Pilaf Rice Recipe

Rice pilaf with grilled chicken
Lauri Patterson / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
138 Calories
7g Fat
15g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 138
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 256mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 131mg 3%
*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.)

Pilaf is one of those culinary words that refers both to the cooking method and to the food that is cooked by that method. Another is risotto, which by sheer coincidence happens to be another rice dish.

In fact, the pilaf and risotto methods are rather similar. They have more in common with each other than either one has with the standard boiling method of cooking rice, where rice goes in the pot with cold water, you bring it to a boil, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.

In both the pilaf and risotto methods, we first sauté some finely minced onion in butter or oil, then add the uncooked rice and sauté it until it until it gives off a faint nutty aroma. For pilaf, we then add hot stock, cover, and transfer to the oven where it cooks until the liquid is absorbed.

(With risotto, after sautéing the onion and rice, hot stock is stirred into the rice a ladle-full at a time, rather than adding it all at once.)

Cooking rice via the pilaf method gives you a firmer grain and develops additional flavor through the sautéing. It also helps keep the grains separate and generally results in rice that's less sticky than the regular kind.


Click Play to Learn How to Make Delicious Rice Pilaf


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, or broth

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion

  • 2 tablespoons finely diced celery

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed, ovenproof saucepan over medium heat, then add the butter.

  3. In a separate small saucepan, bring the stock or broth to a boil. It's a good idea to check the seasoning of the cooking liquid and make any necessary adjustments with the salt before it gets too hot to taste.

  4. When the butter gets foamy, add the diced onion and celery, and sauté until the onion is slightly translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Add the uncooked rice and sauté, stirring constantly, for about a minute, or until the rice is fully coated with the melted butter.

  6. Add the hot stock or broth, bring the pot back to a boil, cover, and place the entire pot in the oven.

  7. Cook the rice pilaf in the oven for 18 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. If after 18 minutes, there's still liquid in the pot or the rice is still too moist, re-cover, and return the pot to the oven for another 2 to 4 minutes.

  8. Remove the pot from the oven, and gently fluff the rice pilaf with a wooden fork. Then place a paper towel across the top of the pot, replace the lid, and let the rice pilaf stand for 10 minutes.


  • When making this rice pilaf recipe, you'll want to make sure to use a saucepan that's safe for the stovetop and the oven—including the lid. If you're lucky you'll have (or be able to find) a pot made of oven- and stovetop-safe glass, which lets you see how much liquid is still in it without taking off the lid and releasing all the steam. Visions by Corningware once manufactured one. If you have something like that, it'll be perfect.

Recipe Variation

  • This basic pilaf recipe features minced onion and celery, but you could also include slivered almonds, peas, dried currants, and so on. You can sauté the slivered almonds along with the rice, but if you're adding peas or dried currants, add those at the same time as the liquid. Frozen peas would work great.