Simple Rice Pilaf Recipe

Rice pilaf, a delightful blend of rice, orzo, and a mix of seasonings, is a delicious and easy-to-make dish. It's a versatile side dish that pairs well with a variety of mains. A traditional Middle Eastern recipe, it has been adapted globally to suit different tastes.

Simple Rice Pilaf Recipe
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 5

Photos of Simple Rice Pilaf Recipe

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4

The ingredients for this recipe are quite common and most likely already in your kitchen pantry. However, one ingredient that stands out is orzo. Orzo is a type of pasta that looks like large grains of rice. It's used in a variety of cuisines, including Greek and Italian. If you can't find it in the pasta aisle of your supermarket, try checking the international food section.

Ingredients for Simple Rice Pilaf

Rice: A staple ingredient in many cultures, rice is the primary grain in this recipe. It provides a chewy texture and helps to absorb the flavors of the other ingredients.

Orzo: A small, rice-shaped pasta that adds a unique texture to the dish.

Butter: It adds a rich and creamy flavor, making the dish more savory.

Onion: Onion adds a bit of crunch and a burst of flavor to the pilaf.

Water: Needed to cook the rice and orzo to the perfect texture.

Chicken bouillon: This is used to enhance the flavor. Vegetable bouillon can be used as a substitute for a vegetarian version.

Onion powder: It gives an extra kick of onion flavor without the chunks.

Garlic salt: Adds a savory depth to the rice. Regular salt can be a substitute if garlic salt is not available.

Ground turmeric: It gives the dish a beautiful yellow color and a slightly earthy flavor.

One reader, Butch Nieto says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This simple rice pilaf recipe is a game-changer! The combination of orzo and rice creates a delightful texture, and the blend of spices adds a burst of flavor. It's easy to make and pairs perfectly with any main dish. I highly recommend trying it out!

Butch Nieto

Essential Techniques for Making Rice Pilaf

How to toast rice and orzo: In a pot over medium heat, combine the rice, orzo, butter, and onion. Cook and stir until light brown, about 3 minutes.

How to cook rice pilaf: Add water, chicken bouillon, onion powder, garlic salt, and ground turmeric to the toasted rice and orzo. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

How To Make Simple Rice Pilaf

With turmeric powder and chicken bouillon, this savory rice pilaf made flavorful with butter, onion, and orzo makes a perfect side to your favorite mains.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 23 minutes
Total: 33 minutes



  • 1cuprice
  • 3tbsporzo
  • 2tbspbutter
  • 2tbsponion,minced
  • cupswater
  • 1tbspchicken bouillon
  • 1tsponion powder
  • ½tspgarlic salt
  • tspground turmeric


  1. Combine rice, orzo, butter, and onion together in a pot over medium heat; cook and stir until light brown, about 3 minutes.

  2. Add water, chicken bouillon, onion powder, garlic salt, and ground turmeric; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Serve warm with your favorite dish and enjoy!


  • Calories: 253.26kcal
  • Fat: 6.20g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.76g
  • Trans Fat: 0.23g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.62g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.35g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.00g
  • Fiber: 0.39g
  • Sugar: 0.40g
  • Protein: 4.33g
  • Cholesterol: 15.46mg
  • Sodium: 368.38mg
  • Calcium: 18.34mg
  • Potassium: 80.00mg
  • Iron: 0.59mg
  • Vitamin A: 48.56µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.53mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Perfect Rice Pilaf

To ensure your rice pilaf is fluffy and not sticky, always remember to rinse your rice under cold water until the water runs clear before cooking. This removes the surface starch and prevents the grains from clumping together. Additionally, let the rice rest for a few minutes after cooking before fluffing it with a fork. This allows the moisture to redistribute, resulting in a more evenly cooked and fluffy pilaf.

Time-Saving Tips for Making simple rice pilaf recipe

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and measure out ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

One-pot wonders: Opt for recipes that allow you to cook everything in a single pot to minimize cleanup time.

Batch cooking: Make larger quantities of rice pilaf and store the leftovers for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

Efficient organization: Keep your kitchen organized and tidy to save time searching for ingredients and utensils.

Quick substitutions: Familiarize yourself with ingredient substitutions to adapt recipes based on what you have on hand.

Substitute Ingredients For Simple Rice Pilaf Recipe

  • rice - Substitute with quinoa: Quinoa is a high-protein grain that can be used as a substitute for rice, adding a nutty flavor and a slightly different texture to the pilaf.

  • orzo - Substitute with pearl couscous: Pearl couscous has a similar size and texture to orzo, and it will provide a slightly different texture and flavor to the pilaf.

  • butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can be used as a healthier alternative to butter, adding a different flavor profile to the pilaf.

  • onion - Substitute with shallot: Shallots have a milder and sweeter flavor compared to onions, adding a subtle and delicate taste to the pilaf.

  • water - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can add more depth of flavor to the pilaf compared to water, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

  • chicken bouillon - Substitute with vegetable bouillon: Vegetable bouillon can be used as a vegetarian-friendly alternative to chicken bouillon, providing a similar savory flavor to the pilaf.

  • onion powder - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can add a different aromatic flavor to the pilaf, complementing the other ingredients.

  • garlic salt - Substitute with garlic powder and salt: Using a combination of garlic powder and salt allows for better control of the saltiness and garlic flavor in the pilaf.

  • ground turmeric - Substitute with ground cumin: Ground cumin can provide a warm and earthy flavor to the pilaf, replacing the unique taste and color of turmeric.

How to Beautifully Present Rice Pilaf

  1. Elevate the plating: Carefully arrange the rice pilaf in a circular mold on the plate to create a neat and elegant presentation. Use a small offset spatula to gently release the pilaf from the mold, ensuring a clean and defined shape.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle a delicate mix of finely chopped parsley and chives over the pilaf to add a pop of vibrant color and a hint of freshness to the dish.

  3. Incorporate edible flowers: Place a few carefully selected edible flowers, such as nasturtiums or pansies, on top of the pilaf to introduce a visually stunning and sophisticated element to the presentation.

  4. Enhance with a drizzle: Create an artistic drizzle of balsamic reduction around the edge of the plate, adding a touch of sweetness and complexity to the overall flavor profile while elevating the visual appeal.

  5. Utilize elegant serving ware: Present the rice pilaf on a sleek, modern porcelain plate or a chic platter to complement the refined nature of the dish and showcase the culinary artistry behind the creation.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Rice Pilaf

  • Pot: A pot is essential for cooking the rice pilaf. It is used to combine the ingredients and simmer the rice until tender.
  • Stove: A stove is needed to provide the heat for cooking the rice pilaf. It is used to sauté the rice and orzo and to simmer the pilaf until it's fully cooked.
  • Spoon: A spoon is used for stirring the rice and orzo while they are being sautéed and for mixing the ingredients together.
  • Measuring cup: A measuring cup is used to accurately measure the rice, orzo, water, and other ingredients for the rice pilaf.
  • Knife: A knife is used to chop the onion for the rice pilaf.
  • Cutting board: A cutting board is used as a surface for chopping the onion with the knife.
  • Lid: A lid is used to cover the pot while the rice pilaf is simmering, helping to trap the steam and cook the rice evenly.
  • Stovetop: The stovetop is the cooking surface where the pot is placed to cook the rice pilaf.

Storing and Freezing Rice Pilaf: A Guide

  • Allow the rice pilaf to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent the rice from becoming mushy and help maintain its texture.

  • For short-term storage, transfer the cooled rice pilaf to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent the rice from drying out. The pilaf can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

  • When reheating refrigerated rice pilaf, add a tablespoon or two of water to the rice before microwaving or reheating on the stovetop. This will help restore moisture and prevent the rice from becoming dry or clumpy.

  • To freeze rice pilaf for longer storage, transfer the cooled pilaf to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy reference. Rice pilaf can be frozen for up to 3 months.

  • When ready to use frozen rice pilaf, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can reheat the frozen pilaf directly in the microwave or on the stovetop. If using the microwave, add a few tablespoons of water to the rice and microwave in short intervals, stirring between each interval, until the pilaf is heated through and the moisture is restored. If using the stovetop, place the frozen pilaf in a saucepan with a splash of water, cover, and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is heated through and the moisture is restored.

How To Reheat Rice Pilaf Leftovers

  • Stovetop method: place the leftover rice pilaf in a saucepan and add a splash of water or chicken broth. cover the pan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pilaf is heated through and the liquid is absorbed. this method helps to restore the moisture in the rice and prevent it from drying out.

  • Microwave method: transfer the leftover rice pilaf to a microwave-safe dish and sprinkle a little water or chicken broth over the top. cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, leaving a small vent for steam to escape. microwave on high power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the pilaf is heated through.

  • Oven method: preheat the oven to 350°f (175°c). place the leftover rice pilaf in an oven-safe dish and add a small amount of water or chicken broth. cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pilaf is heated through. this method is ideal for larger portions of leftover pilaf.

  • Steamer method: place the leftover rice pilaf in a steamer basket and set it over a pot of simmering water. cover the steamer and let the pilaf steam for 5-10 minutes, or until it is heated through. this method helps to retain the texture and moisture of the rice without adding any additional liquid.

  • Stir-fry method: heat a small amount of oil or butter in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. add the leftover rice pilaf and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes, or until the pilaf is heated through and slightly crispy. this method is perfect for adding extra flavor and texture to your leftover pilaf, and you can even incorporate additional ingredients like vegetables or proteins.

Interesting Fact About Rice Pilaf

Rice pilaf is a versatile dish that can be customized with various ingredients such as vegetables, nuts, or dried fruits to enhance its flavor and texture.

Is Making Rice Pilaf at Home Cost-Effective?

This rice pilaf recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. The ingredients are simple and affordable, making it a budget-friendly option. With just a few basic pantry staples, you can create a delicious and satisfying side dish. The use of rice and orzo provides a filling and economical base, while the addition of onion and spices enhances the flavor without breaking the bank. Overall, this recipe offers great value for money and is a practical choice for feeding a family. I would rate this recipe an 8/10 for cost-effectiveness. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $5-$7.

Is Rice Pilaf Healthy or Unhealthy?

The simple rice pilaf recipe, while tasty, has some aspects that could be improved from a nutritional standpoint. Here's an analysis of the recipe's healthiness:

  • The recipe relies on white rice and orzo, which are refined grains lacking in fiber and nutrients compared to whole grain alternatives.
  • Butter is used as the cooking fat, adding saturated fat to the dish.
  • Chicken bouillon and garlic salt contribute to the dish's sodium content.
  • On the positive side, the recipe incorporates onion and turmeric, which offer some health benefits.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap white rice for brown rice or wild rice to increase the fiber and nutrient content
  • Replace orzo with a whole grain alternative like quinoa or bulgur wheat
  • Use olive oil instead of butter to reduce saturated fat and add heart-healthy monounsaturated fats
  • Opt for low-sodium chicken broth instead of bouillon to reduce salt intake
  • Increase the amount of onion and add other vegetables like carrots, peas, or bell peppers to boost the dish's vitamin and mineral content
  • Experiment with additional spices and herbs, such as cumin, coriander, or fresh parsley, to enhance flavor without relying on salt

Editor's Opinion on This Rice Pilaf Recipe

This simple rice pilaf recipe is a delightful and comforting side dish. The combination of rice, orzo, and aromatic seasonings creates a flavorful and satisfying dish. The method of toasting the rice and orzo in butter adds a nutty richness, while the addition of chicken bouillon and spices infuses the pilaf with depth of flavor. This recipe is versatile and pairs well with a variety of main dishes. It's a quick and easy way to elevate any meal.

Enhance Your Simple Rice Pilaf Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Vegetables: Try serving the rice pilaf with a side of colorful roasted vegetables, drizzled with a balsamic glaze for a burst of flavor.
Grilled Chicken Skewers: Pair the rice pilaf with tender grilled chicken skewers, marinated in a zesty lemon and herb marinade for a satisfying meal.
Fruit Salad: For a refreshing and light side, serve the rice pilaf with a vibrant fruit salad, tossed in a honey-lime dressing for a touch of sweetness.
Creamy Mushroom Soup: Warm up your meal by serving the rice pilaf with a creamy mushroom soup, garnished with fresh herbs and a dollop of sour cream for added richness.

Delicious Alternatives to simple rice pilaf recipe

Creamy Chicken Alfredo: This creamy chicken alfredo recipe is a classic Italian dish that combines tender chicken, al dente pasta, and a rich, cheesy sauce. It's the perfect comfort food for any occasion.
Mango Salsa: This refreshing mango salsa recipe is a perfect combination of sweet and spicy flavors. It's great as a topping for grilled fish or chicken, or simply enjoyed with some tortilla chips.
Roasted Vegetable Medley: This roasted vegetable medley recipe is a colorful and flavorful side dish that's perfect for any meal. It's a great way to enjoy a variety of vegetables in one delicious dish.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement simple rice pilaf recipe

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a rich and creamy mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a crowd-pleasing starter.
Bruschetta: Elevate the classic bruschetta by topping crispy toasted bread with a colorful and flavorful mix of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. This refreshing appetizer is perfect for a light and refreshing start to any meal.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Strawberry Cheesecake: Delight in a luscious strawberry cheesecake, featuring a buttery graham cracker crust and a velvety smooth cream cheese filling. Garnish with fresh strawberries for a burst of fruity sweetness.

Why trust this Simple Rice Pilaf Recipe:

This recipe is a trusted classic, perfected over generations. The combination of rice and orzo creates a delightful texture, while the addition of butter and onion infuses rich, savory flavors. The use of chicken bouillon and onion powder enhances the depth of taste, and the touch of garlic salt and ground turmeric adds a hint of warmth. With these carefully selected ingredients, this recipe promises a comforting and flavorful rice pilaf that will elevate any meal.

Share your thoughts on this Simple Rice Pilaf Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
How can I make this rice pilaf more flavorful?
You can enhance the flavor of the rice pilaf by adding additional herbs and spices such as thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves. You can also incorporate sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or mushrooms for added depth of flavor.
Can I use vegetable broth instead of chicken bouillon?
Yes, you can substitute chicken bouillon with vegetable broth for a vegetarian version of the rice pilaf. The vegetable broth will add a rich and savory flavor to the dish.
Is it possible to make this rice pilaf ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can prepare the rice pilaf ahead of time and reheat it when ready to serve. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Can I use brown rice instead of white rice?
Yes, you can use brown rice instead of white rice for a nuttier and healthier alternative. Keep in mind that brown rice may require a longer cooking time and additional liquid, so adjust the recipe accordingly.
How can I prevent the rice from sticking to the pot?
To prevent the rice from sticking to the pot, make sure to properly fluff the rice with a fork after it's done cooking. You can also add a bit more butter or oil to the pot before cooking the rice to help prevent sticking.

Was this page helpful?

Chat Bubble Icon Share your own special recipe
Submit Your Own Recipe

Have your own special recipe to share? Submit Your Recipe Today!