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Easy Rice Pilaf For One

Rice pilaf is a wonderful side dish that is so easy to make. See how using these simple steps with just a few flavorful ingredients can transform a side dish of rice. Made with broth, onions, garlic, and butter, this wonderful rice pilaf "for one" can be ready in minutes!

A bowl of rice pilaf

I like to think of rice pilaf as one step up from ordinary rice. Rice makes an excellent side dish, but when you combine a few flavorful ingredients along with rice, it becomes a wonderfully elevated dish to enjoy.

The rice pilaf recipe I'm sharing with you is a simple, basic rice pilaf recipe. Think of this recipe as a guide to use and feel free to add in other ingredients to suit your tastes and desires.

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What Is Rice Pilaf?

Simple rice pilaf consists of white rice cooked with a little oil, chopped onions, minced garlic, and then simmered in broth.

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See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • long grain white rice
  • butter
  • finely chopped onions
  • garlic
  • chicken broth
  • salt

Very simple, easily accessible ingredients.

Rice Pilaf Variations

Once you know the process of making rice pilaf, you can add other flavors to create your own.

Consider adding a quarter to a half of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or ground turmeric along with a handful of raisins or nuts.

Or, what about adding in a quarter cup of frozen mixed vegetables. I add them straight from the freezer and let the vegetables thaw in the heated pan.

Another suggestions would be to add a half of a cup of sliced mushrooms and sauté them with the onions.

These additions demonstrate how you can easily customize this side dish for any meal.

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An overhead view of a bowl of rice pilaf next to a spoon, half an onion, a few garlic cloves, and a glass of red wine

How To Make

Once you've decided which ingredients you'd like to add to your rice pilaf, you're just a few steps away from a fabulous tasting dish.

  1. Sauté the vegetables: Melt butter in a small skillet and sauté the onions and garlic until they are soft and the onions are translucent. If you've chosen to add sliced mushrooms, this would be the time to add them as well.
  2. Toast the rice: This is such an important step in making rice pilaf and you definitely won't want to skip it. Toasting the rice until each grain is fully coated in the butter helps the grains stay separate and adds so much flavor to the dish.
  3. Enhance the flavor of the rice pilaf with broth: I usually use chicken broth in my rice pilaf recipes but you could also use seafood, beef, or vegetable broth instead.
  4. Cook the rice: Bring the rice to a boil, then reduce it to a light simmer. Cover the rice and cook until the liquid has been absorbed (about 15-18 minutes).
  5. Let the rice rest: Remove the pot from the heat and keep the pot covered. Let the rice sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  6. Fluff the rice and season: Fluff the rice with a fork and season with a pinch (or two) of salt and pepper, to taste. You could also add in chopped parsley, mint, or chives.

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A bowl of rice pilaf plated on a metal tray next to half an onion, garlic cloves, and a glass of red wine

You will need a quarter cup (45 grams) of long grain rice for this single serving rice pilaf recipe.

I keep my bag of rice in a sealed airtight container or in the original package inside a resealable freezer bag.

What To Serve With Recipe

Rice pilaf goes so well with many dishes. Here are a few main dish suggestions:

Other Single Serving Rice Recipes

I use a 10-inch skillet for this rice pilaf recipe. For best results, use a pan of similar size.

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

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Rice Pilaf For One | One Dish Kitchen

Rice Pilaf For One

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keywords: rice
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 313kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk


  • 1/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth


  • Place the rice in a strainer and rinse it thoroughly under cool water. Set the strainer of rice aside.
  • Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet. Add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and soft, 2 minutes
  • Add rice and coat with butter. Continue to cook, stirring often, until rice is lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the broth and salt and bring to a boil. 
  • Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, until rice is tender.
  • Remove pan from the heat, keep covered and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 449mg | Potassium: 322mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 6.8mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.7mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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About The Author

6 thoughts on “Easy Rice Pilaf For One”

    1. You could use cooked rice but the flavor of the dish comes from many of the steps taken to make rice pilaf. The rice is lightly browned in butter in a skillet which gives the rice a nice, nutty flavor. Then, the rice is cooked in chicken broth which further adds to the flavor. You can skip those steps and just add the cooked rice to the sauteed onions and garlic if you like, it just won’t be as rich in flavor.

  1. what would happen if I used 1 cup of broth instead of 3/4? thinking about doubling it and throwing in a full can which is 2 cups of broth.

    1. I honestly don’t know but I would think that the rice would be too watery. I do know that this recipe doubles well but has only been tested using the ingredient amounts listed.

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