Looking for a tasty and easy-to-make side dish that’s a step up from plain white rice? Try this best pilaf rice recipe! Made with long grain white rice, onion, celery, and stock, it’s a great complement to chicken, pork, or steak. Best of all, it only takes 30 minutes to whip up! This dish is so flavorful and satisfying, you’ll find yourself craving it at least once a week.
Ingredients For best pilaf rice recipe
Aromatics – Garlic and Onion are essential ingredients in our cuisine. It’s crucial to use them fresh, but sometimes we enhance their flavors with some powdered ones. However, for this recipe, fresh garlic and onion are a must-have as they form the foundation of a delicious pilaf.
Rice – Long Grain White, Basmati or Jasmine rice are all excellent choices for this dish. However, make sure to rinse the rice before cooking it.
Orzo – While not a ubiquitous ingredient in rice pilaf, it’s the distinctive flavor, texture, and appearance of orzo pasta that truly reminds me of the boxed version of my childhood.
Cooking Liquid – Our preference is for a delicious homemade stock, which can be made using vegetables to keep it vegetarian or chicken, depending on what you have available. Alternatively, you can use a combination of water and whichever type of stock you prefer.
Olive Oil – Not only does oil serve the purpose of cooking your garlic and onion, it’s also essential for coating the rice. Check out the instructions below to understand why it’s crucial. Of course, butter could be used as well.
Salt and Spices – My preferred spices are Garlic and Onion Powder, Paprika, and Ground Coriander, but you may also consider using Curry or Cumin.
Finished With – Fresh Parsley adds a burst of herbal freshness.
Rinsing Rice – An excellent cooking tip for rice is to rinse it before cooking. Although this step requires minimal effort, it significantly benefits the final outcome by eliminating excess starch from the outer layer of the rice grains. This process effectively prevents the rice from becoming sticky or clumpy. Simply transfer the rice to a strainer and rinse it under cold running water while gently agitating it with your hands. After about 15-30 seconds, the cloudy water (containing starch) should drain away. The rice need not be completely dry before cooking.
How to make best pilaf rice recipe
Step 1: Heat up half of the oil in a pan and sauté your aromatics. Then, add the orzo and ensure that it is coated with oil before toasting it.
Step 2: Include the remaining 1/2 of the oil, and proceed to add the washed rice. Mix it thoroughly to ensure that every grain is coated.
This particular step holds great significance in terms of enhancing flavor and preventing clumping of grains. Toasting the grains and coating them with oil play a vital role in achieving this objective.
Step 3: After adding your spices, give everything a good mix and pour in the stock. Cover the dish and take a moment to relax, allowing the flavors to meld together. You can now focus on finishing the rest of your dinner, knowing that the dish will be ready in just 15 minutes.
Make sure to verify the cooking time of the rice package, as it usually indicates 15-20 minutes.
Top 2 Tips for Cooking Rice
- Don’t lift the lid. Resist! Resist the temptation to lift the lid and peek inside the pot. Once you raise the lid and release the steam, you disturb the delicate equilibrium of liquid and rice. Unless you detect a strong burning odor, which might indicate an incorrect liquid-to-rice proportion from the outset, keep the lid closed!
- Never stir the rice. When you stir the rice, you trigger the starch in it, resulting in overcooked and mushy rice. Reserve the act of stirring for making risotto.
Step 4: After achieving the perfectly cooked rice (kudos to you for not lifting the lid or stirring it), allow it to rest. Remove it from the heat and cover it for a few minutes to absorb the remaining steam. This is the crucial step that will make your rice fluffy and delicious.
After allowing it to rest for a few minutes, simply incorporate some fresh parsley and fluff it up to achieve a gorgeous, fluffy, and flawlessly cooked dish of Easy Homemade Rice Pilaf!
My Best Tips
- To make vegetarian, Substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth.
- For vegan, Replace regular butter with vegan butter and substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth.
The step-by-step instructions Best pilaf rice recipe pictures can be found in the recipe card below.
Questions and answers about the Best pilaf rice recipe
Instant Pot Rice Pilaf: Begin by rinsing the rice and then setting the Instant Pot to the sauté function. Add the rice and butter and sauté until the rice is golden in color. Next, add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and continue to sauté until the onion has softened. Pour in 1 ½ cups of chicken broth, seal the Instant Pot with the lid, and move the valve to the sealed position. Cook on manual/high pressure for 4 minutes, followed by a natural release of 10 minutes. Once the pressure has released, remove the lid, add the parsley, and fluff the rice with a fork.
Optional Add-Ins: Consider incorporating peas, onions, raisins, dried apricots, slivered almonds, diced carrots, chopped celery, mushrooms, or chopped peppers into the dish.
Brown Rice Pilaf: To increase the liquid content, pour an extra half cup of broth and extend the cooking time to approximately 40 minutes, as opposed to the initial 15.
Orzo Rice Pilaf: Decrease the amount of rice to 1 cup and supplement it with ½ cup of orzo.
Vegan Rice Pilaf: Replace non-vegan butter with a vegan-friendly alternative and swap out any non-vegetarian broth with vegetable broth.
Vegetable Rice Pilaf: Incorporate more vegetables into the dish along with the onions, such as chopped celery, bell peppers, carrots, and peas. Also, replace any non-vegetarian broth with vegetable broth.
Have a look at our other lunch recipes, how about Squash Casserole Recipe or Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
What Do You Serve with homemade rice pilaf?
homemade rice pilaf is a versatile and impressive side dish that complements a wide range of meals. Here are some of my top picks for entrees to pair with this delectable dish.
Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Breast
Garlic Honey Chicken Thighs
15 Minute Garlic Butter Chicken
Balsamic Shiitake Mushroom Steaks
Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken
Can You Freeze pilaf recipes?
After allowing the rice to cool down completely, transfer it to airtight freezer-safe bags if you wish to freeze it. You can store the pilaf recipes in the freezer for up to three months.
How Do You Store best pilaf rice recipe?
To keep your diy rice pilaf fresh, store it in a sealed container in the fridge and consume it within 5 days after refrigeration.
Can I add meat?
Certainly, you could sauté garlic and onion with ground beef before mixing in orzo and rice. While we personally prefer this recipe without meat, if you’re set on a meaty rice dish, I would recommend trying a Plov dish from Russian/Ukrainian cuisine. Typically made with lamb, chuck roast, or chicken, or an Uzbek Plov from Uzbekistan.
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Best Pilaf Rice Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ large onion, diced white or yellow
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup orzo
- 1 cup long grain white rice rinsed
- 3 cups stock vegetable or chicken
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Warm-up 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet, deep skillet, or pot. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 60-90 seconds.
- If using stock that's been stored in the fridge, take it out of the fridge to warm to room temperature. Or you can heat it in a pot or put it in a pyrek measuring cup and pop it in the microwave (using cold stock will add to the time it takes to bring it to a boil).
- Add orzo and stir well to coat orzo. Toast for 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then add rice. Stir to ensure that all of the rice is coated in the oil. Toast rice for 4-5 minutes until rice is translucent.
- Add spices, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, paprika, and salt to the rice and stir to combine.
- Slowly add warm or room temperature stock to the pan. Turn up heat and bring it to a boil, then turn down heat to medium / low (a gentle simmer), cover, and let cook for 15 minutes (or follow the cooking time on your rice package). Don't remove the lid until the cooking time is up!
- Once 15 minutes have elapsed, take the rice off the heat source and allow it to rest, covered, for a duration of 3 minutes.
- Remove the lid, garnish with parsley and then fluff with a fork and serve immediately.
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