the oven? Please help. Also I can’t get dashida seasoning where I live, will it taste okay without it? Thanks!

    • Cecelia, make the rice in a large pot and cook it on the stovetop. If you don’t have Dashida, you can use beef bouillon or plain salt (use less salt, then taste the liquid to see if it’s enough salt). To cook the rice on the stove, cook over medium high heat (with the pot covered) just until the liquid comes to a boil. As soon as the liquid boils, stir the rice once then turn the heat down to low (the lowest setting on your stove) and cook until the liquid dries up. Turn the stove off, and (leaving the pot covered) let the rice sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

  40. This is one of the few dishes my mom did teach me and in her version, she dices yellow onion and bacon (at least 6 slices) and precooks them, then adds it to the rice before cooking.

  41. Gerri says:

    Well, quite honestly I think your recipe is good and especially your method of putting all ingredients on top of the rice grains before cooking already looks attractive even before cooking; however, because the annato seeds is what gives the red rice its distinctive flavor, I think minus the dashida seasoning and bacon fat truly preserves what the annato seeds is meant to do, and that’s to give the red rice its distinct flavor simply because the seeds are not only used for coloring but for that true chamorro red rice taste! That flavor always makes me feel like I’m back in the warm climate in Guam and wonderful memories of many fiestas as a child growing up! Cheers!

    • Geri, I agree, the flavor that fresh achote seeds gives to our Chamorro dishes can’t be beat. I’d rather use the seeds to make achote water, if I had any. I do love the taste that bacon fat and Dashida adds as well, but that’s my personal preference. 🙂

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