Rice Pilaf Recipe

This rice pilaf recipe makes a wonderful side dish for almost any main course!

Rice Pilaf is one of those dishes I rarely got as a child, but really closed in on when I did get to enjoy a bit. All I knew was that I loved it and wanted more than the small portion on my plate.

A bowl or delicious, brown rice pilaf sits in a black bowl, ready to serve and enjoy.

As an adult, it’s something I remember fondly, but always considered it too difficult or complicated to make at home. But the truth is, if you have all the ingredients, it comes together pretty easily. I found this recipe recently from A Family Feast, and figured I’d take a shot at “cleaning it up”.

Truth be told, it really didn’t need all that much adjustment. But I was in a hurry to get ready for company coming over, so I really simplified things by using garlic and onion powder instead of chopping the fresh stuff. But feel free to use them if you prefer. You would just sauté them with the brown rice before adding the Orzo. I also didn’t have a dutch oven handy, so I used a cast iron pan and made it on the stove top instead. I don’t care for thyme, so I changed the spices a bit as well. And with all that, it still turned out delicious!!

A serving dish filled with this Rice Pilaf Recipe is being served with a serving spoon at the dinner table.


Pilaf is also called pilau and is typically made of rice, but can also be made or wheat (such as in the recipe below). The rice or wheat is cooked with broth instead of water and many ingredients can be added such as meats or vegetables. Our American version tends to be less involved where ingredients are concerned, however, with additions usually being limited to something like sliced almonds. Pilaf is cooked specifically so the grains won’t stick together.


Rice it cooked in water and is flavored after being cooked. Rice pilaf is cooked in broth and is seasoned during cooking. Can the two techniques overlap? Of course! I’m sure we’ve all put some seasoning in our rice pot. But that is the basic difference. Plus, rice is just that. Rice. Pilaf is sometimes made with orzo or wheat. Pilaf is the name of a dish, where rice is the name of the ingredient, cooked or not.


It is likely that Pilaf was invented in India some time after the importation of Rice to the Indus River valley. It is believed that the earliest forms of our modern word “Pilafarethe Indo Aryan words “Pula,” (meaning a dish of rice & meat) and / or “Pulāka” (from the Sanskrit meaning a lump of boiled rice). (source)


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A bowl or delicious, brown rice pilaf sits in a black bowl, ready to serve and enjoy.

Rice Pilaf Recipe

A deliciously clean side dish you'll enjoy with many different main courses!
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Course: Grains, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 190kcal


  • ½ cup dry whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth (low sodium, no sugar added)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Put the orzo in a dry pan, and roast it for 3-5 minutes. It will turn slightly golden. Pour into a heat-safe dish and set aside. In the same skillet, combine the oil, rice garlic powder and onion powder. Sauté for approximately 2-3 minutes.
    Roasting the whole grain orzo.
  • Add the orzo back in along with the chicken broth.
    Adding the chicken broth to the roasted orzo.
  • Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked.
    Transfer the rice pilaf to a serving bowl.
  • Immediately after turning the heat off, stir in the basil and tarragon and allow to sit and cool for a bit.
    The finished rice pilaf sits served at the dinner table.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 436mg | Potassium: 242mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1.6mg

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