This homemade Rice Pilaf recipe features a combination of long grain rice with toasted orzo pasta and sliced almonds for depth of flavor. It makes an ideal side dish for weekday meals as well as special occasions and holiday gatherings. It’s tender and flavorful making it complementary to a variety of entrees.
Easy Rice Pilaf Recipe
Rice pilaf has many faces. This recipe combines orzo pasta and long grain rice along with onion, garlic and toasted sliced almonds for texture. How do you make Rice Pilaf? This recipe begins by melting butter with oil in a large skillet. Add the orzo pasta and cook to toast it to elevate the flavor. Add the onion and garlic and once cooked, add the rice and seasonings per the recipe. Pour in a generous amount of chicken stock and let it simmer until the rice and orzo are tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed. At the end of cooking, add toasted almonds, chopped parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese.
How to Make the BEST Rice Pilaf
- Ingredients you’ll need to make the BEST Rice Pilaf: Long grain rice, orzo pasta, chicken stock, butter, onion, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, sliced or slivered almonds, chopped fresh parsley for garnishing.
- Kitchen tools you’ll need: Large deep skillet or Dutch oven with lid, measuring cups and spoons, sharp knife and chopping board, garlic press and large spoon for stirring. You’ll also need a sheet pan to toast the almonds.
- You can use pine nuts in place of almonds, if desired. You can also omit the nuts altogether. They do add to the flavor and texture overall so I highly recommend including them.
- To Toast Nuts: While the rice pilaf cooks, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread sliced almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden and fragrant then set aside to cool.
- For a vegetarian option, you can use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock.
- This recipe uses long grain rice i.e. Uncle Ben’s or similar. You could adapt using basmati or jasmine rice but they will cook differently than long grain rice. Long grain rice holds up best the cooking time in this recipe.
- Store cooked Rice Pilaf in an airtight container chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat or in single servings in the microwave.
More Rice Recipes to Make
- This Cajun Dirty Rice is packed with flavor.
- Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf is a holiday favorite.
- Asian inspire Teriyaki Rice Pilaf with mushrooms and peas.
- Easy Oven Baked Rice is a game changer.
- Better than takeout Shrimp Fried Rice.
- Italian Sausage Rice Pilaf recipe is an Italian twist on dirty rice.
- Mixed Vegetable Rice from Joyous Apron.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 1/3 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds, plus 2 Tbsp (Or pine nuts)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2/3 cup orzo pasta
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 medium cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups long grain rice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric or saffron optional
- 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley divided use
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tbsp divided use
- In 3 quart Dutch oven or skillet melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. To the butter, add orzo. Cook while stirring for several minutes until orzo is golden brown.
- Add onion, cooking for 4-6 minutes or just until softened. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute longer.
- To the pot add rice, salt, pepper, paprika and turmeric. Stir to coat in butter then add chicken stock. Increase heat to medium high. Bring to a boil, then immediately cover and reduce to low.
- Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
- To Toast Nuts: While rice pilaf cooks, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden and fragrant then set aside.
- Once rice is cooked, uncover and add 1/3 cup almonds, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and 3 Tbsp chopped parsley. Mix to combine. Let stand covered for 5 minutes the fluff with a fork.
- Serve immediately garnished with reserved almonds, Parmesan and parsley.