Classic Rice Pilaf
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.
8 Comments on “Classic Rice Pilaf”
Even though I burned the onion a smidge, this has been the most well-received non-Mexican rice recipe in the household. First time I ever heard, “The rice was good,” come out of my kid’s mouth. Thank you for the recipe. My go-to (for non-Mexican rice).
this recipe is closest to my moms i had as a kid and we loved it with pork chops or chicken my mom used two cans of campbells beef consumee and the middle or medium size box of uncle bens converted rice with the meat and vegitables you have to make sure the veggies are completely cooked soft so that the rice absorbs the flavor not the veggies so you cook the veggies pour in the box of rice two cans of beef consumee with can each of water to go with them stir it up then brown the chops a bit and place on top cover then cook or chicken just put raw and cook the smell is phenonimal
This was delicious! The rice was buttery as it was fried and we added lots of great veggies and some shrimp. We will make it many times. Thanks
Needed a quick, “beef based” rice recipe – grilling two porterhouse steaks. I am eating the remains of the pilaf as i write… One of the best I cooked over the decades. Basic and a little more, added more vegetables, came out as shown and better. Thank you, no I have to finish my wine and do the dishes.
Already left a thank you for a great and reliable recipe – outcome as shown – simple but better than any others I use in the past. Beef with porterhouse tonight .
Wonderful pilaf recipe, my mother only made Greek style pilaf. This sounds wonderful, I love rice and this is something that will be on my menu in the near future.
Recipe is pretty poorly balanced. Salt was way too little to taste anything. Ended up adding another whole tsp. Not that it mattered since the two bay leaves rendered the whole thing bitter and unpleasant tasting.
Very good! I’m in a simple cooking phase now and this fits that for me.