Easy Rice Pilaf (One Pot)

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Quick, easy rice pilaf recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in 30 minutes. Flavored with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese and topped off with some toasted almonds.

If you are looking for perfectly tender and fluffy rice, look no further. This recipe is perfect and you will have NO more mushy rice!

It never fails in flavor and texture just like this Garlic Rice (One Pot) and this Pineapple Rice (One Pot). All of these recipes can be enjoyed as a side dish but filling enough to be enjoyed as main dish too.

What is rice pilaf?

It is a dish made with grains, such as rice and/or orzo pasta. The grains are typically toasted first, which adds flavor and keeps them from sticking to each other. Then, they are seasoned, boiled in broth, and left to rest in order to develop a fluffy and delicious side dish.

How to make rice pilaf on stovetop? In Oven?

Stovetop Directions-

  1. Prep pot- Heat butter in a large nonstick pot.
  2. Stir fry– Add orzo pasta and stir fry until golden brown.
  3. Saute– Add onions and cook until translucent.
  4. Add seasonings, broth and rice– Add garlic and rice. Cook until garlic becomes fragrant. Then, add broth, seasonings and mix.
  5. Boil and simmer– Turn up the heat to High and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat to Medium. Cover and simmer until all the broth is absorbed and rice and orzo become tender (about 15 minutes).
  6. Rest– Turn off heat and let it rest for 5 minutes, covered.
  7. Add cheese and fluff rice– Uncover and mix in Parmesan cheese and fluff up the rice with a fork
  8. Enjoy! Garnish with some parsley and toasted almonds and dig in!

Oven Directions- Place an oven-safe nonstick pot over stovetop. Add butter and when it melts, stir fry orzo pasta. Then, add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and rice and cook for abut 1 minute, mixing often. Pour broth, herbs and spices. Bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven and cook at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until rice becomes tender and all the broth is absorbed. Remove from oven. Mix in parmesan cheese and fluff it up with a fork and you are done.

What is the difference between rice and rice pilaf?

The major difference is that rice is usually steamed, baked, or boiled using just water. However, pilaf is generally rice and an additional grain boiled or baked in broth or stock with herbs and spices.

What is the difference between pilaf and pilau?

It’s essentially the same thing. Different people refer to it by slightly different names. Both of those names are used interchangeably.

What to serve with homemade rice pilaf recipe?

Pilaf is a great side to serve along with any protein main course such as: Easy Thanksgiving Turkey (One Pan) or Slow Cooker Ham, or Oven Roasted Chicken and Vegetables (One Pan).

It tastes wonderful alongside a curry such as this Instant Pot Beef Curry. Basically, any dish which has a lot of sauce and juices would be an awesome accompaniment.

Easy Rice Pilaf Recipe (One Pot)

What is the pilaf method of cooking rice?

It’s: Toast, Simmer, Rest.

  1. Toast– Toasting the grains over medium-low heat in a fat such as butter, adds a nutty flavor and also keeps the grains from sticking together, ensuring and fluffy texture. Toasting also helps to keep the starches from being released, and thus prevents stickiness. Toast until the grains become light brown.
  2. Simmer– Simmering in broth adds flavor to the rice. Try to stir the rice as little as possible. Pour it into the broth, stir once, and then let it boil undisturbed. Stirring too much releases the starches and will create the sticky, gummy texture you do not want.
  3. Rest- Allowing the grains to rest off heat for 5 minutes allows the grains to firm up and remain separated when it is time to fluff the rice. It also allows the rice to continue cooking without direct heat so that all of the liquid is absorbed.

Variations

Use other flavors of stocks and broths– Such as vegetable or beef broth.

Use different spices– Try curry seasoning, Cajun, Mexican, Mediterranean spice blend, or Greek seasoning.

Use other combination of grains– Such as wild rice, quinoa, bulgur, orzo, vermicelli or barley.

Add proteins– Such as chicken, beef, sausage, or shrimp. Saute it with the onions until no longer pink and partially cooked. Then, follow the rest of the steps in the recipe below.

Vegetable rice pilaf– Add a small bag of frozen veggies and some mushrooms to add flavor, healthy nutrients, and heartiness.

Lemon rice pilaf– Add lemon zest and lemon juice as a fresh garnish for a bright and zesty flavor.

Add nuts– Such as almonds, pine nuts, chopped pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, or peanuts for a subtle crunch.

Garnish options– Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley, basil or cilantro.

Add dried fruits- Add dried raisins, cranberries, cherries as a garnish, which adds subtle sweetness to this recipe.

Seasoned Rice Pilaf with Orzo and Almonds

Tips and Techniques

Should I saute rice before cooking? Yes, whether you call it saute, stir fry, or toast, make sure to do it because it adds flavor and creates the correct texture and flavor for the pilaf.

What is the best rice to use? I recommend long-grain white rice, but you can also use Jasmine or Basmati rice too.

Reduce saltiness– Unsalted butter and low sodium broth are both important to prevent this meal from becoming too salty.

How to prevent sticking? Use a nonstick pot to prevent this from happening.

Can I use brown rice instead? You cannot replace white rice with brown rice because the cook time would be different since it takes longer to cook. Also, the ratio of liquid to rice would be different.

Resting is important– Because it allows the rice to continue cooking as it cools without direct heat from the stovetop.

Can this be frozen? No! That’s because the texture changes and the rice hardens and loses its fluffy texture, as it thaws.

How to store leftovers? Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave.

Butter vs. Oil– I highly recommend using butter since it adds richness and a lovely flavor to the overall dish.

Adjust seasonings- Only salt, pepper and Italian seasoning were used and can be modified, based on your preference.

More One Pot Rice Recipes

Easy Rice Pilaf Recipe (One Pot)
Print

One Pot Rice Pilaf

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
 

Quick, easy rice pilaf recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in 30 minutes. Flavored with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.

Servings: 4 People
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: one pot rice
Calories: 343 kcal
Author: Abeer

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp Butter Unsalted
  • 1/3 cup Orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup Onions Finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic Finely minced
  • 1 cup White rice Long grain
  • 2 2/3 cups Chicken broth Low sodium, Vegetable or beef broth can be used too
  • Salt To taste
  • Pepper To taste
  • 1/2- 1 tsp Italian seasoning Adjust according to your preference
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese Grated, Optional
  • 1 tbsp Parsley Fresh, Roughly chopped, For garnish
  • 1-2 tbsp Almonds Sliced, Toasted, For garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a large nonstick pot over medium heat.

  2. Add orzo pasta and stir fry until it's golden brown.

  3. Add onions and cook until they become translucent.

  4. Add garlic and rice and cook for about 1 minute until garlic becomes fragrant.

  5. Add broth, salt, pepper, parsley and mix.

  6. Turn up the heat to High and bring to a boil.

  7. Then, lower the heat to Medium.

  8. Cover and simmer until all the broth is absorbed and rice and orzo become tender (about 15 minutes).

  9. Turn off heat and let it rest for 5 minutes, covered.

  10. Uncover and mix in in parmesan cheese and fluff up the rice with a fork.

  11. Garnish with parsley and almonds. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave. 
Nutrition Facts
One Pot Rice Pilaf
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 32mg11%
Sodium 719mg30%
Potassium 221mg6%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 374IU7%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 71mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Happy cooking everyone!

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