Rice Pilaf is a simple side dish that’s one of my favorites to whip up! This homemade recipe features both tender orzo and long grain white rice that get all dressed up with garlic, chicken stock, a medley of seasonings and more. And yes, it’s so much better than the boxed stuff!

A large skillet is filled with cooked rice pilaf.

Rice Pilaf

You only need a handful of ingredients to make this easy rice pilaf recipe! While it may be simple, it’s pretty stunning. Orzo and white rice are cooked to tender perfection and made flavorful with a handful of inexpensive ingredients, most of which you likely already have on hand. Garlic, onions, chicken stock and seasonings create a medley of flavors that are relatively neutral but still delightfully bold!

I love that the flavor palette here is just neutral enough to make this rice pilaf pair well with so many various entrees. Plate it beside chicken, beef, pork, seafood, or a vegetarian entree – whatever floats your boat! It’s seasoned and flavorful, yet just basic enough to go with the flow and pair well with just about everything….even the best meatloaf in the world. The best of both worlds!

A spoon is lifting a bite sized portion of rice from the serving bowl.

How to Make Rice Pilaf

Rice pilaf can be made in just about 30 minutes!

  1. Sauté the garlic and onions. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, then add the garlic and cook just until aromatic.
  2. Toast the orzo and rice. Stir in the orzo and cook for about 4 minutes, or until golden and toasted. Add the butter and rice to the skillet. Let the rice toast until it’s translucent.
  3. Make it flavorful. Stir in all the the seasonings and slowly add the broth.
  4. Boil, then simmer. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Rest, then fluff. Remove the rice from the heat and let it rest, covered, for about 5 minutes. Fluff before garnishing and serving.
A spoon is placed in a large skillet filled with rice pilaf.

Tips for the Best Rice Pilaf

Before you get started, check out these quick tips and tricks for making the very best rice pilaf recipe:

  • Use stock. Avoid using broth – stock has a lot more flavor. And if you really wanted to knock it out of the park, consider making some homemade chicken stock! It’s great to have on hand for recipes like this one.
  • White rice is best. While most pilaf recipes call for just long grain white rice, I do like to add orzo as well for added texture. However, be sure to only use white rice and not brown! Brown rice has a tendency to clump, which will create a mess with the orzo.
  • No peeking! Once the lid is on, try not to disturb the rice as it cooks. If you open the lid, you’ll release the necessary steam and heat that’s needed to cook the rice.

Storing Rice Pilaf

Let the rice pilaf fully cool to room temperature prior to storing. In an airtight container in the fridge, any leftovers you have will stay good for about 3-4 days. Reheat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time it stops, until warmed all the way through.

You can also freeze cooled rice pilaf for up to 3 months in an airtight, freezer safe storage container. Let it thaw in the fridge prior to reheating.

A serving of rice pilaf is presented in a white bowl.

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A large skillet is filled with cooked rice pilaf.

Get the Recipe: Rice Pilaf Recipe

Buttery Rice Pilaf is lightly toasted and cooked to perfection making it a simple side dish for just about anything.
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley


  • 1 skillet


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the orzo and stir to combine. Toast the orzo for 4 minutes until golden.
  • Add the butter and stir in the rice. Toast the rice for 4-5 minutes until the rice becomes translucent.
  • Stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Slowly add the stock to the pan. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the rice form the heat and rest, covered for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, fluff and garnish with parsley.


Rice Pilaf can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container refrigerated and reheat until warm.
Calories: 175kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 131mg, Potassium: 168mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 34IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg