How to cook Rice Pilaf

The perfect recipe for rice pilaf includes sautéed onions, garlic, and spices like cumin, cinnamon, and beef or chicken stock. These flavors are combined to create a fragrant and perfectly seasoned dish. Below are the simple steps on how to cook rice pilaf. This rice dish is perfect for a casual family dinner or a special occasion.

This rice pilaf is similar to this easy Spanish rice dish because it is relatively easy to cook and can be made with various ingredients to suit your taste. You can even prepare it like this Cajun dirty rice by simply including ground beef; it is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a side or main course.

This easy rice pilaf recipe is simple to cook and is packed with yummy flavors. Homemade chicken broth and butter give this dish a rich and savory flavor, while sauteed onions, carrots, garlic, and raisins add a touch of sweetness.

Cooking rice pilaf with broth gives the dish a savory flavor and makes it extra tasty. To make things even more interesting. I added some diced lamb and turned it into a complete meal. I first toasted the lamb pieces in hot oil to brown them a little bit, together with the rice and the rest of the veggies. This process gives the dish the best flavor and irresistible taste.

Adding lamb to your rice pilaf makes the dish hearty and filling, plus it is a one-pot recipe and it adds a little excitement to your rice pilaf recipe. You can also make your rice pilaf and enjoy it as a side dish with this air fryer chicken thighs, air-fried chicken drumsticks, or simply cook it without meat at all. In that case, more vegetables, dried fruits, or nuts can be added.

I love dried raisins because they add extra sweetness to the dish. You can try using some dried cranberries, pistachios, toasted almonds, or pine nuts. 

Ingredients for cooking rice pilaf

  • 500g lamb shoulder trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 11/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup dried raisins
  • 2 and 1/2 cups chicken broth, add more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
How to cook rice pilaf at home from scratch

If you are looking for the best recipe on how to cook rice pilaf that is well-seasoned, you’ll love this one! It’s packed with rich flavors, thanks to the sautéed onions, garlic, carrots, and aromatic spices; these spices not only add flavor but also a touch of sweetness to the dish.

Cook Time 40 minutes

Rinse the rice with cold water

Do you wash rice for rice pilaf?

Start by rinsing basmati rice under a running tap and then leave it to soak for a couple of minutes before draining the water out.

The rinsing process helps to remove starch from the rice and also prevents the grains from sticking together.

Saute the sliced onions

Sautéing onions for rice pilaf

Next, place a large skillet on heat, add butter and olive oil, and saute the sliced onions in the hot oil until golden brown and fragrant. After that, transfer the fried onions into a dish and set them aside.

Sauteed onions add a touch of sweetness to the rice dish.

Brown the cubed lamb in the oil

Browning lamb pieces for rice pilaf

Add some diced lamb to the remaining oil in the pan and toast it for 5 minutes until slightly brown. You’ll want to use enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan and make sure that the pieces of lamb are evenly spaced out so that they all get nicely browned. Now, season the meat with a pinch of salt and pepper to make it tasty. Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant. Also, go in with the sliced carrot, and saute it for 3 minutes.

Adding garlic to rice pilaf helps improve the taste of other ingredients in the dish.

Toast the rice in the hot oil

Toasting long grain rice for rice pilaf recipe 1

Drain the rice from the water and add it to the meat. Toast the rice for 5 minutes until all the grains are nicely toasted and start to brown up a little bit.

Toasting the rice helps to give it a nutty flavor and aroma, which enhances the final dish.

Season the rice with spices

Adding spices and raisins to rice pilaf

Now, that you have your rice nicely browned, it’s time to add some seasonings. Go in with ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, black pepper, and some dried raisins.

Apart from dried raisins, other popular fruits or nuts such as apricots, cranberries, almonds, pistachios, or cashews could be added to rice pilaf for texture and extra sweetness.

Add the chicken broth to cook the rice

Chicken broth or beef broth is best for cooking rice pilaf

Bring the broth to a boil first, then pour it over the rice and stir everything together. Feel free to use beef or vegetable broth if that is what you have on hand. Stir everything together, cover the skillet, and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Make sure you are not adding too much broth to cook the rice, the liquid should be slightly above it otherwise, you will end up with mushy rice pilaf.

Taste for seasonings and adjust

How to cook rice pilaf from scratch

You can taste it to check if it needs any additional salt or seasonings and make sure to keep an eye on the liquid level while cooking the rice; if the rice is still hard, add a little bit of stock or plain water and continue cooking until tender.

You can add a couple of other seasonings to your rice pilaf.

Stir in the sauteed onions

Adding sautéed onions to rice pilaf

Once the liquid is fairly dried, and you are happy with the overall taste, return the fried onions and stir to combine, cover, and cook on low heat for 3 minutes until the liquid dries up totally.

How to cook rice pilaf at home

Garnish and serve

How to cook rice pilaf from scratch 6

Garnish your rice pilaf with freshly chopped parsley and fluff with a fork then serve! And there you have it, your very own homemade rice pilaf!

Serve your delicious homemade rice pilaf with a bowl of green salad.

Best tips on how to cook rice pilaf

  • The best tip on how to cook rice pilaf is to use long-grain rice for the best texture. Long-grain rice like basmati or jasmine works best in this dish. Avoid using short-grain rice like risotto or Arborio rice, as they will become mushy when cooked.
  • Just before cooking the rice, it is important to rinse it thoroughly. This helps to remove any excess starch from the surface of the grains, which can result in stickier and clumpier rice.
  • Toast the rice in a bit of oil before adding the stock. Just add the dry rice to a hot pan and stir frequently until it’s evenly toasted. This simple step helps to bring out the nutty flavor of the rice and prevents it from becoming clumpy.
  • Use broth instead of water for more flavor. Water is fine if you don’t have broth, but broth will give your pilaf an extra boost of flavor. You can use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth depending on what you have available.
  • Stir in some aromatic vegetables and herbs. Aromatic vegetables like onion, garlic, and carrots are key for adding depth of flavor to your pilaf (and they smell great while cooking). Just take some time and sauté them in a bit of oil until they’re soft before adding the rice and liquid.
  • Use the correct ratio of liquid- Cooking the best rice pilaf is all about getting the right ratio of rice to water. Depending on the type of rice you’re using, you’ll want to use a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of rice to water. Adding too much water or stock will result in a mushy rice pilaf.
  • Avoid stirring the rice too much while it’s cooking. Stirring too much will release starch from the grains and make them sticky.

Recipe variations

There are endless variations of this basic recipe. You can add different types of vegetables, proteins, nuts, or even dried fruits to the dish to give it more flavor and nutrients. For example, you could add diced carrots, celery stalks, and peas for more flavor and texture.

Also, you could add sauteed mushrooms, cooked chicken, shrimp, or lamb to make it a complete meal. Dried fruits or nuts like raisins, cranberries, and roasted almonds can be stirred in for a touch of sweetness.

Some other spices that you can incorporate into your rice pilaf are turmerics, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cardamom, and saffron. Instead of using regular white rice, you can make this rice dish with Orzo pasta, broken vermicelli, bulgur wheat, wild rice, or brown rice.

What is the pilaf method of cooking rice?

The pilaf method is a technique that involves first sautéing the rice in a small amount of fat, such as butter or oil. This helps to give the rice a nice flavor and also helps to prevent it from sticking together. Once the rice is nicely browned, broth or water is added with seasonings. The rice is then brought to a simmer until it absorbs all the liquid and is tender. This method results in perfectly cooked rice that is fluffy and light. It also has a nice flavor thanks to the initial sautéing step.

Which liquid is commonly used when making pilaf?

Chicken broth or beef broth is best for cooking rice pilaf

Seasoned broth is commonly used in making pilaf, this liquid helps to flavor the rice and keeps it moist. The most commonly used broth include chicken broth, beef broth, or vegetable broth. These broths are easy to make at home with chicken bones and scraps. Just simmer them in water for a few hours to extract the rich broth before using. See here how to make homemade stock.

Beef broth is another good option for adding flavor, it can be made in a similar way to chicken broth by simmering cow’s rib and bones in water. Or, you could just dissolve beef bouillon cubes in hot water and add to it the rice.

Is Rice Pilaf the same as pilau rice?

Is rice pilaf the same as pilau rice?

Rice pilaf which is also known as pilau rice or pulao, is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. It is popular in many regions of the world, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Central Asia, and the Middle East. The word pilaf comes from the Persian word for rice, which is polow.
Pilau” is another name for this rice dish and is used in some parts of the world, such as India. This rice dish has been adapted to many different cultures and there are now many different versions of it all over the world.

How is rice pilaf different from rice?

Why is rice pilaf different from normal white rice?

Rice pilaf is different from plain rice in several ways. It is a dish made from rice that has been cooked in seasoned broth instead of plain water and it is popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. It is typically flavored with herbs and spices which add a more robust flavor than plain rice. This seasoned rice can be made into a main dish by adding vegetables or protein such as lamb, chicken, beef, or shrimp. While plain white rice is typically just boiled in water without seasonings until tender.

Is rice pilaf healthy?

Homemade rice pilaf can be prepared healthily by substituting brown rice for white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain and has more fiber than white rice. This makes it a healthier choice for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. You can add some lean protein, such as chicken, fish, or tofu, and also incorporate lots of vegetables in your recipe, such as carrots, peas, celery, mushrooms, and corn.

Adding more vegetables to your rice pilaf will increase the number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your dish. Finally, try using vegetable broth, low-sodium chicken broth, or water to cook the rice and then season it to your desired taste.

Why is my rice pilaf mushy?

There are a few possible reasons why your rice pilaf is mushy. The first is that you’ve added too much water to cook the rice. When cooking rice, you should always use a ratio of two parts of water to one part rice. If you use more water than this, the excess will make the rice mushy. Another reason may be the type of rice you used. Long-grain rice like basmati or jasmine rice will give you the best results and make sure to rinse the rice well before cooking it.

Do you wash rice for pilaf?

Do you wash rice for rice pilaf?

You should rinse or wash your rice a few times before making rice pilaf. Washing the rice removes any dirt and excess starch that may be on the surface of the grain. It also pre-soaks the rice, which helps it cook evenly resulting in a lighter, and fluffier final meal instead of mushy rice pilaf.

How to store rice pilaf

In the fridge- Rice pilaf can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 days. To store, cool the rice completely, and then transfer it to an airtight container, Cover it with a tight-fitting lid, and keep it in the fridge until when ready to eat.

Freezing- If you’re not planning on eating the rice within a few days, you can also freeze it for up to 3 months. To freeze it, simply put it in a freezer-safe container and pop it in the freezer. It will keep for up to 3 months.

How to reheat rice pilaf

Make sure to thaw the rice overnight in the fridge, place it in a microwave-safe dish, and heat on high for two to three minutes, stirring once or twice during the cooking period. You can also reheat rice pilaf on the stovetop. Place the rice in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through. When reheating, be sure to add a little bit of water or broth to keep the rice from drying out.

Video on How to Cook Rice Pilaf

A YouTube video showing how to cook rice pilaf at home.

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