Easy Rice Pilaf (3 Ingredients Only)

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This quick and convenient rice pilaf recipe is a culinary gem, requiring only three basic ingredients and a mere 20 minutes of your time. Its simplicity is its strength, making it a go-to choice for busy days or when you need a reliable side dish that delivers on both taste and convenience. 


Fork digging into rice pilaf.

Rice is one of those fantastic ingredients that can turn a small meal into something really filling. If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for new ways to use it. That’s where rice pilaf comes in! It’s basically a fancy term for a delicious way of cooking rice that originally came from South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Instead of just boiling it in water, you cook it in chicken broth or stock, which gives it a fantastic flavor boost.

Then, you can get creative! Add some meat, throw in your favorite spices, or mix in some tasty veggies. The result? A meal that’s not only satisfying but also brings a bit of global flair to your table. So, next time you’re looking to jazz up your rice, give rice pilaf a try! It’s a culinary adventure that’s totally worth it.

When I was shopping for my steak kabobs post, I tossed around an easy rice pilaf idea in my head. I instantly thought of vegetable soup mix and how flavorful it is. I wanted an easy rice pilaf recipe that didn’t have you going to the pantry for fifty thousand different herbs so decided this was definitely worth a try.


This simple but deliciously seasoned rice pilaf recipe involves just three ingredients: long grain rice, the aforementioned vegetable soup mix, and chicken bouillon cubes. The end result? Oh my goodness, we love it and I was right about the flavor. My only complaint from the kids was that I didn’t make enough, so next time I’ll be doubling this recipe so we can have some for later.

Rice pilaf is a very versatile side dish recipe and you can serve it alongside any main course, like Steak Kabobs in the Oven or roast chicken.

Labeled recipe ingredients for easy rice pilaf,

Ingredients Needed To Make Rice Pilaf

  • Dry rice (we’re using long grain white rice)
  • A packet of vegetable soup mix
  • A few chicken bouillon cubes

You can use chicken broth in place of the cubes if you like but I prefer bouillon cubes for budget reasons.

Helpful Kitchen Tools

Place all ingredients in a saucepot.

Place all of the ingredients (plus water) in a small saucepot.

Bring to a boil.

Bring this to a boil over medium heat, stirring every now and then. Then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.

Stir in some fresh or dried parsley if you would like or you can skip this step entirely if you’d rather.

Cooked rice pilaf.

Fluff it up a bit and enjoy!

Serve your rice pilaf with chicken and vegetables.

It tastes delicious served with green beans and roast chicken!

How To Store Rice Pilaf

Store cooled rice pilaf leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Simply reheat leftovers in the microwave.

Commonly Asked Questions

What types of rice can be used in this side dish recipe?

You have a variety of options to choose from: white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, wild rice, or a wild rice blend.

How can you make this rice pilaf vegetarian?

To keep it vegetarian, substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Can I add vegetables to the rice pilaf?

Yes, you can enhance it with vegetables like caramelized onion (cooked with minced garlic), peas, diced carrot, chopped pepper, chopped celery, or sautéed mushrooms. Be sure to cook these separately in butter or olive oil on the stovetop before adding them to the rice pilaf. Alternatively, cook them in the same saucepot before adding the rice and broth.

Are there any herbs or spices that can be added for flavor?

Certainly! You can add a pinch of saffron, parsley, paprika, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper, or ground coriander.

What are some toppings to enhance the rice pilaf?

You can elevate the dish by adding dried fruit or nuts. Consider using raisins or chopped dried apricots for the fruit, and walnuts, pine nuts, or sliced almonds for the nuts. If there’s a nut allergy, sunflower seeds or pepitas can be a suitable substitute.

Are there any garnishes that can be added to the finished dish?

Yes, you can sprinkle some green onions or fresh parsley on top for an extra burst of flavor.

You may also enjoy these sensational rice dishes:

Large bowl of rice pilaf.

Easy Rice Pilaf

Ready to eat in 20 minutes and using just 3 ingredients, this deliciously easy rice pilaf is the definition of a simple, versatile, and tasty side dish.
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: rice
Servings: 4
Calories: 244kcal


  • 1 packet vegetable soup mix I used Knorr 1 ounce pkg
  • 3-4 chicken bouillon cubes plus 3 cups of water*
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice not instant


  • Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepot and stir.
    1 packet vegetable soup mix, 3-4 chicken bouillon cubes plus 3 cups of water*, 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • Bring just to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.
  • Fluff with a fork and serve.

*3 cups of chicken broth may be substituted for the chicken bouillon cubes and water


    Calories: 244kcal
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      THANK YOU.

    2. Tried to print, but does not seem to be working. This one is so easy though, I will write it out. Looks great. Cannot wait to try it.

    3. Is this really all rice pilaf is?! I am constantly seeing people talk about it, but I assumed it’d be something ridiculous. Definitely adding this to my list! We eat a LOT of rice and I never know how to liven it up. Thanks!

    4. Sitting here checking recipes and I found what is for dinner tomorrow. When I worked in a restaurant years ago, one of my faves was a kabob served on a bed of rice. I’ve not made them but once because I didn’t like how I grilled them. The oven will be awesome. Can’t wait!!

      1. Made this for tonight’s dinner!!! A BIG hit with my family. I happened to have the vegetable dip package left over since Christmas. Lucky me. Cereal crusted chicken and pickled beets. Yummy in my tummy.

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