When you need a flavorful, yet easy side dish turn to this recipe for Homemade Rice Pilaf. Made with toasted rice, earthy mushrooms, and a homemade blend of spices, this Rice Pilaf Recipe is buttery, nutty, and insanely delicious!
Rice Pilaf was the side dish my mom made whenever she made Ribeye Steak or London Broil. She noted that the earthy flavors in the mushrooms and beef broth paired beautifully with beef entrees. And she was right!
But while my mom often served homemade rice pilaf for fancier meals, it happens to be one of the simplest side dishes to make as well. And that is how I like to roll--simple, yet delicious.
Reasons to Love this Rice Pilaf Recipe
- Easy Side Dish with Memorable Flavor. Rice Pilaf is a simple side dish that infuses the rice with flavor as it cooks. Instead of simmering rice, the rice is first toasted with butter and then simmered in broth with seasonings. It is rich, nutty, buttery, and just delicious.
- Made with Pantry Staples. Rice, broth, and dried seasonings, which you are likely to have on hand, are the stars of rice pilaf. Adding fresh mushrooms and onions, is encouraged, but completely optional.
- No Seasoning Packets. Instead of relying on a boxed mix or packaged seasonings, this recipe uses simple ingredients and a blend of dried spices to mimic packaged dried onion soup.
- Pairs with Endless Entrees. Rice Pilaf pairs beautifully with any beef dish, but also with Baked Cod, Balsamic Pork Tenderloin, and Air Fryer Chicken Breast. You can't go wrong pairing it with any entree!
Notes on Ingredients
- Rice: When making rice pilaf, long-grain white rice or basmati is the standard choice. You can feel free to use long-grain brown rice, but the cooking time will increase. This is not the time to use minute rice.
- Butter + Olive Oil: The butter adds richness to the pilaf, while the olive oil helps to prevent the butter from burning. Use unsalted butter and extra virgin olive oil for best results.
- Mushrooms: Baby Bella, shitake, or button mushrooms all work well in this recipe.
- Onion: Sweet onions, white onions, and yellow onions all work well in rice pilaf. I don't recommend using a red onion.
- Seasonings: To give the rice pilaf incredible flavor, I use a blend of spices that replicate Dried Onion Soup Mix. It gives the rice so much flavor WITHOUT the additives found in packaged soup mixes.
- Broth: You can use vegetable broth, chicken stock, or beef broth when making rice pilaf. The st will keep this recipe vegetarian-friendly, chicken broth will keep the pilaf a bit lighter in flavor, and beef broth will make rich rice pilaf.
- Omit the Mushrooms. If you don't have them on hand or don't like mushrooms simply omit them from the pilaf, as they are an optional ingredient. As a child, I picked them out, however, as an adult, I appreciate the flavor and texture they add to the pilaf.
- Add Veggies. Add in diced carrots along with the onion for a pop of color and texture or stir in frozen peas after the rice has cooked. Place the lid back on the rice and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until the peas have defrosted and warmed through.
- Add More Flavor. Add 1-2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce for additional earthiness.
- Dairy-Free Rice Pilaf: If you need this recipe to be dairy-free, you can replace the butter with non-dairy butter or use additional olive oil.
- Have an Instant Pot? Use my recipe for Instant Pot Rice Pilaf for perfect results.
How to Make Rice Pilaf
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step One: Saute the onion and mushrooms. Because the onions need a bit longer cooking time than the mushrooms, I start the recipe by sauteeing the onions in a combination of olive oil and butter over medium heat until the onion has begun to soften, then add in the mushrooms, and continue to saute until the mushrooms are fragrant and browned.
Do not be tempted to turn up the heat when preparing rice pilaf. To do so, can result in burnt butter, overcooked mushrooms, and uneven cooking.
Step Two: Toast the rice and dried spices. Add the rice and dried seasonings to the skillet and toss to coat the rice with the butter. Let this mixture toast for just a minute or two, which will add a rich nutty flavor to the rice, along with allowing the dried herbs to release their essences into the dish.
Step Three: Add broth and simmer. Once the onion, mushrooms, and rice are toasted, this rice pilaf comes together as easily as cooking plain rice. After adding the broth, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the rice is cooked through.
Step Four: Fluff and serve. Once the rice is tender, remove the pan from the heat. Gently fluff the rice with a fork. Do NOT stir the rice, as this can cause the rice grains to break down and turn mushy.
- Refrigerate: Allow the rice pilaf to cool slightly, then transfer the rice pilaf to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freeze: Allow the rice to cool fully. Once cooled, freeze the leftover pilaf in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: Allow the rice to defrost in the refrigerator if needed. Place the rice pilaf into a heat-safe container and add a splash of additional broth or water to the rice, cover with a moistened paper towel, and heat in the microwave in 60-second intervals until warmed through. The additional broth along with the moist paper towel will keep the pilaf from drying out when reheated.
Rice pilaf makes an easy, impressive side dish that is perfect for just about any meal. Below are a few of my favorite entrees to pair with rice pilaf.
- Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
- Pan-Fried Ribeye Steak
- London Broil
- Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
- Baked Salmon
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If you enjoyed this recipe for rice pilaf, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Easy Homemade Rice Pilaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup yellow onion minced
- 8 oz baby Bella or button mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery seed
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups low-sodium broth beef, chicken or vegetable
- minced parsley or chives for serving
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat until just until the butter is melted. To the melted butter and oil, add in the minced fresh onion, and saute until the onion is beginning to soften 3-4 minutes
- Add in the mushrooms and saute until fragrant and browned 2-3 minutes.
- Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse well. Shake the strainer well to remove all the excess water.
- Add the rinsed rice, onion flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed, pepper, dried parsley, and salt into the saucepan and toss everything together to coat the rice with the butter and seasonings. Toast the mixture for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add in the broth and bring the mixture to a gentle boil, while still keeping the heat at medium.
- Once small bubbles begin to form along the sides of the pan, cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until rice is cooked through.
- Remove the lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork. Do NOT stir the rice, as this can cause the rice grains to break down and turn mushy. Give the rice a taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Serve with chopped fresh parsley or chopped green onions.