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    Traditional Rice Pilaf Recipe

    Published August 26, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This delicious rice pilaf recipe is loaded with onions, celery, and garlic and finished with fresh herbs for a tasty side dish to any meal. You will love the simple yet elegant flavors in this traditional side dish.

    If you’re looking for some ideas to prepare this with, try serving it with my Chicken Kiev or my delicious Pan Seared Halibut.

    classic rice pilaf in a bowl

    Rice Pilaf is a dish with origins in Near East and frequently begins with toasting the rice in butter before adding the stock and cooking it until finished. It often has chopped cooked vegetables, meats, seafood, or poultry in the pilaf and can be served as the main entrée and not just as a side dish.

    The versatility of this rice pilaf is excellent because it can be customized to your liking based on the preferred ingredients you would like to add.

    Ingredients for Rice Pilaf

    ingredients for rice pilaf
    • Rice – Any long grain rice will work for this.
    • Stock – A good chicken stock or vegetable stock is best to maximize flavor.
    • Onion – You can use a white, yellow, or sweet onion in this dish.
    • Celery – A few ribs of celery will add some flavor to this.
    • Garlic – I love the addition of 1 finely minced clove.
    • Parsley – Finishing the rice pilaf with chopped parsley adds freshness and green to the dish.
    • Butter – Always use unsalted butter.

    Step-By-Step Instructions.

    Sweat the onion, celery, and garlic in melted butter in a medium size pot over low to medium heat until tender but not browned.

    sweating onions and celery

    Add the rice and stir for 3 to 4 minutes to lightly toast.

    toasting rice in a pan

    Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.

    adding chicken stock to a pot

    Stir the rice, place on a lid, and cook over low heat for 18 to 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the stock is absorbed.

    cooking rice pilaf

    Remove the lid, and using a fork, fluff the rice to break it up. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

    forking rice pilaf

    Rice Pilaf Variations

    There are many things you can add in addition to this recipe to customize it and make it your own.  Here are a few ingredients that would work great in this:

    • Carrot
    • Parsnip
    • Turnip
    • Thyme
    • Dill

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 hour ahead of time. Keep warm covered over very low heat until ready to serve.

    How to Store: Cover and store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze this covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.

    How to Reheat: To reheat, add the desired amount of rice with 2 to 3 tablespoons of chicken or water, and heat over low to medium heat while occasionally stirring until hot.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • If stock is not available, then you can substitute it with water.
    • No matter what kind of rice you are cooking, when doing so on the stovetop, make sure to reduce the amount of suggested liquid amount on the package by 15% as well as the cooking time by 20%.
    • Some folks believe rinsing the rice ahead of time helps to remove some of the starchiness in the rice. My personal opinion is that I’m not sold this works all that well, but if this is the way you have always done it, then I think you should continue to do so.
    • Feel free to add wild or brown rice to this as well.
    • You can also add a few more tablespoons of butter to the rice and the end to add more fat and flavor.

    More Side Dish Recipes

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Traditional Rice Pilaf Recipe

    This delicious rice pilaf recipe is loaded with onions, celery, and garlic and finished with fresh herbs for a tasty side dish to any meal.

    Ingredients 

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ½ peeled and small diced yellow onion
    • 2 small diced ribs of celery
    • 1 finely minced garlic clove
    • 2 cups long grain rice
    • 3 ½ cups chicken stock
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Add the butter to a medium size pot over low to medium heat until melted.
    • Next, add onion, celery, and garlic and cook until tender while frequently stirring but not browned.
    • Add in the rice and stir for 3 to 4 minutes to lightly toast.
    • Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat.
    • Stir the rice, place on a lid, and cook over low heat for 18 to 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the stock is absorbed.
    • Remove the lid, and using a fork, fluff the rice to break it up. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 hour ahead of time. Keep warm covered over very low heat until ready to serve.
    How to Store: Cover and store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze this covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
    How to Reheat: To reheat, add the desired amount of rice with 2 to 3 tablespoons of chicken or water, and heat over low to medium heat while occasionally stirring until hot.
    If stock is not available, then you can substitute it with water.
    No matter what kind of rice you are cooking, when doing so on the stovetop, make sure to reduce the amount of suggested liquid amount on the package by 15% as well as the cooking time by 20%.
    Some folks believe rinsing the rice ahead of time helps to remove some of the starchiness in the rice. My personal opinion is that I’m not sold this works all that well, but if this is the way you have always done it, then I think you should continue to do so.
    Feel free to add wild or brown rice to this as well.
    You can also add a few more tablespoons of butter to the rice and the end to add more fat and flavor.