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Homemade Rice Pilaf

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4.34 from 12 votes

This Homemade Rice Pilaf is simple, easy, and quick to make! Packed with flavor and is perfect to serve with any meal all year round.

PIN this easy Homemade Rice Pilaf recipe to try later!

The best homemade rice pilaf in a serving dish.Pin

Homemade Rice Pilaf

Everyone needs this Homemade Rice Pilaf recipe in their kitchens. Made with super simple ingredients you most likely already have. Fluffy rice and toasted orzo pasta is cooked in a seasoned chicken broth and is perfect to serve with any meal.

This easy Rice Pilaf recipe is good enough to eat alone, as a side, and can be customized to your preference. The next time you’re in a side dish rout, you need to make this. Other great recipes to serve this rice dish with is Chicken and Potatoes, Beef Stew, Sausage and Veggie Skillet, and Crockpot Rosemary Chicken.

Rice pilaf on a wooden serving spoon.Pin

Key Ingredients

  • Salted butter: Adds a buttery flavor to the rice. You can add more if you want more of a buttery flavor. Alternatively, you could use olive oil instead.
  • Orzo pasta: Orzo is a short grain pasta that takes this pilaf to another level. I love the combination of the two starches, it makes the pilaf perfect.
  • Onion: One medium-sized onion, you can use either white or yellow. You can substitute for shallots instead.
  • Garlic: Adds a delicious garlicky flavor. It’s best to use fresh garlic instead of the jarred stuff. Use more or less depending on how much garlic flavor you want.
  • Jasmine rice or basmati rice: The best type of rice to use is any long grain such as jasmine rice or basmati rice.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: We use 3 cups of chicken broth in this recipe. You can also substitute for vegetable broth or beef broth. I like to use low-sodium broth so you can control the amount of salt. Alternatively you could also use chicken stock.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, granulated garlic (or garlic powder), and onion powder.
  • Grated parmesan cheese: Adds a sharp, nutty and cheesy flavor.
  • Parsley: This is optional to add flavor and color.
Rice pilaf being made step-by-step in a saucepan. Pin

How To Make Homemade Rice Pilaf

Rinse Rice. Place rice in a mesh strainer and rinse in cold water for 1-2 minutes. This will help remove any excess starch and prevent the rice grains from sticking together. It will also give the pilaf a nice fluffy texture.

Cook butter & onions. In a medium saucepan on medium heat melt butter and onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until softened and the onions look translucent.

Brown orzo. Add orzo and brown for 2-3 minutes until light golden brown.

Cook garlic. Add garlic and stir again until combined and fragrant, for one minute.

Add rice, spices, & broth. Add rinsed rice and spices. Coat in the butter mixture and then add chicken broth. Cover with a lid and reduce to medium-low heat let the rice simmer for 20-25 minutes or until all of the broth is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir in parmesan cheese, and let the rice sit for 5 more minutes.

Fluff, garnish, & serve. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!

Birds-eye view of pilaf with fresh parsley. Pin

Recipe Variations

Vegetable Rice Pilaf: Add your favorite veggies to this Homemade Rice Pilaf such as peas, carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper, and celery.

Add protein: Make this side dish a main dish and extra hearty by adding beans, bacon, chopped or grilled chicken, shrimp, pork, or beef.

Extra add-ins: While we like our rice pilaf on the plain side, other ingredients to add for extra flavor and texture is raisins, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, edamame, sweet potatoes, green onions, orange zest, and pearl onions.

Rice and orzo: You can use any rice we have on hand for this recipe but any type of long grain rice works best. I love the combination of the orzo and rice together (jasmine rice or basmati rice). Long grain rice tends to be more on the fluffier and flavorful side so that’s why I love using it instead of a short grain rice. Some other recipes use vermicelli or angel hair pasta instead of orzo for a different texture. You can use any combination you prefer, the pilaf will still come out delicious.

Add fresh herbs: Add your favorite herbs to garnish or stir into the cooked rice such as mint, dill, cilantro, dill, rosemary, and thyme.

Brown rice pilaf: If you want to swap brown rice for white rice, be sure to add an extra 1/2 cup of broth as brown rice absorbs more liquid. You’ll also need to adjust the cooking time to10-15 minutes longer or until the broth is absorbed.

Closeup view of rice pilaf with chopped parsley on top.Pin

Pro Tips

Rinse the rice: It’s important that you don’t skip this step because rice naturally has extra starch and debris no matter what. Rinsing the rice will help make the rice fluffy and prevent them from sticking and clumping together.

Toast the orzo: This will help give the pilaf a nutty flavor and add a sticker texture with a bite to it. It creates the signature “rice pilaf” flavor.

Fluffy rice: When the rice is done resting, use a fork to fluff.

Let rice rest: This will help get the perfect texture.

Rice pilaf in a white bowl with chopped parsley on top. Pin

Leftovers & Storage

To-store: Place any leftovers in an airtight container or wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap. To reheat, portion pilaf and heat in the microwave for a few seconds until warm. You could also reheat pilaf on the stove or oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Store for up to 4-5 days.

To-freeze: Let the rice pilaf cool completely, then place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for a couple hours. Reheat in the microwave, oven, or stove.

Two bowls of rice with parsley on top.Pin

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Perfect side dish: This Rice Pilaf makes a simple side dish and everyone will love it. Serve it during any holiday, dinner, or occasion.

Portable: If you need to bring a side dish to a holiday dinner or party, you can easily pack this up in an airtight container or serving dish. You may need to warm it in the oven before in an oven-safe baking dish or pan.

Easily customizable: You can add in your favorite veggies, protein, and flavors.

Closeup birds-eye view of rice pilaf in a white bowl.Pin

Other Easy Side Dish Recipes

Rice pilaf in a white bowl.Pin

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Homemade Rice Pilaf

This Homemade Rice Pilaf is simple, easy, and quick to make! Packed with flavor and is perfect to serve with any meal all year round.
4.34 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade rice pilaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (optional) chopped

Instructions

  • Place rice in a mesh strainer and rinse in cold water for 1-2 minutes. This will help remove any excess starch and prevent the rice grains from sticking together. It will also give the pilaf a nice fluffy texture.
  • Cook butter & onions. In a medium saucepan on medium heat melt butter and onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until softened and the onions look translucent.
  • Brown orzo. Add orzo and brown for 2-3 minutes until light golden brown.
  • Cook garlic. Add garlic and stir again until combined and fragrant, for one minute.
  • Add rice, spices, & broth: Add rinsed rice and spices. Coat in the butter mixture and then add chicken broth. Cover with a lid and reduce to medium-low heat let the rice simmer for 20-25 minutes or until all of the broth is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir in parmesan cheese, and let the rice sit for 5 more minutes.
  • Fluff, garnish, & serve: Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!
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Welcome to Holiday Side Dish Week 2022 hosted by Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks. This year we have over 45 side dishes to help you plan your holiday meals.

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