This simple but delicious Rice Pilaf combines long-grain rice and orzo simmered in chicken stock with garlic, and onion until tender and fluffy. This easy side dish is versatile enough to pair with almost any main course!

Rice pilaf in black pot with parlsey garnish and walnut spoon.


Rice pilaf is a go-to, no-fuss side dish that’s perfect with chicken cutlets, baked chicken legs, salmon oreganata, and just about any other main course you can think of!

The rice and orzo are lightly toasted yielding a delicious nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the garlic and onion.

The best part is rice pilaf can be ready in 30 minutes!

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: parsley, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, butter, orzo, chicken stock, and rice.
  • Rice. I prefer to use long grain rice, such as jamine or basmati, but you can use any rice you’d like.
  • Garlic and onion. You can also use shallots if preferred.
  • Orzo. I love the contrast in texture between the orzo and the rice, however, if you’d like to omit the orzo and make this a gluten-free side dish, you can use just the rice.
  • Chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock is preferable, but you can also use a stock made from chicken base.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Rinse 2 cups of long-grain white rice until the water runs clear. Mince 4 cloves of garlic and finely dice 1 large onion. Mince 1/2 cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley and set aside. Heat an enameled Dutch oven, or nonstick pot to medium heat and add 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add 1 cup of orzo and allow it to brown in the butter for 3-4 minutes. (Photo #1)
Rice pilaf recipe process shot collage group one showing browning of orzo and rice in pot.
  1. Add the rinsed rice and cook for another 2 minutes making sure to thoroughly coat the rice with the butter. (Photo #2)
  2. Add the onion and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until softened, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. (Photo #3)
Recipe collage two showing adding onion rice mix and adding chicken stock to pot.
  1. Add 5 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock, 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and mix. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil. (Photo #4)
  2. Once boiling, cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down to low and cook until the rice and orzo absorb all the liquid and are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. (Photo #5)
Recipe collage three showing cooking rice with lid and garnishing fluffed rice with parsley.
  1. Remove the lid and add the rice to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the parsley, serve, and enjoy! (Photo #6)

Top tips

  • Rinse the rice. The rice should be rinsed until the water runs clear. This helps to remove starch which allows the rice grains to separate more readily resulting in fluffier rice pilaf.
  • Cooking time. As mentioned above, I’m using long grain rice here but depending on the rice you choose to use, the cooking time may vary. Keep in mind that the rice pilaf should be cooked covered until the liquid completely evaporates and soaks into the rice, then removed from the heat while still covered for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  • Flavor adjustments. Feel free to add some fresh lemon zest at the end to change up the flavors in this dish. You can also use other fresh herbs if desired.
Rice pilaf in orange bowl on wooden board.

More tasty sides

Here are a few more side dishes we think you’ll love!

If you’ve enjoyed this Rice Pilaf Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Rice Pilaf

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 8
Rice Pilaf is the easy and tasty side dish that's perfect for nearly any main course and ready in 30 minutes!

Ingredients 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups long grain white rice rinsed until water runs clear
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley minced

Instructions 

  • Heat an enamaled Dutch oven, or nonstick pot to medium heat with the butter. Add the orzo and brown for 3 minutes, then add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes making sure to thoroughly coat the rice with the butter.
  • Add the onion and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until softened, then add the garlic and thoroughly mix to coat.
  • Add the stock, salt, and pepper and mix. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Cook until the rice absorbs all of the liquid and is tender (about 17-20 minutes).
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, covered.
  • Remove the lid, and add the rice to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Mix in the parsley and serve. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Washing the rice is highly recommended.  It removes starch and makes the rice grains separate more easily.
  • Depending on the type of rice and the exact amount of heat, the cooking time after covering will be anywhere from 15-20 minutes.  Cook the rice until the liquid completely evaporates, then let it sit covered, off the heat, for another 5 minutes before fluffing.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 2 days in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12.2g | Saturated Fat: 7.4g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 422mg | Potassium: 157mg | Fiber: 2.2g | Sugar: 2.6g | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I cook a variation of this for myself at least twice a week as I am getting older and need to have less complicated meals. I love all your recipes and have tried a number of them. Keep up the good work Jim, love your podcasts too.