Simple Brown Rice Pilaf Recipe

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Serve up an easy side dish tonight with this Simple Brown Rice Pilaf. Based on whole grain and packed with flavor, it’s a great supporting actor.

Simple Brown Rice Pilaf | Good Cheap Eats

Rice pilaf is one of my go-to side dishes. Hubs could eat the whole pan himself. There’s just something about the combination of butter, onion, rice, and chicken broth that comes together in a happy, comforting way.

While I’ve made this dish plenty of times with white, long grain rice, I’ve been making it more and more with whole grain brown rice. The texture is a little different, a tad stickier than when made with white rice.

But, my husband still can eat the whole pan by himself. So you know it’s just as good. We’ll call it nutritious and delicious. 😉

How I make this good:

Whenever possible I like to cook with plain old ingredients. While the convenience of mixes and canned sauces is nice, I feel better about feeding my family just real food whenever possible. (Go here for some of my reasons on all that.)

One glance at this recipe and you’ll know you’ve got the real deal. When possible I use homemade chicken stock since it’s so easy to make and practically free if you’re already roasting a chicken.There are no mixes or bottled sauces here. Just real good food!

Simple Brown Rice Pilaf | Good Cheap Eats

How I make this cheap:

Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Buy in bulk. I know that Costco is the best place to buy ingredients in bulk, like brown rice or chicken stock, when there isn’t a great sale elsewhere. I keep track of prices so that I know who has the best deal where. If you don’t think you’ll eat through a ten pound bag of rice too quickly, split the purchase with a friend or store the extra in the freezer to extend its shelf life.
  • Make my own stock. Homemade chicken stock is so easy to make and practically free if you’re already roasting a chicken or buying rotisserie chickens. Extract all the flavor from the bones before you toss them.

Tools I use to make this recipe easy:

Having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.

Simple Brown Rice Pilaf | Good Cheap Eats

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Originally published November 22, 2010. Post updated March 25, 2017.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. Anna says:

    I’m excited to try this recipe I have minimal rice experience 🙂

  2. Emily says:

    Saw this post and since I hadn’t planned dinner yet, I made this and threw some salmon on the grill. It was delicious. Thanks foe my new go-to rice recipe!

    • Jessica says:

      Isn’t it easy? Thanks for letting me know how it worked for you!

  3. Keli says:


    Would you still cook the rice 40 minutes if you use regular white rice?

    • Jessica says:

      No, if you’re using white rice, reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes.

  4. Kelley says:

    Another great recipe easily converted to veg by using vegetable broth and a little salt! Delicious!

  5. AllieZirkle says:

    We had this for dinner tonight. I sauted the rice & onion in a skillet and then cooked the rice, onion, broth, and parsley in the rice cooker. The rice cooker clicked after 40 minutes. The rice is tasty but a bit al dente. My guess is the stove top works best but the rice cooker works well too! And no, it wasn’t an extra dirty pan by sauting the rice & onion stove-top as I used the skillet to cook up our veggies. Yum!

    🙂 Allie

  6. Erin says:

    We just had this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I did half the recipe since there are just 4 of us and that includes a 1 yr old and 4 yr old, but it was really easy to put together. I used fresh parsley because I didn’t have any dried parsley. Definitely a new go to side dish for us!!

  7. Emily says:

    I made this a couple weeks ago to go with baked chicken and it was delicious! Last night, I used this recipe as a starting point and created a Mexican version to go with enchiladas. It turned out really well, and I will be posting it on my blog soon, with a link to your original recipe, of course!

  8. Micha says:

    I have no idea how I missed this. Rice pilaf is a new favorite side dish here.
    I make mine pretty much the same except after the liquid has come to a boil I carefully transfer it all to a casserole dish then cover and bake it in a 350 or 375 degree oven.

  9. Sandra says:

    Tried this tonight…yum! I made mine with 1 c. brown rice and 1 c. orzo pasta, and it came out great! Thank you!

    • Jessica says:

      @Sandra, I just bought some orzo. Gonna have to try that!

  10. Jen J. says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this rice tonight and it was a HUGE hit!! Thanks so much for such an easy and wonderful recipe! My 5 yr. old said that it is his new favorite. 🙂

  11. FYI, when I try to click the “Print This Recipe” link, it just prints a blank sheet.

    • Jessica says:

      It loads fine for me. I’m not sure what the problem is.

    • STL says:

      @Heather Ratliff,

      Jessica, I’m going to try this tonight. But I also wanted to let you know that I’ve tried printing several of your recipes, four or five last night, and none of them printed out for me either. I had the same trouble when I printed from another location a month or so ago too. The only way I get it to work is to highlight the text and print the “selection only,” but not using your print button. Still, thanks for the recipe. I’m going to double it tonight to keep some for later in the week and to freeze some as well. Stacy

      • Jessica says:

        @STL, that’s really odd. It prints for me just fine. What browser are you using? (I use google chrome.)

  12. Jenny says:

    This sounds good. Going to make that inside while we grill Asian marinated chicken with some red pepper and zucchini.

  13. Ally says:

    How many servings is this recipe??

    • Jessica says:

      It serves six to eight.

  14. Jen says:

    So my onion was completely mushy when I went to use it tonight for this recipe… so I sautéed the rice in the butter and then added a packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix with the broth… not exactly a “clean” recipe anymore but it was a fantastic mistake. Thanks! 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      That’s okay! Use what ya got. I call that a win!

  15. Robbin says:

    How many does this recipe serve? I wish there was nutrition info, but I can figure that part out.


  16. laura says:

    It look really good. Jessica, or anyone, Sorry if is to much to ask, but can you please
    Tell me what type of brown rice you use? And also what type of orzo rice you use? I have never bought any of them. Please and thank you.

    • I typically buy long-grain or basmati brown rice. And the orzo is whatever Trader Joe’s carries. It’s a pasta.

  17. beth says:

    can i use minute rice for this recipe

    • I don’t think so. You’ll need regular long grain rice. You can use white, just decrease the cooking time to 20 minutes.

  18. Janet says:

    I weaned my family from only white rice to our go to mix now of half white and half brown rice. I gradually added a bit of brown rice to recipes and over time the family got used to the 50/50 mix. I tried this recipe, adjusting the time a bit. No leftovers.

    • So glad you liked it. My family doesn’t particularly comment when I do brown or white, so I think they’ve acclimated. You’re well on your way!


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