Easy Orange Rice

A bowl of orange rice with cilantro garnish
Diana Rattray
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
175 Calories
9g Fat
22g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 175
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 611mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 44mg 221%
Calcium 31mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 245mg 5%
*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 unsweetened orange juice 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.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup diced celery, with leaves

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots, or onion

  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice

  • 2/3 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, finely grated

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or about 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked

  • Parsley, or cilantro, chopped, for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy orange rice recipe
    Diana Rattray
  2. Melt the butter in a 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 sautéed 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!


  • While rinsing your rice 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.
  • To rinse, 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.
  • Navel oranges are sweet and great for eating, but Valencia oranges are juicier and stay sweeter longer—perfect for this recipe.

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.