Easy Orange Rice

A bowl of orange rice with cilantro garnish.
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
292 Calories
9g Fat
48g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 292
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 16mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 17%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 4g
Calcium 56mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Some orange juice, butter, and chopped vegetables give ordinary white rice bright color and fresh flavor. If you are bored with the same old boiled or steamed rice, try this tasty citrus combination. The orange flavor stands out, but the dish is not sweet and can complement may dishes. Orange flavors go with many dishes, including pork, ham, chicken, duck, salmon, and many other kinds of fish. Orange complements shellfish as well. Serve the rice with grilled shrimp, lobster tails, or seared scallops.

For the orange juice, it will take about 3 to 4 oranges. Alternatively, use all or part commercial orange juice (unsweetened) in the recipe. The orange zest adds color and flavor, but if you don't have fresh oranges, feel free to omit it.

If you're looking for alternatives to plain rice, potatoes, or pasta, this orange rice recipe is an excellent choice.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (with leaves)
  • 1/4 cup shallots (finely chopped, or onion)
  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or about 1/8 teaspoon dried leaf thyme)
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • Optional: chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy orange rice recipe.
    Diana Rattray
  2. Melt the butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat; add the celery and shallots. Cook until the shallot is tender, stirring frequently. Do not brown.

    Start the orange rice with sauteed shallots and celery in butter.
    Diana Rattray
  3. Add the orange juice, water, orange zest, salt, and thyme, if using. Bring to a boil and then slowly add the rice, stirring constantly.

    Add the liquids and rice to the orange rice.
    Diana Rattray
  4. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low; simmer for 20 minutes. Leave the cover on and let the rice stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

    Fluff the orange rice with a fork.
    Diana Rattray
  5. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Should you rinse your rice? While rinsing isn't absolutely necessary, it does make a difference. By rinsing the starches off the grains, you avoid gumminess and your rice is less likely to stick together. Talc is still used in the milling process in some countries. If your rice is imported, you should rinse it.
  • How to rinse rice: Pour the rice into a bowl and cover it with cold water. Swish it with your hand and then strain it through a mesh strainer. Repeat the rinsing until the water looks clear.
  • What is the best orange for juicing? Navel oranges are sweet and great for eating, but Valencia oranges are juicier and stay sweeter longer.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the thyme with a tablespoon or two of chopped cilantro or parsley, or add a few teaspoons of fresh snipped chives.
  • Brown rice may replace the white rice but will take longer to cook. For brown rice, add an extra 1/2 cup of water and increase the cooking time to about 35 to 45 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy this flavorful orange rice side dish topped with honey and citrus glazed salmon fillet or butter and herb scallops. Or choose a meaty entrée, such as these roasted pork chops or baked ham. The rice would complement an easy skillet chicken dish nicely as well. Add a side salad or a green vegetable—green beans, peas, or spinach—to the plate for a full and satisfying dinner.