Rice Pilaf: Bring back memories of your favorite box of rice pilaf. Fluffy, flavorful, and none of the chemicals or unnecessary amounts of sodium that you find in a box.
When I was in college and was still learning to cook, I almost always made boxed foods because they were really easy to cook. (I pretty much lived on Knorr alfredo pasta packages and butter noodles.) I also loved Near East Pilafs and Couscous – I felt so fancy eating “rice pilaf.”
When I got a bit older and got better at cooking, I became a little more health-conscious. I realized that instant foods probably did not need to have a place in my diet.
This rice pilaf smells just like a Near East pilaf as it is cooking, it brings back so many memories for me.
Then the taste – this tastes JUST like a box of rice pilaf! (Only a little better 😉 )
Why Make Rice Pilaf from Scratch?
First of all, everything is better from scratch. Rice pilaf is made just as easily as regular rice. The only thing that takes more time than boxed pilaf is the time required to dice some garlic and measure out spices. (This can even be done while your water is boiling, so it takes no more time than boiling water and tearing open a box.)
You also probably already have all the ingredients.
How Do You Make Rice Pilaf?
Begin by melting 1 tablespoon of butter.
Once melted, add 1 cup of chicken broth or vegetable broth and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil.
Next, add your rice, orzo, and spices stir until well combined.
Bring back to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
How Long Do You Cook Homemade Rice Pilaf?
Cover and cook for 16 – 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure that the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. If it seems to be cooking too fast and absorbing too much liquid, add half a cup of water and reduce heat.
When your 16-18 minutes is up, your rice should be soft, fluffy, and perfectly cooked.
Garnish with parsley and season with extra salt and pepper if desired.
Serve immediately as a side dish. We recently enjoyed it with sauteed sweet bell peppers and crispy chicken thighs.
What Variations Can you make?
Rice pilaf has so many variations:
- add extra garlic
- add diced red bell peppers, broccoli, or even peas
- season with poultry seasoning
Better Than a Box Rice Pilaf
- Medium saucepan with a lid
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup chicken broth Bone broth or vegetable broth work well also
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white or long grain rice
- 1/3 cup orzo Raw or cooked leftover is fine
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Add butter, broth, and oil to a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and then stir in rice, orzo, and all spices.
- Return to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
- Simmer COVERED for 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the liquid starts to cook off too fast, add a little more water and reduce heat.
- Fluff with a fork to serve.