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+ servings

Perfect Rice Pilaf

A versatile rice side dish that's been around for decades for good reason.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1/2 rib celery
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup rice, white or brown, your choice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • zest of 1 lemon, if desired
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  • Finely chop the celery, carrot, and onion. 
  • Heat a medium saucepan and add the butter. Saute the vegetables for about 5 minutes, but do not color.
  • Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until golden, approximately 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Pour in the broth, salt & pepper, and bay leaf. Give it a quick stir.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Cover and barely simmer on low heat.  Don't stir. Cook for 20 minutes, or however long your rice states on the package, then check for doneness.  Tilt the pot and see if there is still liquid to the side. If so, cook for another few minutes. If there is just a little moisture throughout, let sit covered. If you see holes in the rice when you lift the lid, it's done.
  • Taste rice and adjust seasonings.  Remove the bay leaf and add parsley and lemon zest, if using. Fluff with a fork and serve.


  • Adjust your cooking time to the variety of rice you've used. White rice will cook in 20 minutes, give or take. Traditional brown rice will take about 45 minutes, whereas brown Basmati, one of my favorites, cooks in 20 minutes.
  • You can begin this dish on the stovetop and finish it in the oven.  Just bring the rice and liquid up to a boil, cover tightly then, then finish it in a 350° oven.  Convenient and energy saving if the rest of your meal is in the oven.