Rice Pilaf is a wonderful dish to have in your cooking repertoire. It is a tasty one-pot side dish recipe consisting of rice and a sprinkle of veggies cooked in broth. The perfect side dish to Pork Tenderloin!

There are probably hundreds of ways to make rice pilaf, as this is a dish favored all over the world, and has many ethnic variations. It’s definitely a step up from white rice!

Rice Pilaf with carrots and peppers topped with parsley

What is Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf is composed of rice cooked in chicken broth, wine or some other liquid other than just water. Herbs, vegetables, and often meat are also placed in the pot with the rice as it cooks. Usually, it is prepared in a saucepan on the stove top, but you can also make baked rice pilaf by placing it in a covered casserole dish and baking in the oven.

Rice for Making Pilaf

This recipe calls for basmati rice, which is practically a fool-proof, fragrant and flavorful rice, a perfect choice for rice pilaf. You can use any long grain white rice in this recipe (you may need to change the amount of liquid).

RINSE the rice: If using long grain white rice, be aware that it has a starchy outer layer that should be washed away. Rinse it repeatedly in cold water until the water runs almost clear and drain well. Basmati should be rinsed and well drained too, but does not need to be washed as thoroughly as standard white rice.

BROWN the rice: For rice pilaf, you want fluffy rice grains that don’t stick together. Sauteeing the rice in oil keeps it from sticking and of course adds great flavor.

Rice Pilaf with carrots and peppers

How to Make Rice Pilaf

You will also use a bit less water than most rice recipe call for. Usually, recipes on the back of the bag recommend two parts water to one part rice. For pilaf, you should use less liquid for every cup of rice, as indicated in the recipe. This can vary a bit based on your cooking conditions. Give the rice only one quick stir after you bring it to a simmer. Cook it covered, on low heat.

Here’s how to make easy rice pilaf:

  1. Combine onion, garlic and butter in a pot and sauté until softened.
  2. Add the washed and drained rice and stir until it starts to turn golden (image above), or turns translucent.
  3. Add the liquid and veggies, give the rice one quick stir, then cover and simmer, until all the liquid is absorbed

Top with almonds and parsley if using and fluff with a fork.

Rice Pilaf in a pot with a wood spoon topped with parsley

Leftover Rice Pilaf

Refrigerate: Rice pilaf is best eaten hot and fresh from the stove but it keeps in the refrigerator 2-3 days.

Freeze: Be sure it is completely cool before freezing. It should keep 2-3 months in the freezer, and is best reheated in the microwave (I add a couple of teaspoons water when reheating).

Once you know how to make the basic rice pilaf recipe here, go ahead and create your own versions! Add peas, raisins, spices and seasonings. Play with varieties of rice or veggies. Rice pilaf is a versatile dish that can be tailored to suit your family’s taste!

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Rice Pilaf with carrots and peppers topped with parsley
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Easy Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf is a wonderful dish to have in your cooking repertoire. It makes a tasty one-pot meal, or you can keep it simple and serve it as a side dish!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • cup onion finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons carrot shredded
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper minced
  • 14 ½ ounces chicken broth
  • ¼ cup white wine or water
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds toasted
  • 1 tablespoon green onion or parsley


  • Rinse rice under cold water and drain well.
  • Combine onion, butter, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Add rice and cook until it begins to smell toasted and turn slightly golden, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients except green onions and almonds. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a low simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and garnish with almonds and parsley.
5 from 18 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 234 | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1590IU | Vitamin C: 15.1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American


REPIN this Easy Side Dish

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rice pilaf ingredients and cooked with writing



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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Recipe Rating


  1. You mention being able to bake this in the oven. How long and at what temperature?

  2. This recipe was the best! Very tasty and was a big hit with dinner guests! Followed the recipe only added a cup of frozen peas just because I love the little guys!
    Thanks for a great recipe!5 stars

  3. One of the best ever rice pilaf recipe i have ever tried so far. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us. Also do check out my special rice pilaf recipe as well. 5 stars

  4. I didn’t have carrots or red pepper but went ahead and made this anyway. It was still fantastic! I’m not a big rice fan but loved this served as a side with cedar planked salmon. Highly recommended and will make this again!!!5 stars

  5. I am so confused with your rice pilaf recipe. In one place you say 3/4 cup of liquid for each cup of rice, and then in ingredients section you have 14.5oz of chicken stock with 3/4 cup of rice. Please help. I don’t want to mess this up.

    1. Sorry for the confusion Jack, the recipe card is correct and the write up has been corrected! Enjoy!

  6. Make sure you make a bunch if you are inviting me, otherwise I’ll eat everything lol, kiss