This easy Rice Pilaf recipe includes rice toasted in butter, and cooked in chicken broth with spices. It’s flavorful, made with simple pantry ingredients and can be served with almost anything!
Looking for more side dishes? Try Potatoes Au Gratin, Caprese Salad, Baked Beans, or Coconut Rice!
Why I love this rice:
- Versatile – There are so many instances where I’m serving something that could use a simple but delicious side digh and this is so much tastier than boring white or brown rice. I love serving it with Pork Chops and Baked Salmon.
- Easy – Perfect for a beginner cook, or a busy weeknight. No box mix because you already have everything on hand for the best rice pilaf, using pantry ingredients!
- Kid-Friendly – This is always a safe food at the dinner table for any picky eater! The toasted rice, chicken broth, butter, and spices adds so much flavor to this rice, it’s everyone’s favorite.
How to Make Rice Pilaf:
Toast Rice: Rinse rice very well in a fine mesh strainer, then drain. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until lightly golden.
Add Rice Pilaf Seasoning: Add onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for a few minutes until onion has softened.
Simmer: Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover pot with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to a simmer. (Do not ever remove the lid from the pot during cooking!) Cook for 15-18 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to rest, with the lid still on, for 10 minutes.
Serve: Remove lid and gently fluff the homemade rice pilaf with a fork. Gently stir in chopped parsley.
Serve: The mild and delicious flavors of this rice make it the perfect side for almost any meal! Try serving it with roast chicken, salmon, curry, steak, or anything you’d normally serve rice with!
The Key to Perfect Rice Pilaf:
- Toast the Rice – This is the first step to perfect rice pilaf and it’s very important! Toasting your rice in a small amount of butter (or oil) until it’s golden brown extracts some of the earthy flavors from the rice and adds to the overall depth of flavor in your rice pilaf.
- Add Flavor – For additional flavor, the rice is cooked in chicken broth with diced onion, fresh minced garlic, and salt and pepper. You can also add a variety of seasonings and vegetables (listed below).
- Let Rest – Never lift the lid off of the rice immediately after cooking. Take it off the burner and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Then use a fork to gently fluff (avoid stirring) to separate the rice grains and avoid mashed rice.
Storage and Reheating Instructions:
To Store: Rice pilaf is best served fresh. It will gradually become dry the longer it sits. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I recommend using leftover rice in:
To Reheat: Add a small amount of water to the rice, cover the dish with plastic wrap (allowing a little ventilation) and microwave until warm.
- Instant Pot Rice Pilaf: Rinse rice then turn Instant Pot to sauté setting. Add butter and rice and cook until golden, then add onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until onion has softened. Add 1 ½ cups of chicken broth then close with the lid and move the valve to sealed. Cook for 4 minutes on manual/high pressure with a 10 minutes natural release. Remove lid, add parsley, and fluff with a fork.
- Optional Add-Ins: Try adding in peas, onions, raisins, dried apricots, slivered almonds, diced carrots, chopped celery, mushrooms, or chopped peppers.
- Brown Rice Pilaf: Add an additional ½ cup of broth, and cook for about 40 minutes, instead of 15.
- Orzo Rice Pilaf: Reduce rice to 1 cup and add ½ cup of orzo.
- Vegan Rice Pilaf: Use vegan friendly butter and substitute vegetable broth.
- Vegetable Rice Pilaf: Add additional vegetables with the onion, like diced celery, bell pepper, carrots, and peas and substitute vegetable broth.
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- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup onion , finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth , or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- Add rice to a fine mesh strainer or colander and rinse really well, until the water runs clear. Set aside to drain.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until lightly golden. Add onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until onion has softened.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover pot with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to a simmer. (Do not ever remove the lid from the pot during cooking!) Cook for 15-18 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to rest, with the lid still on, for 10 minutes.,
- Remove lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork. Gently stir in chopped parsley.
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I originally shared this recipe February 2020. Updated October 2022.
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