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Rice Cooker Rice Pilaf

Rice Cooker Rice Pilaf ~ This homemade classic rice and pasta side dish is far more flavorful and delicious than anything you can get in a box. 

Rice pilaf plated in a light green bowl.

This post has been updated from its original 3/3/14 publishing with new photographs, updated recipe card, and new content. 

What is Rice Pilaf?

You’re all familiar with that boxed rice dish, that San Francisco treat?  Making things boxed items like that is how I learned to cook.   Rice Pilaf is a simple dish of rice and pasta cooked together.

I grew up eating the boxed version but when in my early 20’s, I learned how to make it homemade from my stepmom.

The dry rice and pasta measured out before cooking.

How to Make Rice Pilaf?

Making this delicious side dish is simple enough.

I first learned to make this rice dish homemade by browning the rice and broken spaghetti. Then add a packet of dried onion soup mix, some water  and set the rice on the stove to cook.  Delicious.

I no longer use the packet. 

Basic Rice Pilaf Ingredients

You will need: 

  • Rice
  • Broken spaghetti or other pasta like orzo
  • Water/Beef broth
  • Herbs, either fresh or dried
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh minced onions
  • Fresh garlic

Rice Pilaf in the Rice Cooker

I love my rice cooker. I use it at least once a week. 

Start by browning the rice and pasta in a skillet. Towards the end of the browning process, add the onion so it begins to cook down. 

Toss the mixture into the appliance, add the rest of the ingredients, press cook, and let it do its thing. It’s literally that simple.

The rice pilaf in the rice cooker once it has finished cooking

Rice Pilaf in the Instant Pot

I have yet to purchase one but a friend let me borrow hers. I think it was to attempt to lure me into getting one so I made more recipes with it. 

I haven’t acquired one simply because I am out of cupboard space! 

Use the sauté feature to brown the rice, pasta, and onion. Then simply add the rest of the ingredients, use the rice feature, and wait. 

Making Rice Pilaf on the Stove

Before I got all fancy with a rice cooker or even playing with the Instant Pot, making rice pilaf on the stove top was simple and efficient. 

Start with standard 4.5-5 quart pot. Brown the rice, pasta and onions like you would in the rice cooker steps. 

After that, add all the remaining ingredients and follow the directions on your packet of rice. Replace the lid, cook on medium where you can hear the high simmer for 5-8 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and cook 18 minutes or so on low. I do recommend checking the rice packet directions, as these minutes can vary based on brand. 

Browning the rice and and pasta for the start of rice pilaf.

Tips for Making Rice Pilaf

Rice pilaf can be as flavorful as you’d like. It’s completely adaptable to pretty much any cuisine type. 

I really like using all broth. If you use one 32 oz container, you’re all set. 

However, if you have two cans, you will want the total volume of fluid added to be equal to four cups. Typically broth cans are about 14.5 oz.  So if you are using 2 cans of 14.5 oz, (totaling 29 oz) you will want to add an additional 3 oz of water to get the total up to 32 oz. 

If you opt to not use broth at all, only water, add at least 2 tbsp of butter when adding the remainder of ingredients.

Close up side view of rice pilaf in a green serving bowl.

What to Serve with Rice Pilaf

Mushroom Tarragon Roasted Pork Tenderloin ~ Seasoned, seared, and pan roasted pork tenderloin with an herbaceous mushroom tarragon pan sauce ~ The Complete Savorist by Michelle De La Cerda
Close up of shredded Mississippi Pot roast with peperoncinis from Dutch Oven Daddy
Served rice pilaf garnished with fresh thyme

Rice Cooker Rice Pilaf

Course: Grains
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Rice Pilaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 261 kcal
Author: Michelle De La Cerda

Rice Cooker Rice Pilaf ~ This homemade classic rice and pasta side dish is far more flavorful and delicious than anything you can get in a box. Stove top and Instant Pot directions too



  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cups long grain white rice; uncooked
  • oz broken spaghetti/angel hair pasta
  • cup finely minced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced/grated
  • 32 oz low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper; to taste
  • ½ tsp salt; to taste


  1. In a large heated skillet or large sauce pan on medium high heat, add the olive oil.

  2. Add the rice and pasta, stir constantly.
  3. Do not let it burn.
  4. Stir for about a minute then add garlic and onions.

  5. Continue to cook for about another minute.

Rice Cooker:

  1. Add contents of sauté pan to rice cooker, add the broth and all remaining ingredients; mix well.

  2. Close lid, start the cooking process.
  3. When the cooking process is complete, open the lid and stir, often times the herbs will have risen to the top.

  4. Discard the bay leaf and serve.

Stove-top directions.

  1. Make sure the pan you brown the rice and pasta in has a lid that will fit securely on.
  2. Brown the rice and pasta as described above.
  3. Lower heat to medium, add the broth and all remaining ingredients; mix well.

  4. Cook according to rice package directions, which is usually cover, cook on medium to bring to a boil, about 10 minutes, without lifting the lid reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  5. At the end of the cooking time, open lid, stir, as the herbs will have settled at risen to the top of the rice, discard the bay leaf, and serve.

Instant Pot

  1. Use the sauté setting, brown the rice and pasta, then add in the onions and garlic.

  2. Add all the remaining ingredients; then per the appliance instructions, use the rice setting to complete the cooking.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional Values are approximate. Pleases use your own calculations if you require a special diet. The Complete Savorist does not make any medical or dietary claims regarding nutrition. The values listed are for 1/8 of the total recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Rice Cooker Rice Pilaf
Amount Per Serving (8 g)
Calories 261 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 399mg17%
Potassium 351mg10%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 45IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Simple Rice Pilaf ~ The Complete Savorist
Served rice pilaf garnished with fresh thyme.

Thank you for sharing!

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  • Reply
    February 5, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    5 stars
    This looks very delicious!

    • Reply
      February 5, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Thank you LF! It’s pretty easy.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    5 stars
    Horray to ditching the boxed store bought kind! Thanks for including all the different methods to making this. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    August 19, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    5 stars
    Love this classic recipe! Will make the perfect side dish with dinner tomorrow; looks amazing!

  • Reply
    August 20, 2019 at 5:12 am

    5 stars
    How good this looks! I would like to make it for dinner tonight!

  • Reply
    Chrissie Baker
    August 20, 2019 at 7:07 am

    5 stars
    Oh yum! My kiddos love rice pilaf, it’s a great side dish. I’ll have to give this a try!

  • Reply
    Beth Pierce
    August 20, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    5 stars
    Another great recipe for my Instant Pot! This will make a great side dish with dinner tonight!

  • Reply
    Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert
    August 21, 2019 at 7:19 am

    5 stars
    This couldn’t look any more perfect!

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