Simple Rice Pilaf

This is a very simple rice pilaf: white rice cooked with a little flavorful oil and chopped onion, and then simmered with broth. It’s one step up from rice cooked in water, but not so elaborate that you can’t pull it together on a weeknight.

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Serves4-6 (servings)
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  1. Rinse the rice: Place the rice in a strainer and rinse it thoroughly under cool water. The water running through the rice will look milky at first, but will then become clearer and only lightly clouded. It's fine if there's still some haze in the water. There is no need to dry the rice before cooking; a bit of moisture on the rice is fine. Set the strainer of rice aside while you cook the onion.
  2. Cook the onion: Warm the olive oil or butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent and soft.
  3. Toast the rice: Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat with olive oil or butter. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the tips of the rice turn translucent and the rice smells fragrant and toasted.
  4. Add the broth or water and boil: Pour the broth or water and salt into the saucepan and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil.
  5. Cover and cook: As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook without lifting the lid for 15 to 18 minutes. At the end, check that the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. If not, cover and cook another few minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water if needed.
  6. Steam the rice: Remove the pan from heat and let it sit, covered, for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Fluff and serve: Remove the lid and fluff the pilaf with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Recipe Tips

You can make pilafs that mix other grains and pastas along with the white rice, like wild rice, orzo, broken pieces of vermicelli, and tiny lentils. Along with the onion, you can mix in peas, diced carrots, chopped peppers, or sautéed mushrooms, or even sweet-savory ingredients like golden raisins, dried currants, chopped dried apricots, or nuts. Spice it up with a pinch of saffron, some spices, or even a strip of orange zest.

Nutrition Facts
Simple Rice Pilaf
Amount Per Serving
Calories 143 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 976mg 41%
Potassium 128mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 2g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 5%
Vitamin C 2%
Vitamin D0%
Calcium 1%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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