Classic Rice Pilaf Recipe

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Here’s an easy, Classic Rice Pilaf Recipe for you:

Classic Rice Pilaf in a white bowl

Call me addicted to Rice-a-Roni.  Guilty, as charged.  I’ve always love the stuff a little too much.  I know that eating rice from a package isn’t as good as making it homemade, so I decided to go for it.  I made some homemade rice pilaf.  It was so easy!

Once you make this easy rice recipe once, you’ll never want to buy a box again.

Classic Rice Pilaf Recipe garnished with fresh parsley

All that’s involved is toasting some orzo pasta in butter with onions and garlic.  Regular white rice and broth are added in later and cooked until tender.  I like to use chicken broth. If you want to keep it vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead. No more Rice-a-Roni for me!  And hopefully for you too 🙂

Variations on Classic Rice Pilaf:

Here are some great suggestions from readers who have made this:

  • Use olive oil instead of butter for sauteing, then add butter to the rice when it’s done cooking to finish it off.
  • Add in 4-ounces of broken-up vermicelli to the recipe.
  • Add in celery, slivered almonds and golden raisins.
  • Add in some chicken bouillon for more flavor.
  • Really good with Parmesan cheese and chopped tomatoes.

Classic RIce Pilaf

Here are a few more rice recipes you might like:

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Classic Rice Pilaf Recipe

No more boxes- you're going to love this rice recipe too much!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 221kcal
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword classic rice pilaf, rice pilaf


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley, optional


  • Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the pasta and onion; cook until the pasta is golden brown and the onion has softened.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (1 minute).  Mix in the rice and chicken broth, turn heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes (until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender).
  • Remove from heat, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in parsley, if using.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 259IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
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  • jdawg wrote:

    if your not adding the pasta do you keep the amount of rice the same

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I have not made this without the pasta…

  • Diana M wrote:

    What type of rice? Minute rice or regular white rice

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      regular white rice

  • Mel wrote:

    Never, ever buy boxed rice pilaf again. Making this recipe for the second time in eight days.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Oh good!

  • EJ wrote:

    I second adding the vermicelli, just measure of 4 oz into a ziplock and crunch it with your hands to make the pieces smaller.
    I find it adds a nutty quality to the taste. Then I mix in slivered almond, golden raisins, and finely diced celery, about 4 oz each. I really like that combo.

  • Megan wrote:

    Made the recipe as written and it was great! Big hit with my husband. I’ll be adding it to our regular dinner rotation.

  • Irene wrote:

    Is the pasta precooked first?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      No, use dry uncooked pasta.

  • sels wrote:

    By the way, do you have a good recipe for white minnestrone? Not the red.


  • sels wrote:

    hopefully you did understand my commentary regarding the vermicili?

    it is part of the mix, that is; flat macaroni, rice and the vermicili. The flat

    macaroni is much more flavorful than the orzo you speak of…..good luck!

  • sels wrote:

    i have been making pilaf for years…..a little different from this recipe.

    Never use orzo pasta, it just does not have that rounded flavor that

    flat macaroni has. Also, i always use fine vermicili in the mix. Toasting

    the rice somewhat releases that flavor needed, as well the other two

    ingredients. I do not use chopped onions either, finely mashed garlic

    is awesome. Assuming you like onions, then you should like garlic.

    I use evoo in place of the butter, of course when this is fully cooked the

    butter is added in the end result. Believe me, nothing else compares

    when this is served piping hot…..

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Sounds good- I personally love the orzo, but I do like vermicili so I can’t wait to try that!

  • Kathy F wrote:

    I find putting a little chicken bouillon in makes it even better.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      great tip!

  • Cat Davis | Mom by the Beach Blog wrote:

    I’ve never made Rice Pilaf but that looks really good. I think with some Parmesan cheese on top and maybe some diced tomatoes, this would make a great lunch for me.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      sounds good!