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Rice Pilaf

A simple and really delicious Rice Pilaf recipe - using ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen!

As bloggers and self-proclaimed foodies, Jack and I love to cook and share recipes for some fairly elaborate dishes.  Sometimes we’re encouraging you – our readers – to try a new, exotic ingredient; other times teaching you a new cooking technique; other times walking you step-by-step through a recipe that results in a wonderfully impressive dish!

But I actually get equally excited when we can share classic recipes with you – like this one for our Rice Pilaf.  Recipes like this are so easy and delicious – but better yet – you probably already have all of the ingredients in your kitchen cabinet!

And, if you are like me, I often ate the rice pilaf that came out of a box with a pre-packaged seasoning mix.  Then Jack showed me how easy it is to make homemade rice pilaf – and I’ll never buy a boxed rice pilaf mix ever again!

A simple and really delicious Rice Pilaf recipe - using ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen!

Rice pilaf by definition is rice which has been cooked in chicken stock or another flavored broth, and we’ve add toasted orzo pasta to the dish as well.  Add in some sautéed onions and other seasonings and you’re done!  It’s so simple and the flavors are just so much better than any boxed rice pilaf I’ve eaten before!

This rice pilaf recipe is actually one of the first dishes that Jack learned to cook back in school many years ago.  It’s truly a wonderful, classic dish that anyone can make at home, and one that everyone should have in their recipe collection!


Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf - A Family Feast

5 from 1 reviews

Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock you use for cooking, the addition of some additional salt may or may not be needed.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups


  • ½ cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 large cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, dry toast the raw orzo stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until a light walnut color (3 to 4 minutes). Remove orzo to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and rice. Sauté for five minutes stirring occasionally or until onions are translucent. If the rice starts to get brown, remove from heat before you proceed to next step.
  4. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Then add bay, thyme, pepper and browned orzo. Stir and add chicken stock. Be careful – when the stock hits the pan, it will bubble up.
  5. Stir once, cover and place in the oven for 30 minutes untouched.
  6. Remove from the oven and discard bay leaves. Fluff rice with a wooden spoon and taste. Add salt to taste, as needed.


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    Leave a Comment


  1. This sounds delicious! I’m always looking for new side dishes!

  2. My family loves that boxed pilaf too, but this looks like a great homemade alternative!

  3. I absolutely love this recipe–I have made it several times. Now I want to print it out so I have a hard copy and your “print” button isn’t working. 🙁 Is it my end your yours?

    Again, LOVE the recipe!

    • Thank you Kristine! Are you by any chance using Internet Explorer to view our site? Our recipe plugin ZipList is working to resolve an issue with not being able to print using IE – but if you are able to view our site using Firefox or Chrome – it should work. Thanks for writing to us and I’m sorry for causing frustration! Please let me know if you are not able to print using a different browser. Best, Martha


  4. I have made this recipe over and over. This is so good that I will never buy rice pilaf in a box again. My only suggestion is a pinch of salt.

  5. I wanna make this recipe, but I don’t have any orzo pasta- could I just use 1 1/2 cup of rice instead of the 1/2 c orzo and 1 c rice?

  6. I don’t have a Dutch oven. How can I make this?

    • Hi Haley – If you have an oven safe casserole dish with a cover, you can use that. Or – any oven-safe pan covered tightly with parchment and then foil will also work. Hope that helps!

  7. Do I cook the rice first?

    • Hi Haley – Sorry for the confusion. You’d have to do steps 1-4 in a pot or sautee pan on the stove and then place it in an oven-proof, covered container to bake for the 30 minutes. Hope that helps clarify how this can be adapted without a dutch oven. Let me know if you have any other questions. Martha

  8. Hi Martha, this looks like a great side dish, thanks for posting this recipe. I’m going to make this for my family soon! Would I need to alter the recipe in any other way if I chose to use brown rice instead of white rice? I know it would need a longer cook time, but would it also need more liquid?

    • Hi Brittany – We haven’t made this with brown rice so please let us know how it comes out! Yes – definitely longer cooking time and I think the general rule of thumb is that brown rice requires 1/4 to 1/2 cup more liquid that white rice. I hope that helps!

  9. Love this rice! I plan to make this for a crowd and double the recipe, will I need to adjust the length of time it cooks?

  10. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I bought everything to make Greek style chicken pitas for dinner, but when I looked at the pitas this morning they were moldy! I hit Pinterest to find a Greek style rice pilaf to make as a side to the chicken. This is the perfect side dish, it paired perfectly with the chicken, veggies and tzatziki sauce that I already had. Best of all, no trip to the store required!

  11. Thank you for the recipe. Have you done this in a rice cooker before? I am pairing this with steamed broccoli and Cornish Game hens.

    • Hi Sharon – Sounds like a great menu! We think you should be able to do this recipe in the rice cooker – you’ll still want to do steps 2, 3 and 4 as written and then start using the rice cooker after that. We’re just not sure of the timing for cooking it in the rice cooker however (since we haven’t done it ourselves). So you’ll have to base the timing on how long your own rice cooker takes to cook the rice and adjust up or down from there. Please let us know how it comes out – I’d love to hear! Happy New Year!

  12. Hello! I recently became vegetarian and the thing I miss most is rice-a-roni, do you think I can do this with a homemade vegetable broth instead of chicken?

  13. Has anyone tired this in a rice cooker instead of the dutch oven?

    • Hi Deb – We haven’t tried it ourselves in the rice cooker but we do think it would work. You’ll still want to do steps 2, 3 and 4 as written and then start using the rice cooker after that. We’re just not sure of the timing for cooking it in the rice cooker however (since we haven’t done it ourselves). So you’ll have to base the timing on how long your own rice cooker takes to cook the rice and adjust up or down from there. Let us know how it works out!

  14. Please forgive me if I missed this but how many people would this feed as a side dish? I’d like to serve at a family reunion but don’t know if I need to double or triple (or quadruple?) the recipe. Thank you.

    • Hi Courtney – The yield (at the top of the recipe) is 5 cups – so I’d estimate 6-8 servings (10 if you limit everyone to a 1/2 cup serving). Hope that helps!

  15. I found your recipe on Pinterest and just made it – oh my word – a new favorite! My kids scarfed it down! It’s perfectly moist and full of flavor. Definitely going on the weekly menu!! Thank you!

  16. Eleni Faller :

    This was great! Bonus: my 2 year old loves it and it freezes well. We put the left overs in snack baggies in the freezer and just reheat in the micro for him. Thanks!

  17. I am looking for a recipe that uses vermicelli with the rice, any ideas. My sister made it that way for years and she is gone now and no one wrote the recipe down.

    • Hi Hane – You could use vermicelli in place of the orzo in this recipe. I imagine your sister broke it up into smaller pieces – you would brown those in a pan just like we do with the orzo. Hope that helps!

  18. Cherie Kapela :

    I have made this a few times already and this is by far the best rice pilaf recipe ever. It reminds me so much of my moms pilaf! But i have a question. I am planning to make this recipe for my sons birthday party coming up. Can anyone reccomend the measurments for around 40-50 servings? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Cherie, this is Jack. Appreciate the kind words on the recipe.
      For 40-50 adults I would do the following:
      Orzo 4 cups
      Olive oil 1/2 cup
      butter 1 1/2 cups
      onion 8 cups (2 quarts)
      rice 8 cups (2 quarts)
      garlic 16 cloves
      bay leaves 16
      thyme 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
      pepper 2 teaspoons
      stock 7 quarts

      For 40-50 children, I would cut that in half
      Orzo 2 cups
      olive oil 1/4 cup
      butter 3/4 cup
      onions 4 cups (1 quart)
      Rice 4 cups (1 quart)
      garlic 8 cloves
      bay leaves 8
      thyme 2 teaspoon
      pepper 1 teaspoon
      stock 3 1/2 quarts

      If it is a mix of adults and children, I would split the difference. Good luck.

  19. Can I use medium grain rice instead of long grain?