Simple Healthy Rice Pilaf Recipe

When family has gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving the sides are surely the favorites of the meal.  Rice Pilaf is no exception.  This simple, flavorful Rice Pilaf recipe will leave you with no leftovers as the pan is visited for seconds or thirds.

Essentially Handmade Rice Pilaf Recipe

Thanksgiving Sides Blog Hop

Some of my favorite people have come together to give you about a dozen options for healthy delicious sides to add to your Thanksgiving menu this year!  I am so excited to be collaborating with these ladies. Be sure to read to the end of the post to get the links for all the Thanksgiving goodness!

Now it’s my turn to share our family’s Favorite Simple Rice Pilaf.

Essentially Handmade Rice Pilaf Recipe

Simple Rice Pilaf Recipe

First you’re going to need to gather Basmati rice and Orzo pasta. You will also need a medium sweet onion, fresh garlic, butter, and vegetable broth or bouillon. That’s it! Can you believe an amazing side is going to come from such simple ingredients?

Essentially Handmade Rice Pilaf Recipe

There are options if you have some personal preferences. You can use any kind of onion, but this Texas girl loves sweet onions best. The broth or bouillon can vary also. You can use chicken stock, beef stock, or what ever flavor your family loves.  I prefer the vegetable broth because it is a light flavor that compliments any meat dish. I’ve used them all and it turns out amazing every time.

For Thanksgiving I usually finish this dish in a crockpot. It will steam the rice just right while you are finishing up all the other goodies for your meal. The key to fluffy, light Rice Pilaf is to let it steam without checking the progress a million times. Leave it alone until the timer goes off.

Simple Rice Pilaf Ingredients

1 medium onion chopped

3 cloves garlic chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup Orzo Pasta

1 cup Basmati Rice

2 Cups Vegetable Broth

Simple Rice Pilaf Instructions

First, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan.

Add the Orzo Pasta and stir until golden brown.

Once the Orzo is golden brown add in the chopped sweet onion.

When the onion is translucent add in the garlic. Stir quickly to avoid burning the garlic. Next, add the Basmati Rice and mix thoroughly.

Finally add the vegetable broth.  Bring to a slow boil stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 20-25 minutes.

At this point you could transfer the ingredients into a crockpot to finish cooking.  Put the crockpot on low and let it be. This will free up your stove top and it  turns out great.  When it is time to eat fluff up the rice pilaf.

If you are finishing the Rice pilaf on the stove leave it covered until the timer goes off. Once the timer has sounded fluff the rice and enjoy.


If for some crazy reason you do wind up with leftover Rice Pilaf, no fear.  It reheats beautifully. I recommend adding a sprinkling of water to your dish before your reheat. It will help keep the rice pilaf soft and moist.

Not Just for Thanksgiving

Rice Pilaf is not just a side dish to enjoy only at Thanksgiving.  In our house we include it in our meal plans almost weekly.

It pairs amazingly with barbecue steak, baked chicken, and fish.

Your family will be requesting this dish all year round.

Go Get Some More Amazing Side Dishes

Rice Pilaf by Essentially Handmade | Bacon Parmesan Brussels Sprouts by Vintage Kitchen Vixen | Herbed Garlic Mashed Potatoes by The Bluebonnet Homestead

Buttery Scalloped Corn by Hearty Sol | Sourdough Cornbread Stuffing by Farmhouse Basic Collection | Bordeaux Mushrooms by Our Amyable Farmhouse

Sweet Potato Stackers by Our Future Homestead | Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce by Our Gabled Home | Homemade Buttery Dinner Rolls by St. Martha’s Lens

Gluten Free Gravy by Life on Leetown | Rustic Dressing with Giblet Gravy by Homegrown Hopes

Print the Recipe for Simple Rice Pilaf

5 from 1 vote

Simple Rice Pilaf

Simple, delicious Rice Pilaf is the perfect side for so many meals

Course Side Dish
Keyword pilaf, rice, simple
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 medium sweet onion chaopped
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cup Orzo Pasta
  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 cups vegetable broth


  1. Melt butter on medium in sauce pan.

  2. Add Orzo Pasta to butter and stir until Orzo is golden brown

  3. Add chopped onion and stir unitl translucent

  4. Add garlic and stir continuously to avoid burning

  5. Pour rice into sauce pan and stir mixture

  6. Pour vegetable broth into sauce pan and stir until a low boil

  7. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and let cook for 20-25 minutes

  8. Remove lid and fluf the rice with a spoon. Serve warm and enjoy

Pin for Later

Rice Pilaf Pinterest Graphic

28 thoughts on “Simple Healthy Rice Pilaf Recipe

    1. I make it so often I was like, “this is it?” when I was putting the post together. So much flavor for such a simple recipe!

  1. At the risk of sounding like I live in a bubble…. I have never had pilaf. So we are putting it on our meal list.

  2. Omg I can not wait to make this! My friend in college used to make this and I always loved it! I’ve always wanted to try to make it so I think I’ll give this a try this Thanksgiving!!

  3. This looks so easy and with ingredients I already have on hand. I am going to try it with the crock pot. I’m also tempted to figure it out in the Instant Pot. That would be so handy.

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