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Basmati Rice Pilaf

Basmati Rice Pilaf | Umami Girl

Some recipes are so basic, so versatile, so good that every cook should know them. There’s that pesky “should,” I know. But I feel pretty strongly about this. Rice pilaf is one of those recipes. And basmati rice pilaf is pilaf’s best version of itself.

Rice pilaf woke up on the right side of the bed this morning. And if you’re new to this side dish and ready to learn a simple, easy recipe, then so did you.

Psst: speaking of beds, maybe you’ll try this as a bed for seared scallops with chorizo. Just sayin. 

Basmati Rice Pilaf | Umami Girl

A few keys to a good pilaf: flavor, flavor, flavor. You don’t want to overwhelm, but you definitely don’t want to bore. Use good butter (I love Kerrygold salted butter like I love my children) and good stock (I almost never make my own but have a couple of boxed favorites such as this one for veg and this one for chicken). Brown the onions a little like the recipe suggests to develop the flavor. Basmati rice will speak for itself in the flavor department. And don’t skimp on the salt and pepper.

I’m feeling a little bossy today I guess. Sorry not sorry. 🙂

That’s all for now. Happy Monday. Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx

Basmati Rice Pilaf

Preparation 00:05 Cook Time 00:20 Total Time 0:25
Serves 6     adjust servings

 This is a best-self version of a classic recipe with plenty of flavor and zero complicating factors. It's a versatile side dish that I hope you'll build into your repertoire.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper (see instructions)

To garnish (optional)

  • Minced chives
  • Chopped almonds


In a wide pan with a lid (like this one, this one, or this one), melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to brown, about five minutes. While onion cooks, rinse rice in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear and shake out any excess water.

Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about a minute. Add rice and stir to coat with butter, then cook, stirring once or twice, for two minutes. Pour in stock and give it all a good stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then cover pan, lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until broth is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. 

Off the heat, place a clean kitchen towel between the pan and the lid to absorb excess steam and let pilaf rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and almonds if using and serve.


Recipe Notes

If you use salted butter and stock, you may not need additional salt. Just taste and adjust before serving.

1 review


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.