Easy Rice Pilaf (3 Ingredients Only)

Ready to eat in 20 minutes and using just 3 ingredients, this deliciously easy rice pilaf recipe is the definition of a simple, versatile, and tasty side dish.

Fork digging into rice pilaf.

Rice is a wonderfully filling meal stretcher and if you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for another way to use it! Enter rice pilaf. If you’re wondering what rice pilaf is, it’s a rice dish of South Asia, Central Asian, and Middle Eastern origin. It involves cooking rice in chicken stock or broth and then adding flavor through meat, spices, or vegetables.

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 or roast chicken.

Labeled recipe ingredients for easy rice pilaf,

Recipe Ingredients

  • 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!


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

Recipe Notes

  • You can use whatever rice you like in this side dish recipe: white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, wild rice, or a wild rice blend… the choice is all yours.
  • To keep this a vegetarian side dish, you can substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
  • Here are some easy ways to customize and add some extra flavor to your simple rice pilaf:
    • Add in vegetables, like 1/2 cup of caramelized onion (cooked with minced garlic), peas, diced carrot, chopped pepper, chopped celery, or sautéed mushrooms. You’ll want to cook these vegetables separately either in butter or olive oil on the stovetop before adding them to the rice pilaf. Alternatively, cook them in the same saucepot before you add the rice and broth.
    • Add a pinch of herbs or spices, like saffron, parsley, paprika, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper, or ground coriander.
    • Serve your rice pilaf with dried fruit or nuts on top. For the dried fruit, I recommend either raisins or chopped dried apricots. As for the chopped nuts, opt for walnuts, pine nuts, or sliced almonds. If you have a nut allergy, you can easily swap them for sunflower seeds or pepitas.
    • Sprinkle some green onions or fresh parsley on top.

You may also enjoy these sensational rice dishes:

Cheesy Chicken And Rice (Crock Pot Version)

Chicken With Fried Rice

Hot Buttered Sweet Rice

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Chicken Teriyaki with Brown Rice

Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken & Rice

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
    Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

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    1. So far, I have loved all your recipes (esp cheesecake bars, undoubtedly the best cheesecake I’ve eaten). This looks easy & delish; just what my family would enjoy!

    2. Christy,
      I just made this rice for dinner and was a hit!!! I will be making this again and it was so easy!!! Thank you so much for all of your amazing recipes!!!

    3. Christy,
      You are an amazing person. Thank you for always bringing a little flavor to my kitchen table.I have a question.
      Instead of using the boullion cubes could you just cook it in Chicken broth, omitting the water?
      I have a hard time geting the cubes to dissolve and not ruin my recipes.

      Thank you so much for all you do and for just being you!!!

      1. Hey Cathy! you are so sweet, thank YOU for being YOU!!! I actually talk about using chicken broth instead of the cubes in the post and included instructions for doing so in the recipe at the bottom as well and the way you asked if you could do it is the exact way I suggested 🙂 See how amazing you are?

    4. This looks so good! I had couscous for the first time at Christmas and this picture reminds me of that. Would I fix couscous the same way as I would this rice? I look forward to getting your blog every day! Thank you so much!

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