Easy Rice Pilaf

This Easy Rice Pilaf is a hearty, homemade side dish that is filling and flavorful. Made entirely on the stove top it comes together in just over 30 minutes. 

Easy Rice Pilaf


We can’t seem to get enough of this Easy Rice Pilaf over here in our house. It seems to disappear faster than I can make it, ha. My original intent was to post this pilaf as a great idea for an Easter side dish and, of course, it is, but it’s more than that! It’s becoming one of our staple side dishes, I want to eat it ALL THE TIME! 


Easy Rice Pilaf

What is Pilaf and how is it different from rice? 


Pilaf refers to how the rice is prepared, in broth rather than in water like most rice. Pilaf often also incorporates orzo, in addition to long grain rice. 

This Easy Rice Pilaf is made in a sauté pan, the orzo is toasted in butter before adding the onions, carrots, celery, rice, garlic and spices. Then everything is cooked together in the pan in vegetable broth. This makes for a more complex, flavorful dish than most other rice dishes. 

I’ve also added dried cranberries, raisins, slivered almonds, fresh parsley and lemon juice to finish off the dish. These elements add tons of additional flavor and textures!  


Tips for Making Easy Rice Pilaf 


  • Make sure you choose a sauté pan that is large enough to hold all the ingredients, I suggest a 10″ pan or larger. Make sure the pan also has a lid since you will be simmering the pilaf on the stove top. 
  • If you don’t have a pan with a lid, you can use a large piece of aluminum foil to cover it instead – it works almost as well as a lid! 
  • Dice the onions, carrots and celery into very small pieces of equal size! You don’t want them to be much larger than the rice and orzo, it makes it a more cohesive dish and keeps the rice as the star of the show! 
  • I love the dried cranberries, raisins and slivered almonds, I think they really make the dish, but if you don’t care for one or all of those ingredients, you can feel free to omit them. 


Easy Rice Pilaf

What Main Dish Should I Serve With Rice Pilaf? 


This Easy Rice Pilaf is a light and flavorful side dish! It would be delicious served with these Skillet Lemon Caper Chicken Breasts or this Honey Mustard Chicken Skillet.

It’s a super adaptable recipe! It can be served fancy with a holiday roast or brought to a backyard BBQ! 


Easy Rice Pilaf

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Easy Rice Pilaf

  • Author: Laura
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


This Easy Rice Pilaf is a hearty, homemade side dish that is filling and flavorful. Made entirely on the stove top it comes together in just over 30 minutes. 



2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup orzo

1/2 cup yellow onion, diced small

1/2 cup carrots, diced small

1/2 cup celery, diced small

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup long grain rice

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth**

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup slivered almonds

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


Melt butter in a sauté pan* over medium heat

Add the orzo, brown evenly by tossing continuously with a wooden spatula

Once the orzo is nicely browned (2-3 minutes) reduce the heat to medium-low

Add the onion, carrots and celery

Sauté 3-4 minutes until vegetables start to soften

Add the garlic, long grain rice, salt and Italian seasoning, sauté 1-2 more minutes

Pour in the vegetable broth

Turn the heat back up to medium and bring pan to a boil

Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and bring pan to a simmer

Cover pan and simmer for 15 minutes

After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid and let rest for 5 minutes

Add the dried cranberries, raisins and slivered almonds to the rice, mix

Squeeze the lemon juice over the rice and add the parsley, toss

The pilaf can be served warm or at room temperature


*make sure the pan has a lid, you will need it later

**or chicken broth

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top

Keywords: #ricepilaf, #stovetoppilaf, #sidedishes, #sidedish, #easysidedish, #easysidedishrecipe

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Easy Rice Pilaf

If you make this Easy Rice Pilaf let me know how you like it!  Leave a star rating and comment below! If you snap a photo, I’d love to see it – share it over on Instagram and tag me @sprinklesandseasalt!

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