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

Rice Pilaf

As bloggers and self-proclaimed foodies, my husband Jack and I love to cook and share recipes for some fairly elaborate dishes here on A Family Feast.

Sometimes we’re encouraging you – our wonderful readers – to try a new, exotic ingredient; other times we’re hoping to teach you a new cooking technique; and still other times we guide you step-by-step through a recipe that results in a wonderfully impressive dish!

Rice Pilaf

But I actually get equally excited when we can share homemade versions of classic recipes with you – like today’s 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 cooked 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!

How do you make Rice Pilaf?

Rice pilaf is, by definition, rice that has been cooked in chicken stock or another flavored broth. To mirror the popular boxed variety, we’ve add pan-toasted orzo pasta to our Rice Pilaf as well.

Rice Pilaf

Combine the rice, orzo, and broth in a Dutch oven, along with sautéed onions, herbs and seasonings – then bake in the oven until the rice and pasta are cooked through and tender.

Making Rice Pilaf at home is so simple – and the flavors are just so much better than any boxed rice pilaf!

Rice Pilaf

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

Rice Pilaf

This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in June 2013. We’ve updated the photos.

You may enjoy these other pilaf recipes:


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Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: roasted
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


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


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

(Optional) Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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.

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.

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.

Stir once, cover and place in the oven for 30 minutes untouched.

Remove from the oven and discard bay leaves. Fluff rice with a wooden spoon and taste. Add salt to taste, as needed. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Keywords: rice pilaf


Rice Pilaf

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  • Jennifer Fulk wrote:

    How big of a casserole dish or saucepan would I need to make this? How many quarts would it need to hold? My dutch oven is way too big for this. THANK YOU FOR INFO- LOOKS DELICIOUS.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jennifer – We used a 5-quart dutch oven and it fills the pot about half way. You could use an oven-safe, medium-size pan with lid instead.

  • Richelle Grover wrote:

    This pilaf tastes like the pilaf my best friends’s mother used to make! I loved it and can’t wait to make it again! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Richelle! Glad you liked it!

  • Donna Ketcher wrote:

    Looking forward to making this rice pilaf recipe and others I have found on your website, especially Jacks potato salad. Thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Donna! So glad you found us and I hope you love the recipe!

  • Dave wrote:

    I see there are a number of long grain rices, any particular type/brand you like?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Dave – You are seeing toasted orzo (pasta) and long grain white rice. We’re fans of the Lundberg brand of rice or Rice Select. Hope that helps!

  • Deb Pike wrote:

    I’ve seen several comments about making this dish with a rice cooker. Could the actual cooking portion be done in a slow cooker, and if so, what cooking level and time would you suggest? I’ve made this recipe once before and it was a hit. This time around I need a little more oven space. I hope my question is not repetition- I did not see anything about this method in previous comments. Thanks in advance!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Deb – I’ve never tried making rice of any kind in the slow cooker so I’m afraid I can’t be much help with your question! I do see some slow cooker rice recipes online ( – so it may be possible! If you try it, please let us know how it comes out!

  • April H Thomas wrote:

    I simply love your recipes. You two have such family-friendly , and guest worthy recipes, that I make pretty much everything you publish.
    If I had one wish,( other than you coming to my home to cook for me), it would be to make the recipe fit on one page. That is my big ask. I hate having three pages for one recipe. I would like the option of removing the photo and condensing the recipe for my file. This is a common practice on other food blogs.
    My all-time favorite so far is your Chicken Marsala. YUM!YUM!
    My husband always says,” I would order this again in a restaurant.” The seal of approval!
    Thank you for considering the option of simplicity.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi April – Thanks for your feedback and we’ll definitely keep it in mind if we move to a new recipe plugin (the tool that formats recipes on food blogs) or tweak our current recipe formatting. There are some reasons why we’ve chosen not to use the plugin that you see on lots of other food blogs, but I do appreciate your concerns. We’ve also had some people complain in the past that our recipe type was too small when we use a similar format to what you are describing – so I have a feeling we won’t be making everyone happy 100% of the time. In the meantime, what I often do in similar situations is copy and paste the recipe into a word document and edit the text to fit the page in a format that I prefer before printing. I recognize that is an extra, inconvenient step on your end, but in the meantime, it might suit your needs. Thanks again for writing to us and your interest in our recipes. Martha

  • Dagmar wrote:

    Thanks for a great recipe. This recipe turned out great exactly as described, just needed salt.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Dagmar!

  • Kathy P. wrote:

    I made this 3 time and each time I reduced the amount of water because it was just too moist. The flavor is great but the rice is too soft. I don’t really know what I could have done wrong

    • Martha wrote:

      I’m not sure Kathy – it’s always hard to troubleshoot when we aren’t in the kitchen with you. Perhaps the brand of rice you are using requires less water? Just a guess!

  • April Richards-Senior wrote:

    This recipe works fine in the rice cooker!! I made your rice pilaf mainly because it had Orzo in it and I really like that combination for texture and flavor. I got the Orzo nice and nutty brown and it adds a nice deep flavor. I was having lamb rack (with Greek seasoning) — I knew oven space would be tight so I decided to take a chance on the rice cooker. I followed your recipe exactly except for the addition of some chopped mushrooms that went in along with the onions and rice. I put everything except the broth in the rice cooker and then added the chicken broth at room temperature, using your recipe amount rather than what the rice cooker recipe says to put in for a cup of rice. (That was a good decision.) It cooked in about 20 minutes and I held it at warm for a while. Wonderful flavor and texture! Guests loved it. Only change would be to add some salt somewhere along the line — but that’s just me. Thanks for a great recipe and inspiring website.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks so much for letting us know April! Great detailed info for our readers (and us too!) who may want to adapt the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to write to us!

  • KB wrote:

    This had excellent flavor but definitely needed salt. Also, 30 minutes was not enough time to absorb all the liquid. I plan to try the recipe again but cut down the stock and do it on the stove top. The rice was quite mushy from all the liquid and needing to cook so long.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback with us KB! I’m not sure why you saw such different results but I’m sorry you were disappointed with the results.

  • Debbie Fekete wrote:

    His is the best rice pilaf i have made. I made a few seasoning changes but overall the process is perfect and comes out great. Every time !!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Debbie!

  • carol wrote:

    This rice pilaf recipe was absolutely delicious! And I had everything in my pantry.
    Wouldn’t change a thing . This will be a new favorite.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Carol!

  • ann wrote:

    Can I use medium grain rice instead of long grain?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Ann – I think a medium grain rice should still work fine. You may need to adjust the cooking time a bit.

  • Cherie Kapela wrote:

    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!

    • Jack wrote:

      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.

  • Hane Deane wrote:

    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.

    • Martha wrote:

      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!

  • Eleni Faller wrote:

    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!

    • Martha wrote:

      Great idea Eleni! So glad you all enjoyed the recipe!

  • Claire wrote:

    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!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you for taking the time to write to us Claire! So glad you all enjoyed the recipe!

  • Courtney wrote:

    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.

    • Martha wrote:

      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!

  • Deb wrote:

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

    • Martha wrote:

      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!

  • Kelsey wrote:

    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?

    • Martha wrote:

      Absolutely Kelsey – This recipe will taste great with vegetable stock swapped in! Enjoy the recipe!

  • Sharon wrote:

    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.

    • Martha wrote:

      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!

  • Elise wrote:

    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!

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad it worked out Elise! 🙂

  • Candia wrote:

    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?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Candia – It will probably depend on the size of your pan. It might take a little longer… Thanks!

  • Brittany wrote:

    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?

    • Martha wrote:

      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!

  • Haley wrote:

    Do I cook the rice first?

    • Martha wrote:

      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

  • Haley wrote:

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

    • Martha wrote:

      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!

  • Haley wrote:

    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?

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes Hayley! That should work! enjoy!

  • Dana wrote:

    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.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Dana!

  • kristine wrote:

    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!

    • Martha wrote:

      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

    • KRISTINE wrote:


      • Martha wrote:

        Great – Thanks and sorry again for the inconvenience!

  • AmyCK wrote:

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

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Amy! Hope you all enjoy the recipe!

  • Kathy wrote:

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

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Kathy!

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