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Rice and Pasta Pilaf

This Rice and Pasta Pilaf is an easy and versatile side dish that goes with just about everything. It uses one pot, a few simple pantry ingredients, and is ready in about 30 minutes!

Why buy a box of Rice-a-Roni when you can just as easily make your own homemade version with just a few simple ingredients and in the same amount of time?

Not only is this Rice and Pasta Pilaf easier on the budget, you control exactly what’s in it, and honestly, I think it tastes so much better!

When I was a kid, we often had Rice-A-Roni as a side dish. It was one of my favorites! These days, I really try to limit the amount of processed foods that we eat, so I love to make homemade versions.

As it turns out, it’s just as easy to make homemade Rice-A-Roni as it is to open up the box!

First, I have to give a quick shout-out to my sister-in-law for sharing this awesome recipe with me a few years ago. It was love at first bite, and it’s been in my rotation ever since (thanks, Terry!).

This is a simple chicken-flavored pilaf that I’m sharing today, but the fun part about this recipe is that you can totally change it up and make so many different variations.

Use vegetable broth or beef broth. Use different herbs and spices. Add sauteed vegetables like onions, mushrooms or peppers. Mix in some frozen peas at the end…or some Parmesan cheese.

This is a recipe you can have lots of fun with!

pot full of rice and pasta pilaf with a spoon in it

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Butter
  • Long-grain or extra-long-grain white rice
  • Orzo (or spaghetti or vermicelli broken up into small pieces)
  • Water
  • Roasted chicken base (see Note below)
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Note: You could use your favorite chicken broth or stock in place of the water and roasted chicken base.

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE RICE AND PASTA PILAF:

three images showing steps to make rice and pasta pilaf
three images showing steps to make rice and pasta pilaf
three images showing how to make rice and pasta pilaf

TIPS & TIDBITS:

  • For the fluffiest rice, be sure to use long-grain or extra-long-grain white rice. I love using either basmati or jasmine rice because they have such great flavor. Medium and short-grain rice can end up on the sticky side, so I don’t recommend using them.
  • My favorite pasta to use in this pilaf is orzo because it has a great rice-like shape, and you just pour it in and go. If you can’t find orzo or don’t have any on hand, you can break up some spaghetti or vermicelli into small pieces (about 1/2 inch) and use that instead.
  • I use broth made from combining roasted chicken base (like Better Than Bouillon) and water because I think it adds so much more flavor than most boxed or canned broths or stocks – but you can absolutely use your favorite broth or stock instead (homemade would be great!).
  • If you’d like to use fresh parsley instead of dried, wait and stir it in after the pilaf has finished cooking. You will want to use about 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley. 
  • Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator once cooled for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in an oven-safe covered dish in a 350°F oven or in the microwave until heated through.
white bowl of rice and pasta pilaf with a spoon in it

This pilaf is so easy to make and so delicious, I’m sure it will become a family favorite that you’ll want to make again and again!

I hope you try this recipe for Rice and Pasta Pilaf and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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a bowl of rice and pasta pilaf with a spoonful being taken out

Rice and Pasta Pilaf

This Rice and Pasta Pilaf is an easy and versatile side dish that goes with just about everything. It uses one pot, a few simple pantry ingredients, and is ready in about 30 minutes!
4.41 from 5 votes
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Estimated Calories: 138

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup long-grain or extra-long-grain white rice
  • ¾ cup orzo pasta, or you could use spaghetti or vermicelli broken up into small 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons roasted chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon (see Recipe Notes below)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid (I use a 3-quart saucepan), melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the rice and pasta and saute, stirring frequently, until it is lightly golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn; reduce heat if needed.
  • In a small bowl, combine the water and roasted chicken base. Add to the pot along with the garlic powder and parsley flakes; stir briefly to combine. Note: Be very careful when adding the liquid to the pot, as it creates a lot of hot steam!
  • Increase the heat and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork, season to taste with salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

Notes

  • I like using basmati or jasmine rice because they have such great flavor.
  • You can use 3 cups of your favorite chicken broth or stock instead of the roasted chicken base and water. I think the chicken base adds much more flavor, so that is what I use. 
  • If you’d like to use fresh parsley instead of dried, wait and stir it in after the pilaf has finished cooking. You will want to use about 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley. 
  • Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator once cooled for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a covered oven-safe dish in a 350°F oven or in the microwave until heated through.
  • This is a recipe that is extremely versatile, and you can change it up so many different ways. Use vegetable broth or beef broth. Use different herbs and spices. Add cooked vegetables like onions, mushrooms or peppers. Mix in some frozen peas at the end…or some Parmesan cheese. Lots of possibilities!
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
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Recipe Rating




Denise Cowperthwaite

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Love this recipe, tried to do it with brown rice and something went wrong. Followed recipe to a T and the rice was still hard while the orzr was soft and cooked. Any advice on how we can adapt.this for brown rice?

Michelle

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Hi, Denise! So happy to hear that you love this pilaf, but brown rice should not be substituted for white rice in this recipe because brown rice takes so much longer to cook (45 to 50 minutes as compared to 15 to 20 minutes, which is why your rice was still hard). And if you were to let it simmer for the 45 to 50 minutes it would take to fully cook the brown rice, the orzo would be very overcooked and mushy. The only way you could possibly adapt it would be to cook the brown rice and orzo separately and then combine them, and I'm not sure how that would affect the overall flavor. Thanks for your question!

Sylvia Farias

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Not enough flavor, think next time I'll add more chicken bouillon and garlic, it was okay.

Michelle

Thursday 7th of April 2022

Yes, you can always add more chicken base and garlic powder to suit your own taste!

Angela Fink

Thursday 24th of March 2022

Can I use jasmine rice?

Michelle

Thursday 24th of March 2022

Hi, Angela! Yes, you sure can. The cooking time should be the same (or very close)!

Anna

Wednesday 9th of February 2022

This is my go-to recipe for rice pilaf; it always turns out great!

Michelle

Wednesday 9th of February 2022

So awesome to hear this! Thank you very much, Anna!

Richard Slubowski

Saturday 2nd of October 2021

A good basic recipe that serves as a springboard for thousands of variations, so that it can be made over and over again with small adjustments. I add a small amount of minced onion, celery and carrot.

Michelle

Saturday 2nd of October 2021

Hi, Richard! Yes, I agree that this pilaf is very versatile and can be changed up so many ways. So glad you enjoyed it, and I love your addition of onion, celery, and carrot. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and rate the recipe!