Traditional Rice Pilaf Recipe and Cooking Variations


Rice pilaf is a name for a dish, and a method of cooking rice. This recipe calls for cooking the rice on the stove then finishing it in the oven.

Rice pilaf is a name for a cooked rice dish, and is also a coined method of cooking rice. Most rice pilaf recipe procedures begin with sautéing rice with or without vegetables first, then adding a liquid and finishing the dish in the oven or on the stove. Depending on the cuisine, rice pilaf can be spelled pilav, pilaff, or pilau.

Rice pilaf becomes a healthy way to serve rice as a side dish or a main course by adding other vegetables at the beginning, or mixing cooked vegetables or low fat meats into the rice after it is cooked.

Traditional Rice Pilaf Method

Rice pilaf can be made in different ways. A traditional method for making a rice pilaf starts off by heating the liquid in the recipe, like chicken stock or water, until hot. This will be added to the cooked vegetables and rice, and adding it hot to the pan will keep the temperature in the pan hot, thereby reducing cooking times.


Using an oven-proof pan, cook diced onions in a bit of butter or oil over medium heat until softened, but not browned. Other ingredients can be added at the same time, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, or other vegetables, or even meat. Add in the rice and stir until all the rice kernels have been coated. The hot liquid is added. The mixture is brought to a boil and the pan is covered and placed in the oven to finish cooking.

Other methods include baking the rice uncovered, or finishing the cooking on the stove. Two benefits of finishing the rice in the oven is that it frees up range space if multiple burners will be used for the meal, and it makes cooking a large amount of rice easy.

Basic Rice Pilaf Recipe


  • 2 Tbsp whole unsalted butter, or no-cholesterol butter substitute
  • 1/2 cup small diced yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock, hot


  1. In a heavy bottomed, oven-proof sauté pan, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Add in the diced yellow onions and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat until softened and translucent, but not browned.
  2. Stir in the rice and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice kernels have been thoroughly coated. Add in the hot liquid, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and cover with an oven-proof lid, or simply cover and seal with aluminum foil. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Uncover, and fluff lightly with a fork. Serve immediately.


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