This classic rice pilaf recipe makes a great side dish!
Thanks to my days in culinary school, I’m proud to say that rice is one of my specialties. We always made a rice pilaf to go with whatever main dishes we worked with that week and it’s been a staple side dish at home ever since.
This rice pilaf cooked in broth with herbs and vegetables like onions, celery and mushrooms makes a wonderful accompaniment to any meal. While plain steamed rice is just that— plain, rice pilaf has so much flavor all on its own! It takes just a few minutes extra to prep, but the payoff is huge. Go ahead an elevate your next meal with this rice pilaf recipe!
What is rice pilaf?
Essentially, rice pilaf is just rice that has been cooked in a broth. It is also often cooked with vegetables and spices for additional flavor, though the rice is always the star.
Rice pilaf ingredients
- Butter or olive oil— Use whichever you prefer.
- Vegetables— In this recipe I use onions, celery, mushrooms and garlic, but you don’t have to. It’s just a great flavorful combo! Other vegetables you can add/substitute are carrots, bell pepper, peas, etc.
- Rice— You can make pilaf with any variety of rice or grain, though the amount of liquid required will vary. For this recipe I use long grained white rice, like jasmine or basmati.
- Broth— Use vegetable, chicken or beef broth or stock. What you use may depend on your preferences or what you’ll be serving with the rice.
- Seasonings— Be generous with salt and pepper, and consider adding herbs for additional flavor. This recipe uses bay leaf and parsley.
The best way to make rice pilaf
This is how I learned to make rice in culinary school, and it’s the only way I’ve been making rice ever since!
- Heat oil or butter in a saucepan over medium low heat.
- Add vegetables and a little salt and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add rice and cook, stirring often, until rice grains begin to look slightly translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add remaining seasonings and broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low to medium-low (just so it maintains a gentle simmer) and cover.
- Cook time will vary with different rice varieties. For this recipe using long grain white rice, I cooked for 15 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let rice sit for 5 minutes covered.
- Fluff with a fork and serve!
Serve this rice pilaf with
- Simplest lemon-herb roasted salmon
- Pork chops with sage butter sauce
- Garlic herb roasted tri-tip steak
- Slow cooker rosemary balsamic pork roast
Tools for this recipe
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped cremini or button mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups long grain rice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- Chopped parsley
- In a dutch oven or pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and mushrooms and cook until vegetables have softened and just started to turn brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add rice, salt, and pepper and cook until rice starts to look slightly transparent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add bay leaves, cover pot with a lid, and decrease heat to low.
- Let rice simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- Once all liquid appears to have been absorbed, turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Discard bay leaves and fluff with a fork. Stir in parsley. Serve immediately.
- Vegetable amounts are flexible. Feel free to add more or less depending on your preferences and what you have on hand.
- This recipe makes a big batch of rice. If you don't need so much, halve ingredients and follow instructions as written.
- Rice can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freeze in a thin flat layer in heavy-duty ziplock bags.