How To Make Rice Pilaf

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Perfect Rice Pilaf lets the simple flavors of garlic and onion shine. This easy rice recipe makes an ideal side dish for any main course!

Learn how to make rice pilaf and you can make any dinner complete in no time.

Classic Rice Pilaf

What is Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf is a dish made from rice and grains cooked in chicken broth and seasoned with onion and spices.

Pilafs can also be more elaborate like my Mushroom and Pepper Rice Pilaf or this Indian Pulao. Pulao is a traditional pilaf dish enjoyed throughout India as an every day staple and it can be dressed up with vegetables or with meat.

And sometimes Rice Pilaf is as simple as today’s recipe! This version includes orzo, a miniature pasta. It’s shaped similar to rice and adds a heartiness to the soft fluffy white rice.

My basic Rice Pilaf recipe is based on a recipe I found years ago over at Allrecipes.com. With just a few pantry friendly ingredients this side dish comes together in one pan.

If you’re looking for a perfect rice pilaf recipe without any frills or hard-to-find ingredients, this is the one for you!

How to Make Rice Pilaf

This recipe is so very simple!

You start by sauteeing orzo in a little melted butter with onion and garlic. Add broth and white rice. Simmer, fluff and serve.

The result is a flavorful rice without needing to add a ton of seasonings or spices. I just use a little salt and pepper to taste.

Rice Pilaf is a great side dish for just about any meal. I served it with Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken and Roasted Bell Peppers, Broccoli and Summer Squash tonight and it was perfect.

My rice loving son ate a double portion and still asked for more. There were no leftovers at all. I recommend doubling this recipe if serving more than 3-4 people.

Especially if you have rice lovers in your family! Plus, leftovers are never a bad idea.

Classic garlicky Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf Recipe

  1. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the orzo. Cook and stir the orzo until it all turns a golden brown.
  2. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for about a minute longer.
  3. Pour the broth and the rice into the skillet, stir and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat to low (make sure it is simmering still) and cover with lid.
  4. Simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand for a few minutes and then fluff with fork before serving.
Learn how to make classic Rice Pilaf

Rice Side Dishes

We can’t get enough rice side dishes in this house! I don’t mind one bit, and always keep plenty stocked in the pantry.

Rice is so inexpensive and versatile. You can make rice every night of the month and never have the same two dishes twice.

If you love Rice Pilaf, you’ll adore Turmeric Butter Rice. The golden color and aromatic Indian inspired flavor is to die for.

My kids request Spanish Rice and Chipotle Lime Rice any time Mexican food is on the menu! Both are staples that show up at our dinner table almost weekly.

For a more elegant dinner, I love making Lemon Risotto with Peas. It’s perfect for a stay-at-home date night or dinner party with friends.

Does your family have a favorite rice side dish yet? This Rice Pilaf recipe might just be it!

Rice Pilaf

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Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf

5 from 1 vote
Learn how to make Classic Rice Pilaf and you can make any dinner complete in no time!
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Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • kosher salt adjust to taste (you might not need this if using store bought broth)

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the orzo. Cook and stir the orzo until it all turns a golden brown.
  • Add the onion and cook until translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for about a minute longer.
  • Pour the broth and the rice into the skillet, stir and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat to low (make sure it is simmering still) and cover with lid.
  • Simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand for a few minutes and then fluff with fork before serving. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 173kcal · Carbohydrates: 30g · Protein: 4g · Fat: 4g · Saturated Fat: 3g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 10mg · Sodium: 328mg · Potassium: 204mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 1g · Vitamin A: 118IU · Vitamin C: 8mg · Calcium: 50mg · Iron: 1mg
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{originally published 6/3/11 – recipe notes and photos updated 3/1/21}

Classic Rice Pilaf

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Mandy says

    I have made this with couscous and even barley. It's always a cold weather fave with my family. I serve it with lemon pepper chicken, or Italian baked chicken. I have also been known to toss in some lemon zest and rosemary for Greek rice.5 stars

  2. Anonymous says

    I have never used the orzo but mine calls for browning the uncooked rice in the oil before cooking. It always stuck and made a very messy pan. I tried toasting it in a dry nonstick skillet and then adding the toasted rice to the liquids. Much easier but you still have to watch how dark you want it.